Acrylic maintenance made simple

What if I told you that instead of buffing with polyWatch there is a better way to maintain an acrylic crystal and keep it scratch free?

I love acrylic crystals on watches because of their superior optical qualities, the ease with which they are formed into interesting shapes, and their incredible resistance to mechanical shocks. However the same plasticity is also the reason why acrylic can scratch so easily and it's very frustrating to discover that a watch is already battle scarred after the first time it's worn on a wrist. The usual recommendation is to buff away the scratches with polyWatch, and to be fair it's fairly effective and cost effective. It's such a widely accepted way to deal with scratches that Lorier even bundled a tube of polyWatch with their Safari watch.

But perhaps there is another way to prevent scratches, or at least mitigate the frequency with which we have to expend elbow grease? 

Now before we continue I have to admit that I'm not claiming to be original here. The idea came to me after watching several YouTube videos explaining the pro and cons of using a silica solution, commonly known as liquid glass, to protect the screen of cellphones from scratches. Therefore it's very possible that this is already a well known trick, and that I'm not bringing anything new to the table.

You will need:

  1. A watch with an acrylic crystal obviously. I'm using here my 40mm Glycine Airman No. 1.
  2. A vial of liquid glass (courtesy of Amazon) and a small polishing cloth. The one that is usually bundled with the vials will do just fine.
  3. A larger and cleaner polishing cloth, I'm using a standard cloth that I plundered from my eyeglass case.
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Put a few small drops of liquid glass on the crystal and spread them around with the small cloth. Let it cure for a few minutes.

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Buff the crystal with the clean cloth and check to see if you missed any spots, repeat if necessary.

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Strap on your watch and enjoy your coffee. Your watch is now better able to shrug off scratches.

It's not a perfect solution because there is no magic involved here that will turn plastic into sapphire. Also, the process will not do anything to remove existing scratches. What it does is increase the resistance of the acrylic crystal so that it will scratch less often and will prevents a lot of micro scratches. It will eventually require buffing with some polyWatch, just not as often as before. It also turn the acrylic top into a very smooth surface.

As far as I can see it will not harm or weaken the crystal. My Airman is several years old and so far I didn't notice any damage, or changes to the color or transparency, and the crystal is still relatively free of scratches. The frequency of this maintenance is once every few weeks and it really takes very little effort, or time so it's definitively something that I can recommend. YMMV of course.

PS

For those who also agonize over scratches on their turntable dust covers: yes similar products will also work. I've been doing it to my Technics SL-1200 M5G for years and while it didn't perform any auditory miracles that are so often reported by audiophiles, it still keeps the dust cover in a very good condition.

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Now buffing out scratches from a sapphire is a whole other beast.. I had to use a two part solution and put a buffing knob on my Dremel, and give it about a 1/2 hour of elbow grease...

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Eh...I just prefer to get watches with sapphire crystals.  Haven't yet managed to scratch sapphire.

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beroplaysbass

Now buffing out scratches from a sapphire is a whole other beast.. I had to use a two part solution and put a buffing knob on my Dremel, and give it about a 1/2 hour of elbow grease...

I admire the level of commitment.

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MegaBob

I admire the level of commitment.

It was for my Orient Defender V1. The V1 isn't available anymore, so it was well worth it.