The advantage of a harmonic oscillator over other forms of oscillator is that it employs resonance to vibrate at a precise natural resonant frequency or 'beat' dependent only on its physical characteristics, and resists vibrating at other rates. The possible precision achievable by a harmonic oscillator is measured by a parameter called its Q,[68][69] or quality factor, which increases (other things being equal) with its resonant frequency.[70] This is why there has been a long term trend toward higher frequency oscillators in clocks. Balance wheels and pendulums always include a means of adjusting the rate of the timepiece. Quartz timepieces sometimes include a rate screw that adjusts a capacitor for that purpose. Atomic clocks are primary standards, and their rate cannot be adjusted.
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The primary purpose of a clock is to display the time. Clocks may also have the facility to make a loud alert signal at a specified time, typically to waken a sleeper at a preset time; they are referred to as alarm clocks. The alarm may start at a low volume and become louder, or have the facility to be switched off for a few minutes then resume. Alarm clocks with visible indicators are sometimes used to indicate to children too young to read the time that the time for sleep has finished; they are sometimes called training clocks.

Alarm clocks are perfect for your nightstand or bedside table to make sure that you wake up on time. There are many different kinds of alarm clocks, ranging from digital clocks, analog clocks to projection clocks. Originally, clocks had difficulty with precision because they used a set of imprecise internal gears. Now, atomic alarm clocks are the perfect solution if you are looking for a clock that will get you to work on time. The best alarm clock depends on your needs and personal style. You should consider your purpose behind purchasing an alarm clock before making your selection.

“I was looking for a small, battery-operated clock with a light for my bedside. I wake often in the middle of the night, and I do not keep my cell phone beside the bed (bad idea, as it is tempting to use it, and that does not help sleep). I had a small battery-operated clock I purchased from Walmart years ago, and it finally broke after being knocked off the bedside table too many times. … So I looked on Amazon, and this is the best replacement I could find. It is slightly larger but does the job. I push the top button and can see the time without waking my partner. Nice little clock for the price, and if I knock it off during the night and break it, it has not broken my budget!”