How Do Quartz Watches Work?

Introduced in 1969, quartz watches provide low-maintenance and reliable timekeeping. Using little power, the wearer can keep accurate time for up to 18 months without the need to wind the watch continually. Quartz watches are available in a wide range of styles, from rugged to casual to formal. In order to understand how quartz watches work, consumers should learn about quartz crystals and the types of power sources available for the timepieces.

 Understanding Quartz Crystals

Consumers find quartz crystals in radio receivers, transmitters, computers, and watches. They are similar to sand, which is also made of silicon dioxide. Quartz crystals are impervious to many solvents and retain their crystalline structure even in high temperatures. According to the founder of Frequency Precision Ltd., Douglas Dwyer, who provides services to the global electronics industry, quartz retains energy remarkably well, particularly in a disk or bar shape. While a mechanical timepiece relies on intricate gears and a mainspring to keep time, a quartz watch utilizes a miniature quartz crystal that is set in an integrated circuit, or the electronic movement.

 Types of Quartz Watches

Quartz watches power themselves in a variety of ways. Some use a standard battery, while others charge using solar power. There are also kinetic quartz watches that do not require a battery.

Battery-Powered Quartz Watches

The battery sends an electric current through a wafer-thin, bar-shaped quartz crystal, making it oscillate at 32 KHz. The electronic movement measures these vibrations and creates accurate electric pulses, one each second. This oscillation amplifies the crystal’s output and is known as the piezoelectric effect. When an electric current runs through the crystal, the quartz bends very slightly. The resulting vibration runs through the circuit and drives a stepping motor. The design translates electrical energy into mechanical energy, and runs the dial train and the watch’s hands. The watch keeps accurate time as long as the battery is charged.

Solar-Powered Quartz Watches

Introduced in the late 1970s, solar-powered quartz watches can run for up to three months before being recharged. A photovoltaic solar cell beneath the dial transforms any kind of light into electricity, which is stored in a capacitor or a rechargeable battery. Bright sunlight charges the cells most quickly. These watches use a minimal amount of power, so they have long operational lives.

Kinetic Quartz Watches

Kinetic quartz watches do not need batteries, relying instead on the wearer’s continual movements to power the accurate quartz crystal. Every time the wearer moves the watch, an electrical charge is created and stored in a capacitor. As the watch requires additional power, it draws it from the capacitor. This low-maintenance timepiece utilizes a self-winding movement.

Features of Quartz Watches

Quartz watches are popular timepieces for both men and women. Features, such as the case, crystal, dial, and wristband, are available in a variety of materials to suit the consumer’s budget and style preferences.

Feature

Option

Case Titanium

Stainless steel

Ceramic

Gold

Platinum

Crystal Sapphire

Mineral glass

Plastic

Dial Acrylic

Gold

Mother-of-pearl

Stainless steel

Display Analog

Digital

Analog/digital

Wristband Leather

Nylon

Rubber

Metal links

Additional features Illuminated hands

Water-resistant

Chronograph

Stopwatch

Multiple time zones

Audible alerts

Quartz watches are available for a range of purposes, including high-quality dress watches, tough sports watches, and fashion-forward designer timepieces. Consumers should consider the features that are required before purchasing a quartz watch.

Quartz Watch Care

Quartz watches should be serviced every 2 years or so, when the battery is replaced by an authorized professional who specializes in watch repair. The professional lubricates the watch, replaces worn parts, and checks whether moisture or dust have entered the case. Gaskets are replaced to maintain a good seal.

If the battery stops, it should be replaced right away, as a dead battery can leak and cause corrosion inside the case. The capacitor in a kinetic quartz watch should be recalibrated every 10 years for optimum accuracy.

Buying Quartz Watches on eBay

Once you settle on a style, budget, and watch type, begin your search on any eBay page. Enter the item, such as “women’s quartz watch,” into the search bar. You can refine your results by entering the brand, model, or condition. Because of the value of some quartz watches, you should read the item description carefully and look at the photos. Research the seller’s buyer feedback and policies, and be sure to resolve any questions before concluding the transaction.

Conclusion

Quartz watches are a great choice for consumers looking for reliable timepieces. Constructed from a variety of materials, they vary in value to suit any budget. The simplest versions can display the date and time, and the wearer may choose additional capabilities, such as sweep stopwatch, chronograph, audible alerts, and multiple time zones. Understanding how quartz watches work ensures that consumers take proper care and replace batteries when needed so these accurate timepieces can provide years of dependable service.

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