Quartz Watch how it Works
Introduced in 1969, quartz watches provide low-maintenance and reliable timekeeping. Using little power, the wearer can keep accurate time for up to 18 months without the need to wind the watch continually. Quartz watches are available in a wide range of styles, from rugged to casual to formal. In order to understand how quartz watches work, consumers should learn about quartz crystals and the types of power sources available for the timepieces.
Understanding Quartz Crystals
Consumers find quartz crystals in radio receivers, transmitters, computers, and watches. They are similar to sand, which is also made of silicon dioxide. Quartz crystals are impervious to many solvents and retain their crystalline structure even in high temperatures. According to the founder of Frequency Precision Ltd., Douglas Dwyer, who provides services to the global electronics industry, quartz retains energy remarkably well, particularly in a disk or bar shape. While a mechanical timepiece relies on intricate gears and a mainspring to keep time, a quartz watch utilizes a miniature quartz crystal that is set in an integrated circuit, or the electronic movement.
Types of Quartz Watches
Quartz watches power themselves in a variety of ways. Some use a standard battery, while others charge using solar power. There are also kinetic quartz watches that do not require a battery.
Battery-Powered Quartz Watches
The battery sends an electric current through a wafer-thin, bar-shaped quartz crystal, making it oscillate at 32 KHz. The electronic movement measures these vibrations and creates accurate electric pulses, one each second. This oscillation amplifies the crystal's output and is known as the piezoelectric effect. When an electric current runs through the crystal, the quartz bends very slightly. The resulting vibration runs through the circuit and drives a stepping motor. The design translates electrical energy into mechanical energy, and runs the dial train and the watch's hands. The watch keeps accurate time as long as the battery is charged.