clock in a person's hand

10 Best Solar Powered Watches in 2020 (Review)

In the world of wristwatches, you will have multiple options. Some will only serve for stylish purposes, and others will be perfect for practical purposes. For people that choose to go into the wild for outdoor activities and for those who enjoy spending time in the water, this is especially true.

The problem with traditional watches is that they are often inaccurate, and their integrated batteries can run out of power. This involves having to replace them every once in a while.

Technology has evolved, and now the top-trending models are the best solar powered watches in 2020. These watches work based on solar power conversion that allows us to constantly charge the batteries using not only sunlight but also artificial light. Moreover, these batteries are deeply precise and they have a long estimated lifespan, even if they haven’t been charged in months.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The Best Solar Powered Watches

1. Citizen Men’s BM8180-03E Solar Watch

front facing Citizen Men's BM8180-03E Solar Watch

Key Features:

  • Luminosity
  • Black Dial with mineral crystal
  • Calendar display integrated

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistant up to 330 feet (100m)
  • 6-month power reserve
  • 5-year limited warranty

Where To Buy

The Citizen BM8180-03E men’s solar powered watches are an elegant choice that you can make to always stay updated with the time. They’re ideal for an active lifestyle.

This model is part of the Eco-Drive series watches that work by harvesting the energy from both artificial light and sunlight. It uses internal solar cells to power integrated batteries that ensure gear movements that are done according to the required time parameters.

This watch has a 6-month power reserve that only uses a single complete charge of the batteries, even if it’s stored in the dark. This ensures your watch will never run out of power and that it will never require a battery replacement. Among other features, it comes with a stainless-steel case that ensures protection along with a stitched canvas band.

Moreover, the watch also has a calendar display that shows the day/date of the week. It is also water-resistant, allowing you to submerge it under 330 feet (100 m), making it even suitable for snorkeling and swimming activities. Keep in mind to push the crown back to its normal position after setting time to avoid water entering inside.

2. Casio Sport Combination Solar Watch

front facing Casio Sport Combination Solar Watch

Key Features:

  • Solar digital display
  • LED light integrated
  • Countdown timer integrated

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistant up to 330 feet (100m)
  • 10 months of power reserve
  • Up to 5 daily alarms can be set

Where To Buy

The Casio Sport watch is an excellent choice for the individual who enjoys sports and that has an outdoor lifestyle. It is also one of the best cheap solar watches that can be found in the market that reduces costs but does not compromise performance.

This model is part of the Tough Solar collection from Casio that has a small solar panel built-in which can convert sunlight and artificial light to power a large-capacity rechargeable battery. The performance of the solar cells is good enough to generate sufficient electric power to keep charging, even with limited light from cloudy skies or indoor fluorescent lights.

This product features three-hand analog movements, a calendar day with the date on it, and also emits light if the LED is activated. Moreover, this men’s watch is also capable of working with up to 5 daily alarms and integrating a countdown timer as well.

Regarding other properties, the battery life of this model is expected to have at least a 10-month power reserve on a single charge, even if the watch never receives sunlight during those 10 months. Finally, the watch also features world time with 48 city schedules.

3. Casio GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch

front facing Casio GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch

Key Features:

  • Quartz movement with analog display
  • Triple sensor
  • MB6 atomic timekeeping

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistance up to 660 feet (200m)
  • Up to 5 daily alarms
  • Low-temperature resistance up to 14°F (-10°C)

Where To Buy

The Casio GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock is one of the valuable men’s solar atomic watches that are available in this list.

This model is designed with a stainless-steel case that integrates multiple displays in red contrasts along with textured pushers. The digital watch can resist submerging underwater up to 660 feet (200m) making it perfect for aquatic activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and even scuba diving.

Moreover, it also features multiple sensors that make it the perfect outdoor watch (one of the reasons why it has earned so many positive solar powered watch reviews). These sensors allow you to integrate a digital compass along with an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. If that seems little to you, you can also have access to sunrise and sunset date data while lighting up the display at night, thanks to the integrated LEDs.

This timekeeping watch is integrated with a multiband (MB6) built-in antenna that receives standard time radio waves from up to 6 transmission stations worldwide (North America, China, UK, Germany, and two in Japan) which allows to have very precise time with a margin of error of just one second in 100,000 years.

4. Casio Stainless G Shock

front facing Casio Stainless G Shock

Key Features:

  • Multi-band atomic timekeeping
  • Stylish stainless-steel design
  • 4 daily alarms plus 1 snooze

Key Specifications:

  • 9-month power reserve
  • Working up to 200 meters underwater
  • 20 bar resistance

Where To Buy

The Casio Stainless G Shock is another model from the Tough Solar series that integrates a multi-band atomic timekeeping feature which allows it to always stay up to date with the precise time.

