Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world


In this post I wanted touch again on my mind-blowing realisation about the exquisite, tiny difference between two main watch-types but here I’ll focus on Quartz.

I had no idea growing up that there was anything other than a battery-powered watch. Watches had ‘Quartz’ written on the front and that was that. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that on discovering automatic watches I became an instant convert. That was until the nosey little voice in my head wanted to know ‘but what is quartz and does it make an inferior watch?

Well, to get the science bit out of the way…quartz does not (as I’d always assumed) pulse each second. No. In fact, when a current is passed through quartz, it oascilates. It turns out that this happens at a precise frequency: exactly 32768 times each second. So, on making this discovery in 1927 two bright sparks – Warren Morrison and J.W.Horton – developed a regulator that made cogs turn each 32768 oscilations and hey presto, a quartz clock is born. Isn’t that amazing?! So although you might think of quartz watches as being electronic, there’s a tiny natural miracle in there.

Craft purists and mechanics of all kinds may tend to opt now for automatic watches but the thing with these beauties is they keep perfect time almost without exception, there are fewer moving parts to need repairing and quartz needs so little power to do its little shuffle that a battery will tend to last years at a time.

Did you know that Rolex had a range of quartz watches – Oysterquartz – from the 70s until 2001? Now you do.

Anyway, after a childhood filled with watches I didn’t wear one for some years in my early 20s (I really can’t remember why. I did (and still do) have a lovely quartz Tissot T-Trend which at the time I deemed too dressy for my punk sensibilities. These days it’s a treasured friend and a classic dress-watch.


But eventually I decided I needed a timepiece; something that represented me. Having become a half-decent surfer I eventually settled on a brand: Nixon was the one for me. So it was that while on honeymoon I fell in love with the Nixon Cannon at the top of this post. I bought it in none other than Times Square, New York and liked it so much that some years later I bought it again in gold in Reykjavik.

So, I’ve gone back to thinking Quartz is amazing and the old timepieces are getting some renewed love. The pictures are taken at Croyde Bay, North Devon. UK surf at its best.