How Quartz Watches Work
To learn how quartz watches work, we will try to understand the working of a time piece. Quartz is a crystal that is piezoelectric by nature. This means when mechanical pressure is applied, it produces an electric charge and vibrates. Quartz has a natural oscillation of about 3200 Hz.
Every time measuring contraption processes in three steps. There is a mechanism that provides energy storage to drive the machinery, and then comes a device that lets the energy escape in a way that calibrated movement is produced, lastly a means of exhibiting time as measured.
When quartz crystal was not yet discovered to be of use in time measurement, there were two basic methods of operation in time keeping devices. There were clocks wound with the help of a spring and falling weights, which gave a ratchet type device it’s back and forth swing. The pendulum or weight driven clocks failed to work properly when in motion and the spring lost its eminence because it works faster when freshly wound. A better solution was electrical charge but it too had a low resonance of sixty cycles per second.
W.A. Marrison and J.W. Horton discovered that quartz could be used successfully in time keeping machines and so came into production quartz watches. The quartz crystal vibration under mechanical pressure is due to its shape and cut. A small bar shaped crystal of quartz is used in quartz watches. When pressure is applied, it starts to vibrate producing electrical signals. These signals are divided by the circuit into the required frequency of seconds. These beat like pulses are used to move the seconds’ hand of the watch. The best advantage of quartz watches is their extreme accuracy and the ability to work in a diverse variety of atmospheric conditions.