Even the most splendid-looking timepieces will count for nothing if they can’t get past the first year of use because of poor durability levels.
And if we were to pick the most damage-prone part of any watch, it would definitely be the dial window. Not only is a cracked glass hard on the eye but it also possesses a strong risk of damaging the movement, ie. when the crack happens while you’re in the water or in the rain. Sometimes even the slightest of scratches might prove to be leaking tiny dips of water that are enough to terminally damage the watch.
When it comes to wristwatches, we differentiate between three main types of dials: plastic, mineral crystal, and sapphire crystal.
No matter how tempting the price, plastic dials are a big no-no. Whereas watches equipped with mineral crystal glass are absolutely fine for their price, in terms of scratch-and-crack-resistant capabilities they don’t come close to those using sapphire crystal.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of watch models using sapphire crystal glass as a form of protection come at a price. Not without the reason, too, as the material is used in all of the top-end watchmakers in the industry such as Rolex or Breitling.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get an affordable sapphire dial timepiece. Some brands offer selected models at manageable price points and these are not any less enduring than those present in the five-figure models.
In this article, we will have a look at the top 8 sapphire crystal glass watches under $300 available in 2021. To cater to different needs and styles, each watch listed below comes with its own unique set of features.
|Top||Seiko||SNE529||Leather Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Tissot||T0384301103700||Stainless Steel Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Invicta||80488||Diving Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Orient||RA-AA0004E19B||Automatic Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Victorinox||241726.1||Military Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|BERING||16433-002||Solar Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Casio||EFS-S550||Sports Pick||Prime||Check Price|
|Mathey-Tissot||H903BBR||GMT Pick||Prime||Check Price|
Best Sapphire Crystal Watches Under $300 (Top 8 Reviewed)
If you’re a fan of elegant, attention-grabbing yet minimalistic watches, you’re likely to enjoy this one.
This particular model comes from Seiko, one of the best-known brands in the industry which, despite the enormous reputation and a long-standing presence on the market, has a lot of affordable timepieces in their offer.
- Read also: Is Seiko a Good Watch Brand?
With a brown leather strap equipped with standard buckle closure, Seiko SNE529 boats an incredibly stylish look.
The watch comes with a stainless steel case measuring 40mm in diameter and 9,7mm in thickness. Such dimensions make the watch a good option for folks with both slender and larger wrists. The caseback is solid and screw-down, aiding the protection while exposing the watch to water. At three o’clock, there’s a push/pull crown.
The analog dial boasts a dark green background that combines neatly with gold-tone hands and hour markers. At three o’clock, you will find a day and date display window. Naturally, the glass protecting the watch face is made from anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Movement-wise, the watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house caliber V158. What’s unique about this particular quartz movement is that it’s solar-powered. In other words, the watch is fuelled by light energy. On top of being environmentally friendly, it allows you to save on visits to a local watchmaker to change the battery.
The solar movement has a power reserve of 10 months, meaning you could basically live in a basement for that period of time and still expect the timepiece to run perfectly fine. It comes with a quartz-standard accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
Last but not least, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m.
We’ve already had one of the best-known Japanese watchmakers on the list, so it’s only fair to include one of the oldest hands of the industry from Switzerland, Tissot.
The T0384301103700 model belongs to Tissot’s T-One collection which has quite a few sapphire crystal watches under $300 to its name.
- Read also: Tissot Brand Review
In contrast to the leather Seiko model discussed above, the Tissot timepiece is one for the fans of stainless steel models. That’s not to say it’s any less elegant – it will look just as good during formal occasions as it will while going through your everyday chores.
The watch comes with a slightly smaller case, with a diameter of 38,5mm and a thickness of 9,8mm. The case is made from stainless steel and has a transparent caseback. The so-called skeleton style of casebacks allows you to peek at the intricate workings of the movement. The push/pull crown has a standard location at three o’clock.
The watch has a pretty unified, minimalistic design which shows in the dial. The silver-tone face includes three-hand configuration, with the hour and minute hands glowing in the dark. The hands point to color-coordinated indices highlighting 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The watch includes a day and date window, divided into two parts and placed separately at six and noon o’clock, respectively.
This Tissot model is powered by a Swiss automatic movement in the form of ETA Caliber 2834-2. The movement contains 25 jewels and has a power reserve of 38 hours. With this watch, you can expect an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/day.
The watch comes with a water-resistance rating of 5ATM/50m, making it safe to wear during short swimming sessions but nothing more than that.
