Quartz Watches: Affordable Accuracy in Luxury Timekeeping

Quartz Watches: Affordable Accuracy in Luxury Timekeeping

When looking for a new watch, there are many things to consider. The name brand and style might be first on your mind, but knowing how the watch works will help you determine the best timepiece for you.

One of the most popular watch types is quartz watches. Exploring the world of quartz timekeeping will give you the confidence to pick up the right designer watch. Whether it is a gift for a loved one or you are shopping for yourself, a luxury quartz watch is an incredible investment in style and accuracy.


The History of Quartz Watches

Quartz watches changed the world of timepieces when they entered the scene on Christmas Day 1969. Seiko introduced the Astron, the first quartz watch, and a new way of telling time became available.

It took several years for other watchmakers to join the quartz watch revolution, but soon, other models started coming out. Quartz watches began to soar in popularity with the advent of digital watches, first introduced by Hamilton Watch Company in 1972 with the Pulsar digital watch.

Now, quartz watches come in all display types, styles, and price points. As more watchmakers grasped the quartz craze, more variety hit the market. Grand Seiko, which is related to the original quartz watch manufacturer, continues to produce stunning luxury watches like the Grand Seiko Sport Watch, proving that luxury is not limited to traditional mechanical watches.


How Do Quartz Watches Work?

Quartz watches are popular for many reasons, and knowing how they work is the first step to making an educated decision about your next timepiece.

The primary distinguishing elements that make up quartz watches include:

  • Quartz crystal
  • Lithium battery
  • Electronic circuit board


The battery in quartz watches sends electrical signals to the quartz, causing the crystal to vibrate 32,768 times per second. The vibrations are measured by a tiny microchip circuit, which converts them into a single one-second pulse. Because those vibrations are consistent and reliable, the watch is able to keep accurate time.

The results of quartz timekeeping are affordable watches that are reliable and easy to maintain. Quartz watches are some of the most versatile on the market, making it easy to find a quartz watch for any style or budget.


Why Use Quartz in Watches?

Of all the crystals in the world, it is no wonder watchmakers settled on quartz. Some materials, including quartz, can generate electricity when they are put under mechanical stress. The piezoelectricity — or the charge that accumulates in materials like quartz in response to mechanical stress — causes the quartz to oscillate at a consistent rate of 32,768 times per second.

Not only is quartz reliable and energy-efficient, but it is easy to find. The abundance of this mineral around the world helps keep the price of quartz watches lower than other timepieces. Additionally, some quartz used in watches is developed synthetically, increasing the supply of this important crystal.


Quartz Watches v. Mechanical and Automatic Watches

Watches have been in use for centuries, so quartz watches are relatively young compared to the rest. The differences lie in the anatomy that makes up the interior of the watches.

There are three primary types of watches:

  • Mechanical
  • Automatic
  • Quartz


Mechanical watches use a mainspring, which is tightly wound by hand, to activate all the intricate gears inside the watch and make the hands of the watch move at the appropriate rate. Automatic watches look similar on the inside with gears and small components, but instead of the wearer winding the mainspring, automatic watches convert the wearer’s energy to wind the mainspring.

Quartz watches, in stark comparison to mechanical and automatic watches, have very few parts. A standard mechanical watch has around 130 tiny components that have to be made and placed perfectly, while quartz watches have around 20. This simplification is one reason quartz watches are popular.


How Are Quartz Watches So Accurate?

Not only do quartz watches have fewer parts than mechanical or automatic watches, but they are generally more accurate because their timekeeping does not depend on an element being wound on a regular basis. The quartz crystal’s vibrations are proven to be precise, and watchmakers take advantage of that precision to accurately keep time in quartz watches.

An excellent quartz watch may gain or lose 5-10 seconds per year. Compare that to the most accurate mechanical watches, which can show changes of 4-6 seconds per day, and it is easy to see why many people prefer the accuracy of quartz watches.

Some luxury watchmakers add extra elements to ensure the quartz’s accuracy. The striking Breitling Navitimer 32 mm watch, for example, uses Thermocompensated Super Quartz, which includes a chip that measures the temperature inside the watch and makes necessary adjustments to maintain accuracy.


Why Are Quartz Watches Affordable?

Because there are fewer moving parts inside quartz watches, these timepieces are generally less expensive than their mechanical and automatic counterparts. The production and skill needed to painstakingly piece together the gears and components of mechanical and automatic watches is costly, and quartz watches do not require this intricacy.

The simplification of production means more people can have a dependable watch without giving up style. Luxury watchmakers have been able to implement quartz timekeeping to provide less expensive options, like the Hamilton Jazzmaster Lady Quartz Watch, which comes in far below most luxury price tags while carrying a trusted designer name.


Quartz Watch Maintenance

No timepiece is immune to required maintenance, but quartz watches tend to require fewer trips to the jeweler than mechanical and automatic watches. If your quartz watch has stopped working, it likely needs a battery replacement. This requires opening the case, and it is best to allow a qualified jeweler to take care of this technical task.

Experts recommend that any luxury watch be serviced every 3-5 years. This can be preventative, ensuring any issues with the watch are discovered and dealt with quickly before they become big problems. Use a trusted jeweler and know what questions to ask to ensure your timepiece is taken care of well.

Quartz watches are beautiful, accurate, and affordable timepieces. Whether you are giving a watch as a gift or you are looking for a new watch yourself, quartz watches are great options.