When thinking about a wall clock, many first think of the ticking of traditional quartz clockworks. The majority of wall clocks, as we know them today, is powered by quartz movements. But how exactly do these movements work? And why are the movements built into our CLOKKs almost inaudible?
Technology And History of the Quartz Movement
Unlike mechanical movements, quartz movements are powered by electricity from batteries. The clock used is a small quartz crystal, which sits encapsulated in the movement and ensures that the stepper motor moves the hands well-dosed in the right frequency. While the piezoelectric effect, on which the quartz movements function relies, was discovered as early as 1880, the first quartz clock was invented in 1929 by Canadian-American radio engineer Warren Alvin Morrison. This first quartz watch was already more accurate than the mechanical watches, which were common in Morrison’s time. But it was very temperature sensitive. The temperature susceptibility of the quartz made the manufacturing of the movements a hard task for the watchmakers. Today however common quartz movements withstand temperatures between –10°C and 40°C (14 – 104°F) without the accuracy suffering.
Common Quartz Movement
In contrast to mechanical watches, in which the balance wheel acts as a impulse generator, in quartz movements—hence the name—a quartz is used as such. The crystals used typically have a frequency of 32,768 or 2^15Hz. From this base frequency, a 1 Hz frequency is generated by means of an electronic switching cascade, which in turn drives the stepper motor of the second hand. This creates the characteristic seconds ticking.
Silent Quartz Movement
Movements such as those used in the CLOKK can be easily recognized by the continuous movement of the second hand. It doesn’t utilize a stepper motor but a synchronous motor. This eliminates the often negatively perceived audible second cycle. Derived from the movement of the pointer, this is also referred to as a “creeping second”.
Benefits of a „Silent“ Clock Movement
With its almost inaudible movement, the CLOKK is ideal for quiet rooms such as bedrooms and waiting rooms. The continuous movement of the second hand also makes the passing of time much more fluid and pleasant: time passes. Here we see a big win: while ticking clocks constantly remind us of the passing of time, clocks with a creeping second fade into the background and leave us space to consciously experience every moment.