Best Solar Powered Watches
When you come to the realization that you need a new watch, it can be overwhelming to decide which style you want, to say the least. It seems like there is a near infinite amount of options out there and this guide is aiming to discuss one of those. One of the true luxuries of owning a solar powered watch is you will never need to worry about the battery life as it draws its energy from the sunlight. Unless you are never wearing it outdoors in the sunlight or live in areas with constant rainfall, you should not have to worry about it. There are a plethora of options out there and deciding which model you want can be tricky. Check out our top ten picks below to get you started.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Has a 10-month power reserve once fully charged
It is protected by durable crystal
The look and appeal are stunning
- Seiko Dress
- Casio G-Shock
- Casion Pro Trek
- Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster
- Seiko Two-Tone
- Seiko Prospex
- Tissot T-Touch Expert
- Pulsar Blue Dial
- Armitron Adventure
- Casio Edifice
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Solar Powered Watches
1. Seiko Dress
Has a 10-month power reserve once fully charged
It is protected by durable crystal
The look and appeal are stunning
The bezel does not turn
Now, this next offering from Seiko may not be the most impressive model on this list based on functionality. However, what it is utterly stunning and a beautiful piece of art.Read more
This is not overflowing with features and instead, features a simple and more casual interface. That said, for the price range, a unidirectional bezel should have been integrated.
Size and Band
The included nylon band is far from low-quality but even still, you may want to swap it out for another band. However, the case measures 43 millimeters and is far from bulky.
One user did note that a strong amount of sunlight is needed to keep this bad boy charged up. Now, when fully charged, this does have a 10-month power reserve.
Seiko rates that their model is water-resistant to 100 meters. As mentioned before, this means it is suitable for light swimming only and not scuba diving.
Seiko is known for designing some stunners but wow, this may take the cake. The nylon band blends masterfully with the black dial and the somewhat washed out yellow markings.
If simplicity is what you are after then you are going to adore this design. It sports such an impressive look and build that you can forgive some of the shortcomings.
2. Casio G-Shock
Equipped with Bluetooth technology
Combines high-quality materials with toughness
It is both shock-resistant and water-resistant to 200 meters
The case is pretty large
Be prepared to see Casio quite a few times on this list. They are one of the top-end brands out there and their G-Shock combines smart functionality and a rugged core with its analog quartz design.Read more
This full analog design actually features a super illuminator LED light for easy nighttime viewing. Also, it sports a double-layered bezel and quartz movement.
Size and Band
With a case diameter of 53.8 millimeters, this is one of the larger cases on this list. Also, the band is made of polyurethane which is a bit different than leather or metal.
What is specifically nice about this solar powered unit is that there is a battery indicator that is mounted at the 9 o’clock position. Quite ingenious, to be honest.
On top of being extremely rugged and shock-resistant, the G-Shock is also water-resistant to 200 meters. This means it is suitable for marine activity but not diving.
Casio is able to combine everything that is amazing about their G-Shock and also make it a pleasure to wear. With its timeless metallic finish and stunning interface, it is gorgeous.
Really, what is there not to like about the G-Shock? It is extremely rugged, utterly beautiful to look at, suitable for marine activity and incredibly accurate.
3. Casion Pro Trek
Only weighs around six ounces
Features an LED backlight
Has a digital compass, barometer and altimeter
The display can be hard to read in bright light conditions
Casio is back on this list and this time, they present a digital model. In addition to this, the Pro Trek is also equipped with a digital compass, altimeter, and barometer. Talk about a total package.Read more
In addition to all the other features that were just alluded to, this digital model also sports sunrise and sunset data, world time, five daily alarms, a 1/10-second stopwatch, and a countdown timer.
Size and Band
Casio designed their Pro Trek with a resin band and also a 46-millimeter stainless steel case. Overall, it only weighs 6.4 ounces which is nice.
Casio approximates that their Pro Trek would last around seven months on a full charge without further exposure to sunlight. In addition, there is a battery level indicator.
With a water-resistance rating of 330 feet, this is probably okay for casual swimming but certainly not for scuba diving.
The best word to describe this watch’s appeal is stellar. It is not the flashiest model out there and the digital interface is not quite as sophisticated-looking as its analog counterpart.
For a digital mode, the Pro Trek is very impressive. In spite of this, though, Casio still could have improved on their design (such as making it easier to read).
4. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster
Features a unidirectional bezel
Water-resistant to 666 feet
Designed with an anti-reflective screen
Watch face can scratch easily
The Eco-Drive Promaster from Citizen is one of the best solar models out there for swimmers. Due to its impressive water-resistance rating of 666 feet, it can handle snorkeling and swimming.Read more
The luminous hands and markers, in addition to the anti-reflective mineral crystal screen, make viewing easier. Also, the Promaster sports a unidirectional bezel and Japanese-quartz movement.
