Our Quartz movement and Sapphire glass
Our Quartz movement
Through hundreds of years and rich horological history, the watch industry has innovated, evolved, and pushed the boundaries of watchmaking. It was only relatively recently, though, that a watch movement could be categorized into two distinct groups, Mechanical and Quartz.
We use the SEICO CAL VJ52B11 Quartz movement in our watches.
The accuracy is +- 20 Sec per month at normal temperature range, normal lifetime for the battery is 3 years.
Why quartz watches are good
A quartz watch movement uses an electronic oscillator synchronized by a quartz crystal to power it, allowing for extreme accuracy. It also allows for features just not possible with the more traditional, mechanical watch movement, especially in the area of digital displays, GPS position, temperature, and so forth.
It's relatively new to the game, first hitting the market in 1969, in the form of Seiko's Astron. The introduction led to a crisis for the Swiss watch industry, as the quartz far exceeded the accuracy of the traditional mechanical watches and could also be produced relatively cheaply.
Quartz watches of today are way ahead of what they were back in ‘69, and the Astron of today has capabilities far surpassing its predecessor, including solar power and GPS-linked time. The quartz movements have also evolved beyond their basic initial form to the point where some high-end quartz movements can be repaired similar to their mechanical counterparts rather than being trashed.
Quartz movements can replicate any mechanical complication, except the tourbillon (for which there is no need to reproduce) at a lower price. This replication even includes minute repeaters!
On top of this, they can implement many features impossible for mechanical movements like display of GPS position, temperature, altitude, barometric pressure, multiple time zones (digital and analog), analog alarm, and so forth.
But what is quartz, and what does it have to do with telling time?
Quartz is a mineral composed of silica dioxide. In its purest form, quartz (also known as rock crystal) is a smooth, clear stone, but various impurities in quartz create other colors:
- Rose quartz
- Smoky quartz
- And as other gemstones;
- Herkimer diamond.
It’s a component of many less glamorous types of rock and is also commonly the main ingredient in sand, which is used in the manufacturing of glass. Quartz is:
- heat- and chemical-resistant
- makes an excellent abrasive material for use in sanding.
But its versatility doesn’t stop there. Quartz features some unique properties that make it an ideal material for use in precision electronic equipment like radios, pressure gauges, optics, lenses, and the movement inside clocks and watches.
Well, quartz is piezoelectric, to be more correct. This means that it produces an electrical current when mechanical stress is applied to it. What’s mechanical stress? A force, such as from bending, or an electric charge, such as the one from a battery.
When stressed, quartz emits a frequency. The frequency is highly stable, a desirable quality when it comes to keeping time or broadcasting signals via radio waves. In simple terms, a quartz watch functions like this:
- The battery sends an electrical current through a sliver of quartz, electrifying the crystal and creating vibrations. See, your local metaphysical supply shop is onto something. Crystal vibes are the real deal.
- These vibrations drive the motor(s) to move the watch hands at very exact intervals
- You get precise time, reliably delivered
In today’s quartz movement watches and other electronics, that sliver is typically made from synthetic quartz, which tends to be smoother and more uniform than naturally-occurring quartz and is cut to a precise shape to optimize the frequency.
Quartz watches are more accurate than their mechanical counterparts. While mechanical and automatic watches built today are accurate enough, gaining or losing a few seconds per day, a quartz watch can remain accurate within a few seconds per year. A few seconds a day might not seem like much but consider this: a difference of five seconds per day could equal a full half-hour during that year.
It’s reliable and dead simple to use
Why are quartz watches so popular?
- Battery powered so no need for winding
- Extremely accurate
- Offer amazing complications
- Set-and-forget timepiece
- More affordable than mechanical movements
It’s (relatively) new
Although quartz itself is as old as time, think billions of years, its use in time-keeping is much more recent. All timepieces function with an oscillator, that is, an object which, through its continuous, unvarying motion, “tells” a clock or watch how much time has passed.
It changed the face of an industry
The Japanese revolution
The first quartz watch was created in 1969 by Japanese manufacturer Seiko. Known as the Astron, this watch was a gold-case limited-edition style with quartz movement technology. It was slick and convenient--but prohibitively expensive. The Astron cost roughly the same as a small car at the time. Therefore, it didn’t instantly set the watch industry on fire.
Japan took the lead in the watch world, leaving Switzerland, a nation so synonymous with watching making that mechanical watches constituted. By the early 1980s, the industry was forever altered.
Quartz wasn't an overnight sensation
The quartz movement started to take off in the 1970s with the invention of digital watches. Featuring LCD or LED screens, these new movements featured no moving parts at all and provided a bold, illuminated, and easy-to-read face.
Technology and economies of scale play their part
Eventually, manufacturing technology improved, and prices dropped, which in turn made quartz movements the oscillator of choice in analog watches for most consumers. The opportunity to wear a watch was transformed by the profound reduction in price made possible by quartz movements. Once a status symbol requiring a small fortune, watches became casual accessories that anyone could afford.
A Swiss disaster averted
A consortium of Swiss banks was forced to bail out that nation’s watch manufacturers after demand for mechanical movements plunged seemingly overnight. Ultimately, though, the story of Swiss watchmaking has a happy ending; the ubiquitous Swatch watch was created in direct response to the “quartz crisis” and put Switzerland back on top.
It makes your watch tick—literally
If you’ve ever wondered why the second-hand moves in jumpy little movements on some watches and sweeps gracefully and continuously on others, you may be interested in learning that the “ticking” watches are invariably quartz-powered.
There are a few exceptions, Bulova and Seiko each make sweeping quartz watches, but generally speaking, a ticking second-hand equals a quartz movement. The ticking is caused by the frequency of the crystal driving the movement.
It’s the most popular type of watch
Today, quartz movement watches make up 90% of the market. But a quartz watch can last a long time too, though its battery will need to be replaced regularly. A quartz watch is significantly cheaper to build because its construction is simple by comparison to a mechanical watch, resulting in cost savings passing onto you, the consumer.
Sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating
Did you know sapphire crystal is not really a glass, rather a synthetically made crystal? It has superb transparency and is extraordinarily scratch-resistant. To give some comparison, sapphire has a value of 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Diamond is a 10! That is why you will usually find sapphire crystal on expensive luxury watches. We have also coated the crystal with an anti-reflective coating to cut down on glare. The coating has been applied to the underside of the crystal to avoid scratching.