When it comes to replacement Rolex crystals, there are a ton of options. However, most non-genuine Rolex crystals are frankly not that great. Through a co-worker, I heard about Truedome: an aftermarket crystal company specializing in domed acrylic crystals for vintage Rolex watches. Soon after hearing about TrueDome, my watchmaker let me know that I was in the market for their very product.
My Rolex GMT-Master 1675
A while back, I wrote an article about aftermarket Rolex sapphire casebacks. The watch mentioned in that article was a Rolex GMT Master 1675. After a recently failed pressure test, it became clear that the watch’s crystal had cracked at the retaining ring; it was no longer water resistant. I purchased that crystal back in 2022 off of an eBay seller. It was a new part then, but it did not last. More on eBay crystals later. In an effort to get a quality replacement, I reached out to a few people in the industry, hoping for a genuine Rolex 1675 crystal. Despite my efforts, I came up empty handed. So, when I heard about TrueDome, I felt like it would be a fun experiment – what did I have to lose?
Now, I don’t like special treatment when reviewing other companies' products. The staff at Truedome have no idea I’m writing this article. So, know that my feelings about this product are not tainted. These are my honest thoughts. Before we go any further, it makes sense to clarify some details about Rolex crystals.
Aftermarket Rolex Crystals and TrueDome
Rolex is known for their magnified cyclops “bubble” over the date. Frankly, I like the cyclops, but many are not fond of it. All of TrueDome’s acrylic crystals lack the cyclops window. They are shaped in what has been nicknamed the “Superdome” crystal by Rolex enthusiasts. The owner of TrueDome – Greg Petronzi – services Rolex watches through his business True Patina. I suspect that Greg has handled a lot of Rolexes in his time. If anyone knows how hard it is to find a genuine Rolex replacement crystal, it’s Greg. Reading his two websites shows that he’s spent a lot of time and effort developing this acrylic crystal for Rolex enthusiasts. Seeing the crystal installed on my 1675 leads me to believe that he knows what he’s doing.
Digging a bit deeper into Rolex Superdome crystals, I quickly learned that getting one is no easy task. At the time of publishing this article, I found a new old stock Superdome acrylic crystal on Chrono24 selling for just under $1,100. In contrast, the one I purchased from TrueDome is $300. On eBay, a replica Superdome crystal goes for between $23 and $63. While the eBay crystal poses the most affordable option, and it looks okay, the quality control leaves some to be desired. The replacement crystal I mentioned earlier (from eBay) lasted just one year before I discovered a crack near the retaining ring. It definitely did not impress me. The crystal wasn't all that clear and the overall build quality felt somewhat cheap.
However, the TrueDome crystal – before and after installation – seemed really nice. It’s up to you as the buyer to decide if it’s worth five to ten times the price of what you can find on eBay. For me, it was. Seeing the before and after made this obvious; it was well worth the $300 on a vintage Rolex valued at $15,000.00 on the low end. I would have loved to compare a new old stock genuine Rolex crystal to the TrueDome, but I was not able to.
Moving on to the installation of the crystal – there are a few items to note. The crystal was actually installed twice. When servicing my GMT Master 1675 in March of 2022, I used a non-genuine Rolex crystal retaining ring. So, when my watchmaker did the installation of the TrueDome crystal, he had some issues with the aftermarket crystal retaining ring. He explained that the edge of the TrueDome crystal was thicker than the eBay replacement crystal I had on the watch. So, I purchased a genuine Rolex replacement ring. After that, it was a breeze. If you plan to use a non-genuine Rolex retaining ring, expect trouble. Once installed, it looks fantastic. I frankly love it and will let the pics do the crystal some justice.
In conclusion, I really like this product. It gives the watch a very vintage feel and is a well made aftermarket part. I would definitely recommend using a professional watchmaker to do the work (as does TrueDome). Anyone seeking that “Superdome'' look for their vintage Rolex should look no further. I hope this article helps you on your horological journey in vintage Rolex watches!