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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another recent thread about quartz clocks reminded me of a question I've had for some time. Technically it should be trivial to give a quartz movement a smooth sweeping hand. I understand originally the 1-second tick was introduced to improve battery life, but nowadays that's much less of an issue.

And since smoothly sweeping seconds give a watch a much higher quality feel, why aren't there more quartz movements with a sweeping second hand? It would make quartz watches a lot more palatable for me personally if I weren't reminded of their movement every second ;)
 

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I understand originally the 1-second tick was introduced to improve battery life, but nowadays that's much less of an issue.
It is, but I imagine most users would prefer a longer battery life to a smoother sweep. If a smooth sweep, i.e. four ticks per second, shortened the battery life by a factor of four - I'm not sure it would, maybe it would be less - I wouldn't like that in my watch.
 

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I asked this before and the answer was simple that it greatly reduced battery life. Don’t know by how much or what the “truth is but seemed reasonable to me. Watch battery is much smaller than a couple double aa batteries like my wall clock at work takes
 

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If the watch is solar/kinetic kind, wouldn't the "reduced battery life" be trivial issue if issue at ALL? Why doesn't Citizen/Seiko have that feature? That said, I do remember my OLD Seiko chronograph watch with smooth chrono second hand.
 
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It’s still about power.

But hey, think of it like this. Back before quartz, a deadbeat seconds complication was a special sort of thing. Instead of a watch’s seconds hand ticking five, six, etc. times a second, it was just once. What glorious timekeeping possibilities!



So I would just imagine that it’s a cool thing instead.
 

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I asked this before and the answer was simple that it greatly reduced battery life. Don’t know by how much or what the “truth is but seemed reasonable to me. Watch battery is much smaller than a couple double aa batteries like my wall clock at work takes
That's about it. A continuously running motor, similar to the one found in wall clocks, would eat the battery pretty quickly.

The Bulova 262 kHz 3-hand movement (ticks 8 times a second) takes a battery more than twice the size of a conventional 32kHz crystal movement (once a second). Its battery is typically done in 2-3 years.
 

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If the watch is solar/kinetic kind, wouldn't the "reduced battery life" be trivial issue if issue at ALL? Why doesn't Citizen/Seiko have that feature? That said, I do remember my OLD Seiko chronograph watch with smooth chrono second hand.
Good q. I imagine the faster charge/discharge cycle would deplete the accumulator/capacitor more quickly, and rely on the watch being lit much more that it currently needs.

Some chrono movements have 1 Hz running hands and 4-5 Hz chrono hands. As long as the chrono isn't run continuously, this seems like a good balance. Accuracy when you need it, power reserve when you don't.
 

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It's about lack of demand for a feature that would mean more trips to the battery change shop. I suspect most owners would not notice the difference in second hand movement.

FWIW the stepped second hand was initially advertised as a feature on then new quartz watches. At the time a few mechanical watches had the expensive feature that showed precisely when the second changed. It quickly became commonplace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Seiko Spring drive?
Yes, I know they exist. The question is why sweeping quartz seconds aren't more commonplace. Especially when there are quite pricey quartz watches out there (e.g. various Tag Heuers, etc.). A smoother sweep would increase the luxury feel of such watches quite a bit.
 

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Probably a lack of market demand. The average consumer wouldn't care about how smoothly the second hand sweeps, and the reduced battery life would look unfavourable on a spec sheet when comparing between different models. Most collectors are primarily into mechanicals, so even in the enthusiast market there wouldn't be a lot of demand.
 

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If the watch is solar/kinetic kind, wouldn't the "reduced battery life" be trivial issue if issue at ALL? Why doesn't Citizen/Seiko have that feature? That said, I do remember my OLD Seiko chronograph watch with smooth chrono second hand.
If I ever find an omniscient being this is the first question I'll ask.
 

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Check out the Newmark Field 52 here:


It uses a Seiko VH31A quartz movement which ticks 4 times per second. This ends up looking like a lower beat mechanical movement and is a perfect fit for this older style field watch. I own this watch, and it is lovely. Can’t figure out why more brands don’t use this movement. According to the Newmark website, it uses
Battery type SR920SW / 371 with 2 year life.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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We may as well list here the watches with such movement that aren't chronographs. I'm aware of these five, all powered by the Seiko VH31:

Newark 52 (38mm)
Vario Eclipse (38mm, sold out)
Wolbrook Skindiver World Time (40mm)
Kingsbury Monarch (42mm)
WMT W20 (35mm)
LMM-01 Field Watch (38mm)

Edit: added the LMM
 

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I have some quartz watches with smooth sweeping second hands, including Seikos with 5S42 and 5S21 movements (4 steps per second, smoothed out to seemless appearance by running the second hand gear through a viscous dampening mechanism) and a Bulova 262kHz (16 steps per second, not 8 as a previous poster had said). The Bulova has a bigger cell than most quartz watches, though I note its CR2016 is the same as my old Longines VHP uses. Of course, the Longines gets 10 years out of that battery, whereas the Bulova gets two or three. The Seikos with their 32kHz oscillators and 4-steps-and-a-dampening-mechanism trick manage to get a good 5 years out a normal SR927SW.

As others have said, it's mostly about the battery drain. The very ealiest Beta 21 quartz movements had beautifully smooth second hands and batteries that lasted a year. I also agree with what others have said about their being very little consumer demand for smooth sweeping second hands on quartz watches.

One of the things I like most about quartz watches is their precise tick (especially where each tick sees the second hand perfectly hits each marker, as with my Grand Seikos). Indeed, my favourite mechanical watch that I have ever owned was a Habring2 with a deadbeat second complication. The attachment that some mechanical watch owners have for sweeping second hands is no doubt seen as a great triumph of marketing by the Swiss watch giants, but for many years prior to the quartz revolution, watch makers had been striving to replicate (reliably) in wrist watches the same deadbeat tick that made pendulum clocks so admired as instruments of precision. To be able to mark, consistently and precisely, the start and finish of each second opens the door to the realisation of the original horological goal - the accurate measurement of time.

And since the competition for accuracy and precision has been dominated by quartz watches since the 1970s, why would brands look to sell short that achievement (and increase costs / sacrifice battery life) by going for a smooth sweeping second hand? Well, clearly some have, in order to give their watches a USP, but honestly I find the smooth sweeping second hand on my Bulova Precisionist to be a stark contradiction to the name 'precisionist'.
 

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Probably a lack of market demand. The average consumer wouldn't care about how smoothly the second hand sweeps, and the reduced battery life would look unfavourable on a spec sheet when comparing between different models. Most collectors are primarily into mechanicals, so even in the enthusiast market there wouldn't be a lot of demand.
Don't be surprised that there're presence of consumers out there who wants "sweeping seconds mechanical behaviour" eye candy yet quartz watch slim build that wraps around there wrists.
 

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If the watch is solar/kinetic kind, wouldn't the "reduced battery life" be trivial issue if issue at ALL? Why doesn't Citizen/Seiko have that feature? That said, I do remember my OLD Seiko chronograph watch with smooth chrono second hand.
Interesting point. I have one of the new Accutron DNA watches with the electrostatic generators and motor, and while it does have a sweeping seconds hand, it stops moving whenever the watch stops moving. Must be a real drain on the capacitor.

Sweeping seconds is a neat party trick, but much less so when you have to swing your arm around to get it moving again when you want to show it off. :rolleyes:
 
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