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Thread: Acrylic crystals on an everyday watch - Sinn 356

  1. #1
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    Acrylic crystals on an everyday watch - Sinn 356

    Dear all

    I was wondering if any of you might pass your experiences regarding high domed acrylic crystals in everyday use - not on a vintage babied watch, but on an everyday watch which will be worn 24/7 and for all occasions. I am not going to be doing breaststroke on granite rocks, but it will be worn for everything else - in suit, at the beach, in the pub and in the bush.

    In particular, any experience with the Sinn 356 crystal would be appreciated. I've found various threads here involving dsicussion on the height of the acrylic, the high cost of the sapphire [and the results of dropping on the showroom floor] but I'm trying to see whether there's any tangible advatage or disadvantge to what is a fair price differential. Is the acrylic really as easy to 'polish out' as WUS seems to think, or will I spend half my time looking at my wrist with a rueful eye and a scratched watch?

  2. #2
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    I wear an old Sub with acrylic crystal 24/7 (I appreciate you weren't looking specifically for old babied pieces, but this isn't).

    Personally, I find it the better option, as when it does mark, (which it does), it is a quick rub with Polywatch and back to as new. With other materials, you're often looking at living with marks, or replacement. What you do find, over time, is you will see the watch develop swirls from just being under a shirt collar, so if you want crystal (sorry) clear all the time, you won't get it.

    So, acrylic with a bit of tlc every month or two would always be my choice.

  3. #3
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    I hear what you are saying and think most people have had the same question.

    I'm a firm convert to acrylic:
    - It makes a nice click, not a dull thud when tapped, very pleasing
    - It's a lot lighter and easily replaced
    - it is cheaper to high-dome and high-domes are different as not many manufacturers use them, plus they look great on the Sinn
    - IIRC it was about EU200 for double domed and EU100 for single domed sapphire on the PRS29
    - it does scratch, but I like that aspect of a tool watch, and....
    - polywatch is fantastic, it won't clear a deep gouge but will polish out scratches very wel indeed - leaving you with a high level of personal satisfaction
    - others say it looks warmer - but looks the same to me.
    - Acrylic doen't shatter if dropped on a hard surface so maybe toucher in circumstances that matter.

    - but not heard if anti-reflective coating used on underside


    HTH
    Last edited by Dazzler; 24th April 2014 at 08:21.

  4. #4
    as the watch ages, the acrylic ages too.

    it seems a bit incongruent to have a nicely aged and worn in watch with its suitably aged strap or bracelet and then, a new shiny sapphire

    the Sinn 356 with acrylic is a classic

    from here:http://watcharama.com/sinn-356-review/

    "OK, so acrylic scratches even when you look at it, but a little Brasso or even toothpaste(!) and allís well within a couple of minutes. Again, from a personal perspective I find that an acrylic crystal seems to help a watch age gracefully; as the watch becomes scratched and chipped and takes on character then the acrylic crystal does so too. To me, a ten year old watch with a perfect sapphire crystal looks odd somehow."

    (since the advent of the internet, I've not had the need for an original thought)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetwater View Post
    Dear all

    I was wondering if any of you might pass your experiences regarding high domed acrylic crystals in everyday use - not on a vintage babied watch, but on an everyday watch which will be worn 24/7 and for all occasions. I am not going to be doing breaststroke on granite rocks, but it will be worn for everything else - in suit, at the beach, in the pub and in the bush.

    In particular, any experience with the Sinn 356 crystal would be appreciated. I've found various threads here involving dsicussion on the height of the acrylic, the high cost of the sapphire [and the results of dropping on the showroom floor] but I'm trying to see whether there's any tangible advatage or disadvantge to what is a fair price differential. Is the acrylic really as easy to 'polish out' as WUS seems to think, or will I spend half my time looking at my wrist with a rueful eye and a scratched watch?
    I have a Speedy Pro with acrylic and it's a major part of its charm. The Sinn 356 also has a lot of appeal, but I wouldn't bother getting a sapphire crystal version of either. A few minutes rubbing with a cloth and some Polywatch, metal polish, or toothpaste, should fix most minor abrasions. And in the unlikely event it's scratched beyond recovery you can buy several new acrylic crystals for the price difference between the acrylic and the sapphire versions.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyJack View Post
    I have a Speedy Pro with acrylic and it's a major part of its charm.
    Just for my education - don't Speedies have a Hesalite crystal?

