May23 , 2023

    The Quartz Watch Revolution: A game-changing moment in horology history


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    In the world of horology, there are few moments as significant as the quartz watch revolution. For centuries, mechanical watches had been the standard for timekeeping, with their intricate mechanisms and impressive accuracy. But in the 1960s, a new technology emerged that would shake the foundations of the watch industry and change the way we tell time forever.

    This is the story

    Mechanical, the undisputed king

    Before the quartz watch revolution, mechanical watches were the undisputed kings of timekeeping. These intricate and precise instruments were marvels of engineering, with delicate gears and springs that measured the passage of time with impressive accuracy. For many, owning a mechanical watch was a symbol of wealth and status, and the best watchmakers in the world devoted their lives to perfecting these timepieces.

    But mechanical watches had their limitations. They were delicate and required regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. They were also relatively inaccurate, losing or gaining several minutes each day. Despite these challenges, mechanical watches remained the standard for timekeeping, with many people viewing them as the only true “watches.”

    The quartz crisis & birth of defining technology

    In the early 1960s, a new technology began to emerge that would change the watch industry forever: quartz technology. Developed by researchers at the Swiss watch company Omega, quartz technology uses a tiny quartz crystal to create an electrical signal with a precise frequency. This signal could be used to drive a motor, which in turn could power the hands of a watch.

    The key advantage of quartz technology was its incredible accuracy. Because the quartz crystal vibrates at a precise and consistent frequency, a quartz watch can keep time with an accuracy of up to a few seconds per month. This was a huge improvement over mechanical watches, which could lose or gain several minutes per day.

    The rise of quartz watches came when the mechanical watch industry was struggling. Mechanical watches were delicate and required regular maintenance, and they were relatively inaccurate compared to quartz watches. As a result, many watch companies struggled to compete and were forced to adapt or risk being left behind.

    The quartz crisis hit its peak in the 1970s and 1980s as more and more watch companies shifted their focus to quartz technology. This led to a dramatic decline in the demand for mechanical watches, and many watchmakers were forced to close their doors. The Swiss watch industry, which had long been considered the leader in the field, was particularly hard-hit, with many of its iconic brands struggling to survive.

    But the quartz crisis also gave rise to some new opportunities. As watchmakers turned to quartz technology, they could create new and innovative designs that were impossible with mechanical watches. Quartz watches became more affordable and accessible, and they helped democratize timekeeping, making it possible for more people to own high-quality watches.

    Despite its challenges, the quartz crisis ultimately paved the way for a new era in the watch industry. Quartz technology has continued to evolve and improve, and it remains the dominant technology in the world of timekeeping. The legacy of the quartz crisis is still felt today as watchmakers continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with quartz technology.

    The legacy of quartz watches

    Today, quartz watches are the market’s most common type of watch. Their accuracy and durability have made them the go-to choice for people who need a reliable timekeeper. While mechanical watches still have fans, they are now considered a niche product, with only a small portion of the market share.

    The Quartz Watches

    But the legacy of the quartz watch revolution goes beyond the watch industry. Quartz technology has found its way into many other fields, including clocks, phones, and computers. Its impact on timekeeping has been profound, and it continues to shape our world today.


    The quartz watch revolution was a game-changing moment in horology history. By bringing incredible accuracy and durability to the world of timekeeping, quartz technology transformed the watch industry. It paved the way for many other technological advances. Today, quartz watches are the most common type of watch, and their legacy continues to be felt in many other fields.