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Watches and clocks are significant devices that have been used for daily life purposes for over centuries. Obviously, their formats, style and designs and even the functioning have changed over time, but their core purpose remains the same. An analog watch is one of the most commonly used forms of watches. Also, you must have come across the watch term “analog” quite a few times. So, lets get to it – what is an analog watch?

Literally, analog refers to a representation of changing values and quantitates, in the form of some signal or device. In contrast to digital representation, analog watches use hands that move around the face of the watch as the time changes. A continuous rotation of two to three hands (or indicators) is a core component of any analog watch. They are referred to as much simpler, traditional types of watches and clocks, and are still widely in use.

analog watch

Tick Tock

An analog watch typically consists of a machine that creates the “ticking” motion and moves the seconds, hours, and minute’s hands simultaneously. The hour hand is shorter than the minutes, and the second’s hand is the thinner and the longest hand on the dial. The dial is often referred to as the “face of the watch.” The dial has fixed numerical or hour markers in the correct order, towards which the hour hand points out to indicate the time.

These numbers can be in multiple forms. They can be Arabic numeral or Roman numbers as well. Moreover, to make things simpler and sometimes to add creativity, some dials don’t have all the hour markers marked and only have the 12, 3, 6 and 9 digits marked. Between these hour markers are the minute markers. They are comparatively much smaller in size and are usually in the form of indices. These are where the minute hands point towards.

analog watch

How Does it Work?

Analog watches have Quartz mechanism that enables the “ticking” of the hands to indicate the time on the dial. Quartz watches are the most precise and reliable timepieces you can find. How is that?

Quartz-based watches have a battery powered circuit that produces electricity and passes the electric current to the Quartz crystal. Quartz crystals are piezoelectric, meaning that quartz has an ability to turn electric currents into mechanical signals and vice versa. The precise and frequent vibration causes the motors and gears to move and turn the hands on the dial. Because the mechanisms of an analog watch require such less electric energy, their batteries also last you a very long time.

How is it Different Than a Digital Watch?

To put it simply, analog watches have a mechanical structure that rotates the hands, while digital watches work by electrical structures powering the number/digit display.

analog watch

Digital Watches vs. Analog Watches

The biggest difference between digital and analog watches is their display form. While an analog watch displays the time through hands on a dial, a digital watch displays time in the form of digits and numbers on usually an LED screen. Digital watches use batteries or any form of electric power source that enables vibrations and pulses to go through a circuit.

In addition to the electric power sourcing and digital display, digital watches also display a different time format. Most commonly, digital watches display time in a 24-hour format. However, there are many digital watches that allow you to set the format according to your format.  In an analog watch, however, 12-hour format is the only option.

Typically, digital watches have seven-segmented screens, ranging from either LCD, LED, or VFD screens. The screen displays bright-colored 4-digit numbers, and sometimes also includes an AM/PM display.

analog watch

There are some digital watches that require a power supply from the main source. In these cases, if there are power outages or accidental power-offs, the watch needs to reset all over again. In case of battery operated digital watches, the batteries will need replacement once fully drained.

Mechanical Watches

Analog watches can also be referred to as mechanical watches. Their machines need to be either manually or automatically need to be wounded. Nowadays, especially the higher-end analog watches have self-winding automatic movement. Analog watches are also known for being more reliable and precise. Other than display, time format, and power source differences between the two kinds of watches, it is also important to note that analog watches are still the most commonly used kind in this digital age. Why is that so?

A mechanical, analog watch is much more than just a device showing you the time. It can be incorporated with significant functionalities like GMT feature showing the time for two-time zones. Moonphase, day and date display and chronograph functions are other extra functions that can be played by an analog watch. While analog watches have great functionality and efficiency, it is also true that they are a great piece of accessory as well.

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