Quartz watches emerged in the late 1920s, but they improved until they quickly became popular in the 1970s and gained market share, taking the lead in the sales of manual and automatic watches. Do you know what a clock of this category is and how does it work? Read more about the subject and learn about this precious object and much appreciated in the world of watchmaking.
What are quartz watches?
Basically, the quartz watch differs from other time markers by using this mineral to move the machine’s hands. The category provides clocks among the most accurate on the market, with a maximum delay of 10 seconds per month. Thus, such accuracy far outstripped the old mechanical watches, which operate on mechanisms, ropes and springs, since they lose about a tenth of a second per day (so that clocks made of quartz do not lose more than one thousandths per day). This advantage and its progressive cheapening made the sales rise well almost fifty years after its discovery, being very popular today.
How did these clocks come about?
At the end of the 20th century, the brothers Pierre and Jacques Curie confirmed that a certain group of crystals, among which quartz, topaz and tourmaline, for example, were capable of producing electricity when deformed by the action of mechanical charges. Such mineral inputs had piezoelectric properties, which means that the crystals generate electrical tension from the mechanical compression, but also suffered deformations when subjected to electricity, so that they consequently had vibrations in frequencies that could be known and predicted.
The first quartz oscillator was built in 1921 by electrical engineer Walter G. Cady. Finally, in 1927, two telecommunication engineers, Warren Marrison and JW Horton of Bell Telephone Laboratories, built the first quartz watch after searching extensively for a reliable source of frequency. The prototype mounted by the two gathered a quartz crystal to an electric circuit, which caused vibrations in the mineral and made it move the gears and, consequently, the hands.
How is the operation of quartz watches?
Basically, the quartz watch works from the stimulus of electrical energy originating from the battery that powers your system. The electric pulses, taking advantage of the properties of piezoelectricity of the material, conserve a constant vibration, so that the crystal is cut in the shape of a tuning fork and causes vibrations in the house of the 32,768 times per second. The pulses follow an electronic circuit, transforming into pulses, which are amplified and go to regulate a small motor, which displaces the gears and the hands.
There are several benefits to the quartz watch, among which is its precision and stability in operation, being nowadays cheaper than mechanical and rope options. The batteries of these devices last in average two years, but this can vary according to the functions that it presents.