Do Quartz Watches Need Batteries? - Montret

Do Quartz Watches Need Batteries?

Of course, they do. Electricity is a necessity for quartz watches to operate.

Quartz watches have been in existence since 1969 when the Japanese watch manufacturer, Seiko, invented the technology of using quartz as a tuning fork. The tuning pork could run following a standard vibration once triggered by battery power.

What Are Quartz Watches?

Quartz watches are a type of watch that uses crystal technology to tell time. Elaborately, quartz watches are digital watch solutions fitted with an electronic oscillator that uses a quartz crystal to keep and tell time. Do Quartz watches need batteries?  The crystal oscillator is run by battery power which produces a signal with accurate frequency to give precise time updates.

The watch uses digital logic to count the signal cycles to display accurate numeric time in the form of seconds, minutes, and hours.

How Do Quartz Watches Work?

Do quartz watches need batteries? You will find out as you go on. Quartz is a piezoelectric material with excellent crystal properties. Piezoelectric materials generate current when squeezed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that quartz watches are added with some squeezing mechanisms for them to generate current.

Also, piezoelectric materials vibrate at equal frequencies once current passes through them. For quartz watches to work, the quartz crystal is exposed to electric shock, causing the electricity produced to induce the crystal’s interior atomic structure. That triggers oscillation, which enables it to let go of the energy gained. The watch contains an inner circuit for measuring the oscillation and works to move the timing functions of the watch.

So Do Quartz Watches Need Batteries?

The answer to this question is a hearty yes and no. Starting from the first quartz watch ever invented, electrical energy has always been the primary source of power used to run these watches. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all quartz watches use batteries. Watch manufacturers are now using battery alternatives such as solar and self-winding technologies.

  1. Self-winding: One most common technology for propelling quartz watches is self-winding. In these types of watches, when you move around, the moving components of the watch will move, producing energy that is stored in a capacitor. The stored energy will then produce little amounts of electric currents ideal for oscillating the capacity.
  2. Solar power: Another popular power source alternative used in quartz watches is solar energy. Solar-powered quartz watches are quite a contemporary choice. Not many quartz watch manufacturers have adopted this technology.  These watches come with a small solar panel that collects and stores energy in a capacitor. When you’re in a place without solar energy, the circuit inside the watch will use the energy stored in the capacitor to charge the crystal and oscillate it.

The Most Popular Types of Batteries Used in Quartz Watches

Modern quartz watches use different types of batteries. However, there’re five main battery options, which are solar cells, lithium, silver oxide, mercury oxide, and silver peroxide batteries. These batteries are uniquely designed and have varied features that define their usability, pros, and cons.

  1. Lithium quartz watch batteries

Almost 70% of quartz watches run on lithium quartz watch batteries. Watch manufacturers use metal lithium as a negative electrode, which is characterized by long storage life, high voltage, and low self-discharge rate. The minimum voltage output of most lithium quartz batteries is 3 volts.

Genuine lithium quartz watch batteries have brightly polished surfaces characterized by the manufacturer’s trademark and manufacturing date. Counterfeit batteries have rough surfaces with blurred trademarks and shorter useful life.  

  1. Silver oxide quartz watch batteries

Silver oxide quartz watch batteries are characterized by high physical density, minimal environmental pollution, and superior stability. These batteries have great differences between low current and high current outputs. They have a voltage rating of 1.55V, which will drop quickly once the battery is drained up. That ensures superior quartz watch timing accuracy.

Sadly, you cannot use battery voltage measurements to tell when your silver oxide battery charge is full. In fact, there is no safe instrument that can be used to measure the voltage of silver oxide batteries.

  1. Solar cell quartz watch batteries

Solar cell powered quartz watches are the smartest and most innovative. They are not your everyday type of quartz watch batteries. Solar cell-powered quartz watches work by converting light energy into useful electrical energy, which is used to power the circuit and oscillating the quartz crystal.

Most solar cell-powered quartz watches use a capacitor to store electrical energy. The stored energy is used by the built-in circuit to charge and oscillate the crystal. There are only a few brands of quartz watches currently on sale as watch manufacturers are yet to adopt the solar-cell technology.

  1. Silver peroxide quartz watch batteries

When buying quartz watches, you will likely come across some that use silver peroxide batteries. Silver peroxide batteries are also known as divalent silver quartz batteries. They have a voltage rating of 1.55V and are characterized by poor voltage stability and high energy capacity. Silver peroxide quartz batteries are quite a great choice but not so popular in the modern quartz watch market.

  1. Mercury oxide quartz watch batteries

Mercury oxide batteries are the oldest options ever used in quartz watches. They are actually the oldest of all the quartz watch batteries ever invented. These batteries are unreliable and unsafe since they generate high environmental pollution. They have a slightly lower voltage rating of 1.35v, which manes they are not as effective as other batteries.


Do Quartz watches need batteries? If you have read this post then u have your answer. All the quartz batteries we discussed can only store energy for a limited period. Some can store the energy for more hours, but they all drain over time. The useful life of any quartz battery depends on the voltage rating and watch features.

Quartz watches with additional features and functions such as alarm functions, and lights will need more power. So, when replacing your quartz watch batteries, you should pay attention to the features and functions of your quartz watch. Choose replacement batteries that match the voltage rating of your current battery.

Also, know the battery technology your quartz watch uses. You don’t want to buy a solar cell battery while your watch runs on lithium or silver oxide batteries. Manufacturers are no longer producing mercury oxide quartz watches, and so, it’s only safe you avoid watches that run on mercury oxide batteries.