crystal question...NOS or aftermarket?

Vintage Rolex Discussion

crystal question...NOS or aftermarket?

Joined: August 14th, 2003, 3:20 pm

August 21st, 2012, 4:05 pm #1

It is my understanding that Rolex stopped making at least some crystals for models from the 50s/60s. Specifically I'm thinking of the curved dome crystals vs the flat top or high profile crystals. That would leave a NOS crystal as the only factory replacement. But plastic ages...even just sitting there in a parts bin. It can shrink, become brittle, basically losing its sealing integrity. At the same time there are aftermarket crystals made that are brand new and meant to be replacement parts for watches that are still in use. For a watch that is being treated as an antique...worn for display only and is meant to be 100% correct...the NOS factory crystal would seem the correct choice. But for real world use...water tightness...impact resistance...the NEW aftermarket crystal (assuming tolerances are correct) would seem the more logical choice.

Regarding the service just now underway on my 1018, I have chosen an aftermarket crystal, shown in the catalog as specifically made for Rolex watches, to replace the higher profile crystal now on the watch. The work is being performed by former Rolex repair staff. It is not too late for me to alter my service order and go with a less asthetic but more factory choice.

Thoughts and opinion?

John Ireland
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Joined: May 28th, 2007, 5:43 pm

August 21st, 2012, 4:22 pm #2

New style tropic 21 Should be available.
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Joined: December 20th, 2006, 6:06 pm

August 21st, 2012, 4:29 pm #3

It is my understanding that Rolex stopped making at least some crystals for models from the 50s/60s. Specifically I'm thinking of the curved dome crystals vs the flat top or high profile crystals. That would leave a NOS crystal as the only factory replacement. But plastic ages...even just sitting there in a parts bin. It can shrink, become brittle, basically losing its sealing integrity. At the same time there are aftermarket crystals made that are brand new and meant to be replacement parts for watches that are still in use. For a watch that is being treated as an antique...worn for display only and is meant to be 100% correct...the NOS factory crystal would seem the correct choice. But for real world use...water tightness...impact resistance...the NEW aftermarket crystal (assuming tolerances are correct) would seem the more logical choice.

Regarding the service just now underway on my 1018, I have chosen an aftermarket crystal, shown in the catalog as specifically made for Rolex watches, to replace the higher profile crystal now on the watch. The work is being performed by former Rolex repair staff. It is not too late for me to alter my service order and go with a less asthetic but more factory choice.

Thoughts and opinion?

John Ireland
I find it hard to believe that no one has taken these old dome crystals, and recreated new ones to exact specifications. Best of both worlds really... As long as it looked the same, who cares? It's not like the NOS ones are etched with anything so you could tell.....Just sayin Maybe someone already has...
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Joined: May 28th, 2007, 5:43 pm

August 21st, 2012, 4:37 pm #4

Rolex didn't make those crystals anyway.
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Joined: July 25th, 2010, 6:16 am

August 21st, 2012, 11:23 pm #5

It is my understanding that Rolex stopped making at least some crystals for models from the 50s/60s. Specifically I'm thinking of the curved dome crystals vs the flat top or high profile crystals. That would leave a NOS crystal as the only factory replacement. But plastic ages...even just sitting there in a parts bin. It can shrink, become brittle, basically losing its sealing integrity. At the same time there are aftermarket crystals made that are brand new and meant to be replacement parts for watches that are still in use. For a watch that is being treated as an antique...worn for display only and is meant to be 100% correct...the NOS factory crystal would seem the correct choice. But for real world use...water tightness...impact resistance...the NEW aftermarket crystal (assuming tolerances are correct) would seem the more logical choice.

Regarding the service just now underway on my 1018, I have chosen an aftermarket crystal, shown in the catalog as specifically made for Rolex watches, to replace the higher profile crystal now on the watch. The work is being performed by former Rolex repair staff. It is not too late for me to alter my service order and go with a less asthetic but more factory choice.

Thoughts and opinion?

John Ireland
There are quality aftermarket crystals out there that are made in the profile of the original domes. I have my manual daytonas fitted with Swiss made AF.

Left, Swiss Aftermarket; Centre Original Dome; Right, Rolex Service. The left and centre ones are practically indistinguishable.



Best...MC.
Last edited by munchiew on August 21st, 2012, 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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