Quartz Movements – How do They Work?

Wrist watches have been used by the majority of the population for only fifty years. Pocket watches were the most prevalent timepiece before the wrist watch. The earlier watches were all based on a mechanical drive mechanism, where there was a power source (spring), and oscillating mass, hands, face and a gear system to ensure the accuracy of the time piece. All in all, many moving parts that had a tendency to wear out and need to be replaced. Improvements were made to these designs, but the quartz movement was a radical change.

In the 1960s, quartz was discovered to have useful properties in providing a reliable oscillation source. Quartz had been used to give accurate frequencies in the radio transmitting and computer industries. All that was need was to find the correct type of quartz. Quartz is made up of the same compound as sand – silicon dioxide. It is stable with most solvents and it is heat resistant to reasonably high temperatures. However, the characteristic that makes quartz effective in the watch industry is that when compressed or bent, a voltage is generated on the surface and conversely, when a voltage is applied the quartz will change its shape. This is called the piezoelectric effect.

In a watch, plated electrodes are attached to the crystal to catch the oscillations, which are in turn amplified by an integrated circuit and then fed back to the crystal, making sure that the crystal continues to oscillate. Since quartz is temperature resistant, normal temperature fluctuations have no effect on the frequency of the oscillations.

Modern watches use a low frequency tuning fork or straight shaped crystal that is made from multiple layers to get the correct specifications.

This oscillation is picked up be a tiny electric motor that is connected to a gear system and ultimately drives the hands of the watch. In the case of a digital output, the integrated circuitry provides the signal to the watch face.

The modern quartz watch has far less moving parts, particularly the digital display watches, thus making them much cheaper and generally last a reasonable time. The battery provides the power source for amplification and light. Moisture is probably the most common threat to the modern watches.

This brief explanation does not give justice to the mount of money spent by developers to develop the shape and workings of the quartz movement to where it is today.

Pocket watches, and fancy wrist watches are a wonderful addition to the person with an interest in fashion. The modern movement pocket watches are not very expensive. For more information go to http://groovyideas.googlepages.com

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

"I want to see this market as a sharing market. Where merchants and customers sincerely support one another."

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