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How does a Quartz Watch work?

The quartz movement has redefined the world of clocks and watches, and it will continue to do so. Even though watchmakers started with the trusted mechanical movements (and they are still around today), you would see more quartz crystal watches than manual mechanical/ automatic watches on any given day now.

Sometimes ago, we discussed the reason why the quartz movement is preferred over the mechanical movement. However, how does the quartz watch work so well in the first place?

The battery in the quartz watch produces an electric current sent through the quartz crystal and the rest of the watch circuit. This current leads to a vibration in the entire circuit, translating the vibrations into electric pulses to move the second hand.

Thus, this activity is repeated every time the second-hand moves (or when the watch ticks, for those without a second hand).

That's not all there is to know about these quartz watches, though. Here's more:



When did the quartz movement first appear?

The mechanical watch is lauded for its excellence regards the technical engineering and craft required to create one. However, the quartz crystal watches quickly came to replace the mechanical movements' fame due to their high accuracy and precision, based on the working model.

The quartz watches first appeared in 1969 when it was created by Japanese manufacturer Seiko. It was a revolutionary piece at the time due to its use of quartz crystal and a battery which created electrically powered vibrations.

Although originally an expensive movement, it has become more affordable through the years. It is highly popular amongst consumers due to its unique movement, which offers accurate timekeeping and requires little maintenance on the part of the owner. Although the quartz watch may not be considered as highly crafted as a mechanical watch, it has always been an appealing model in the eyes of customers.

The intricate functions of the quartz watch, plus its use of a crystal, make it an intriguing accessory piece, yet one that many people don't fully understand the workings of. However, the reliability and effectiveness of this watch have ensured its status as a high-quality timepiece has remained unchanged since the arrival of the first quartz watch just over fifty years ago.


Do quartz crystal watches need a battery?

The battery in the system is the whole point of the quartz watch.

If you look into a timepiece and it has a battery, that is enough to differentiate between the quartz and mechanical movement.

Without the battery, nothing would create the charge that stimulates the electrical circuit to make the impressive vibrations (32,768 times to be precise) which leads to the operation of the hands on the outside.

Since these electric pulses drive the operations of the timepiece, the battery is a non-negotiable part of the system.

Now, here's the interesting part:

Not all quartz watches use the same kind of batteries. While most use the traditional chemical-powered batteries, some can use alternative forms of power. There are even some manufacturers that are bordering on the automatic movement with quartz crystal watches, opting for their wristwatches to store mechanical energy as electrical energy when you wear them.


How long do quartz watches last?

This is one of those questions where the right answer is:

"It depends."

But that is not what you came here to read. So, we'll try to be a little bit more specific than that.

Watches developed with quartz technology and movement are powered by batteries which can be of different capacities. Top manufacturers fit their quartz watches with batteries that last long, while cheap units will come with batteries that end up dead in little time.

Thus, your quartz watch can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years before you have to change the battery.

At Nordgreen, our wristwatches come with a two-year general warranty, and the batteries in them last for up to that long too. That means you get to use your watches for up to two years (or even more), keeping accurate time without having to worry about a battery change.




Why do quartz watches stop working?

Quartz crystal watches provide a higher resistance than mechanical watches to the sudden stop in the operation of a timepiece.

However, that doesn't mean that a quartz watch will work forever.

From the obvious reasons to the less obvious ones, here are some of the things to consider when the quartz technology doesn't seem to be doing anything for you anymore.


Low Battery

Whether a quartz clock or watch, we have already established how the electrical pulses from the battery are needed to run the timepiece.

Thus, when the battery gets low, the watch can stop working.

In some instances, the watch begins to lose time before it finally stops working. When you consider the period over which the battery causes a vibration 32,768 times per second, you understand that it needs sufficient power to get that done.

Fortunately, with well-made quartz watches (like all our men's watches and ladies' collections), the battery can last for up to (and more than) two years before you have to change them. When you do have to change them, you can do that yourself or send them to a professional.

The good news is that they are inexpensive to replace – which is another perk of having a quartz watch.


Faulty Engine

Believe it or not, but the quartz engine can develop some faults.

If you buy wristwatches from trusted manufacturers, there is a high chance that this never happens to you. The chances of not suffering this mishap are increasingly lowered when you get your quartz crystal watches from cheap brands instead.

Although the quartz technology is affordable, some manufactures will develop their engines with very cheap and inferior parts that won't stand the test of time – all pun intended. You won't use these watches for long before they give up.

