I have always had an interest in solar powered gear, almost to the point of obsession. That is why my first solar gear purchase was a Casio G Shock solar watch. I owned that thing for years before I lost it while diving in the Bahamas. That watch would probably still be working today if I hadn’t lost it.
These days there are a bunch of companies that make solar powered watches, including Seiko, Casio, Pulsar, and Timex, to name a few, and you’ll be surprised by the advantages they offer to consumers like you and me.
So how long do solar powered watches last? Solar watches can last between 10 to 20 years of normal use before a replacement is needed. This timeframe will vary greatly based upon the watch brand, frequency of recharging, and depreciation over time. This means with normal wear and tear you can get a couple of decades worth of use before you need to start shopping for a new watch.
I also go into detail on the benefits of owning a solar powered watch and the best ways to properly charge it.
Benefits of Owning a Solar Watch
While the fact that solar watches last so long is the biggest benefit, they offer other advantages as well, including:
- They are low-maintenance because there is no need to worry about having to change out the battery.
- Helps save the environment because you are not contributing to the number of disposable batteries thrown away each year.
- Even with no more sunlight to charge the watch, the battery reserve can last much longer than other types of watches.
- Their time-keeping is more accurate than many other types of watches.
- They are ridiculously reliable.
- They recharge on both real and artificial light sources which comes in real handy when the sun isn’t out.
- They are relatively inexpensive.
- Some of the biggest and most reliable watch manufacturers have added solar watches to their product lines.
- They look really cool and sophisticated.
In fact, if you’re a “lazy” person who hates the idea of having to wind a watch or changing out the battery in your watch, a solar powered watch might be just what you need.
The Basics of a Solar Powered Watch
Watches that run on solar power are able to get power every time they’re near light and they don’t have to get this power from direct sunlight only. In fact, with most solar powered watches, all you have to do is stand by a window and let the sunlight touch your watch and it charges your battery. For the best results in charging make sure the front of the watch is facing the sun.
These watches operate along the same lines as solar panels on a home do. There’s a “panel” on the watch face itself that soaks up the sun’s energy and a battery that holds that power so that the watch can run when the sun is gone. When you think about it, solar energy is really quite simple to understand, and for those of you who care about our environment the best part about it all is the fact that it allows you to reduce the size of your carbon footprint.
The Battery: How Good Is It?
Although a solar powered watch can conceivably last forever, you may have to eventually replace the solar battery itself. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be replacing them every few years like you would with other standard watches. It is very possible that you won’t have to change the battery in your solar powered watch every 10 years or so. When you’re researching these watches, this should be one of the things you’ll want to check out before you make your purchase, since the amount of time a battery lasts varies slightly from one company to another.
Another huge advantage of a solar powered watch is that it can run for long periods of time even when there’s no sunlight around. When energy is soaked up into the battery via the panel, a large amount of energy is gathered in a capacitor, which means you can count on your watch operating properly for a long time even if you go days or weeks without the sun coming out.
In fact, some watches, such as the Citizen Eco Drive, can operate efficiently for up to six months without being exposed to the light, which means if you live in a place that lacks sunlight for long periods of time, you can go quite a long time without the need for the sun and still rely on your watch to provide you with the time.
How Do You Properly Charge a Solar Watch?
If you decide to purchase one of these watches, the best way to ensure you get the best and most reliable use from it is to properly charge the watch. Here are some things to take into consideration:
As I mentioned earlier in this article, your watch can be charged by both sunlight and artificial light. The light from the sun will always be the best due to the intensity of light and will charge the solar watch quickly. Whereas, man-made light will take a longer period of time to fully charge the watch.
Dim or faint light that you get from street lights or from a full moon may light up the night for you, it will not be strong enough to fully charge your watch.
Bright light is one thing, but how long you keep it in that light also impacts the charging of the watch. Having the watch in the sun will fully charge the watch within a few hours, but the artificial lights will take quite a while longer. For best results, once a week try to expose the watch to direct sunlight. This will charge your watch and giving you some much needed Vitamin D.
This is more for those times when you decide to use artificial light for charging. The brighter the bulb, the faster the charge so be sure to have the watch as close to the light source as possible and make sure to allow for the extra time needed to charge the battery.
When you consider how long they last and all of the advantages they provide, it’s little wonder that solar powered watches are such a bargain. People who aren’t that diligent about taking care of their watches are especially grateful for these types of watches, and the best part is, the technology is getting better every day.
If you do intend to buy a watch powered by the sun, it is recommended that you research the ones on the market first because even though the way they operate is essentially the same, the variances in design, size, and quality can easily help you decide on the one that’s right for you.