Quartz accuracy: Beyond the COSC standards

We discussed mechanical accuracy previously; now, it’s turn for quartz. While there’s no doubt on the part that quartz watches exhibit a consistently higher accuracy than mechanical watches, it’s also a fact that they are not always dot on time. They can run as less as ±1 second per day to a little more (±5 seconds); it all depends on the cut, the shape and the resulting vibration of the piezoelectric crystal to determine its stability (and therefore, its accuracy) as a resonator. However, a quartz watch is unaffected by gravity, has a greater tolerance against shocks and vibration and do not depend on lubricants; so you also need to bring those points under consideration. Unless you bring it really close to things like MRI and x-ray equipment (or something similar creating high magnetic fields) your quartz watch will keep beating the much-praised COSC standards (for mechanicals) for many years. The question is, if your quartz watch is good enough to stay accurate to ± 0.02 seconds/day (at 38oC); that’s the current COSC standard for quartz movements. Below are a few more points to help you with the details:

  • Accuracy: ±0.2 seconds (8°C); ±0.07 seconds (23°C).
  • Fluctuation in accuracy due to mechanical shocks: ±0.05 seconds.
  • Rate resumption: ±0.05 seconds.
  • Residual effect: ±0.05

However, it is often not opted by most manufacturers. The sole reason behind is the COSC certification increases drastically the price of a watch. But surprisingly, the Grand Seiko standards exceed those set by COSC and yet beat their Swiss counterparts in price while retaining the same (if not better) quality.

So let’s see what goes into a Grand Seiko. The ZARATSU polish, razor-cut hands and indices and more stringent criteria than COSC inspection all get together for the most precise construction, an exceedingly accurate timekeeping and full 50 years before you need to take it for a service.

That obviously brings the question why we don’t hear about it as much as the COSC certified watches? The only reason is they are made for the Japan Domestic Market and are never offered on a global scale (we are not raising the question on how it earned an international – though admittedly small – fan base), but those few that leaked out made it evident they are more than fit for the big stage and decidedly more contemporary.

But even if it is a rich history of excellence, there must be a proper platform to give it a ground to stand. Sadly, they haven’t taken any real initiative to that till now.

 

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