In most cases, they won't even keep accurate time, so you didn't enjoy them when they worked either.

That's not a fine experience to have on a quartz watch, if you ask us.



Besides a low power supply from the battery and a faulty engine, overall damages can also cause your quartz watches to stop working.

At Nordgreen, for example, we offer all our timepieces with a 5 ATM rating. While that won't suffice when you go deep-sea diving, it ensures that your watch stays safe if you're ever caught in the rain, pushed into the pool, or wash your hands at the sink.

With other quartz watches, exposure to water could cause them to stop working.

The same goes for exposure to heat, dropping the watch, and other forms of abuse.

As long as you've purchased a quality piece of quart watch, make sure to take care of it right. The watch will take good care of you right back.



What is special about a quartz watch?

We use quartz technology on all of our watches at Nordgreen, so we could be biased.

Rather than telling you what we believe is special about these watches, we do you one better:

Let's dig into the reasons why hundreds of thousands of customers that have chosen Nordgreen love these watches.


Better initial cost

We're considering both costs as they are important throughout the lifetime of a watch.

Quartz movements are less complicated than mechanical movement, so they don't cost as much to make. Even though they are more affordable, the battery sends enough pulse to the circuit to ensure they keep time to a tiny percentage of error.

These cost savings are passed on to the final buyer, who gets a finely made watch for a lesser price.


Impressive running cost

The only cost that you would have to incur on a quartz watch is with the batteries.

If you change the battery on your quartz watch once every 2-5 years, and you use the watch for 30 years, the overall costs would still be lesser than that of a mechanical watch.

The best part is that you spend less on maintenance checks and watch servicing when you have the quartz crystal running the show. After all, you have way lesser moving parts on the quartz crystals than with mechanical watches.

That way, besides saving massively on the initial costs, you don't have to break the bank to keep using the watch either.


Ease of use

Even if the costs were not a factor, the ease of use here is something to write home about.

The balance wheel in mechanical watches requires constant winding of the watch. The energy is stored in a spring that gently unwinds to power the watch.

In other words, when you stop winding the watch for a while, it loses all the energy stored and starts losing time too.

The automatic watch technology came to improve that a little. Now, just wearing the watch is enough to send power to the balance wheel to run the watch and store some in the spring.

Still, once you stop wearing the automatic watch for a while, it loses energy and time too.

Not with quartz watches.

Set these once, and the circuit keeps running power to the top watch face for a long time to come.



How much does a quartz watch usually cost?

The first quartz watch released in 1969 cost around $1,250, which was similar to the cost of a car at the time.

The watch was considered to be a luxurious product when it first appeared, as reflected in the beautiful gold-plated design. Nowadays, some quartz watches still have high price tags, with a few costings upwards of $50,000. However, the price depends on the brand, design, and exclusivity of the timepiece in question.

Assuming you are not looking to spend a small fortune on a watch, you can still purchase a quartz watch at an affordable price. There is a variety of quartz models, and it's generally considerably easier to find more affordable quartz watches than mechanical ones.

However, since a watch is an investment, it's important to make sure that you buy a quality timepiece. Although quartz watches are high-functioning and can last for several years due to their efficient mechanism, often, a lower price reflects lower-quality craftmanship.

This means a higher probability of future malfunctions.

It's better to buy a high-quality piece and spend a little extra.


Shop Quartz Watches from Nordgreen

Nordgreen uses the industry-leading, highly reliable, and award-winning Japanese Miyota quartz movements in all of its watches.

This movement has proven itself to keep time, stay reliable for long and work without issues for the customers that trust us to wear our watches.

For us, the movement also provides a fine avenue to ensure we always use quality materials in the manufacture of our watches without cutting corners to ensure affordability. That is one of the few reasons why we can sell our luxury minimalist wristwatches to you at the great prices that they come at.

To improve your options, we carry different models for men and women, depending on your tastes and styles.

For men:


For women:

  • Native quartz watches – a minimalist unisex design that embodies everything we stand for.
  • Unika watches – an exclusive to the Nordgreen women. You'll appreciate all the fine lines and curves that make this watch a standout beauty.
  • Infinity watches – nothing beats a watch that juggles a little bit of minimalism with that extra oomph that complements your style.


Check out the watches we have for you, grab some replacement straps to extend the functionality of your watches, and check out the bundle builder to save even more on your purchases.

August 17, 2020 by Christopher Day

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