Size and Band
Though this is marketed as having a 48-millimeter case, many buyers claim it is actually smaller than that. As for the band, it is molded polyurethane and sports a buckle system.
Even after seven months of daily wear, one buyer noted that the battery life was still rolling along perfectly. It seems Citizen nailed the solar technology here.
As was mentioned, this has a remarkable water-resistance rating of 666 feet (which is the highest on this list). Indeed, it is rated to handle swimming, showering, and snorkeling.
The watch face and the band combination may actually not be appealing to some. Still, the stainless steel case feels very polished and the blue strap is far from appalling.
The Eco-Drive Promaster is for the pros that is for sure. That is, it is ideal for anyone who is interested in keeping their wrist piece on while performing water activities.
5. Seiko Two-Tone
The hands offer pinpoint accuracy
The appeal is stunning
It is water-resistant to 100 meters
Watch face can be difficult to read
From a pure functionality standpoint, this next model is one of the best in the world. Yet, as some buyers have pointed out, a little more definition of the dial would have helped.Read more
While this two-tone model does have LumiBrite hands and markers, it can still be difficult to read. As for the specs, it runs via Japanese-quartz movement and has a 60-minute chronograph.
Size and Band
Though this packs a little extra weight, the combination of the 42.5-millimeter stainless steel case and the stainless steel band is ideal for durability sakes.
You can expect that on a full charge, this will last for up to six months if not exposed to any sunlight.
Yet again, and this is quickly becoming the standard, this is rated with a 100-meter water-resistance rating. If you have been paying attention, you know what this indicates.
The darker tones of this model are visually stunning. It is not your typical stainless steel appeal as, again, it is much darker throughout.
Probably the one feature that would have made this model even better is enhanced detail. As it rests, though, it is a fantastic option that can still be a little difficult to see at times.
6. Seiko Prospex
Has a unidirectional bezel
Water resistant to 200 meters
The look and color scheme is fabulous
Battery life could be better
Another leading manufacturer when it comes to this technology is Seiko. Their name is plastered all over the world of watches and their Prospex, which sports a unidirectional bezel, is one of their best.Read more
The Prospex is powered via a Japanese-quartz movement system and has a chronograph with sub-dials for hours minutes and seconds. Also, the bezel is unidirectional.
Size and Band
The 43-millimeter stainless steel case is not too bulky or cumbersome, which is a plus. Also, for longevity purposes, the band has been made of stainless steel.
While this can be charged at any time while in contact with sunlight, one user did note that their model ran out of power more frequently than they felt it should have.
In addition to the unidirectional bezel and screw-down crown, this also sports a water-resistance rating of 200 meters. It is ready to handle serious surface water sports.
At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with stainless steel. However, the black and blue dial meshes with this perfectly to create an appeal that most everyone will adore.
Wow, how impressive is the Prospex? It is designed by Seiko so it is not that shocking to be witnessed to its greatness but still, you can’t help but marvel at it.
7. Tissot T-Touch Expert
The finest T-Touch movement to date
It is a very lightweight model
Made with near bulletproof materials
The band must be cut to size correctly
If you are willing to spend a little extra money and a truly sensational watch, then consider this outing from Tissot. Their T-Touch Expert has an appropriate moniker as it truly is expertly designed.Read more
Thanks to the new and advanced movement system of the T-Touch Expert, you can rest assured that accuracy is not an issue. Also, the hand markers are bold and very easy to see.
Size and Band
As for the total weight, even with the toughness of the titanium at play, it is surprisingly low. Do note, though, that the silicone band must be cut to be sized properly (but it is comfortable).
There have been virtually no complaints in regard to the battery life of this model. Plus, there is a battery indicator so you will know if the battery ever needs to be charged.
Despite the hefty price of this model, it is actually only water-resistant to 330 feet. This means you may want to keep it out of the water (although shallow swimming should still be fine).
While the checkerboard layout will look excellent at any angle, this may not be at the tops of some people’s list of most appealing watches in the world.
Does everything that has been documented justify the steep, steep price of this design? Well, that is a tough question but know this, it has the design and quality to match just about any other model.
8. Pulsar Blue Dial
Has luminous hands and markers
Very strong visual appeal
Designed with Japanese-quartz movement
Lacks a screw-down crown and a rotating bezel
Even though there are a few missing features here, such as the lack of a screw-down crown or unidirectional bezel, this is still another excellent model. Just live with the fact that it is not ideal for diving and you should be good.Read more
For whatever reason, maybe to allow users an easier way to keep track of time, the bezel has markings but is stationary. Additionally, there are luminous hands and markers as well as Japanese-quartz movement.
