How to replace a watch crystal

How to Replace a Watch Crystal in 5 Easy Steps

One of the advantages of acrylic crystals is that you can easily polish away scratches to make the crystal look new again. This is especially useful if your watch has the original signed crystal or a crystal that’s not easily available anymore.

It’s better to use the original parts if possible. However, sometimes the damage is just too severe. If the crystal is cracked or chipped, there’s no other solution than to fit a new one.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to easily replace a watch crystal.

Click here to learn how to replace a watch crystal with a tension ring.

The tools you’ll need

  • Crystal lift
  • Crystal lift base
  • Digital vernier caliper
  • Soft brush
  • Handpump
  • New crystal

1. Remove the old crystal

Take your crystal lift and make sure that the jaws are wider than the watch crystal.

Position the crystal lift over the crystal and tighten the jars until they’re gripping the side of the crystal.

Hold the watch case and try to lift the crystal. Tighten the crystal lift a little more if you can’t easily lift it.

2. Clean the inside of the bezel

This is the perfect time to clean the inside of the bezel to create the best fit possible for the new crystal.

Over time, dust and dirt build up between the crystal and the bezel. Use a soft brush and a hand pump to clean it.

Be careful not to damage the dial or the hands.

3. Measure the inside of the bezel

Use the vernier caliper to measure the inside of the watch bezel (make sure not to damage the dial).

The regular acrylic crystals are held in under tension so the crystal needs to be slightly bigger than the inside of the bezel.

Round off the measurement to the nearest even number and add 0.2 mm.

Let’s say you measure 29.76 mm. This is rounded off to 29.8 mm and then you add 0.2 mm.

The crystal that you need to use is 30.0.

I always order one size larger as well, just in case. This may come in handy, especially when the initial measurements are between two sizes.

4. Use the crystal base

Loosen the crystal base screw and open the sliding metal plates.

Place the new crystal in between and close the plates but not too tight. Screw down to secure the crystal.

How to replace a watch crystal
The crystal secure between the two metal slides

Open the jaws of the crystal lift and place it over the crystal, resting on the metal plates.

How to replace a watch crystal
The jaws of the crystal lift are positioned over the crystal and are resting on the metal slides

Carefully tighten the crystal lift until it starts to grip the crystal. Check all around to see if you have an even grip.

Tighten the crystal lift a bit more because you need to compress the crystal enough to fit inside the bezel.

5. Fit the new crystal

Use the hand blower to remove all dust from the inside of the crystal and the dial. You don’t want to discover any dust after you’ve successfully fitted a new crystal.

How to replace a watch crystal
Clean the watch dial with a hand pump

Position the crystal lift with the crystal over the watch and lower it. The crystal should drop into the bezel, you may need to wiggle or rotate a bit.

How to replace a watch crystal
The crystal dropped into the watch bezel

If the crystal doesn’t drop into the bezel, tighten the crystal lift some more.

Keep a slight downward pressure on the crystal lift and slowly unscrew it. The glass will expand inside the bezel and secure itself.

Finishing touch

Test the new crystal. You should fit one size larger if the crystal has too much slack.

If everything checks out…job well done!

Do you have any additional tips on how to replace a crystal? Let me know in the comments below.

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5 thoughts on “How to Replace a Watch Crystal in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. I was planning to buy a crystal lift to replace my cracked, flat mineral glass crystal that is compression fitted with a ring according to the manufacturers (I can’t think what they mean by a ring – I can’t see any) when I read on the product description that it is ‘Suitable repair tool for domed acrylic or crystal.’ My watch has flat mineral glass. Does that mean it’s unsuitable for it?

    1. Mineral glasses can be removed from the inside with your thumbs or with a bit of help from a watchmaker’s hammer. The new crystal will need to be fitted with a crystal press.

  2. Anthony Hazelwood

    I would like to know I am replacing my daughters Crystal in her Michael Kors ( mk3192). I have removed the broken crystal and have got my measurements using my digital calliper. I have not found a gasket and I was wondering is it pressure fit or adhesive?
    Also can you let me know where I may purchase a new crystal for this watch and how much. Measurements for replacement is 31.95mm
    Thanking you in advance for your time and patience.


    A Hazelwood

    1. Sorry, but I can’t help you because I don’t have any experience with Michael Kors watches. I advise you to contact a jeweler or an independent watchmaker with experience with this brand.

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