This model is one of those solar digital watches that can be useful for casual occasions with a beautiful grey and stainless-steel band design. Moreover, this watch is shock-resistant and water resistant, giving it the capability of submerging it underwater up to 200 meters with a 20-bar resistance.

It also integrates 4 daily alarms and one snooze alarm along with a 1/100 second stopwatch configuration. Among other features, the watch includes a countdown timer and an automatic calendar that has 12/24 hour formats.

You will also be able to see a battery power indicator that will show the remaining stored energy inside the battery. The expected battery life is nearly 9 months assuming a full charge (even if there is no exposure to light). The timekeeping watch will have an EL backlight that will show you the time in any situation without light.

5. Casio Men’s G-Shock GWM5610-1

front facing Casio Men’s G-Shock GWM5610-1

Key Features:

  • Automatic light functionality included
  • Shock resistance
  • Up 29 time zones

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistance up to 660 feet (200 m.)
  • Battery life: 10 month-period
  • 20-bar water resistance

Where To Buy

The Casio Men’s G-Shock GWM5610-1 is another valuable option made in the USA that serves as a casual solar powered watch with multiple functions.

Some of these functions include a multi-band atomic timekeeping configuration that provides a higher timing precision along with an EL backlight that allows it to shine in the darkness. This model also features 29 time zones in over 48 cities that can be set by using a city code display.

Moreover, this model also has a countdown timer included along with a fully automatic calendar that indicates time and date. The G-Shock watch also has a 200 m (660 feet) resistance that is suitable for professional marine activities and has an estimated battery life of 10 months after receiving a full charge.

This men’s watch features a unique automatic light function that turns on by holding down the light button and turning the wrist at 40 degrees towards the user in a dark area. Keep in mind that this automatic function will not work if the battery level is located below medium (marked as an M).

6. Citizen BJ7000-52E

front facing Citizen BJ7000-52E

Key Features:

  • Luminous markers for easy readability
  • Integrated day and date display
  • Pilot’s slide rule integrated

Key Specifications:

  • Endures water pressure up to 200 m.
  • 42 millimeters stainless-steel case
  • Weight: 5 oz.

Where To Buy

The Citizen BJ7000-52E Eco-Drive solar collection watch is one of the most elegant and stylish solar powered products available in 2019.

Part of the Nighthawk collection, this watch is designed with the most advanced technology of Citizen. The integrated battery gets recharged thanks to the integrated solar panels that harvest electricity from the sun. Moreover, the watch is designed with a Japanese quartz movement technology with an analog display that ensures precision regarding timing.

The watch also features a low-charge warning with luminous hands and markers that can be easily visualized at night. It has been designed with beautiful silver colors from stainless-steel material in both case and band. Moreover, it is also capable of resisting water pressure up to 200 m below the surface, making it not only an elegant choice but also a useful product for those who enjoy spending time in the water or beach.

7. Seiko SNE329

front facing seiko sne329

Key Features:

  • Elegant blue dial design
  • Beige nylon band
  • Date calendar window included

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistance up to 100 m.
  • 10 months of power reserve
  • 43-mm stainless-steel case

Where To Buy

Seiko SNE329 is another popular Japanese brand in the watches industry that has been available in the market for almost half a century. They are reliable, elegant, and the designers of the first quartz watch in the world.

In this case, we review the SNE329 model, part of the solar collection watch. This model is designed with a blue dial featuring stencils like numerals and large luminous hands along with a day/date calendar window.

Moreover, the watch has been designed with a powerful battery that can last up to 10 months using a single charge from the sun. It also has a nylon strap band with a beige color and a buckle closure.

The solar powered watch is also good for water sports such as swimming and snorkeling, since it is resistant to water pressure until 100 m below the surface.

8. Seiko SUT068

front facing Seiko SUT068

Key Features:

  • Japanese quartz technology
  • Luxury watch with 18 embedded diamonds
  • Two-tone stainless-steel

Key Specifications:

  • Up to 165 feet (50m) water submersion
  • Up to 5 bar water pressure
  • Weight: 8 ounces

Where To Buy

The Seiko SUT068 women’s solar watches are the perfect example of the combination of luxury and solar power.

This dress watch has been designed in two-tone stainless-steel color materials with additional important detail, a ring of 18 embedded diamond-accented bezel that enhances the overall design of the watch.

The model features a white dial with golden numerals and hand markers that match the elegance of the design. Moreover, using state-of-the-art technology from the Japanese quartz movement (invented by Seiko) it is possible to obtain accurate timing, as the quartz is used as a frequency reference when electricity circulates through it.