Size and Band
Some consumers have admitted that the stainless steel band feels a little cheap. Also, this is quite a thick watch and sports a case diameter of 44 millimeters.
Once this bad boy is fully charged, it has a four-month power reserve. It is also powered via all types of light energy.
Interestingly enough, one buyer noted that it is claimed in the manual that this has a screw-down crown when in fact, it does not. All in all, it has a water-resistance rating of 330 feet.
The sleek and sophisticated appeal of this model makes it suitable for both professional and casual looks. It really is a stunning timepiece.
For being one of the cheaper entries on this list, this offering from Pulsar is quite compelling. On top of being quite the looker, it is also water-resistant.
9. Armitron Adventure
The simplicity is ideal
Operating is about as simple as it gets
Solar power charging could be better
This is a tremendous option for those of you who are not necessarily looking for the flashiest or most technically advanced watch out there. If you enjoy casual and simple, this is for you.Read more
Again, this is another basic interface that is run via quartz movement. That being said, some of the internal markings could have been a bit larger to help those with poor eyesight.
Size and Band
The black adjustable link bracelet and 46-millimeter case combine to make up one of the lightest solar powered watches on this entire list.
Even though some users have felt that the solar charge on this unit is not the best, it does have a four-month power reserve.
The Adventure actually only has a water-resistance rating of 50 meters. This means it is probably only suitable for short periods of recreational swimming.
Overall, the design and appeal here are very subtle. You may not draw any attention but for some consumers, that is exactly the intent.
There is certainly nothing wrong with simplicity in some cases. But, it does not have additional bells and whistles such as a chronograph or a compass.
10. Casio Edifice
Will last for five months on a full charge without sunlight
It is water-resistant
The dial features silver-toned markers
The pins of the band tend to fall out
Right from the get-go, it is important to note that the Edifice may be too cluttered and complicated for some users. If you can get accustomed to the vast functionality, you should be good, though.Read more
This is the complete opposite of the last model in it is as complex as it gets. It is engineered with 29 time zones, city code display, a full auto-calendar, a 1/100-second chronograph and an analog display.
Size and Band
While the stainless steel band is not the issue in and of itself, the pins that are attached to it have been known to fall out. As for the case, for all its detail, it only measures 45.8 millimeters.
Without any further exposure to sunlight, you can expect this model to run for five months when on a full charge.
The 100-meter water-resistance rating that this design sports is one that is very common. Again, remember, avoid deep swimming and diving with this type of water protection.
If you do not like stainless steel, move on from this model. It really is as simple as that as the material is plastered everywhere here but meshes with the black-toned dial very well.
The complicated nature on display here could be enough to scare some of you off. That is fair as this is more for those of you who desire all the small gizmos and gadgets.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Just a forewarning, there is a lot to cover in this mini-section of sorts. The interface of any types of watches is one of the most important areas of assessment for you, as the buyer. For starters, you need to decide if you want an analog or a digital display. Typically, with an analog display, you will see what is known as quartz. This is simply the movement system and this type, in specific, is powered via a battery. The benefits to quartz movement are its superb accuracy, ease of use as it is battery-powered and also its low maintenance. But, some users may prefer a digital interface and the clear advantage of this design is that the time is always displayed.
But, there is more to it than just the movement system. Not all models will have chronographs, which is just a fancier term for a stopwatch or a timer, so look out for the ones that do if you desire this feature. Also, if you desire features such as a compass, barometer, or altimeter, look for models that integrate them. Oh, and one last thing, some interfaces will be difficult to see so look for high-definition and possibly an illuminator light.
Moving past the interface, it is time to address two other critical features of watches. Firstly, let’s talk about the case. Each case will be measured in millimeters (as a diameter) and if you have a smaller wrist, you may not want a larger case. The same applies for those with larger wrists as a smaller case can almost look out of place. As for the material, you can never go wrong with stainless steel but you can also look for a coating on the case itself to help with scratches.
Now, for the band. Bands come in an array of styles and sizes and choosing the right one is a matter of preference, for the most part. Three of the more common bands, as an example, are nylon, metal, and leather. Each has their advantages and disadvantages; nylon is very lightweight and also breathable but can be worn easily. Metal is incredibly easy to clean and maintain and is durable; yet, can be heavier and also can get scratched. Leather is arguably the most comfortable and stylish material out there but it does not last as long as others.
Indeed, all of the models on this list do work via solar energy. But, they do not need to have constant sunlight as the rechargeable cell will keep the system running assuming it has enough stored energy to do so. In addition to this, and this is more a fact about the technology, the sunlight is not the only source of light that can be used to gather energy. In fact, artificial light can be used to charge the cells. However, do note that artificial light is not even close to as efficient as sunlight.
