Gorilla Glass To Make The Face Of Smartwatches Harder To Scratch

Corning's New Gorilla Glass SR+: Glass for tech & wearables (image via Corning Facebook)Corning's New Gorilla Glass SR+: Glass for tech & wearables (image via Corning Facebook)


Part of the reason I wear low-profile jewelry — and I’m referring to jewelry that sits low in its mount or setting — is that I’m really hard on it. I’m always banging it up or catching it on something otherwise. The same goes for wristwatches. I don’t own a watch (and I own many) that doesn’t have a scratched crystal. On some, it’s so badly scuffed and scarred it’s difficult to read the face. Well, as technology and time marches on a promising solution has hopefully come along with something called Gorilla Glass. Personally, I like the name of it, probably because it so aptly describes me and my situation where I care for my aforementioned belongings like a luggage handler at an airport.

Gorilla Glass SR+

Made by Corning, the new Gorilla Glass features the tagline “Tough Wears Well.” It’s been specifically designed for smartwatches and other wearables like fitness trackers with a mind toward scratch/scuff resistance. This makes it a direct competitor to sapphire crystal, Apple’s go-to cover for its upper-end watches that’s tougher to scratch than ordinary glass. Perhaps competitor is the wrong word and “alternative” might be a better way to describe it. The reason for this distinction is that sapphire crystal is reportedly hard to produce, making it feasible that manufacturers would be looking for viable alternatives or solutions.

Sapphire Crystal

Corning’s goal with Gorilla Glass would be to replicate the positive aspects of sapphire crystal while leaving out any of the alleged negative. According to the group, the qualities of SR+ are “approaching that of alternative luxury cover materials,” so Corning’s obviously feeling pretty confident about it. The seemingly competitive product is actually the result of a research project the company dubbed Project “Phire,” and it isn’t difficult to guess where that came from. But their Gorilla Glass purportedly boasts “70 percent better damage resistance against impacts and 25 percent better surface reflection” than the “luxury cover material” referred to previously.

Shatter-Resistant Glass

This is probably a dig at the fact that sapphire crystal is prone to breaking when dropped. Once that happens, the fractured screens are shattered like a sprawling spider web and rendered essentially useless. And it isn’t just dropping a piece of electronic equipment with this protective glass that can influence breakage. I’ve seen it happen with temperature changes. If Corning is, in fact, accurate in their assertions about the new product, Gorilla Glass may indeed have a leg up on sapphire crystal and be in position to dethrone it as the answer to scratch/break resistant materials — at least in the so-called luxury market.

IFA Trade Show

September 2 the IFA Trade Show will be kicking off in Berlin and there’s speculation that many of the featured items coming out of it will be wearables taking advantage of the new Gorilla Glass SR+. As it moves into use among the general public, we’re sure to begin hearing from the masses just how the two competing products measure up and whether SR+ is really the alternative Corning had hoped for after all. If you’ve got a product that utilizes the sapphire crystal covering, we’d love to hear your views on it.