Despite it is not intended for water sports, the Seiko SUT068 watch is also water resistant enough to endure submerging for short periods and up to 165 feet (50 m). The permissible water pressure is up to 5 bar. This women’s watch also includes a day /date calendar.

9. Seiko SSC017

front facing Seiko SSC017

Key Features:

  • Three chronograph subdials
  • Luminous hands and markers
  • One-way rotating bezel

Key Specifications:

  • Water resistance up to 660 feet (200 m)
  • 43 mm case
  • 6 months power reserve

Where To Buy

The Seiko SSC017 is another valuable product from the brand part of the Prospex series that is based in solar power and that features a beautiful black dial with luminous hands and hour markers, along with three chronograph subdials. The watch also combines black colors with a clear blue contour between 12-3 o’clock that adds a distinguished design.

The stainless-steel bracelet with fold-over clasp and a double push-button safety feature is perfect to provide both elegance and strong protection to this watch. Moreover, like other similar solar powered watches, these models can get recharged using sunlight or artificial light (incandescent, LED or fluorescent). This avoids the need to change or replace the battery at any time.

Besides, the Seiko SSC017 is also one of the waterproof watches which is resistant to water up to 200 m (660 feet) making it suitable not only for daily casual lifestyle, but also for water activities and sports.

10. Seiko Women’s Silvertone Crystal Solar Watch

front facing Seiko Women's Silvertone Crystal Solar Watch

Key Features:

  • Shimmering pale pink mother of pearl dial
  • Hardlex crystal for the dial
  • Swarovski diamonds embedded

Key Specifications:

  • Up to 12 months reserves
  • Up to 99 feet (30m) water resistance
  • Weight: 8 ounces (226 grams)

Where To Buy

Maybe the fanciest and most elegant solar powered watch of the list, the Silvertone Crystal Solar Watch does not go unnoticed to anyone who wears it.

Designed with a diamond shape band based in stainless-steel that smoothly integrates with the case of the watch. The inner side of the watch is made of a shimmering pale pink mother-of-pearl dial while the outer ring of this luxury collection watch is designed with embedded Swarovski diamonds that provide a remarkable sparkle to the product. To complement its unique design, Arabic numbers are placed at 12 and 6 o’clock positions.

Based on traditional Seiko Japanese quartz movement technology with an analog display that has a 10 mm thickness for the case. To protect the interior of the watch, a hardlex crystal (original mineral-based clear glass from Seiko) dial window is installed. Keep in mind that the hardlex crystal is not scratch-resistant. Nevertheless, the Silvertone model is a waterproof watch, that despite not being suitable for submersion or water sports, it can easily withstand rain and splashes of water.

These luxury watches do not sacrifice their performance for their beauty as the integrated solar panels are capable enough of charging its battery with any source of light. Moreover, when fully charged, these Silvertone models can last up to 12 months without receiving an additional charge from sunlight. This is the largest power reserve on the list and maybe on the market. At the same time, this one of the most beautiful watches for women that you will find.

Choosing A Solar Watch – 3 Features to Look For

Purpose of the Watch

The first factor that you should consider when selecting a solar watch is the purpose of the product. Is it going to be for a man or a woman? Do you intend to use as a casual watch? Are you looking for style or practical use? Low budget or luxurious?

You must ask yourself all of these questions as you look across the models. Keep in mind that the performance of a solar watch will not change according to budget or purpose, but what will change will be the additional features that can have with it and how good it will look in your wrist.

For people that enjoy outdoor adventures, choosing a luxurious watch may not be the best idea. Instead, they should look for products with strong shock and water resistance features. Try to think about hiking watches that you can combine with a solar powered rucksack.

Power Reserve

The next element to keep in mind should be the power reserve of the solar watches.

All solar watches will have a power reserve that will be strong enough to withstand several months without receiving sunlight or artificial light at all. This is very useful especially for luxurious watches since they can be stored in the safe for months without losing power. Also, if you are someone who does not like to constantly have a watch in the hand every day, but that loves to take it to outdoor activities in the mountain only on vacations, then it will also be perfect for you.

Ideally, keep in mind to choose the solar watch that has the longest power reserve and that matches your other criteria.

Additional Features

Solar watches also have many other features that you might want to consider.

For instance, some watches may include a triple sensor that includes an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. This is one of those gear gadgets that you will like if you enjoy spending your life on the mountain or if you enjoy spending it underwater.

