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Will there ever be watches that are 100% accurate? Why or why not?

No doubt you have heard of the extreme time-keeping accuracy of atomic clocks and quartz watches, but is there a watch or clock anywhere in the world that is truly 100% accurate? Watch experts and science geeks everywhere weighed in and the answer is resoundingly clear. Keep reading to learn what it is and why.

Rex Freiberger

Rex Freiberger

Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review.

The Laws of Physics Dictate

I’d say it’s impossible for a physical watch to not lose any time whatsoever, though things like quartz watches are incredibly accurate and lose less time than traditional mechanical watches. The difference is the amount of friction being applied.

A traditional watch’s mechanical parts are moved by gears. The laws of physics dictate that friction must be applied for this to occur, and because friction exists, your moving parts are going to be moved themselves. It won’t even be a discernible amount at first. Some watches don’t start to lose noticeable time for years. But eventually, that friction will cause the watch to be off by enough that it needs to be rewound.

Quartz watches use oscillation as the source of their movement, so they create less friction and need to be adjusted less often. But every watch with physical components will have this need just because of the existence of friction.

Travis Hines

Travis Hines

Travis Hines, Head Watchmaker at Crown & Caliber.

Watch Accuracy

There will likely never be a watch that’s 100% accurate. Even with advancements in science today, measurement devices still have a deviation over time, even if it’s one second every 15 billion years. From a more terrestrial outlook, the Earth’s rotation changes slightly which necessitates that need to adjust our clocks by leap seconds so that our day and night cycles match with our time and rotation. So, no matter which way you interpret what accuracy means, we’re still not 100% accurate in the universe or even our own planet.

Kaz Mirza

Kaz Mirza

Kaz Mirza is the Co-Founder of Two Broke Watch Snobs and has been collecting watches since 2015.

Your Reps Will Be Out of Rhythm

Frankly, a 100% accurate watch isn’t possible. All watches (battery-powered or mechanical) have to rely on a power-source and that power source needs energy. As that energy depletes, the accuracy of the watch will be negatively impacted. Just think of it like lifting a weight 20 times – your first few lifts will be nice and smooth. But on the last few you’ll be out of energy and the lifts will be slower and less smooth. Your reps will be out of rhythm. That’s what happens to a watch as its energy source depletes and that means the accuracy will be affected as it uses and regains energy over and over.

John Stevenson

John Stevenson

John Stevenson, a Marketing Specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation.

Changes in temperature

There are high-quality watches that can be close to a hundred percent accurate but there will never be watches that will be a hundred percent accurate because the changes in temperature can affect the watch’s accuracy. For example, under a low temperature your watch can gain time and in a higher temperature, it has a tendency to lose time.

Alex Perkins

Alex Perkins

Alex Perkins, Co-founder of All the Stuff.

Time Is a Concept

In my perspective, there’s no possibility that a watch can get an accurate time, because I have always believed time is a concept which we look at from different perspectives. There are dimensions and some scientific equations relevant to time that may seem unfathomable to most people but are genuinely efficient in terms of describing time and its accuracy.

Consequently, what makes it harder to define time as an absolute is a fact that we have time zones which mean there will never be a right and correct time.

Sankalan Baidya

Sankalan Baidya is the founder and CEO of Facts Legend, a website that is dedicated to giving facts and is targeted primarily toward students and curious minds.

It Is All Because of Relativity

No, it is not possible. There can’t be 100% accurate watches, ever! It is all because of relativity. Time is relative to an individual, and there is no universal time. In general relativity, there is something called gravitational time dilation. It states that a clock in a strong gravitational field ticks slower than a clock in a weak gravitational field. So, in short, time itself is affected and you can’t accurately measure something that is relative. You may create a perfect device, but you can’t control time.

Fun Fact:The most accurate watches you can get are the atomic watches that lose 1 second every 100 million years on an average. The world’s most accurate atomic watch loses 1 second every 15 billion years. Compare this with mechanical watches that lose 10 seconds every 24 hours on an average.

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