The watch crystal is the clear plastic or glass portion of your watch that protects the watch dial from dust and other kinds of damage while being worn and allows you to tell the time without having x-ray vision. Over time your watch crystal can be scratched, cracked or broken and need to be replaced. Instead of throwing out your favorite watch when the crystal is damaged, learn how to replace it with this guide. In this guide you will learn how to remove almost any type of wristwatch crystal from almost any watch.
Some of these guides may require you to remove all the inner workings of the watch (See: How to replace a Watch Movement) from the case in order to safely remove the watch crystal, and others may involve high heat or chemical processes. If at any point you feel unsure about any of the steps or procedures of the process, you should stop and take your watch to a professional watchmaker to avoid damaging it permanently.
Gasket Fit or Tension Ring Crystals
If you have a watch crystal that is held in place with a gasket or a tension ring, you have a couple different options for removing your watch crystal. It is usually best to try to remove this type of crystal with hand pressure first, and if that doesn’t work, to try using a watch crystal press. To learn how to do either of these things, check out these links:
- How to Remove a Watch Crystal with Hand Pressure
- How to Remove a Watch Crystal with a Watch Crystal Press
Glued In Crystals
If your watch crystal is held in place with glue, there a several different ways to remove the crystal some of which involve chemicals and high heat. Always start by trying to remove a glued in crystal with hand pressure first and if that doesn’t work, then move up to trying to remove it with heat or chemicals. Be aware that if you watch cases have any sort of additional embellishments in the metal, you won’t be able to use chemicals or heat to remove the crystal. To learn how to remove glued in crystals, check out these links:
- How to Remove a Glued In Watch Crystal with Hand Pressure
- How to Remove a Glued In Watch Crystal with a Heat Gun
- How to Remove a Glued In Watch Crystal with Chemicals
Compression Fit Crystals
If you have an unbreakable crystal in your watch, chances are good that it is held in place with a compression fitting. The easiest way to remove a compression fit crystal is to use a crystal lift. Check out this link to learn how to remove a compression fit crystal.
Bezel Fit Crystals
Bezel fit watch crystals are fairly uncommon but if you happen to have a watch with a bezel fit crystal, there are two different ways you can use to remove it from the case. You can remove a bezel fit crystal with either hand pressure and a bench knife or a watch crystal press. Be aware that if your watch case has a three part bezel you will need to press out the second retainer ring from the watch bezel as well – this type of bezel fit crystal is not covered in these articles. If there is strong resistance to pressing the crystal out, do not continue – seek professional help.
- How to Remove a Bezel Fit Watch Crystal with a Bench Knife
- How to Remove a Bezel Fit Watch Crystal with a Watch Crystal Press