Bathys Is Putting an Atomic Clock Into a Watch

A decent quartz watch can easily out-perform a certified chronometer's automatic movement by only losing or gaining a second per day, but a cesium atomic clock is pretty much infallible. Since a second is literally defined as the time it takes for a cesium 133 atom to vibrate 9,192,631,770 times, actually measuring those vibrations directly instead of approximating a quartz equivalent yields perfect results. While there's some quartz watches that sync with the U.S. atomic clock, there's only one watch that actually has a built-in atomic clock: the Bathys Hawaii Cesium 133.

According to our friends at Hodinkee, this is the very first watch of its kind. Inside the considerably large housing β€” but small when you think about what's going in there β€” the Hawaiian watchmakers managed to fit a chip-scale atomic clock connected to a standard quartz watch movement.

The current prototype has a carbon fiber case, but the final product will most likely look like the top above when it comes to production. Not a huge improvement β€” it still looks like an iPhone with a wrist strap β€” but this piece isn't about the looks. It's about missing a second every 1,000 years. But with the trend of watches getting bigger and bigger, by the time this watch misses a second, it'll look tiny.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Gear editor of Supercompressor. He likes to keep track of time. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.