Replace A Watch Crystal

In this how to we will be discussing how to replace a watch crystal, or change a watch crystal, specifically the standard acrylic plastic domed crystal. This is by far the most popular Types of Watch Crystals you will find on old or vintage watches, including pocket watch crystals, which are severely scratched and need to be replaced. This is NOT the same as a Sapphire Watch Crystal Replacement. There is no need to be nervous, with the right tools and a little effort you too can replace a watch crystal without the high replace watch glass cost.

Before we start, if your plastic crystal is just scratched, you might try some Polywatch before attempting a replacement.

Tool to replace a watch crystal

The first thing you will need are the tools used to replace a watch crystal. In the picture above you see two tools called a crystal remover and an inserter, also called a watch crystal lift or watch crystal remover. The one on the right is the tool that compresses the edge of the crystal so that you can replace a watch crystal. The one on the left is to hold the crystal so you can grip it correctly before installing it on the watch. These are commonly available online at watch repair houses or on Amazon by following the previous link.

side view of the watch

If you look closely you will see a ledge on the side of the crystal just above the metal of the case, this little ledge is where you need to place the opened jaws of the tool to grab the crystal like such:

tool to replace a watch crystal in action

Note that the tool is on the crystal only, at no point is it gripping the case. Once this is accomplished twist the end of the tool to tighten the jaws. Slowly rock the tool back and forth and the crystal should slide out. If the tool comes off the crystal instead, the jaws were not tight enough so try again. Once it gives way you should have this:

watch with crystal removed

At this point be very careful not to touch the face of the watch or hands. Many a wrist watch crystal repair has gone horribly wrong just by touching the hands. Any oil your hand leaves could damage the face or hands, not to mention you could accidentally break a hand off.

Now on to install watch crystal, take the new crystal and place it on the other tool like so:

Holding the watch crystal
Loosen the brass thumbscrew and slide the metal plate up against the new crystal snugly. Now just like you did on the watch place the other tool on top of the crystal and screw it down snugly. The tool in the above picture allows you to grab the crystal leaving enough room so that it can slide in the case. Now just simply place the crystal back in the watch the same way you removed it. If it will not fit and you are sure it is the right size, tighten the tool a little more to make it fit. This usually takes a few tries before you get the hang of it. Once you are comfortable with how to change a watch crystal you can get crystals from Amazon.

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I hope you enjoyed this article on how to replace a watch crystal!

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