Over time the glass watch crystal on your favorite watch may get scratched or sustain other surface damage. Some scratches can be removed from glass crystals using basic tools. So often, you can polish the surface of the crystal to remove those scratches with the help of this guide. And if you have lapidary tools available, you can remove deep scratches from flat surfaces and from sapphire watch crystals.


Note: If you have a sapphire crystal you will not be able to polish away scratches on your own, unless you have access to special lapidary machinery. Also, since polishing glass crystals can be very difficult and time consuming, we do not recommend attempting to polish them by hand.

Tools Needed:


Glass-apply_tape_to_caseStep 1

The first thing you should do is prepare your watch for polishing. To protect the finish on the watch case while you buff the watch crystal, you will want to take your polyimide tape and use small pieces about an inch and a half long to cover the metal around the crystal. Overlap the pieces of tape to completely cover the metal around the watch crystal.









Step 2filing_apply_polishing_compound

Once you have covered all the metal, set the watch aside and set up your buffing system. Take your polishing motor and attach your hard felt buff to the motor spindle and put on your safety glasses.

Then, start the motor and carefully apply a thin layer of the yellow rouge polishing compound to the spinning buffing wheel. Hold the compound against the turning wheel with medium-light pressure for just two seconds. Over applying the compound can be very detrimental to the work you are about to do.






Step 3

Next, take your watch with its protective tape in  place and hold the crystal up to the spinning buffing wheel. Be careful to keep your fingers away from the wheel and hold the crystal securely while you work.


Glass-polish_crystalPress the crystal against the buffing wheel with light to medium pressure and keep it moving against the buff so that you don’t over polish any one portion of the crystal. Be sure to face the crystal directly toward the buff and to change positions and move at angles to polish each edge equally.

Note: If you are working with a curved crystal, be sure to always keep the crystal moving against the wheel along the curve so you can maintain the nice curved edge of the crystal.





Step 4

Stop frequently and take your crystal away from the felt buffing wheel to check your progress and make sure that you are not over polishing a particular section.

After you get a feel for how your buff is working with your plastic crystal, you can increase the pressure between the wheel and the crystal to work more quickly. However, you need to be careful not to let the crystal overheat while you work, so take breaks whenever the crystal starts to get hot to the touch.



Step 5

If you don’t seem to be making any progress polishing your crystal, apply another thin layer of yellow rouge to the felt buffing wheel like you did before. Be sure to only hold the compound against the wheel for a couple seconds.

Continue polishing and checking your progress, repeating Steps 3 and 4 until you can no longer see the scratches on the surface of your crystal.



Step 6Glass-remove_excess_compound

When you can no longer see any scratches, stop your polishing motor and remove the polyimide tape from your watch crystal.

Then, take your soft cleaning cloth and use it to remove any excess polishing compound from the face of the crystal and any remaining adhesive from the watch case. This will give your crystal a beautiful finished shine.




When that is complete, your crystal should look just like new and you can start wearing it again. For other handy methods for polishing watch crystals, check out our Learning Center for more articles.