How does a quartz watch work?

In the realm of horology, quartz watches have carved out a significant niche for themselves due to their precision, affordability, and low maintenance. But have you ever wondered how these timepieces work? This article delves into the fascinating mechanics of quartz watches, exploring their history, the science behind their operation, and the components that make them tick.

The History of Quartz Watches

The story of quartz watches begins in the 1960s, with the advent of electronic watches. These timepieces, which were powered by electricity and kept time with a balance wheel, were the precursors to quartz watches. However, it was in 1969 that Seiko, a Japanese watch company, introduced the first quartz wristwatch, the Astron. This revolutionary timepiece marked a significant turning point in the history of watchmaking, heralding the era of quartz watches.

Quartz watches quickly gained popularity due to their superior accuracy and affordability compared to mechanical watches. The quartz crisis, as it was known, saw a significant decline in the Swiss watch industry as quartz watches dominated the market. Today, quartz watches continue to be a popular choice for many, thanks to their reliability and precision.

The Science Behind Quartz Watches

At the heart of a quartz watch is a tiny piece of quartz crystal, which is known for its piezoelectric properties. This means that when mechanical pressure is applied to the crystal, it generates an electrical voltage. Conversely, when an electrical voltage is applied to the crystal, it vibrates at a precise frequency.

How does a quartz watch work?


The quartz crystal in a watch is cut into a tiny tuning fork shape and is made to oscillate by applying an electric current. This oscillation is extremely regular, occurring 32,768 times per second. This consistent frequency is what allows quartz watches to keep time with remarkable accuracy.

The Quartz Oscillator

The quartz oscillator is the component that generates the regular pulses that drive the watch. When an electric current is applied to the quartz crystal, it vibrates at its characteristic frequency. This vibration is then converted into electrical pulses, which are used to drive the motor that moves the watch hands.

The quartz oscillator is powered by a small battery, which typically lasts for several years. The low power consumption of the quartz oscillator is one of the reasons why quartz watches are so economical and low-maintenance.

The Components of a Quartz Watch

A quartz watch is made up of several key components, each of which plays a crucial role in its operation. These components include the quartz crystal, the oscillator circuit, the stepping motor, and the gear train.

The quartz crystal is the heart of the watch, generating the regular oscillations that keep time. The oscillator circuit applies an electric current to the crystal, causing it to vibrate. The stepping motor translates these vibrations into mechanical movement, which is then transferred to the gear train. The gear train, in turn, drives the watch hands.

The Quartz Crystal

The quartz crystal in a watch is cut in the shape of a tiny tuning fork and is housed in a temperature-compensated chamber. This ensures that the crystal's frequency remains stable, even in varying environmental conditions. The crystal's frequency is also finely tuned during the manufacturing process to ensure maximum accuracy.

The Oscillator Circuit

The oscillator circuit in a quartz watch is responsible for applying an electric current to the quartz crystal. This circuit also includes a divider circuit, which divides the high frequency of the quartz oscillator into one-second pulses. These pulses are then used to drive the stepping motor.

The Stepping Motor and Gear Train

The stepping motor in a quartz watch converts the electrical pulses from the oscillator circuit into mechanical movement. This movement is then transferred to the gear train, which drives the watch hands. The gear train is a complex arrangement of gears that translates the movement of the stepping motor into the movement of the watch hands.


Quartz watches are marvels of modern engineering, combining the principles of physics, electronics, and mechanics to create a timepiece that is accurate, reliable, and affordable. Whether you're a watch enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates the precision and convenience of quartz watches, understanding how these timepieces work can enhance your appreciation of these everyday marvels.

How does a quartz watch work?

From the tiny quartz crystal that oscillates with remarkable regularity, to the intricate gear train that drives the watch hands, every component of a quartz watch plays a crucial role in its operation. So the next time you glance at your wrist to check the time, take a moment to appreciate the intricate mechanics that make it possible.

Now that you've gained insight into the intricate workings of quartz watches, why not elevate your timekeeping experience with a timepiece that truly stands out? Söner Watches invites you to Discover our watch collections, where each watch is a statement of individuality. Embrace the exclusivity of analog square watches and join a community that values uniqueness and precision. Your Söner isn't just a watch; it's a testament to your distinct style and the perfect companion for every moment of your life. Step away from the ordinary and into the exceptional with Söner Watches.