Why Jewels In A Quartz Watch

[Question:] 15 Jewel Raymond Weil Quartz?!

Base: TimeZone Forum

Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 23:34:11 GMT

From: David Allen <sigcab@erols.com>

Michael Friedberg’s posting a few up the line mentioning quartz Pateks with 7 jewels reminded me of a little surprise I received a few weeks ago. I have a very plain, elegant ss, blue-faced Raymond Weil quartz watch that is an ‘almost looks like’ model of the Patek Phillipe 5000, except that the seconds bit is back at 6, not at 4 like the Patek. Face markings and hands are in white enamel. While changing the battery, I noticed the movement is marked ’15 jewels’! This watch (9000 series model) is current production and lists for $395, I think. I have another quartz, a Concord Mariner 500 SG, with the same ’15 jewels’ marking. This in a watch that retailed for about $3250.

Is this 15 jewel movement going to give any better/longer service than, say, a 2, 3, or 7 jewel? Is this movement one of those that Walt says can be tweaked in 1/3 second per month intervals? Is this one of those really, really expensive quartz movements (i.e., costs $20 instead of $3:>) )? Anyone out there with a quartz that is more ‘bejewelled’?

David Allen

Quartz movements don’t need a lot of jewels

Base: TimeZone Forum

Re: [Question] 15 Jewel Raymond Weil Quartz?! (David Allen)

Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:46:59 GMT

From: Walt Arnstein <walt@ricochet.net>

Hi, David,

That 15 jewels is quite a surprise! I guess they won’t do any harm, but most won’t do a lot of good either, so I’m guessing that their presence is motivated more by marketing considerations than by engineering. A quartz movement’s fastest moving part is the stepper motor pivot which moves in abrupt 180 degree twists once per second. Some older models moved in even smaller arcs (although still once per second). Also, dress watches that have no second hand usually advance the gears only every 10 or 20 seconds, dramatically reducing battery drain, whose main componentis the current pulse that rotates the stepper. The rest of the wheels move VERY slowly. But even more significantly, the gear train of a quartz movement is not under load as is that of a mechanical movement. The latter is holding back the torque of a fully wound mainspring, which exerts a strong transverse force on every pivot in the movement. This force is balanced by the jewels and other bearings, in addition to which the jewels experience the relatively rapid rotational motion of the balance wheel, pallet, escape wheel, etc. all of which move quite a bit faster than those of a quartz watch’s train.

The wheels of a quartz watch are basically free wheeling, which is also why their bearings don’t need the frequent cleaning and oiling schedule of the mechanical watches.

Let the experts elaborate on this and correct me if necessary, but my guess would be that anything more than 4 or 5 jewels, say, is cosmetic. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO CHRONOGRAPHS, however. They may need more jewels as many have faster moving parts.

Any quartz specialists among us who could add some concrete info on this? Your input would be appreciated.


[More:] Jewels in Quartz Movements

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Re: [Question] 15 Jewel Raymond Weil Quartz?! (David Allen)

Keywords: quartz movement jewels (long text)

Date: Mon, 04 Aug 1997 19:49:23 GMT

From: Jack Freedman <jfsuperior@aol.com>

Hi Allen,

Your question whether more jewels give any better/longer service to a quartz watch movement brings to mind a couple of stories and points tomention.

About twenty five years ago, when quartz watches were hardly yet heard of, there were some watch companies which took special pride in declaring their MECHANICAL watches having more than the basic 17-jewels. They boasted of having 39-jewels and some even with 64-jewels. At the time, these watches were the laughing stock of every watchmaker who had an occasion to see these bejewelled and dressed-up mini machines.

Likewise, as Walt already mentioned in his posted message, extra jewels in a QUARTZ movement won’t do harm but the question remains whether there is any beneficial merit for them. I believe some of the added jewels serve both a functional and aesthetical use. During assembly and repairs of such movements, the train wheels are much easier set between two jeweled plates than they are between two RAW train plate pivot holes.

In addition, the jewels give the movements a much more beautified finish in the same vein as special effect finishes have on a train bridge. These extra touches, whether we speak of added stamped pearl finishes, jewels, or gold plating, are all an indication of the extra care and attention some watch manufacturers lavish on their movements.

It is, in my humble opinion, a small measure of satisfaction to those consumers who cherish the meticulousness of added touches which enhance the overall look and quality of the product. It’s no less or different than other aesthetics companies, like Patek Philippe, offer inside a watch which most people never get to see but are aware that they exist.

Many years ago, I read an article about how a well-known Rolls Royce dealer lines up EVERY screw, in their serviced cars, with the slots up invertical position. This, to some people, borders lunatic labor serving no functional purpose. Yet, others marvel over the fanatical dedicated devotion those mechanics have to the famous luxury automobile.

As a watch technician and a perfectionist, I can appreciate frivolous amenities in a watch which indicate attention to detail. If it’s not gaudy but adds, even a minimum of, value I’ll accept it with the extra trimmings.

These are just my personal opinions.

Jack Freedman

[Feedback:] Speaking of lining up screws….

Base: TimeZone Forum

Re: [Question] 15 Jewel Raymond Weil Quartz?! (David Allen)

Re: [More] Jewels in Quartz Movements (Jack Freedman)

Keywords: quartz movement jewels (long text)

Date: Mon, 04 Aug 1997 21:25:55 GMT

From: Roy Scott <zeno@magicnet.net>

I love how the screws on the Audemars-Puguet Royal Oak, and the Royal Oak Offshore are set to line up with the tangent to the circle of the round face and crystal. Things like that, are part of what makes a Royal Oak.

[Agree:] Jack great post! NT

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Re: [Question] 15 Jewel Raymond Weil Quartz?! (David Allen)

Re: [More] Jewels in Quartz Movements (Jack Freedman)

Keywords: quartz movement jewels (long text)

Date: Wed, 06 Aug 1997 16:56:47 GMT

From: David Andriessen <david@lookoutgfx.com>