At the present time the Swiss watch industry is applying two parallel
technologies: electronic technology, with the analog quartz watch
(sometimes combined with digital display) and the more traditional
technology of the mechanical watch which origin dates back in the
Almost 90 % of the industry's production, in terms of volume, is
currently made up of electronic, battery-operated watches, mainly
of the analog type. 10 % is of mechanical products whose export
value continues to be of fundamental importance, as these watches
represent more than 52 % of Swiss watch exports in terms of value.
In an analog quartz watch, the heart of the watch is the integrated
circuit, made up of a large number of electronic components grouped
together on a base of only a few square millimeters.
The source of energy consists of a miniature battery which lasts
several years. The time is divided by a quartz oscillator which
is made to vibrate by the energy supplied by the battery. Quartz
watches are extremely accurate thanks to their high frequency of
vibrations (32 kHz); their annual variation is only about one minute
per year, equivalent to less than a second a day. In this field
there are two main kinds of products:
1) watches with an analog display (hands),
2) watches with digital display; this is fitted with liquid crystals
which receive, directly from the integrated circuit, the impulses
needed to display the time. So there is no mechanical transmission.