How does a quartz watch work?
Updated by Vaer Watches
A quartz watch is a battery-powered watch that uses electricity to power the watch's movement.
A quartz watch is one of the seven types of watches available on the market today and is the third oldest timekeeping technology in the world of horology (though significantly newer than the first mechanical designs). The seven categories by order of invention are as follows:
- Manual Watch (Mechanical) - circa 1510
- Automatic Watch (Mechanical) - circa 1923
- Quartz Watch (Battery) - circa 1969
- Digital Watch (Battery) - circa 1970
- Solar Watch (Battery) - circa 1977
- Meca-Quartz (Battery+Mechanical) - circa 1984
- Smart Watch (Battery) - circa 1998
What is the timekeeping technology used in an quartz watch?
A quartz watch works by using the piezoelectric properties of a small piece of quartz crystal to maintain a highly accurate and stable timekeeping mechanism.
Here's how it works:
- Battery sends electricity: The watch is powered by a small battery that sends a tiny electric current through an integrated circuit (IC) in the watch.
- Circuit generates pulses: The IC generates a series of electrical pulses that are sent to a small piece of quartz crystal, which is usually shaped like a tuning fork.
- Crystal vibrates: The electrical pulses cause the quartz crystal to vibrate at a very precise and stable frequency, usually around 32,768 times per second.
- Oscillator counts vibrations: An oscillator circuit counts the number of vibrations of the quartz crystal and uses them to keep track of the time.
- Divider converts time: A divider circuit converts the high-frequency vibrations of the quartz crystal into the lower frequency required to drive the watch's hands.
- Hands and display: Finally, the converted signal drives the watch's hands and display to show the correct time.
Because of the inherent stability and precision of the quartz crystal, quartz watches are much more accurate than traditional mechanical watches and require less maintenance.
What is the difference between quartz and mechanical watches?
The main difference between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch is the way they keep time.
A quartz watch uses a small piece of quartz crystal to keep time, while a mechanical watch uses a complex system of gears, springs, and a balance wheel.
Here are some key differences between the two types of watches:
- Accuracy: Quartz watches are known for their high accuracy, as they rely on the consistent vibrations of a quartz crystal to keep time. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, can be less accurate and may require frequent adjustments to keep accurate time.
- Maintenance: Quartz watches require very little maintenance, as they have fewer moving parts and typically don't need to be serviced as often as mechanical watches. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, require regular cleaning, oiling, and adjustments to keep them running properly.
- Power source: Quartz watches are powered by a small battery, while mechanical watches are powered by a complex system of springs and gears that must be wound by hand or automatically by the wearer's movements.
- Design: Mechanical watches are often prized for their intricate and beautiful designs, as they can be made with a high level of craftsmanship and detail. Quartz watches, while also available in a variety of designs, may not have the same level of artistry and craftsmanship as mechanical watches.
Overall, the choice between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch often comes down to personal preference and priorities. If you value accuracy and low maintenance, a quartz watch may be the better choice. If you appreciate the craftsmanship and design of a finely-made watch, a mechanical watch may be more appealing.
How accurate are quartz watches?
Quartz watches are known for their high accuracy, and can be more accurate than most mechanical watches. Typically, a Vaer quartz watch will have an accuracy of around +/- 10 seconds per month, compared to Vaer mechanical watches that will have a regulated accuracy of -5/+15 seconds per day.
The accuracy of a quartz watch can be affected by a number of factors, including temperature changes, magnetic fields, and shocks or impacts. However, modern quartz watches are often designed to compensate for these factors and maintain their accuracy over time.
Overall, if you are looking for a highly accurate and reliable timekeeping device, a quartz watch is a good choice. It is important to note that the accuracy of a quartz watch can also be affected by the quality of the movement and the components used, so it is important to choose a well-made watch using Swiss, Japanese, or American-built quartz movements, such as those used in our S3, S5, C3 and C5 collections.