Yet, why was this made to be a criterion if all solar watches are the same? Well, that is the thing, as they are not. First off, look for models that integrate lithium-ion cells as these typically have excellent power reserves. Speaking of which, different models will have different power reserves. This refers to the amount of power the system has stored. In other words, if a watch has a four-month power reserve, it will work for four months without any additional power from light.
Okay, it is now time to address what can easily be a misconception. With most watches in the world, you may see them rated to handle a certain amount of depth of water. However, whether it is rated as waterproof or water-resistant is huge as they are entirely different ratings. Most of the time, it will be water-resistance and this important as a water-resistance rating of 30 meters does not indicate that you can go underwater down to 30 meters. If you do that, the internal system will become damaged.
So, to avoid the confusion here is what you can do with the most common water ratings you will see. For the aforementioned 30 meters, it is simply just splash-resistant and will be suitable for light rain. Jump up to 50 meters and then you can swim. However, limit the exposure to water and keep it at the surface. When you see 100 meters, then you can hang out in the water for extended periods. Yet, you should still avoid diving. As for 200 meters, you should still avoid diving but recreational swimming and snorkeling should be fine.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
In regard to cleaning the band, it all comes down to the material that you have. Each type is going to require a different cleaning method so for the sake of this question, let’s look at some of the more common strap types. Starting with leather, you are going to want to wipe down the sweat and moisture with a soft cloth as soon as possible. From there, leave it in a well-ventilated area to dry. As for metal, you really want to prevent the formation of rust and corrosion and to do this, wipe off any sweat, dirt, or moisture with a soft cloth as soon as possible. You can also wash metal bands with a mix of neutral detergent and water.
Now, how about a urethane band? With this type, you can go ahead and wash any dirt with water. From there, dry the band with a dry cloth.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How to Charge Without the Sun?
It was alluded to earlier that these devices can be indeed charged without access to the sun. To accomplish this, you need to replace sunlight with artificial light. This type of light is merely any light source that is produced via electricity. So, good examples of it would be halogen lamps, fluorescent lights, incandescent bulbs, and even LEDs. Once you find an optimal source of artificial light, you will want to keep your watch around 20 inches away from it.
As mentioned, though, this method is not nearly as efficient as sunlight. If you really wanted to fully charge your device via artificial light, it could take up to 150 hours. It is more suited to get a charge if there has not been sunlight for weeks and you know the battery is getting low.
q: How do you Charge Quickly?
Alright, so now that that was just addressed, how about we discuss how you are supposed to charge your device with the sunlight. Well, first off, it is important to note that if you regularly wear your timepiece outside and in direct contact to sunlight, you probably will not need to go out of your way to charge it very often. If you do notice that your timepiece is getting low on battery life, with some models providing you an indicator, you can quickly charge it up.
To do so, try to find an optimal location where sunlight is available. This could be on a window ledge, for example. In warmer climates, it should take roughly 20 hours to fully charge. When it gets colder, this time could end up tripling.
q: What Maintenance is Required?
If you have not already concluded, these types of timepieces do not typically require too much maintenance. With that being said, however, there are a few pointers that you can keep in mind. For instance, with any water-resistant model, they should have their rubber seal replaced around every two to three years to ensure their water-resistance. Also, you should probably avoid wearing your timepiece on days that experience extreme temperatures. Just keep this in mind as the performance is affected by extreme weather.
To continue, when cleaning which will be touched on further, avoid using any chemicals or solvents as this can do much more harm than good. Lastly, to prevent corrosion of the crown, you may want to turn it from time to time.
q: Ways to Conserve Battery Life?
Even though one of the main conveniences of solar watches is the fact that they are always being charged when in contact with an appropriate light source, their batteries can still run out. As a consumer, you may feel the need to conserve the battery life as much as you can. To be honest, doing so is an incredibly easy task and all you need to do is limit the amount of time you utilize any power-hungry features. Now, with simple models that lack many extra features, there really is not much you can do.
But, if the design has an alarm, chronograph, or illumination light, then try to use them as little as possible, if you can.
q: If it Stops, Does it need to be Repaired?
For the record, this question is not alluding to when your model runs out of battery. If this happens, you need to charge it to see if it will hold one. But, if it will not, then this question comes into play for you. Of course, you have to give it some time so if it dies, allow the sun to charge it for a good 24 hours. If you return (assuming the sun beamed on it a majority of the time) and there is still nothing, it may need to be repaired.
In this instance, what you need to do is get ahold of the seller, manufacturer, or a local repair shop. It may be wise to try the manufacturer and seller first as they may be able to tell you exactly what is going on.