It’s a never-ending question, which best fake Omega Speedmaster Professional should I buy? The one with sapphire or a model with Hesalite crystal? And then there’s not just a single right answer. Both have their own advantages. But here’s why every Speedmaster fan should at least have one model in their collection with a Hesalite crystal.
Technology advances. Man developed new solutions for watchmaking constructions. That’s quite understandable. New lubricants brought a better lubrification lifespan. New materials ensured better anti-magnetic properties. Different constructions made longer power reserves possible. And that’s not the end of the list.
Why choose an steel case fake Omega Speedmaster Professional with Hesalite crystal?
The original Omega Speedmaster in 1957 was equipped with acrylic — or more commonly, plastic — crystal*. Just like many other sports watches and chronographs of that era. The main reason to use plastic instead of mineral glass was the resistance to shattering. On heavy impact — more commonly sustained by tool watches rather than dress watches — an acrylic crystal will crack, not shatter. Not only are tool watches more likely to be hit, but the environment in which they are used is also often more sensitive to glass splinters flying around. Imagine the many dangers posed by loose glass splinters flying around a cockpit environment in an airplane or space rocket?
* To use the word crystal for the top glass, or lens, of a watch is a bit confusing. Crystal is a totally different material from plastic. But, one way or another, the word crystal — or glass — is used to determine the part that transparently protects the dial and hands. Whatever material it’s made of.
What exactly is Hesalite?
As we can see, Omega uses the term Hesalite to describe Speedmaster “crystals”. But what exactly is Hesalite? Well, Hesalite is a transparent thermoplastic, or PMMA — Poly Methyl Meth Acrylate.
PMMA comes from different producers, which might have slightly different optical and or mechanical properties. But to be honest, basically, all PMMA’s are the same. The difference is often caused by a producer of the PMMA using a tradename. So if we see Perspex, Plexiglass, Lucite, Sumiplex, or Hesalite being used, we’re looking at different commercial compositions of PMMA produced by different manufacturers. The Hesalite brand is owned by Topacryl in Switzerland.
One of the technical developments in watchmaking was the use of sapphire for the top crystal. Sapphire is also a natural gemstone but has little to do with a sapphire watch glass. The sapphire used for watch glasses is a hard, transparent material made of crystallizing pure aluminum oxide at very high temperatures. The only thing the two types of sapphire have in common is that synthetic sapphire has the same hardness as natural sapphire gemstones, but without the color that gives the gems their attractiveness.
A sapphire crystal is — due to its difficult production process — much more expensive than one made from transparent thermoplastic. As said, a sapphire crystal is tough and is almost impossible to scratch. Technically that sounds promising and preferable for a daily worn watch. Therefore, in most cases, it’s a desirable choice. Except for that 1% using a watch in an environment where the tiny chance of scattering a watch’s crystal isn’t desirable or allowed, it is technically the best solution for most people. But is it the best solution for a hardcore Speedmaster fan?
Hesalite is not an intellectual choice.
I don’t think so. Technically, probably yes. But then as well, wouldn’t an Apple Watch technically be a better solution than an Omega Speedmaster Professional? Probably also yes. But, in my opinion, fans don’t wear nor buy their Speedmasters for intellectual reasons. We’d be going too far to discuss why people are attracted by certain types of watches here. But in the end, luckily, most of the reasons come down to feeling and aren’t intellectual choices.
If you’re a hardcore Speedmaster Professional fan, I guess one of your watches will have Hesalite crystal. If you’re not such a collector but just love the Speedmaster as a watch for your regular daily life, a sapphire crystal may be an option for you. But even then, I can’t see it as a better choice as it becomes a different watch.