Quartz accuracy observations
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    Member Ten-Ten's Avatar
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    Quartz accuracy observations

    As I stated in another (trainwreck of a) thread, this may warrant a new thread.

    Regarding accuracy of quartz, my observation has been that they work much better as a daily wear than as part of a rotation. The four quartz watches that I can remember wearing over the decades before I jumped down the WUS rabbit hole all performed within 1-3 seconds per month. They were all worn pretty much 24/7. I think being on the wrist keeps the temperature of the watch/oven consistent, which is good for accuracy. I would always set to NIST or time.is when the date needed attention every 61 days. None of the quartz watches were ever off by more than 5 seconds. Usually 1-3.


    OTOH, a few years ago, when I started a "DST quartz accuracy challenge" thread, all the quartz watches I checked over the course of 6 months were disappointing in comparison. The watch that is velcroed to my riding jacket sleeve does not display impressive accuracy either. The jacket watch is a $15 Casio. Several of my current quartz watches cost considerably more than anything I wore pre-WUS.

    So this is probably the wrong crowd to ask, but any superlative quartz accuracy stories? Or horror stories?
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    Wink Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Ten-Ten View Post
    As I stated in another (trainwreck of a) thread, this may warrant a new thread.

    Regarding accuracy of quartz, my observation has been that they work much better as a daily wear than as part of a rotation. The four quartz watches that I can remember wearing over the decades before I jumped down the WUS rabbit hole all performed within 1-3 seconds per month. They were all worn pretty much 24/7. I think being on the wrist keeps the temperature of the watch/oven consistent, which is good for accuracy. I would always set to NIST or time.is when the date needed attention every 61 days. None of the quartz watches were ever off by more than 5 seconds. Usually 1-3.


    OTOH, a few years ago, when I started a "DST quartz accuracy challenge" thread, all the quartz watches I checked over the course of 6 months were disappointing in comparison. The watch that is velcroed to my riding jacket sleeve does not display impressive accuracy either. The jacket watch is a $15 Casio. Several of my current quartz watches cost considerably more than anything I wore pre-WUS.

    So this is probably the wrong crowd to ask, but any superlative quartz accuracy stories? Or horror stories?
    There are Rabbit Holes and damn great chasms! This subject is potentially one of the biggest chasms

    OK, so here I go with my highly opinionated and no concrete scientific basis 1cent or pennyworth.

    It is my opinion that most quartz watches in normal use are far more accurate than they should be for the price they sell for. I have a 35 year old Seiko Quartz watch that still performs to within +/- 5 to 10 seconds a month. It has been serviced twice in the time I have had it, but apart from battery and water resistant tests that is all it has had. What I will say is that it is very temperature sensitive. Years back when we still owned a boat I used to take it off when I was working in the engine bay and leave it in the cabin. During the winter, the boat only had minimal heating and I found that if I forgot the watch and left it on the boat when we retired to a hotel for the night, in the morning the watch had stopped. But once I had put it back on again and it had slightly warmed up it restarted and was fine. These days when I am not wearing it, it is in a watch box in the bedroom and runs without missing a beat.

    What this tells me is that quartz watches are very susceptible to temperature changes. I think when I had the incident on the boat the battery was probable getting close to needing a change and the temperature drop caused a voltage drop so the watch stopped. So I think there are two factors we have to consider in terms of quartz accuracy, firstly as an computer/electronics engineer I can say that batteries are very much affected by temperature. Hence the car that won't start on a cold morning because the battery voltage has dropped so the engine is not cranked hard enough.

    Secondly the way that current passes through a circuit changes a lot with temperature, it gets easier and faster with an increase in temperature and slows with a decrease in temperature. This is why computer rooms are normally heavily air-conditioned as the computer circuits get unreliable as temperature increases. So from this we can deduce that a quartz watch, which is a computer circuit of a specialised type, will be influenced by some degree of temperature change both up and down. Ways to dissipate excess heat can be built into the watch circuit and the watch case for that matter, but the circuit can also be designed to compensate for heat itself by regulating itself to speed up or slow down as needed. But these measures increase complexity and are therefore not going to be built in to all quartz movements. To put it simply, they cost money!

    The average quartz movement will have or should have been designed and built within a normal temperature range. That range should be deep within the movement specs, but often is not there. For example in the Technical Specs for the Seiko 7T92a/7T62a movement it says "Loss/Gain Monthly rate at normal temperature range: less than 15 seconds" Er OK that's fine but just what is Normal Temperature Range?

