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How Do Quartz Watches Work As Accurate Time-Keepers

Article by StuartMichael

Time is a resource which is constantly depleting, never to be replaced nor recycled. As such, it is of great importance to keep track of time. When man first came up with inventions to fulfill this need, clocks of all kinds were produced. As time progressed, pardon the pun, the popularity of mechanically-based clocks ebbed due to its lack of reliability to keep accurate measurement of time. As most of these types of clocks require rotating gears, swinging pendulums and other means, moving parts eventually bowed down to the principles of physics. As friction built up, these parts slowed down. Hence, the advent of quartz-based time-keeping devices was hailed as the great invention ever.

How do quartz watches work to keep such great time? For the benefit of those not familiar with the origins of quartz, it is as common as the sand in the sea as it is the sand in the sea. An essential property of quartz is its natural ability to vibrate when pressure is applied onto it, scientific known as the Piezoelectric effect. This pressure can come in the form of a mechanical movement or an electrical charge. In other words, you can make this crystal dance and jump depending on the amount of exerted pressure which surprisingly is quite similar to people. A watch based on an embedded crystal also requires other parts in order to function as a time-keeping device. Since quartz reacts to electricity, power supply in the form of a battery is the standard component. As it is for a watch, the capacity of battery required is normally quite small.

Since quartz falls into the category of a crystal, not all of them produce the same level of vibrations. It is dependent on the type of crystal as well as its shape. In the production of this type of watch, its crystal is normally in the shape of a bar or tuning fork. This supposedly achieves best results as compared to other forms. When an electrical charge from the watch’s battery is applied onto the crystal, it then vibrates at a specific frequency. This remains constant in accordance with the level of charge applied. These vibrations are converted into signals of specific frequencies. These are then translated in various quantum of time such as hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds if need be. Time is thus presented to the wearer in analog or digital form. The former is based on said frequencies being pumped into a small electric motor to drive the gears for the hour, minute and second hands. As for the latter, these same pulses are fed into an electronic circuit for LED or LCD.

Despite claims of accurate measurement of time, there is the occasional discrepancy due to accompanying components and surrounding environment. With the presence of physical moving parts, friction, wear and tear may cause a second here and there. Variation in temperature also subjects the crystal to wobble off beat in the tiniest of degrees.________________________________________

About the Author

Author recommends Tech-FAQ for more information on topics such as How Do Quartz Watches Work? and How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work? . You may visit for more details.

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