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Crystal Clear: 5 Sapphire-Crystal Watches at the Cutting Edge of Horology

Timeless, transparent and as tough as nails.

Quasar by Girard-Perregaux Camillo Büchelmeier

Who needs ice when you can have crystal?
 It may not seem like the obvious choice for a luxury material in comparison to blingy gems, but sapphire-crystal watches are the height of watchmaking art—and showstoppers in their own right. Sapphire crystal is the second-hardest naturally occurring material on Earth, after diamond; as a result, just carving and shaping the case requires handmade diamond-tipped tools. The painstaking process to cut, machine and polish one timepiece (sometimes 200 hours or more) is so precarious and difficult that a company can make at most a handful each year.

But for hardcore watch collectors an even bigger appeal is the 360-degree views of the serious mechanics reserved for this level
of craftsmanship. These five brands—laser-focused on the future—are leading the pack in 21st-century watchmaking.

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