How Do Digital Watches Keep Time?


As civilization is advancing at a rapid pace, people are being more cautious about keeping time. Timekeeping is so important in this state of advancement. So, most people nowadays use digital watches for accurate timekeeping instead of using analog watches.

I was always quite thrilled about the mechanics of a digital watch, it really used to amaze me. The functionalities, inner workings of a digital timepiece are the things I always wondered about. So, I took a good look at it and finally got a good idea of a digital watch's timekeeping.

Straightforwardly answering, ''A tiny piece of a quartz crystal is cut into the shape of a tuning fork that vibrates at 32,768 times per second when power from the watch battery is sent through it. The watch's circuit then counts one second for every 32,768 vibrations.''

Basically, a digital watch's most vital thing is its quartz crystal. It really does its damn job- precise timekeeping. So keep on reading this interesting article to know the ins and outs of digital watches!

How Do Digital Watches Keep Time

How Does Quartz in Digital Watches Keep Time?

Quartz is basically one of the most common minerals on earth. All quartz watches, including digital watches, keep time in the same way. They don't have the same ticking mechanism as a quartz watch with a dial and hands, but they do keep time using the crystal.

A quartz watch is, in fact, a battery-operated watch. The watch is powered by a low-frequency, microscopic piece of quartz crystal (silicon dioxide) that is either formed like an integrated circuit or shaped like a tuning fork. The oscillator is made up of that quartz crystal.

The quartz crystal receives electricity from the battery via an electronic circuit. In response to the electronic charge, the quartz crystal oscillator vibrates rapidly and precisely (32,768 times/second). The circuit keeps track of the vibrations and sends out one-second electric pulses. The pulses power a small electric motor that spins the watch's hands, allowing for precise timekeeping.

Why Does Digital Watch Lose Time?

As the energy reserves in a quartz movement watch's battery diminish, the watch's battery will eventually lose charge. As a result of the lower voltage given to the movement or digital display, each second lasts longer than it should. The watch eventually stops updating the digital display since there isn't enough power left in the battery.

Environmental factors such as ambient temperature and air pressure can cause digital watches to lose (or gain) time. Warm air causes the quartz crystal to vibrate slightly faster than the magic 32,768 times per second, causing the watch to tick faster. Cold air, on the other hand, can create little vibrations, resulting in a waste of time.

Though quartz is so great, it doesn't keep time with absolute accuracy forever. However, these gains and losses are far smaller than those of a mechanical watch mechanism, with digital watches gaining or losing roughly 20 seconds every month on average.

How Long Do Digital Watches Last?

This varies greatly depending on the type of battery used, the number of additional features such as alarms and timers (as well as how frequently they are used), and whether or not the watch has a solar panel to recharge the battery.

A modern digital watch's battery backup should be at least two years, and in some circumstances, four, five, or even six years. Battery life is affected by how often you use the watch's extra features, as well as the backlight if it has one.

It's crucial not to leave functions like the stopwatch running all the time, always-on display, and to always use the correct battery type. In the case of the latter, this requires using a solar-powered battery in a watch with a solar panel on the face. If such a battery is not utilized, the cell will degrade faster than usual.

In terms of a digital watch's overall lifespan, it can be extremely long. They contain no moving components (except for the vibrating quartz) and do not need to be serviced on a regular basis, unlike complex mechanical watches. The strap is more prone to wear out and break before the circuit or quartz fails.

When you combine all of this with their low price, digital watches become a compelling alternative for individuals looking for a low-cost, dependable wristwatch that won't let them down.

How Do Digital Clocks Keep Time?

A digital clock is a type of clock that shows the time in digital format. Digital clocks (like the digital alarm clock on your nightstand) can be constructed in a variety of ways to keep track of time. Nowadays, many people use digital time clocks instead of analogs. In general, there are two major methods for tracking time on these devices.

To begin with, many digital clocks rely on old-fashioned quartz crystals to keep time. Every second, the typical quartz clock's electronics counts out 32,768 vibrations of the quartz crystal and then sends a 1-second pulse of electricity to the counter, just like your digital watch.

However, another alternative for keeping time on a digital clock is to use AC power with a constant 60-hertz oscillation. This regular oscillation can be exploited in the same way as the quartz crystal plane vibrates to provide the quartz clock an extremely accurate timekeeping system.

In the 20th century, electronic clocks were introduced. There are also some other types of clocks and clock mechanisms like atomic clocks, pendulum clocks, 7-segment digital clocks, analog clocks, and analog quartz clocks, etc.

Why Choose a Digital Watch?

Something that can be stated as a number or counted on fingers is known as digital. Analog, in contrast to digital, denotes a continuous quantity. Digital timepieces have electronic displays that show the time of day in minutes and hours. Certain digital timepieces also have a well-tracked display that shows seconds.

One thing is certain about digital watches: they have a wide range of fantastic functions. Digital watches frequently include calendars, stopwatches, alarms, calculators, backlit displays, GPS, and other useful features. Low and expensive rates, as well as updated features, can be integrated into digital timepieces. They are also mostly affordable watches.

There are also some varieties in digital watches like smartwatches, apple watches, etc. They also have some unique functionalities. They can do sleep tracking, heart rate measurement, speed measurement, activity tracking, voice memos, etc. Smartwatches can also be connected with an android phone that lets you manage your phone calls, messages, audio tracks etc.

Some smartwatches are designed exclusively for athletes, allowing you to track lap time, mileage, and route. They are basically called sports watches.

Pros & Cons


  • Digital watches are more economical than analog watches.
  • Solar energy can power and run digital timepieces without the use of batteries.
  • Extra functions are built into digital watches.


  • Digital watches are less durable and seem to be like ordinary watches because of the plastic materials used in their manufacturing.
  • Because digital timepieces rely on electronic systems, there may be a lapse in regular operation.
  • Digital watches have a low level of elegance. As a result, it is not frequently accepted or used for official situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Digital or Analog Watches Last Longer?

As analog watches have the added battery drain of operating the gears that spin the hour, minute, and second hands of the watch, digital watches will last longer on a single battery than analog watches.

How Accurate is a Digital Watch?

When it comes to maintaining time, nothing matches a battery-powered quartz crystal. Digital watches show their absolute accuracy in an accurate temperature range. A basic electronic digital watch has a maximum monthly fluctuation of 15 to 30 seconds (but in practice usually runs with less variation than that).

How Does Digital Watch Display Work?

When an electric current from a battery is supplied, tiny quartz crystals inside the digital watch vibrate at a constant rate. The vibrations are picked up by a silicon chip, which converts them into regular pulses. The pulses are shown as numerals on the watch face's liquid crystal display (LCD).

Are Digital or Analog Watches More Accurate?

Taking a mechanical analog watch and a quartz digital watch and comparing their accuracy is the only way to do so. Because quartz technology is the most exact movement, the digital result is likely to be more accurate in this case.

Final Words

Nowadays, wristwatches have been an inseparable part of a man's as well as a woman's attire and digital watches have been super popular lately among the young generation. The timekeeping of a digital watch is quite accurate, its battery backup is quite decent and it got a variety of attractive and useful functionalities.

Analog display is also great in its own ways. But when it comes to choosing the watch type, personal preference does matter the most.

So considering your demand, go ahead and choose the right one for you. So thank you if you have gone through this whole article and I hope that it helped you.