  7. #7
    Master Papa Hotel's Avatar
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    I can't answer about the Sink, but I have an old Russian Sekonda with an acrylic crystal. While the case is in decent condition, the crystal looked pretty bad, lots of superficial marks and a kind of milky look to it. A few minutes with Polywatch sorted it out, the milkiness is gone and all but the deepest scratches have gone.

    Even the imperfections that remain have a nice soft quality to them... I'm not sure how much sense that makes, but it looks good!

    I was always a bit anti-acrylic, not any longer, it's a perfectly acceptable material and has its benefits over harder crystals which can be a bit brittle and aren't repairable by the enthusiastic amateur.

  8. #8
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    I love acrylic crystals for all the reasons above , Ive had them retro fitted to several of my new watches. ( Hesalite and acrylic are essentially the same thing afaik )
    Cheers..
    Jase

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by media_mute View Post
    ...
    (since the advent of the internet, I've not had the need for an original thought)
    And I've become incapable of maintaining a viewpoint about watches for more than 24 Hours.

    The everyday practicality of acrylic surely depends upon just how aggressive your environment is and I suspect that perceptions of this are wide ranging - depending on whether you are office bound or work with your hands. I could never wear my acrylic 356 everyday. Mine received a gouged crystal on Day One.
    On the other hand, there is a lot of romantic guff written about acrylic...and I totally agree with it.
    If it has to be a 356, then I would go for the acrylic crystal. If you appreciate watches, then it will satisfy...but within limits.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dazzler View Post
    - It makes a nice click, not a dull thud when tapped, very pleasing
    I thought it was just me who enjoyed routinely tapping on an acrylic crystal for that soothing clicking sound!

  11. #11
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    My most recent purchase is an inexpensive Seagull 1963, which is the first watch I've owned with acrylic for years, I don't know how but it feels less sterile.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by forpetesake View Post
    And I've become incapable of maintaining a viewpoint about watches for more than 24 Hours.

    The everyday practicality of acrylic surely depends upon just how aggressive your environment is and I suspect that perceptions of this are wide ranging - depending on whether you are office bound or wI rk with your hands. I could never wear my acrylic 356 everyday. Mine received a gouged crystal on Day One.
    On the other hand, there is a lot of romantic guff written about acrylic...and I totally agree with it.
    If it has to be a 356, then I would go for the acrylic crystal. If you appreciate watches, then it will satisfy...but within limits.
    I work in an office environment, but I also ride mountain bikes, run, travel, play squash. I'd wear another watch if I were wearing crampons or fixing an engine, but I was hoping to find a do-it-all watch with a good size, weight and looks. The reduced weight of the acrylic is a plus, the day and date help for travel, as does the excellent lume. I love the distorted look of the high dome. The only drawback is the softness of the crystal.
    Minor scratches don't bother me, but a deep gouge would make me quite cross!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonM View Post
    ( Hesalite and acrylic are essentially the same thing afaik )
    Thought you couldn't polish Hesalite - very scratch resistant (but not as much as sapphire) but more importantly non-shattering (hence okay for space)


    Quote Originally Posted by subsmile View Post
    I thought it was just me who enjoyed routinely tapping on an acrylic crystal for that soothing clicking sound!
    Strange but true, clicking is theraputic. Sapphire is cold to the touch but acrylic warm too.

  14. #14
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    I don't have a 356 but I have a 256 that is now 10 years old. I can't say that it gets everyday wear but does get (almost) every weekend wear. I am yet to put a scratch on the acrylic that I couldn't polish out, and if I did, it's cheap to replace. I also thought hesalite was essentially the same as acrylic.

  15. #15
    Master pashmolean's Avatar
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    Also a big fan of Acrylic, especially for an everyday wearer. It's tough, easily polished and cheap to replace. What's not to like?

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    How long before polywatch repairs noticeably and adversly affect the shape of the crystal though?

    The acrylic crystal on my Speedy has relegated it to a virtual safe queen after the first noticeable swirlies.

