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What's the difference between quartz and liquid crystal?


Author's Note

The biggest surprise during my research for this story was the paradox: Liquid crystals and quartz have almost nothing in common, but within the guts of a wristwatch, they depend on one another. I guess I never considered this, because I haven't worn a watch in years (as long as I have my iPhone, I probably never will again). But it's striking to know now that, whenever I encounter someone sporting a quartz watch, time is dictated by thousands of micro-vibrations a second; that we recognize the forward shift because light passes through filters; and that this is all going on completely out-of-sight, yet so close to us in a simple piece of technology that we take for granted. It makes me wonder what's inside my garage door opener.

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Sources

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