Precision timekeeping-I: Beyond simple quartz technology

Many years before the artificial satellites associated with your watch, atomic clocks did. It was called Atomic Time-keeping then. Radio-Controlled is the technical term and through the decades; it got established as one of the core technologies Citizen is based upon, other than Eco-Drive and Satellite-Wave.

Imagine: An antenna built into a ceramic watch case!

Today’s Radio-Controlled has evolved into a stage where Citizen doesn’t have to stress upon the technology or create a theme around it. So, no antennas, no visible signal receivers; no funny business!  Drastic, rapid improvements of the antenna and the signal receiving-circuit reduced their sizes and got camouflaged, but that’s not where it ended! Reception sensitivity was boosted manyfolds and in less than ten years, by 2003, Citizen built the first RC watch with a full metal case. It was believed to be an impossible task; an unobtainable goal —until then! Signal reception is prone to interference from the metal in its immediate surrounding; sensitivity of the antenna doesn’t help much. It lay beyond the grasp of the watchmaking community for some time; just like when in 1989, a wireless contact with the atomic clocks was established. Others couldn’t figure it out first; slowly, they learnt.

Evolving further

That wasn’t like the multi-band radio-controlled watch we see today. The multi-band RC technology was introduced in 1993. Again, CITIZEN was the first one to launch the type. They placed the antenna right at the centre of the dial but well, it also proclaimed to be a radio-controlled watch staring at your face. It was too showy; too figurative.

Needless saying, still…

The mechanics of ultra-precise timekeeping

  • Precise time, every time is attained through capturing a signal from an atomic clock with an accuracy of +1 second/100,000 years.
  • The master IC inside the watch keeps count of the impulses received and adjusts/changes the timekeeping and calendar accordingly.
  • CITIZEN’s light-powered Eco-Drive technology doesn’t let the watch’s mechanism any downtime if charged according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • With the need for battery replacements disappearing, factory seal can stay intact for as long as you want it to.

Following are the links to a few of the Citizen RC watches. Click to see and buy them.