Random Clock Talk 14 - How a quartz clock works

Discovering the Mechanism: Understanding the Working of a Quartz Clock – Random Clock Talk 14

Welcome to Random Clock Talk 14 where we delve into understanding the intricate inner workings of a quartz clock. A quartz clock is a precise timekeeping device that relies on the oscillation of electricity through a quartz crystal to keep accurate time. Join us as we explore the mechanism behind this fascinating piece of technology and unravel its secrets. Let’s dive in!

Discovering the Mechanism: Understanding the Working of a Quartz Clock

From the grandeur of a grandfather clock to the simplicity of a wristwatch, clocks are an essential part of human life. Watches are an everyday item, but have we ever given a thought about the mechanism that powers them? Today, we take a sneak peek into the workings of a quartz clock movement and explore the intricacies of each component that makes the mechanism tick.


The concept of the quartz clock movement was first introduced in 1927 by Warren Marrison, a telecommunications engineer from the Bell Telephone Laboratories. It was during the peak of radio control transmission and Marrison was working on an alternative to the mechanism of synchronous motors which used line synchronization. Little did he know that his invention will soon prove to be a game-changer in the world of horology. Now, let’s delve deeper into the anatomy of this clock movement.

The Components: A Breakdown

The quartz clock movement, like any other clock, is composed of various working components. Each part has a specific function to perform, and together, they create the rhythmic ticking sound that is synonymous with clocks. Here’s a closer look at some of the components used in a quartz clock movement:

Reduction Gears

The back of the quartz clock movement has reduction gears, which help in reducing the number of turns of the motor’s rotor and increase its torque. They work by increasing the turning angle, which then decreases the number of rotations.


A tiny motor powers the movement, which can rotate at half a turn per second, and this rotation creates a tick with each turn of the gear wheels in the clock movement.

Slide Switch and Knob

The movement has a switch that you can use to start and stop it. The knob on the side of the movement allows you to change the time.

Minute, Hour and Second Hands

The front of the quartz clock movement has a single hole for mounting minute, hour, and second hands. The hands rotate in a clockwise direction, with the second hand ticking once per second and the hour hand completing one full revolution after 12 hours.

Funnel-Shaped Pivot Holes

The rear cover of the movement has funnel-shaped pivot holes which function like jewels in a watch. Their function is to reduce the friction and wear and tear on the gears, causing the movement to last longer.

Rotor and Reduction Gears

The cover of the quartz clock movement has a rotor and reduction gears that lead to the hands. The dials are secured through additional bosses on the clock. This means you have to use an appropriate tool like a wrench or a pocket knife to remove the back cover of the quartz clock movement.

Assembly Check

The assembly is carefully inspected through an eye loop to check if all the parts are correctly assembled and in working order.

JM Huckabee Disassembles a Quartz Clock Movement

A certified Master clockmaker, JM Huckabee disassembles a battery-operated quartz clock movement, and in a detailed video, he explains each component and its function. The quartz clock movement may be small, but its technology is a model for all quartz watches. An excellent example of this technology is the affordable quartz wristwatch, which uses a tiny battery-powered movement to measure time accurately.


Quartz clock movements have taken over the world of horology, replacing traditional mechanical movements in watches, clocks, and even automobiles. They may lack the luster of a mechanical movement, but their precision and reliability have made them a natural choice for everyday timekeeping needs. We hope that this journey into the intricacies of a quartz clock movement piqued your interest and gave you a newfound appreciation for this everyday item on your wrist.


Q1. Are Quartz Movements More Accurate Than Mechanical Movements?

A1. Yes. The accuracy of a quartz movement is usually within a few seconds a month, while a mechanical movement may be off by several minutes a day.

Q2. How Often Should I Replace the Battery in My Quartz Watch?

A2. The battery life of a quartz watch usually lasts from 1-2 years, depending on the type of watch.

Q3. Can I Replace the Quartz Movement in My Old Clock?

A3. Yes. Many clock repair shops can install new quartz movements in old clocks and make them run like new.

Q4. Can I Stop My Quartz Watch During the Night to Save Battery Life?

A4. Yes, but it’s only necessary if you’re not planning to wear the watch for an extended period.

Q5. Is It Possible to Convert a Mechanical Watch into a Quartz Watch Movement?

A5. Yes. A clock repair shop can replace the mechanical movement with a new quartz movement. However, it’s important to weigh the cost of conversion against buying a new watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *