40. time-keeper


Quartz: the moment of truth

TECHNOLOGY

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January 2019


Quartz: the moment of truth

Once a pioneer, yet now decidedly run-ofthe- mill, the quartz movement is approaching a crucial point in its history. With mechanical watches becoming less and less expensive, and with the arrival of functionally superior smartwatches, quartz is feeling the pressure on all sides. Will it still be around tomorrow?

A

ccurate, reliable, durable: quartz once represented the future of the watch. But electronic movements regulated by a quartz crystal (known as quartz movements) have become so runof- the-mill that they are now ubiquitous. Capable of almost everything, the quartz movement has been left to its own devices. The reputation of quartz today is not unlike that of freeze-dried food: inexpensive and effective, but artificial, bland, and generic. And to open up a watch to find a plastic casing-ring and a little battery lost in the middle is a terribly sad sight. Ironically, after having come close to forcing the mechanical movement into retirement, the quartz movement itself is now at risk of losing its functional and economic relevance.


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