It is often said: "Punctuality is the first virtue in society". Before the popularity of mobile phones, clocks and watches were the main means for human beings to obtain time. Anyone who knows watches knows that there was a "quartz revolution" in the watch industry in the 1970s. At that time, quartz watches with higher precision and cheaper prices had a huge impact on the traditional mechanical watch industry.
As early as 1880, Pierre Curie discovered the "piezoelectric effect" that the oscillation frequency of quartz crystals is quite stable under the action of voltage. During World War I, the piezoelectric effect was used for military ultrasonic communications. In 1927, A.W.Marison of the United States tried to apply it to timepieces. However, the finished product at that time was very huge and had no practical value.
The world's first prototype of a quartz watch came out in 1967 and participated in the annual competition of the Neuchâtel Observatory in Switzerland in 1967: including the Beta1 prototype invented by the Swiss Center Electronic Watchmaking Center and the Astron prototype. In December 1969, Japan's Seiko took the lead in launching the world's first quartz watch, the Astron, marking the beginning of the "quartz revolution".
A quartz crystal is a piezoelectric material that generates a voltage across its surface when it is stressed. Conversely, if a voltage is applied to its surface, the shape of the crystal will change slightly. Imagine connecting an alternating current to the surface of a piezoelectric material. Since the direction of the voltage is constantly changing, the shape of the material will change periodically, that is, the material will vibrate. Because the vibration frequency of the quartz crystal is as high as 32768 times per second, a simple circuit can be designed to count the number of times it vibrates. When it counts to 32768 times, the circuit will send a message to let the rotor gear push the pointer forward for one second.
Moreover, this vibration is very stable and is hardly affected by temperature. Even for cheap quartz watches, the error rate within a day will not exceed 1 second. At the same time, quartz watches do not require accurate manual time adjustment, and the production speed is significantly faster than mechanical watches, and the cost is much lower.
At present, quartz watches are mainly divided into the following three categories:
1. Digital quartz electronic watches
A watch that combines the piezoelectric effect of a quartz crystal with a bipolar liquid crystal display, and its functions are completely completed by electronic components.
2. Analog quartz watches
The energy of the quartz watch comes from the silver oxide button battery. After the silver oxide button battery provides a specific voltage to the integrated circuit, the quartz oscillator is oscillated through the oscillating circuit and the quartz resonator in it to form an oscillating circuit source. Form alternately changing bidirectional pulse signals to drive the stepper motor for intermittent rotation. Further drive the transmission wheel train, so that the hands can accurately display the time.
3. Automatic quartz watches
It combines the advantages of automatic mechanical watches and quartz watches. It does not require a battery, and the wearer can choose to wind it manually or to recharge it automatically. Its operating principle is to use the dancing of the arm to drive the oscillating weight in the watch to rotate, and generate energy to drive the internal micro-motor into energy, thereby providing sufficient power for the quartz device in the watch, and the excess power will be stored by the micro-capacitor spare.
Now, with the creation of smart products, watches are no longer a necessity of life, and the basic functions of quartz watches have been replaced by electronic products such as mobile phones. But in the era when the price of wristwatches was still very high, quartz watches provided ultra-accurate time services at extremely low prices, allowing anyone to master the time. It is no wonder that they almost replaced "mechanical watches".