From all the watchmakers on today’s list, Invicta is probably the most affordable option. The fact that at such low price points the brand is still able to offer premium materials such as sapphire crystal is one of the main reasons for its popularity.
You’re going to especially love this watch if you’re a diving enthusiast. The model belongs to Invicta’s most-advanced diving collection, SubAqua. The 80488 model we have here comes with an outstanding 500m water-resistance rating, making it suitable for professional diving activities, including saturation diving.
- Read also: Is Invicta a Good Watch Brand?
The watch comes with an oversized stainless steel case measuring a whooping 52mm in diameter and 20mm in thickness. Such heavy parameters make the watch a best fit for men with medium-to-large wrists. For maximum protection in the water, both the caseback and the crown, located at 3 o’clock, are screw-down.
The five-link bracelet is too made from stainless steel and uses a fold-over-clasp-with-safety. Both the bracelet and the case are 18kt gold ion-plated.
On top of being a very capable diving timepiece, the watch is also an excellent budget choice for chronograph fans. The ocean blue dial features three chronograph sub-dials with 60-second, 30-minute and 1/10 second functions. For easy reading underwater and in the dark, the watch is equipped with three luminescent hands. Additionally, at six o’clock there’s a date window whereas the noon hour displays 7 days of the week. The dial window is made from synthetic sapphire.
On the movement front, the watch is powered by Swiss quartz caliber with an analog display and an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
If you value the more complex movements of automatic watches over the unbeatable accuracy of battery-powered (quartz) timekeepers, this sapphire glass watch from Orient is well worth consideration.
Next to the above-discussed Invicta, Orient is another watchmaker that won’t break the bank yet deliver a well-crafted timepiece that will last for years.
- Read also: Best Orient Dive Watches
The RA-AA0004E19B model included here comes with a 42mm-long and 12mm-thick stainless steel case. The case includes a uni-directional bezel that can be used to measure elapsed time, ie. underwater or while cooking. The options are endless. The watch has a solid, screw-down caseback and crown.
The Orient timepiece uses a three-link bracelet also made from stainless steel with a very inconspicuous type of invisible clasp.
The analog dial boasts a dark green background that harmonizes nicely with silver-tone watch hands and hour markers. All three hands as well as the indices are luminescent, allowing for easy reading after dusk. At three o’clock, the dial includes a day and date window.
As already mentioned, the watch uses an automatic movement. The exact caliber installed in this model is Orient’s in-house F6922. The movement includes 22 jewels and comes with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The accuracy is between -15 and +25 seconds/day.
The water-resistance of this model is 200m.
If you love watches that not only boast a military look but also come with military-issued durability standards, Victorinox offers a rich choice of timepieces that are first and foremost built to last.
The Swiss brand, previously known for producing Swiss Army knives, keeps growing in popularity amongst watch enthusiasts due to affordable pricing and hard-to-beat exterior.
- Read also: Victorinox Watches Review
Victorinox 241726.1 model, belonging to the ultra-durable I.N.O.X collection, is one of the toughest watches available in the < $300 price range. Without any worries, it can be worn even in the most demanding environment such as in combat. You can also consider this model if you work in other tough professions such as EMT, firefighter or construction worker.
The watch comes with 43mm stainless steel case measuring just under 14mm in thickness. The caseback is solid and screw-down, similar to the crown you find at 3 o’clock. The crown is additionally protected on both sides by a protruding part of the bezel. As a bonus form of protection against scratches, the watch is equipped with a removable bumper.
The unique-looking strap is made from a highly enduring braided textile and comes with a hook buckle clasp.
The dark grey dial is color-coordinated with the strap and includes three-hand configuration. The hour and minute hands are silver-tone and luminescent, whereas there’s also the red arrow-shaped hand measuring seconds. Similar to the two main hands, indices also glow in the dark. At noon o’clock there’s the iconic Victorinox Swiss Army logo whilst between four and five o’clock you will find a date window display.
Unsurprisingly for a Swiss brand, the watch runs on Swiss-made quartz movement. It delivers an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds monthly.
To round off the impressive durability capabilities, the model is equipped with a 20ATM/200m water-resistance rating.
You can never be too environment-friendly, especially in the troubled times we’re currently experiencing due to the global warming issue. Although ditching the standard battery-powered watches might not save the planet, it definitely won’t do it any harm.
