Over time the glass 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
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 and give your
watch the illusion of having a mane.
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
Next, take your watch with its protective tape mane 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.
Ply 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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