Moreover, you must also check to see if the solar watch has a nylon, steel, or leather band as they will require different types of care and maintenance. The presence of LED light or an LED backlight may also play an important role as it will allow you to see at night. Luminous hands and markers are also useful for these cases.

Finally, check whether your watch is quartz or atomic-based. Quartz-based watches use an electronic oscillator that is regulated by a quartz crystal that vibrates at a specific frequency that allows keeping track of time. Meanwhile, atomic solar watches depend on radio signals sent from atomic clocks spread across the world (see below for further detail).

The atomic-based watch will have a much higher precision rate and will automatically adjust, while the quartz watch time setting will need to be manually adjusted. However, in isolated regions where government radio signals cannot reach and where devices such as solar powered radios cannot work normally, it is probably better to go with a quartz model.

How Do Solar Powered Watches Work?

A business man checking his solar watch

Solar powered watches are based in a photovoltaic cell technology that allows them to get recharged by simply being exposed to a light source. These products integrate solar cells that are installed either on the exterior ring of the watch or inside the dial (even if you do not see them) and that receive either sunlight or artificial light.

Since solar panels can get charged with artificial light, then you can simply be using your watch inside your home and it will still be converting light into electricity. Nevertheless, the output power will be lower with artificial light when compared to the power output from solar energy.

By using the power output of this solar cell, you can charge a set of lithium batteries that will have a large power reserve that can last for months.

The main advantage of solar powered watches when compared to traditional mechanical based models is that there will be no lagging and that you will not need to ever replace the battery.

What are the Popular Brands of Men’s and Women’s Solar Powered Watches?

One of the factors that must be evaluated when selecting a watch is the brand. A watch from a popular or recognized brand may be much more expensive than a regular model with the same specs. As with any other product, a good brand may not mean that another model without a brand name is bad or not as good. However, it does guarantee performance, warranty terms, and at the end of the day, since watches are outfit accessories, having a luxurious brand from a popular brand is always better.

In this aspect, not all brands of watches manufacture solar powered watches. To check for popular and familiar brands you can choose between Citizen, Seiko, Casio, and Bering.

How Much Money Should you Budget for Your Watch?

If you are thinking about buying solar powered watches, then you will have a wide range of options available for your wallet.

In general, most models will be found below the $100 band, especially the G-Shock models from Casio which are intended to be less luxurious and more practical for hiking, trekking, or for the fan of water activities. Nevertheless, if you are thinking about choosing the luxury watches (unique pattern designs and merged with diamonds), then you might need to prepare your wallet. It will be common in these cases to find solar watches under $200. It might be an important upfront cost but it’s an investment that will last the rest of your life and that will always be looking great in your wrist.

What Are Solar Atomic Watches?

Solar watches could be classified into two types. One of them being the regular solar watch type and the other one being the solar atomic watch. As you can see, both types work with solar, the difference lies in the time-setting. The first type of watch requires a manual setting while the second one has an automatic time-setting.

The solar atomic watch sets the time by using high-frequency radio signals that are obtained from the atomic clock located in Fort Collins, Colorado, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If you are located in other parts of the world outside the US, you may also receive radio signals from the atomic clocks in Japan, China, UK, and Germany.

This allows having a margin of error of only 1 second in 100,000 years. As absurd as that may sound, it means to you that you will not need to be adjusting time settings or asking for the time from anyone else; you will always have it in your atomic watch.

What You Need to Know to Maintain and Care for Your Watch

A business man wearing a clean smart solar watch

Purchasing a solar watch can be an important investment (especially if you are looking for the luxurious type), therefore, proper maintenance can make a difference between a watch that properly conserves overtime and another one that doesn’t.

Cleaning is important. Every once in a while take a soft cloth to wipe down the band and case carefully, this will remove any dirt or dust. This is important not only to make it look good, but also because the solar panel will be located below that glass window, and dirt can drastically reduce the conversion efficiency of the cell.

It is also important to be aware of the water-resistance of the watch and use it properly and accordingly. The window crystal is another thing to be careful with, as some crystals may be shock resistant but others might get scratched easily. If you continuously perform outdoor activities, it is wise to choose a shock-resistant model.

Finally, always stay away from magnets, as they can deviate radio signals from atomic watches and negatively affect timekeeping.

References

  1. Tough-Solar – Watches | Casio USA
  2. Why Does Seiko use Hardlex crystals? – Quora
  3. Atomic-Timekeeping – Citizen
  4. Atomic Clock Synchronization – WeatherShack

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Theodore Da Silva

    Love that you gave Citizen the number one spot. The BM8180-03E is a beauty, but let’s not forget there are enough and more Citizen watches that can last wayy longer! I’ve seen a few that can go up to 10 months when fully charged which is amazing!

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