What is a Quartz Watch?
Put simply, a quartz watch is a watch that uses a quartz crystal to regulate an electronic oscillator, which keeps the time accurately.
The watch exploits the natural piezoelectric quality of quartz crystals; when an electric current is past through the quartz crystal it vibrates at a very specific and regular frequency, 32768hz. This is then converted to a single second pulse (or 1hz) by a micro processor. Quartz crystals are used as they offer a balance between a high frequency and the power drain required to exhibit this phenomenon.
Why are they called quartz watches?
Quartz watches take their name from the material and method the electronic circuit and microprocessor use to measure time.
How is a quartz watch powered?
In the majority of cases a quartz watch is powered by a battery. However, a small minority use alternative forms of power, such as the kinetic watches made by Seiko, eco drive by Citizen and solar powered watches that use other means to generate the electricity needed to power the watch. However, these systems are a tiny minority compared to quartz watches powered by a battery.
Do quartz watches have mechanical parts?
Analogue quartz watches still have mechanical parts, a small motor, and a series of cogs or gears (known as a drive train) to allow the 1 second pulse to be converted into the correct movement of the hands on the dial. These parts will require periodical maintenance.
What are the advantages of a quartz watch?
The benefits of a quartz watch are high precision or accuracy compared to mechanical watches. They also have lower maintenance costs overall, and are easier to use, as between battery changes there should be no need to adjust the time other than to reset the date on short months and hour changes for BST or timezone changes.