A watch can be powered by many sources. For starters, there are mechanical/automatic watches that utilize hundreds of springs, levers, and gears, to eventually turn the wearer’s kinetic energy to power. There are quartz watches, also called battery operated watches, that make the watch keep track of time by utilizing an electric current that is powered by a small battery. There also are smartwatches, which use the latest technology to run (rechargeable batteries are their source of power).
And there are solar powered watches, powered by the sun, and in most cases, any light source. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the 12 best solar powered watches of 2022. Want to learn more about solar powered watches? Down below you will find a quick Q&A session to help you learn the basics!
Seiko Prospex “ARNIE”
If you’re assuming this Seiko solar-powered watch got its “Arnie” reference from Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’re correct! Arnold wore this piece frequently in the 1980s, including in some of his best action films, like Commando and Predator. Arnold’s version did not have solar power, but the modern model does. It also boasts an ISO-standard 200m water resistance, two illumination sources, and the iconic hybrid dial, which blends an analog watch with a digital display. It’s an excellent watch to wear if you want to make a statement or if your job requires a tough and professional tool watch.
Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar
Finally, a Swiss-made smartwatch that lives up to expectations. The T-Touch Connect Solar is Tissot’s first smartwatch, a hybrid watch with an integrated solar panel. It’s a big watch (47mm case), yet the curved lugs make it comfortable to wear. It is fast and durable, and its tactile technology allows the wearer to easily access a range of functions such as altimeter, compass, alarm, barometer, weather, and chronograph. Other features include notifications, a perpetual calendar, a step counter, calories burnt, temperature, and time zones.
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro – Solar Edition
Few brands make watches like Garmin. The Fenix 6X Pro Solar is the perfect example that displays the ultimate achievements in wrist technology. This solar powered smartwatch focuses more on outdoor activities. On top of its basic timekeeping functions the watch’s countless features include health monitoring features; daily features (calendar, phone alerts, weather); sensors (GPS, thermometer, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope), etc. If you live for the thrill, this solar sports watch is made for you!
Casio G-Shock Rangeman
Many G-SHOCK’s incorporate solar panels, but if you’re after the real deal, the renowned Rangeman is unbeatable. The sturdy and hefty shell of the watch is designed to withstand shocks, muck, and low temperatures, safeguarding not only the movement but also the triple sensor inside, which includes an Altimeter, Barometer/Thermometer, and Digital Compass. There’s also a wonderful 200m water resistance and Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping, which means you’ll know what time it is anywhere in the globe as long as you have access to light.
Casio G-Shock GW6900-1
The Casio G-Shock GW6900-1 is that type of watch that military and law enforcement choses to have on their wrists. Not only will it serve you well on a day-to-day routine, but you can also push it to the limit by taking it with you when swimming, hiking, camping, biking, and on any other outdoor activity you can think of. The watch is powered by light, courtesy of Casio’s proprietary Tough Solar technology. Additional features include a 200 meters water resistance rating, shock-resistance, atomic timekeeping, daily alarms, and EL backlight.
G-Shock Full Metal 5000 GMWB5000D-1
This is one of those solar watches that will surely start a conversation. The Casio G-Shock Full Metal
comes in a lustrous metallic aesthetic, which meets modern and vintage halfway. Its functionality is even better! The watch comes with a 200 meters water resistance rating, provides atomic timekeeping (Casio’s Multi-Band 6: delivers precise timekeeping practically anywhere in the world with radio transmissions from up to six different stations), and comes with G-Shock’s proprietary shock protection design. The watch is solar powered and with a single charge it can power up the batteries for 10 months (22 in battery-saving mode).
Citizen Promaster Skyhawk A-T
The iconic Promaster Skyhawk has long been a pilot’s favorite, due to its dual functionality as an aviation tool and a watch. This solar pilot watch features a slide rule bezel, atomic world time tracking for 43 cities, a 1/100th second chronograph, UTC display, and a countdown timer The dial is, without a doubt, complex. But that’s the beauty of it. Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology is housed in the Promaster Skyhawk, which powers the watch using light, any light.
Cartier Tank Must (SolarBeat™ Photovoltaic Movement)
Surprisingly, Cartier, the legendary watch and jewelry maker, has opted to lift their “renewable-energy” game by powering their most recognizable model using sunlight. That’s really sweet! The technology was created in-house by the company, and it was integrated in a way that did not compromise the Tank’s signature look. The solar cells of the SolarBeat™ photovoltaic movement are powered by light, which penetrates the dial through the Roman numerals.
Seiko SUP880 Square Solar Watch
Can’t afford the Cartier Tank mentioned above? No worries. This 10x less expensive Seiko dress watch has got you covered. Much like the iconic Tank, the Seiko SUP880 is a solar powered watch that happens to come in a square case and as if that wasn’t enough, its crown features a black stone on its tip.
A white dial with a striped design and printed black Roman numerals complements the stunning rectangular casing. The hands are leaf-shaped and black-painted, providing good readability and contrast against the white backdrop. As a solar-powered watch, this Seiko has a Japanese solar quartz mechanism.
Citizen is particularly famous in the niche of solar powered watches. That is because, unlike the other brands mentioned in this article, Citizen pays close attention to solar charging. With that said, we can expect a more developed technology that eventually makes Citizen solar watches, better and more convenient. Citizen Chandler ref. BM8180-03E is the perfect example. It is a military-inspired watch with a 100m water resistance rating, day-date display, luminous hands, and features Citizen’s proprietary Eco-Drive technology, allowing the watch to be powered by any light source. If you were searching for a solar powered watch that can take a beating, look no further as Citizen Chandler fits the bill.
Timex Expedition Scout Solar-Powered
The Timex Expedition Scout Solar is a sporty and practical solar-powered field watch that happens to come at an affordable price. It sports a 40mm brass casing and a mineral crystal on top. From the latter, you can view the matte black dial, where sword-shaped hands and printed Arabic numerals are housed. As a military-inspired field watch, it includes 24-hour marks all around the dial. When completely charged, the solar-powered movement has a four-month power reserve. Water resistance is 50 meters/165 feet.
Junghans Max Bill Mega Solar
Junghans is one of the few European watch brands that has invested in wrist technology such as solar charging and radio-controlled watches. They’re also doing pretty well in design (their main claim to fame is Bauhaus-influenced design) and mechanical watchmaking. We like Junghans for having a distinct look and attitude that distinguishes them in the watch market. A timepiece like the Max Bill Mega Solar stays reasonably priced while highlighting the brand’s qualities. Add here its timeless design, and there you have it, one of the best solar powered watches ever made.
FAQ about Solar-Powered Watches
What is a solar powered watch?
As the name suggests, a solar watch is a battery operated watch that is powered by solar (and ambient) light. In most cases, any light source can charge a solar watch.
How does a solar powered watch work?
Solar watches use a quartz movement that is powered by batteries. They, in turn, have solar panels installed behind the dial. The dial is then built in such a manner that light may pass through it and reach the solar panel. The solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which is then utilized to charge the moment.
What is the lifespan of a solar powered watch?
10+ years. A solar powered watch will serve you well for 10+ more years. A solar powered watch comes with batteries. Most manufacturers claim that their batteries have a lifespan of 10 years. Under certain conditions, they may be changed with new ones, restoring complete functionality to your watch.
What are some of the best solar powered watch brands?
The Japanese watch brand Citizen has their famous Eco-Drive system, Casio has the Tough Solar, and Seiko has the Seiko Solar. These are the usual suspects, and have been for years now, but recently, many other watch brands have turned their eyes to solar powered watches, spicing things up, and giving some excitement to the competition.