    I have bought the Bulova Precisionist watches that have a highly accurate quartz movement that vibrates at 262kHz and they from current experience are dead on within the Spec to do 10 secs per year. And the movement is supposed to be temperature compensated as well.

    So to summarise my long answer to your brief question. Keep a quartz watch in a domestic or office environment and it will probably be OK within +/- 10secs a month I would guess. Take it into areas where the temperature range is more extreme, like cooling strapped to a jacket or in sunlight and getting warm/hot and the accuracy will go out of the window. HAQ watches that are regulated and checked correctly should be highly accurate, but even that is a bit of a gamble, just take a look at the HAQ watches thread!

    Best regards,
    Jim
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    Having served my apprenticeship on mechanicals that needed regular updating to keep them accurate I don’t spend a deal of time checking my quartz watches. I just know that they are more than accurate enough for me when I come to alter the DST. If we Brits end up giving DST the push I suppose I’ll have to set up some sort of rota to check my watches every 6 months or so.
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    Quote Originally Posted by ObiWonWD40 View Post
    I have bought the Bulova Precisionist watches that have a highly accurate quartz movement that vibrates at 262kHz and they from current experience are dead on within the Spec to do 10 secs per year. And the movement is supposed to be temperature compensated as well.
    Are the 262kHz movements thermo-compensated? I was under the impression they merely used a 3 prong quartz crystal.
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    Member James_'s Avatar
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    My Citizen Excalibur keeps around -0.8 sec per week on the wrist. Gains around 1 sec off wrist left 9 up. So I've been keeping it within a couple of seconds +/-.

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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    Quote Originally Posted by t minus View Post
    Are the 262kHz movements thermo-compensated? I was under the impression they merely used a 3 prong quartz crystal.
    The answer to the question is both yes and who knows! When Bulova Launched the Precisionist Movement the Press Release said yes is it had a form of temperature compensation. But getting them to re-confirm it is worse than pulling Hens Teeth. Yes it does have a three pronged crystal and vibrates at a much higher rate than two prong crystals.

    Here is my theory that may be way off the beam, since Bulova was taken over by Citizen, maybe they take a different view on what could be a useful technique and want to roll back and keep it secret? Bulova UK sort of almost nearly confirmed it to me that the Lunar Pilot did have it, but what IT was is not really clear. When I bought a Factory Refurbished Precisionist recently they almost sort of said that the watch was checked, the battery replaced and regulated. Read into that what you will. From the three that I have and have been monitoring I think that it pretty almost likely to be, as certain as I can be, given a fair wind and the sun comes up tomorrow morning that there is a fair chance that maybe the watches will fall within the 10SPY spec, assuming that my method of measuring is accurate enough. Hope that is clear enough for you

    Very best regards,
    Jim

    PS I think it must be time to take my medication.
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    Member devilsbite's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    My Seiko JDM Solar was scary accurate when I used to track with precision; about 1-2 seconds off over 6 months.

    Spends most of its time in a watch box, now only comes out for special occasions and the infrequent day on the windowsill. It's so much more accurate than anything else I own it's funny.

  9. #8
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    Quote Originally Posted by ObiWonWD40 View Post
    Bulova UK sort of almost nearly confirmed it to me that the Lunar Pilot did have it, but what IT was is not really clear. When I bought a Factory Refurbished Precisionist recently they almost sort of said that the watch was checked, the battery replaced and regulated. Read into that what you will. From the three that I have and have been monitoring I think that it pretty almost likely to be, as certain as I can be, given a fair wind and the sun comes up tomorrow morning that there is a fair chance that maybe the watches will fall within the 10SPY spec, assuming that my method of measuring is accurate enough. Hope that is clear enough for you PS I think it must be time to take my medication.
    Hi Jim, that is interesting about the Lunar Pilot....I have one in the watch box and it has only gained .5 seconds since the time change. I also have a Precisionist Chronograph and it most definitely will not get the 10SPY spec. It gains +4 seconds a month in the box unworn. Perhaps there are different variations among the movements? I am curious as to how they regulated your watch. Thank you for the information.
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    Member vmgotit's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    With the quartz Watches I have owned, The Japanese quartz movements seem much better than the Swiss quartz movements. In my opinion, the Japanese are ahead of the rest of the World in terms of accuracy and value. I hope someday to have a Watch with the 9F movement. Vance.
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  11. #10
    Ard
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    Re: Quartz accuracy observations

    You knew that adding the word 'accuracy' into the thread title would lure me in didn't you :)

    I don't have much to say, have had some that were very good and only one that just up and quit working so I have to say I like quartz watches.
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