While there’s evidence that some low-cost lighting products made in China are of dubious quality, I have no data, anecdotal or otherwise, on quartz clocks manufactured there. Though if a clock costs you only $1, I suppose you can expect to get what you pay for. José Pino has apparently run into more than a few cheesily-made quartz clocks, or just has had extremely bad luck, as he’s come up with a nifty circuit to get one-second (1hz) pulses from a broken quartz clock. He writes:
“Quartz clocks break easily (especially if made in China) after a while. The gears lose lubrication and the dust gets the job done. Fortunately, the electronics of the clock work for many years without problem, so you can “hack” a quartz clock to get a timebase generator, which can be used in any project that needs exactly one-second pulses.”
Check out the full instructions (including step-by-step photos and circuit diagrams) and other gadgets on his website.