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How one tiny mineral works to be so spot on

Ever wonders how the quartz watch got its name? The name has a more literal significance than you might think. It is in fact powered by the quartz crystal, a mineral most closely resembling the compound of sand and which comes from the Earthís continental crust. It is this mineral in minute quantity that has the capacity to keep time more accurately than any other mechanical or automatic watch.

The discovery of how a quartz crystal could accurately power a wrist watch changed portable timekeeping like no other invention. When the 1st quartz watch was introduced in the United States in the early 1970s it was an expensive wrist watch priced at around $500. Not only that, it wasnít the most beautiful face ever to adorn a wrist. The LED (light emitting diode) that showed digital time was bright red, and the technology was only applied to digital watches. Later, the engineering behind quartz watches was transformed so the displays could be shown in digital format utilizing LCD (liquid crystal display) or an hour and minute hand, just like a mechanical watchís face.
Shaping the Quartz Crystal

The quartz crystal of course is at the heart of how a quartz watch works. Quartz crystals have long worked as transmitters. They were and still are used in transistor radios. This same theory, in order to be applied to powering a wrist watch, had only a two of a kind of obstacles to overcome. One was to get the frequency to not give off too much power. Quartz in a solid form gives off a low voltage of power when it is bent a specific way. The other obstacle was to create circuit boards, in miniature, that could regulate the power given off by the crystal and work at low power.

One of the reasons quartz is such a good material for the job of powering watches, or any other device, is that quartz, stays in a solid form at even extremely high temperatures. Because of this, once it is shaped, it will stay the same shape and so therefore give off the same frequency and consistent power. It is also unchanged by just about any solvent, so it can work well with other materials needed to manufacture the inner workings of the watch.

Watchmakers soon figured out that a straight bar of quartz or one shaped like a tuning fork could keep the power going indefinitely. This action is referred to as the Piezoelectric Effect. When a piece of quartz is cut properly it provides a starting frequency which then causes oscillation. This translates into pulses that can be recognized by digital circuits on the circuit board. This then shows as a display of numbers that transform at the exact timing with the oscillation brought on by that the best option frequency.

The exact method used in a quartz watch involves using slender bars of quartz that are plated. Then, using chemicals, it is etched into the optimum shape. This works just like an integrated circuit.

There are no doubt diverse quality levels and accuracy levels within the general category of ìquartz watch.î This is because some quartz bars are cut better than others. The real objective is to have the spot on relationship of the angle cut into the quartz bar correlate with the crystalline axis. one other main difference has to do with illness of the components of the watch. If the quartz bar and circuit are well encapsulated, they are less likely to get contaminated, which will negatively effect the accuracy of the watch.
Quartz for Powering Watches with Hands

For a quartz watch with second, minute and hour hands the initial process is the same. However, at the point where a display would register on a digital watch, the oscillation instead activates an electric motor which then powers gears to shift the hands at spot on increments, or pulses that equal exactly one second, just like a mechanical watch.

Quartz watches have truly changed the way watches are made. There are still some women and men who prefer the ìartî of a watch made solely by mechanical means. However, in a globe where exactness and accuracy in keeping time often count, there is no substitute for the quartz watch.


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