THE QUARTZ WATCH
The piezoelectric effect - the premise on which quartz timepieces work - was first discovered in the late 19th century around 1880. However, it was not until the 1920s that the first quartz clock was built. And in 1969, the first quartz watch, the Astron, was built by Seiko. It was after this that people began to appreciate the accuracy and convenience of quartz watches. In addition, thanks to the advances in solid state electronics and mass production technology, quartz watches could soon be manufactured cheaply and quickly. This led to the demise of mechanical watches, resulting in the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s, where the Swiss watchmaking industry suffered a rapid and massive decline and many mechanical watch makers were forced to close shop. the seconds hand of a mechanical watch is ticking smoothly.
It was discovered in the late 19th century that if you were to pass a charge through a quartz crystal, the crystal will also oscillate. This is the piezoelectric effect. It was also found that quartz produces a consistent rate of oscillation and is resistant to temperature changes.
This piezoelectric effect is created in a quartz watch by using a battery as the energy source. The battery sends a charge to the quartz crystal which in turns has been designed to oscillates at at precisely 32,768Hz. The digital circuit in which it is placed measures the oscillations so that it knows when a second has passed.
Technically, it is possible to have a sweeping motion like mechanical watches, and because the quartz crystal oscillates so quickly, the sweep action would be even smoother. Unfortunately, this puts a huge drain on the batteries, which is why watchmakers eventually settled for a single tick per second to prolong battery life.