The Inside Story of Quartz Watch Movements
Today’s Quartz watches can be as simple and ordinary as an everyday production watch spun off in a factory line in some far-off country employing thousands of workers. Or it can be quite sophisticated; the production is limited, and the quality of the movement is far superior.
What follows is a little techno mumble jumbo for my timeless consumers of these blogs…
The analog quartz watch has essentially 7 basic components. It starts with a power supply (battery) which sends this power to an integrated circuit. A charge is then sent to the quartz (oscillator), which vibrates. The vibrations need to be modulated and are done so with a trimmer. The integrated circuit is then employed to reduce the vibrations to one-second intervals. These one-second pulses are sent to a step motor. The step motor changes the electrical pulses into mechanical ones sent to a gear train, which drives the watch hands. This is all done seamlessly and usually without incident.
As you can see, the quartz crystal is at the center of all of this. See blog on what quartz is. This is the heart of the movement, where the most detail and attention are paid. The purity of the quartz crystal, how it’s cut, shape, etc., affects its accuracy.
Quartz crystals can be cut in a range of sizes. The larger the piece, the slower it vibrates. The more vibrations or oscillations you can get when cut in smaller sizes. This is perfect for watchmakers who see or want their creations to be thinner or more elegant. The average quartz in a watch today vibrates at 32,768 times per second.
What is important for someone trying to discern the quality of a quartz movement is the environment and equipment used to get this job done. Today’s manufacturer of the quartz material used in watches has this process down pat.
The real quality differences are negligible. You would have to really dig deep. You would need to find out where those tantalizing vibrating rocks came from. The other difference is how they slice those rocks to get the most oscillations. This is standard today, with the desired 32,768 oscillations as a target. The other avenue for exploring the quality of quartz would be in the manufacturing environment. If something were to happen during production, such as a mishap in the heating process or a breach in the cleanroom, it could alter the quality.
You would never hear about such instances. Have you heard about a massive recall for bad quartz? Nope, and it probably will never happen.
Most of the movements come from only three companies. Citizen Watch Company is the largest producer of quartz watches and produces the most quartz movements. Seiko, another Japanese company, has quartz movements and timepieces as well. Finally, there is ETA/ESA, the Swiss manufacturer of both quartz and mechanical movements. This firm is owned and operated by Swatch. ETA’s quartz movements are used across their various product lines. This includes both the “high-end” and their less expensive models like Swatch.
Where’s the difference, and what’s the difference? Very Little.
Most of our watches use Citizen Quartz Movements produced by Miyota precision manufacturing.
The real difference comes in the material and aesthetics used to design the watch.
Here at gearstyling.com, you can find a large collection of fun, fashionable custom watches made with high-quality materials.
Discover cool fun watches with a sense of urban chic and casual sophistication.