How Quartz Became So Popular For Keeping Time In Watches

Quartz crystal is a mineral in the earth that is similar to sand. Due to ability to keep accurate time the quartz crystal is widely used in mechanics needing timing such as watches. This is where the name quartz watch came from. The accuracy of quartz crystal was put into use in the 1970s to keep timing in wristwatches.

Since that time it has become common to use in watch making. Since its first use in the United States in 1970 the quartz watch has come a long ways. The first watches were expensive and awkward in size and looks. Beginning with bright red displays in digital displays the watches were LED or light emitting diode. Once the engineering technology advanced some they expanded and changed to use a digital format LCD with an hour and minute hand. This enabled easier reading and more comfort since they were similar to the mechanical watches.

Quartz crystals have been known for the timing capabilities and been in use for a long time in transmitters. The main issues to be addressed in order to be used in timing are shaping the crystal and frequency. In solid form the quartz gives off a low voltage of power when bent. The quartz must be sliced into crystals of accurate size and shape, and then they are timed for frequency level.

Using the simple technology with circuit board the quartz is able to keep accurate time. Once this was discovered by watchmakers they soon discovered they could power they quartz crystal and keep the power going indefinitely. As the quartz is cut and shaped properly it causes oscillation translating to pulses that can be recognized by digital circuits on the circuit board. This enables the timing and therefore the watch and display of digital time.

In order for this process to succeed well, the quartz crystal must be accurately cut. The shape and size carry different frequencies. They must also be kept free from contamination as a contaminated crystal will not oscillate properly therefore also not keep accurate time.

When quartz crystal is used with watches including the hour, minute, and second hands, and the quartz instead activates a minute electric motor causing the power to the hands. The pulses sent are accurate in one second increments causing the watch to keep accurate time. The simplicity of the entire process has been the most attractive part to the watchmakers. The components of the watches today are fairly similar as they were in 1970 with few changes to improve comfort, style and size. This has kept the quartz in the watches and found other uses for the quartz crystals.

The accuracy and timing those results from shaping and cutting the quartz will continue to hold appeal for years to come.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as wristwatches online at

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