Analog Vs. Digital Clocks


Even though digital clocks have many useful functions that analog clocks do not, such as the ability to display the date, temperature, some people still prefer to keep analog clocks around.

Mechnical Analog Clocks

  • A mechanical clock tells time with gears, a mainspring and a pendulum. Winding a mechanical clock with a key tightens the mainspring, and as the mainspring unwinds it turns the gears. A mechanical clock can run without electricity.

Digital Clocks

  • A digital clock uses a crystal oscillator. An electric charge is sent through the crystal, and the crystal changes shape slightly and emits a slight sound that is converted to an electrical signal used to keep time. Some digital clocks are programmed to allow you to set a date or to double as a thermometer. These can occasionally be more versatile than analog clocks.

Quartz Analog Clocks

  • A quartz clock is electrical, squeezing a quartz crystal to generate electricity. When squeezed, all quartz crystals vibrate exactly 32,768 times every second. A circuit inside the clock counts each vibration and sends out a pulse every second that makes the gears move to keep accurate time.


  • If you are trying to decide between a digital clock or analog, consider what you may want out of your timepiece. Mechanical analog clocks will need to be wound, and their time keeping is not as accurate as quartz analog clocks or digital clocks. A digital clock is quite accurate, and depending on the type it can also tell you the date, temperature and other information that an analog clock simply cannot provide.

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