Bering is a less known, up-and-coming watch brand from Norway. During the last few years, Bering watches have been growing in popularity due to their eco-friendly approach. The vast majority of these timepieces are solar-powered and come at incredibly low cost – especially since nearly all include sapphire crystal glasses.
The Bering solar watch I picked here comes with a unique rectangular stainless steel case with a bit of a vintage feel to it. The case measures just 33mm in diameter and 8mm in thickness, making it a universal fit for all wrist sizes. The caseback is solid, although neither the caseback or the push/pull crown located at 3 o’clock are screw-down. Combined with the modest water-resistance rating of just 3ATM/30m, probably the watch is not the best choice if you’re a regular swimmer.
The milanese bracelet is made from stainless steel and uses a safety clasp closure.
The classic-looking, pitch-black dial includes three-hand configuration. The hour and minute hands glow in the dark, just like the Arab numerals. At the centre of the dial you will find a rectangular-shaped sub-dial showing military time. Located at 3 o’clock is a date window.
The watch is powered by a Solar quartz movement with a standard accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month. The solar power reserve on a full charge is 6-12 months, depending on how often you expose it to any light source during that period.
If you’re a person that is physically active and just loves being on the move, there’s some good news coming your way. The Edifice collection by the world-renowned Casio is full of good quality sapphire crystal watches under $300.
Casio is one of those brands that don’t need any introduction. The Japanese watch mogul is one of the leaders of the industry as far as enduring, affordable sporty watches are concerned.
The Casio Edifice model we have here was designed under the watchful eye of the Scuderia Toro Rosso racing team.
It’s one of the most popular chronograph models in the entire Edifice collection. The watch comes with a fairly massive 47mm stainless steel case that measures 12mm in thickness and has a solid caseback. It also includes an a black ion-plated anti-reverse bezel that you can use to measure elapsed time. Both the caseback and the main crown located at 3 o’clock are screw-down.
The black dial has been clearly inspired by motor racing. It includes three chronograph sub-dials resembling a car dashboard. The three additional dials show 24-hour time as well as stopwatch minutes and seconds. To operate the chronograph function, you will use the two buttons placed on each side of the main crown.
The analog dial includes three hands, two of which glow in the dark, and a date window at 4 o’clock. It’s really packed with features – just like a proper sports watch should be. Naturally, the dial window is made from sapphire crystal glass.
Furthermore, the Japanese quartz movement used in this model is solar-powered. It provides a monthly accuracy of +/- 20 seconds.
Last but not least, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m.
If you’re aware how a GMT watch works, you will know how much of use they can be, especially for folks who travel frequently. Rounding off today’s list of top sapphire crystal watches under $300 is this brilliantly crafted timepiece from Mathey-Tissot.
When conjuring up today’s list of watches, I was actually surprised to find a GMT timepiece from a well-known brand using a sapphire crystal glass at such a low price point. Usually, these watches – especially when equipped with the best quality of glass – can set you back at least $500. Affordable GMT watches are oftentimes a rarity and that’s what makes me appreciate this model even more.
- Read also: Mathey-Tissot Review
With a design clearly inspired by the iconic Rolex Submariner, this timepiece is likely to turn many heads. The model belongs to Mathey-Tissot Rolly collection and boasts a 42mm stainless steel case measuring 8,5mm in thickness. The solid caseback is screw-down, just like the pull/push crown.
The two-tone stainless steel band uses a deployment clasp.
The watch is equipped with the so-called Pepsi bezel (named because of its blue and red theme). The bezel is uni-directional and can help you measure elapsed time, serve as a compass and, most importantly, allow you to use the previously mentioned GMT function.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of the GMT feature, it’s worth to mention that the watch uses a 4-hand configuration. Apart from the standard three hands responsible for measuring hours, minutes and seconds, the watch is equipped with a 4th red arrow-shaped hand responsible for tracking the second time zone of your choice. If you’d like to learn more about how these types of watches work, you can read my GMT watch tutorial.
The combination of GMT function with the stylish choice of pitch-black dial and white hands with gold-tone edges make the watch suitable for more than just one type of occasion. At three o’clock, there’s a date display window whereas at noon the iconic signature of Mathey-Tissot. Protecting the face from damage is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass.
The watch is powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement in the form of Ronda Caliber 515.24H. It provides an accuracy of -10/+20 seconds per month.
Last but not least, Mathey-Tissot H903BBR has a water-resistance rating of 10ATM/100m.