Swatch Group sets new records in microchip timekeepers for the Internet of Things


Swatch Group is continuing its mission to create a Silicon Valley in Switzerland with technological innovations that will maintain the country’s grip on timekeeping innovation in an age of digital connectivity.

The group’s latest invention is a real time clock module that sets new benchmarks for its miniature size, reliability and frugal power consumption.

A Real Time Clock module is an electronic quartz watch in a chip, giving the year, month, day and time to any electronic system. The applications are very broad, for billions of electronic products that need to display the time.


The module has an integrated circuit and a miniaturized tuning fork crystal in the same ultra-small vacuum-sealed ceramic package.

The module, designed by Micro Crystal with the support of EM Microelectronic, a company of the Swatch Group, and the CSEM Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, has set three new records, the company says:

 First, it is the highest accuracy Real Time Clock, reaching +/- 0.26 second/day over a temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. This stability is required particularly by applications in blooming markets such as outdoor security cameras and smart e-meters. Automotive entertainment systems are another typical application for the module.

Secondly, it has the lowest power consumption of any high-accuracy Real Time Clock, reaching 240 nanoampere, capable of running five years on a standard small button battery. Such low consumption is key for numerous Internet of Things (IoT) objects, which should be able to work for years without any battery changing.

Thirdly, it is the smallest sized Real Time Clock module, with dimensions of 3.2 x 1.5 x 0.8 mm. The size is also a key feature for portable IoT devices integrating multiple functions and applications.

“This innovation demonstrates once again the technological innovativeness of the Swatch Group’s companies, transferring their expertise in quartz design, low-power integrated circuit design and industrialized packaging technology from watch applications to IoT, consumer and industrial use,” a Swatch Group statement says.

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