Shining light on the solar vs. battery powered watch debate
We have all heard how solar power has greatly improved the environmental impact of energy use by reducing the need for fossil fuels in cars and housing; if you’ve ever driven past a house with huge black panels on the roof, then this is a home utilising technology and harnessing the power of the sun to power their homes.
Pretty clever right?
In the search for a more sustainable energy source, scientists discovered that we can harness the radiation from the sun to create to create continuous power. This new(ish) technology has been advanced to the point where a powerful solar cell can now fit in the palm of your hand, or more aptly on your wrist.
Renowned Japanese watchmakers Citizen have taken this new power source and developed their own ranges of Eco-Drive watches; elegant in their design and yet oh so powerful, these brilliant watches do not sacrifice style over function and are available in both men’s solar and women’s solar styles. Ranges such as the Stiletto are a mere 4.3mm thick and yet will remain fully working for a whole 12 months on one single charge. It’s important to realise that exposure to artificial indoor lights will also renew the charge on the solar cell.
Brands such as Seiko, Tissot, Bering and Casio to name just a few also have a myriad of solar powered watches on the market with reasonable prices too. Solar powered watches are not limited to simply telling the time, take for example this limited edition Seiko Solar Diver’s ‘Black Series’ watch SSC673P1; water resistant up to 200 meters this watch is designed to be worn whilst scuba diving and yet still has Chronograph/Stopwatch features, a date display and an impressive 10 month power reserve.
So why should I choose a solar powered watch over a cheaper quartz?
Great question and there is more than one answer. Quartz/battery powered watches are great and pretty much hassle free but that’s only until you look down and realise the battery has stopped and you’ve over cooked your dinner. If only there was a way to keep your watch working for more than 18 months; well that’s where our solar powered watches come in.
Picture buying a watch and after only a few days of wear in the light and then being able to shove it to the back of the drawer, and find that it’s still running some 6, 7 or even 12 months later.
The need for repeated battery changes are a thing of the past with your solar powered watch. A solar cell is designed to run effectively for between 7 and 12 years; just think of how many costly battery changes you would have to have in those twelve years. On average a new battery would cost between £7.50 and £25 dependent on the model of course, now multiply this by the 7 or so battery changes you would have in the average 12 year life expectancy of a watch. That’s roughly up to £150 just to keep your watch ticking; when you consider the overall cost price of a solar powered watch is on average £50 more than a quartz, it’s no wonder why we think solar powered watches are the way to go.
It’s not just the effort of having a new battery that is removed in a solar powered watch; by only opening the watch every decade or so, the risk of damage to the watch’s inner movement and seal is greatly reduced. In short, the fewer times your watch has to be opened the better the chance the movement and seal will remain intact. Perfect for diving watches!
I bet you’re thinking ok that sounds great but surely the cost of replacing my Eco-Drive cell will cost more than I’ll save right?
Not at all! Here at Creative Watch Co we are able to fit genuine original brand Eco-Drive cells. Our ‘Renew Solar cell package’ comes in at a pocket friendly £35. Your new cell is designed to last just as long as the original and by our calculation works out at roughly £3.50 per year; a great saving for yourself and your watch.
Ah, but how will I know when I need to replace my solar cell?
There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for on your Eco-Drive/Solar watch; if you notice that your watch seems to be skipping/jumping (especially the second hand) then it is more than likely your solar cell is on its way out and will need replacing. We would always recommend that you leave your watch in direct sunlight for at least 2 days, if after this the watch is still having problems or has stopped altogether then bring it in to try a replacement cell.
Alternatively if your Solar watch seems to be losing charge quickly or keeping time incorrectly then these are also key indicators that unfortunately your cell needs to be renewed.
In short, these watches are both economical and environmentally friendly without sacrificing style or function.