  17. #17
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazzler View Post
    Thought you couldn't polish Hesalite - very scratch resistant (but not as much as sapphire) but more importantly non-shattering (hence okay for space)




    Strange but true, clicking is theraputic. Sapphire is cold to the touch but acrylic warm too.
    I think your describing regular mineral crystal, Hesalite ( Speedy Pro crystal ) is easily polished.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  18. #18
    Master pashmolean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimJim16v View Post
    How long before polywatch repairs noticeably and adversly affect the shape of the crystal though?

    The acrylic crystal on my Speedy has relegated it to a virtual safe queen after the first noticeable swirlies.
    You need to take that watch out of your safe and wear it!!

    I don't use polywatch, I use toothpaste. I can imagine it would take many hundreds of polywatch treatments before you saw any noticeable change to the crystal shape.

    In the grand scheme of things does it really matter if it picks up a few swirlies while you enjoy wearing it??

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by media_mute View Post
    [quoting from a Sinn 356 review by someone else] "OK, so acrylic scratches even when you look at it, but a little Brasso or even toothpaste(!) and all’s well within a couple of minutes. Again, from a personal perspective I find that an acrylic crystal seems to help a watch age gracefully; as the watch becomes scratched and chipped and takes on character then the acrylic crystal does so too. To me, a ten year old watch with a perfect sapphire crystal looks odd somehow."
    Some watches obviously suit acrylic more than others, and it has some practical advantages, but that's a strange thing to say. A ten year old watch should still be in good condition unless its owner is deliberately neglecting or damaging it - why would a clear, unmarked crystal look out of place, especially (as pashmolean says) new replacements are cheap to buy and fit.
    ...but what do I know; I don't even like watches!

  20. #20
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    Here's my 356 II with acrylic crystal. Must be 7 or 8 years old now I guess. Not worn everyday mind you, but never had any scratch at all so far. The acrylic does have a nice warm feel to it compared to sapphire or mineral.



    regards,
    Nick

  21. #21
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    Acrylic...Nothing Else Does it for me!

    I absolutely love acrylic crystals,the warmth it gives the watch.
    I own a Smiths Everest,and although it's not an expensive watch,it gives me great pleasure,by the lovely sound you get when tapping the acrylic.
    The distortion you get from it ,brings a smile every time you glance down,just lovely.
    I don't baby my watches,i wear them that's what there for,but even though the crystal has fine scratches,it's barely noticeable.
    The Sinn 356 is a classic,and something i will buy in the future myself.
    What i am trying to say is Go For It
    wear and enjoy!
    Last edited by barryw; 24th April 2014 at 20:44.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo View Post
    Here's my 356 II with acrylic crystal. Must be 7 or 8 years old now I guess. Not worn everyday mind you, but never had any scratch at all so far. The acrylic does have a nice warm feel to it compared to sapphire or mineral.



    regards,
    Nick
    That is just lovely. Sinn really is a desirable brand for me, they cover utilitarian and pretty all at the same time.

  23. #23
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    No experience of Sinn but I have several acrylic crystal watches. It's great. As others have said, it somehow feels more 'warm' than mineral glass or sapphire and polishing it is genuinely very easy and quick. Unless you're rubbing your watch through gravel every day you probably won't need to polish it very often (although it of course depends on how you like your watch to look).

    One thing that I discovered is that I don't mind a few minor scratches or swirlies on the crystal if I know I can polish them out very easily. The same level of wear on a mineral glass or sapphire crystal would upset me more, precisely because I knew it would be much harder to get rid of.

    In short, I think acrylic is great for every day wear.

  24. #24
    Veering off slightly from crystals. Are all the 356's now fitted with a Sellita movement instead of the Valjoux 7750? Are there disadvantages to using the Sellita?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryw View Post
    I absolutely love acrylic crystals,the warmth it gives the watch.
    I own a Smiths Everest,and although it's not an expensive watch,it gives me great pleasure,by the lovely sound you get when tapping the acrylic.
    The distortion you get from it ,brings a smile every time you glance down,just lovely.
    I don't baby my watches,i wear them that's what there for,but even though the crystal has fine scratches,it's barely noticeable.
    The Sinn 356 is a classic,and something i will buy in the future myself.
    What i am trying to say is Go For It
    wear and enjoy!
    Me too! I have recently come to love acrylic crystals. Looking for a Sinn 356 too but no one seems to be letting theirs go.

  26. #26
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    Another vote for acrylic. Recently had an older datejust back with a new acrylic crystal and it looks (and sounds) completely right. I managed to scratch it fairly quickly but then it also rubs out very easily.

