Excuse Me, Do You Have The Time?
October 20, 2021
There’s a Keystone in every great invention.
Pocket Watches and Their Electronics
It’s about that time again; the leaves are changing, the sun is setting earlier, and in the back of many minds is the nagging reminder to “fall back” and adjust the clocks for the end of Daylight-Saving Time. Thankfully, technology and electronics have our backs not just with that biannual task, but with how we use and interact with time today. By simply looking at our wrists, car dashboards or any kitchen appliance, we can be aware of the time without even knowing it.
The portability of time has paved the way for enormous strides in efficiency and quality of life, but there is an aesthetic aspect we associate with time as well. Timepieces tend to be a measure of affluence and status, from smart watches to diamond-clad faces, there is something specific to fit every occasion. And in the early 1500s, that something was the pocket watch.
History of the Pocket Watch
The pocket watch was by no means the first method of portable time however, it was a true breakthrough regarding precision. Further development and tinkering caused the manufacturing cost of the pocket watch to skyrocket, thus making the invention (and the price) only available to the upper class. Originally designed to be worn as a pendant, the pocket watch became an instant symbol of status and success. Much like the high-end wristwatches of today.
How It Works – Then and Now
The inner workings of the original pocket watch consisted of scaled-down steel wheels and springs. German inventor Peter Henlein designed his spring-driven pocket watch to provide sound on every hour, and to operate for 40 hours before needing rewinding. Although his newly invented balance spring greatly enhanced the precision of the pocket watch, interior springs had the tendency to either break or unwind, causing the watch to slow down over time.
Today, the need for rewinding has been replaced by the automatic or self-winding watch. This is still a mechanical watch that that has a mainspring that is wound automatically by the motion of the wrist, eliminating the need for manual winding. However, the watch needs to be worn daily otherwise the power reserve is gone within 36-72 hours.
This led the way to battery powered watches and clocks that work in correlation with a quartz crystal. The battery emits an electrical current through the crystal so that it oscillates about 32,000 vibrations per second. This vibrating crystal powers the motor that moves the gears and watch hands. Compared to automatic watches, battery operated watches cost less and are more efficient timekeepers. A quality battery operated watch can gain or lose just 5 seconds per year.
The easiest way to tell the difference between an automatic and battery powered watch is the second hand of an automatic watch moves effortlessly around the dial. A battery powered watch has a tick movement with each second.
For more than 75 years, we at Keystone Electronics have been manufacturing electronic components and hardware for industries all over the world. Our battery clips, contacts and holders, are used in battery powered time pieces all over the world. Other Keystone products in modern time pieces include, Terminals and Test Points and LED Lenses and Lens Caps