In today’s article, we are going to tackle the topic of the automatic quartz watch. Now this is something that may sound like a complete contradiction if you know anything about watches. After all, quartz watches and automatic watches use completely different power sources.
Automatic watches are powered by a mainspring, and quartz watches are powered by a quartz crystal. So, now we’re saying you can have both at the same time? Well, the answer is yes! It is indeed possible to have a watch that is a combination of quartz and automatic. Hence the name automatic quartz.
So, what is the simplest definition of an automatic quartz watch? Well, an automatic quartz watch is a watch that utilizes the principles of a self winding rotor to generate the electrical power needed for quartz movement. This type of watch is also called autoquartz for short.
That is the simplest textbook explanation for an automatic quartz watch. However, to better understand that definition, you will need to know how both quartz, and automatic watches work. We will briefly explain those two movements next.
Explanation of Automatic and Quartz Movement
Firstly, what we mean by “movement”, is the mechanism used to power the watch. Historically there are two main types of watch movements: automatic, and quartz. Once these two movements are better understood, you will see why it is so strange to have a watch that combines both movements! First, let’s look at the automatic movement
An automatic movement is actually a type of mechanical watch movement. Mechanical movements utilize a spring to power a watch. This is called the mainspring.
In order for a mechanical watch to work, this mainspring must be wound. After the spring within the watch is wound, it is the gradual unwinding of the watch that moves the gears and mechanisms within the watch, thus giving the watch power.
There are two types of mechanical watches. These are: manual winding, and self winding. Self winding watches are most commonly referred to as automatic watches.
Now the difference between an automatic watch and a manually winding watch, is that an automatic watch winds itself. It does this by means of a weighted rotor.
Basically, what happens is, as the wearer moves their arms during the day, this causes the weighted rotor to rotate, which in turn, winds the watch.
That is the basic explanation of how an automatic watch functions. Next, we will look at the quartz movement
Unlike mechanical watches that use springs to power the watch, quartz movements use a battery. And as the name suggests, quartz movements do, in fact, utilize quartz crystals. The watch is powered by the vibrations from the quartz crystal.
This is how it works. The battery sends power into a circuit. That circuit then sends energy to the quartz crystal which causes it to vibrate. It is in turn these vibrations that power the watch causing the gears and mechanisms to function.
Digital, and smartwatches are also quartz watches. You will find quartz components within a lot of electronics. Utilizing quartz vibrations is a very popular mechanism in the modern era.
So, now that we have learned how both quartz and automatic watches work, let’s put it together and explain the automatic quartz!
How The Automatic Quartz Watch Works
Now we know that automatic watches use a weighted rotor to wind the winding mechanism inside of a watch using a person’s natural arm movements to spin the rotor. And we also know that a quartz watch uses a battery to send electricity into a circuit to then vibrate a quartz crystal.
Well, an automatic quartz combines these properties. An automatic quartz uses the same exact principles as an automatic watch. the difference here is that instead of it winding a spring, the automatic mechanism generates electricity.
This electricity is then used the same way it is used in a regular quartz watch. This electricity is used to vibrate the quartz, and thus power the watch. So, the autoquartz does not require a battery.
So, there you have it. A fairly simple explanation of the automatic quartz. The next question then would be, why use an automatic quartz in the first place? is there a reason for it?
Why An Automatic Quartz?
There is definitely a benefit to an automatic quartz watch. For instance, it is a known fact that quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical watches. However, mechanical watches do not need a battery, whereas a quartz watch does use a battery.
In an autoquartz watch, you get the best of both worlds. An automatic quartz has the accuracy of a quartz watch, without the need for a battery. The only downside is that you would need to wear it a lot to ensure that it stays powered. Kinetic watches, which we will talk about next, do have a power indicator to let you know how much power reserve is left in the watch.
The last thing we will cover is where automatic quartz watches came from in the first place. Who invented the autoquartz?
Who invented the Autoquartz?
It was actually the Japanese company Seiko that first released the automatic quartz watch in 1988. It was within this same year that it started to become known as the autoquartz.
These automatic quartz movements were known as AGS movements at the time. The “AGS” stood for “Automatic Generating System”. By 1991, Seiko started selling these watches under the brand name “Kinetic” watches. Seiko Kinetic watches are not as popular today, but they can still be found online and in some stores.
Now, to wrap things up.
The automatic quartz watch is an interesting type of watch. If you are an avid watch collector, you may already have one in your collection! If not, then you should strongly consider trying to obtain one. They are a one of a kind creation and a statement to human creativity and ingenuity.
That covers our look into the autoquartz. If you liked this article, then you can check out some of our other informative articles to learn new and interesting facts about watches. You will find those articles here