  27. #27
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    Only problem I have had with acrylic is that no matter what it always eventually picks up tiny scratches, however giving the crystal a good wipe down with some polywatch will get rid of most/all of the scratches and give the crystal a nice 'new' watch feeling.

  28. #28
    Grand Master
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    Hesalite is no harder than any other acrylic crystal material in my experience.

    Acrylic vs sapphire is a difficult one......the acrylic will always pick up scratches but can be repolished and replaced cheaply. Sapphire is much more durable but if it does scratch it's nigh-on impossible to fix and a new crystal's expensive or very expensive (depends on the watch and the availability of generic replacements). Worst choice IMO is glass; it scratches and chips too easily, it can`t be easily repolished, but it is fairly cheap to replace (assuming you can get the right size).

    For everyday wear I`d vote for sapphire. For really rough handling I wouldn`t wear a decent watch anyway, it would be a cheap casio.

    Very old acrylic crystals can suffer from crazy-paving; all it takes is one good scratch to start this, it happened to one of my old watches. On that basis I`d always replace an old acrylic rather than admire the 'patina'; they're cheap to replace.

    You can argue this one all day long........... there's no absolute answer.

    Paul

  29. #29
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    Acrylic Sub is the only one for me....

    Quote Originally Posted by burnsey66 View Post
    I wear an old Sub with acrylic crystal 24/7 (I appreciate you weren't looking specifically for old babied pieces, but this isn't).

    Personally, I find it the better option, as when it does mark, (which it does), it is a quick rub with Polywatch and back to as new. With other materials, you're often looking at living with marks, or replacement. What you do find, over time, is you will see the watch develop swirls from just being under a shirt collar, so if you want crystal (sorry) clear all the time, you won't get it.

    So, acrylic with a bit of tlc every month or two would always be my choice.
    The acrylic subs are so cool.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Hesalite is no harder than any other acrylic crystal material in my experience.

    Acrylic vs sapphire is a difficult one......the acrylic will always pick up scratches but can be repolished and replaced cheaply. Sapphire is much more durable but if it does scratch it's nigh-on impossible to fix and a new crystal's expensive or very expensive (depends on the watch and the availability of generic replacements). Worst choice IMO is glass; it scratches and chips too easily, it can`t be easily repolished, but it is fairly cheap to replace (assuming you can get the right size).

    For everyday wear I`d vote for sapphire. For really rough handling I wouldn`t wear a decent watch anyway, it would be a cheap casio.

    Very old acrylic crystals can suffer from crazy-paving; all it takes is one good scratch to start this, it happened to one of my old watches. On that basis I`d always replace an old acrylic rather than admire the 'patina'; they're cheap to replace.

    You can argue this one all day long........... there's no absolute answer.

    Paul
    Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone. I think I'll go for the acrylic. Sapphire is the logical choice, but getting an expensive watch is inherently illogical, and there's something about a high dome acrylic I think I have to try.

    Pictures to follow in a month or so, upon arrival...

  31. #31
    Master yonsson's Avatar
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    Acrylic also smudges a lot less and has a lot less reflections than sapphire. If you change your mind, you can always swap it for a sapphire later on. I would go for acrylic.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazzler View Post
    Thought you couldn't polish Hesalite - very scratch resistant (but not as much as sapphire) but more importantly non-shattering (hence okay for space)
    Hesalite is a brand name for a particular acrylic or polycarbonate plastic formula. If it is harder, it isn't much harder than regular plastic, and it sure is nowhere near sapphire or even mineral glass.

    All plastics are more, or less, non-shattering to light blows, but hit 'em hard enough with the right shape, and they'll shatter....

    Here is a nice example of how a nice 7mm piece of polycarbonate can shatter if hit right....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnx1ACesWVw

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetwater View Post
    Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone. I think I'll go for the acrylic. Sapphire is the logical choice, but getting an expensive watch is inherently illogical, and there's something about a high dome acrylic I think I have to try.

    Pictures to follow in a month or so, upon arrival...
    Great choice. An acrylic 356 served me well as a daily wearer for years and I still very much enjoy it. Two out of my three most-often-worn watches have acrylic crystals, with no issues. I just prefer the look; sapphire is sterile by comparison.

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