The 6 Best Solar Watches

Updated October 25, 2017

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If you want your chronometer to be able to always tell the time accurately without having to change pesky batteries, try one of these solar watches. Using the power of the sun, or even indoor lighting, these models are both stylish and highly functional. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best solar watch on Amazon.

6. Casio EF06D-2AV

The Casio EF06D-2AV is one of the most affordable solar watch options on the market. The foldover clasp is easy to attach and remove one-handed, while the blue face provides contrast for easy visibility. The lightweight design makes it perfect for the physically active.
  • dial window is mineral crystal
  • scratch resistant band and face
  • band size is difficult to adjust
Brand Casio
Model EF106D-2AV
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Seiko Men's SSC017

The Seiko Men's SSC017 is a solar dive watch with precision accuracy. It makes a stylish and functional addition to any wardrobe while being durable enough to hold up under extreme conditions. The band is light, and the clasp is strong and easy to attach or remove.
  • stainless steel construction
  • luminous hands visible at night
  • does not have a built-in alarm
Brand Seiko Watches
Model SSC017
Weight 14.1 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Citizen Eco-Drive Men's BN0151-09L

The Citizen Eco-Drive Men's BN0151-09L ensures that you will never have to replace watch batteries again. It is water resistant to 200 meters and is great for anyone who spends a lot of time on or near the water. The band has a solid buckle closure to keep it secure.
  • classic look with replaceable band
  • movement is japanese quartz
  • uses an analog display
Brand Citizen
Model BN0151-09L
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Seiko Men's SSC139

The Seiko Men's SSC139 is water resistant and can even be used while snorkeling or swimming. The stainless linked bracelet adds a touch of style whether you are spending the day poolside or attending a formal event. It is easy to adjust the links to fit your wrist.
  • multiple alarm settings
  • date window sits at 3 o'clock
  • durable enough for daily wear
Brand Seiko Watches
Model SSC139
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Citizen Eco Drive AT4004-52E

The Citizen Eco Drive AT4004-52E is made from stainless steel and uses a sapphire crystal window to avoid annoying light reflection while reading the time. Its timekeeping accuracy can't be beat, and it is perfect for any man who values durable practicality and style.
  • charges on indoor and natural light
  • attractive two-toned band
  • atomic time keeping for accuracy
Brand Citizen
Model AT4004-52E
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Casio G-Shock GW-9400-1CR

The Casio G-Shock GW-9400-1CR is a durable men's watch that can be used under 200 meters of water, so it is great for anyone who enjoys scuba diving. The tough and rugged design is built to last for years, and the shock resistance holds up to the most adverse conditions.
  • four programmable alarms
  • digital compass and thermometer
  • has a ten-year battery life
Brand Casio
Model GW-9400-1CR
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Solar Watch

It may not be readily apparent when you behold the modern styling of a contemporary solar watch, but we’ve been relying on the power of the sun to help us tell the time for thousands of years. That may seem like a ridiculous claim, especially when you consider the fact that the watch as we know it wasn’t developed until the 15th century. We’re not exactly talking about watches, here, however; we’re talking about sundials.

In its essence, the sundial is the first solar watch, as it used sunlight as a means of telling time. Of course, these devices, which reach back at least as far as 1500 B.C.E., don’t have any gears to speak of, nor can you conveniently wear them on a chain or around your wrist. The other big problem with sundials is that they have a lot of trouble performing at night. Unlike solar watches, they can’t continue to use the sun’s energy after it has set.

As we mentioned above, the watch as we’re more familiar with it came along in the 15th century, and more closely resembled a pocket watch than a wrist watch. The complications inside of a watch — that’s actually what all the little gears and such are called — became smaller and more numerous as craftsmen honed their skills at creating accurate timepieces.

Still, these owners of these early watches relied on the sun to help them keep their timepieces accurate. These old pieces had to be wound to maintain their spring action, and they all drifted away from second-by-second accuracy at different intervals. There was one moment of the day when people could generally agree on the time, however: high noon. When the shadows of people, buildings, and horses all but disappeared under the sun’s position directly above them, folks would all set their watches to 12.

Photovoltaic cells appeared in the mid-19th century, though they were nowhere near the size or efficiency required of todays solar panels and watches. It wasn’t until the 1970s that watch manufacturers began to use small solar arrays to supplement the power of their digital watches. Then, in the 1990s, Citizen introduced its Eco-Drive system, a watch with a solar panel beneath a translucent face. This development is largely responsible for the surge in watches available today that make use of total or partial solar power, and many have evolved to the point that they can create and store battery power from artificially generated light.

Your Wrist Only Gets To Wear One Watch

To be clear, your wrist only gets to wear one watch at a time. There’s nothing stopping you from investing in each and every watch on our list and rotating them as the occasion dictates. There is, however, something stopping you from wearing more than one watch at once, and it’s called common decency. No fashion icon has yet made it acceptable to wear multiple watches, and unless your name is either Tom Ford or Anna Wintour, it isn’t your job to do so.

So, with all the pressure that comes from knowing you can only wear the one watch, which one will you choose? It’s a tough thing to provide advice for, as a watch is such a personal thing, but there are a few things to consider that can tip the scales between your favorites.

One of the most important considerations is whether you want to go analog or digital. The fashion of the day among aficionados is decidedly analog, with more and more timepieces informed by the vintages of the early 20th century. As the younger generation ages into the field, however, it’s a safe bet to assume that digital watches will have yet another turn at the top of the fashion heap, though they may ultimately lose out to smart watches.

Your watch band is just as likely to draw the eye as the unit’s face, so make sure it’s in line with both your personal style and with the event you’re attending. If you spend a lot of time in the water, and you opt for a solar powered diver's watch, make sure the band is also waterproof. Fortunately, many watch bands are interchangeable, allowing you to customize look and function as you go.

Speaking of events, there’s a matter of manners for you to consider if you prefer an analog style. If you’re going out for a night clubbing with your friends, this probably doesn’t apply, but if your idea of a night out involves black tie attire and champagne, then listen up: watches with numbers are considered rude at high-class parties. A watch with roman numerals, on the other hand, or, better still, a watch with no numbers at all, is ideal for a fancy event. The idea here is that you’re saying to your hosts and to your fellow guests that you respect them enough to complete your outfit with a watch, but that your time is theirs for the evening.

A Primer On Solar Power

Solar power may seem like a mysterious bit of magic, but its mechanics are actually fairly simple. The heart of a solar cell is made up of two slabs of silicon, one of which is commonly covered (doped, in industry parlance) in boron and the other in phosphorus. Between the two slabs is a small amount of empty space known as the depletion zone. Across the depletion zone, electrons scurry to complement the needs of either side, filling in holes where electrons are missing, or jettisoning electrons where there are too many.

When solar energy enters the picture, it knocks electrons loose from this electron handshake, and if a conductive wire is present, you can use this breach to draw electrical energy from the activity.

You may notice that some of the watches on our list don’t actually require solar energy to activate this process. They can draw energy from any light source, even something as simple as a desk lamp. That’s because watch companies experiment with different doping materials other than boron and phosphorus, which may render the cell more sensitive.

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Last updated on October 25, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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