The watchmaking industry was once dominated by mechanical watches which was driven by a complex clockwork mechanism. Now the dominant position has been secured by quartz watches which use electronic oscillators regulated by quartz crystals to keep time. The quartz crystal vibrates very quickly in response to an electric charge which usually comes from a battery; it is these vibrations that tell the quartz watch how much time has passed.
Quartz watches are just another example of how seemingly little progress in technology and science have practically managed to transform our civilization on a large scale with the continuing efforts of countless innovators, engineers, scientists, manufacturers, and designers. Quartz watches first hit the market in 1969 in the form of Seiko’s Astron. The brand new introduction led to a crisis for the Swiss watchmaking industry which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of the world’s watch production shifted to Asia that embraced the newfangled technology of quartz watches manufacturing.
Today, quartz watches have taken over the vast majority of the market share of the watch industry. Various advantages of quartz watches over mechanical watches enable them to dominate the market. Generally, quartz watches deliver more excellent performance than mechanical watches in terms of the following:
For the purpose of this article, we will be taking a closer look at the quartz watches list.
Accuracy and Reliability
Quartz watches are incredibly accurate for a scientific rather than craftsmanship reason. The tiny piece of quartz inside of a quartz watch serves as an oscillator. Quartz is an ideal material to function as an oscillator. To begin with, it loses very little energy as it vibrates, so the vibrations are extremely steady. Secondly, it exhibits a piezoelectric effect, meaning that it vibrates in response to an electric charge and, conversely, generates voltage when it vibrates.
Under this principle, the quartz oscillator is set to receive an electrical charge from an integrated circuit powered by the battery. The electricity makes the quartz oscillate at the rate of 32,768 times per second. As the quartz oscillates, it sends electrical pulses, at the same rate of 32,768 per second, back to the integrated circuit. The circuit precisely counts the pulses and returns to zero each time the count hits 32,768. In the case of an analog watch, the one-second impulses are transmitted to a stepping motor that drives a chain of gears and finally the watch hands. In the case of a digital watch, the integrated circuit continues counting pulses as they add up to minutes, hours, and days.
Compared with mechanical watches, quartz watches do a better job at practicing the promise of better timekeeping. Most quartz watches measure their accuracy per month. On the contrary, even the most accurate traditional mechanical watches measure per day. However, it should be noted that not all quartz watches have the same performance when it comes to accuracy.
Over the past years, watchmakers around the world have been introducing new HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz) for quartz movements. Generally, a quartz watch with a variation of -10/+10 seconds per year is considered to match the title of HAQ.
1.Citizen Eco Drive Calibre 0100 Price: USD 16,800.00
Citizen Eco Drive Caliber 0100 can achieve accuracy within one second per year autonomously without relying on data from radio towers or satellites. In order to achieve such unprecedented accuracy, Citizen Eco Drive Caliber 0100 utilizes AT-cut type quartz crystal oscillators vibrating at a frequency of 8,388,608,250 times higher than tuning fork-shaped crystal oscillators. Owning to this new mechanism, it is resistant to temperature fluctuations, gravity, and age degradation.
More importantly, Citizen Eco Drive Caliber 0100 further improves its greater accuracy by monitoring and adjusting for frequency and temperature shifts every minute in a continuous manner. The optimal operating temperature is between 5°C to 40°C, which is deemed to be the most practical temperature environment for most watches in the majority regions around the globe.
Citizen Eco Drive Caliber 0100 introduces a new circuit design featuring higher shock resistance, which automatically corrects positions of the watch hands. Its antimagnetic feature protects the movement from effects of magnetic force. Owing to these innovations, Citizen Eco Drive Caliber 0100 delivers an unprecedented ±1 second yearly precision that is rarely seen in quartz watches from its rivals.
2.Longines Conquest V.H.P. Price: 900-1200USD
Longines firstly released its VHP series in 1984. Ever after, Longines and its partner, Asulab, continued to develop the movement over the following decade or so. While one of the most significant contributors to the inaccuracy of quartz watches is temperature variation, the VHP was equipped with a thermocompensated movement. Later models further included a perpetual calendar and a ten-year lithium battery. Longines found that consumers’ demand for such a degree of accuracy was not worthy of their efforts, and the VHP was eventually discontinued. However, it was back in 2017 with accuracy within ± 5 seconds per year, very much technically in the spirit of the original VHP quartz watches.
These watches were offered initially in a three-hand-and-date version, with two dial treatments, and as chronographs, also with two different dial treatments. The three-hand versions were available in 41 or 43mm case sizes, and the chronograph, in 42mm or 44mm cases. Additional features included a very appealing gear position detection mechanism allowing the hands to be re-aligned when they are displaced by a shock or a strong magnetic field, a perpetual calendar, and a five-year battery life.
3.Bulova Precisionist Price: 300-1200USD
The Bulova Precisionist is highlighted by a new type of them compensated quartz movement. Apart from this, the Precisionist watches also have a continuous sweep seconds hand, which is highly distinctive intrinsically. The smooth running of the seconds hand is usually one of the most popular selling points of some several-thousand-dollar watches, and here the same type of action can be found in a watch costing only several hundred dollars.
As has been known by every quartz watches manufacturers, the accuracy of quartz watches depends upon two factors: temperature changes and vibration frequency. Bulova has added a third prong to the quartz crystal and increased the vibrations of the Precisionist movement to eight times the frequency of a commonly seen quartz watch.
This allows its seconds hand to move at sixteen times per second compared to one beat per second on standard quartz watches. According to relevant statistics, most quartz watches will run within fifteen seconds per month, but the Bulova Precisionist is impressively accurate to ten seconds per year, which is a more fantastic feature considering the price of the watches.
Back in the more affordable territory, which is one of the main advantages of quartz watches, quartz watches are used both in analog watches and digital watches. Although there has been a rise in smartwatches, quartz watches are usually low priced, making them always an economical and simpler alternative so that practically anyone can get their hands on a watch that both looks nice and costs less. Quartz watches secure a safe seat where not everyone neither wants the most recent smartwatch nor will want to spend a significant amount of money on a more traditional mechanical watch. In other words, quartz watches touch a broader spectrum of users, from economical timekeeping solution finders to luxuries enthusiasts.