Best Solar Watches: Our Top 2018 Picks!

The last few years solar energy has skyrocketed in popularity.

Prices have dropped, they’ve become more reliable and are now at a point where they’ll probably never run out of battery.

But with so many different brands and models to choose from it can be hard to know which ones are the real deal.

You need to consider how well they convert power, how well they store power, their battery life, durability, and of course how much they cost.

To help you out, I’ve dedicated the last 5 days finding out everything there is to know about solar watches and am here to share what I’ve learned.

By considering price, style, reliability, and durability, I’ve narrowed it down to these five as being without a doubt the best ones out there…

Solar Powered Watches Comparison

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What Makes a great solar watch?

The main two things to look for are battery life and reliability.

The last thing you want is to spend your whole time worrying that your watch is going to die. Even worse would be it running out of battery when you need it most.

great-solar-watch

I’ve only included watches on my list that are well-known for having crazy solid batteries.

Most will last 6 months or more without seeing any light and still work fine.

If you check others reviews and buy the right model, you should be able to get a watch that’ll never ever die.

Digital or atomic

While this is mostly down to personal preference, atomic watches do tend to be slightly more accurate.

Digital often goes out of sync or starts lagging slightly after a few months while atomic watches should stay right on time.

G-Shock technology

Casio has been at the forefront of watch technology for a while now and they seem to constantly be pushing the field forward.

G-Shock-technology

Credit Gshock.com

With their new G-Shock technology they’ve gone and done this again.

Solid and strong, they’re just as capable with just as many cool features while being able to take a serious beating.

Shock resistant and scratch proof you’ll find it hard to break one of these guys.

Light powered technology

This is a field that’s been getting more and more advanced over the last ten years.

The efficiency and speed of turning light into power have been getting better and better and at the same time, the costs have been steadily falling.

This has brought us to the point where you can easily get affordable devices that are powered by light and hella reliable.

Water resistant

water-resistant

All of the watches on my list are water resistant to at least a depth of 100 meters.

This means you can take them with you snorkeling, swimming or while doing any water activity and they’ll work just fine.

I’d recommend not taking them diving though, just in case.

LED light

Having a backlight is pretty essential as you want to be able to tell the time when it’s dark too.

Most watches will come with a LED backlight, and some will even have this as red light so you don’t lose your night vision. Pretty handy.

Countdown Timer

countdown

Any watch worth its salt will have a countdown timer inbuilt into it.

These are super handy for loads of different situations and you really shouldn’t buy a watch without one.

Chronograph

A chronograph is basically just a stopwatch.

Again if you’re getting a decent watch it should definitely have a stopwatch built into it and some will even have two different ones that you can use at the same time.

Compass or GPS

This is really a question of personal preference.

compass-or-gps

A GPS is no doubt easier to use, it tells you the way to go and takes the direction keeping out of your hands.

A compass takes more skill and concentration but also gives you a higher sense of accomplishment at reaching your destination.

Do you want complicated map reading or the ease of technology?

Seiko vs Citizen

Both of these brands are considered as two of the top market leaders and they’ve both got a real good reputation.

This hasn’t come from nowhere, they’ve been continuously redesigning and improving on their models so that they always keep their edge.

seiko-vs-citizen

Seiko seems to have specialized more and more in the top end of the market, producing the absolute best that technology can achieve but with a price tag to go with it.

Citizen has focused more on high-quality, low-budget watches. They’ve kept their standards just as high but are constantly innovating to bring costs down and prices low.

So it really depends what you’re going for?

The absolute best of what technology can do or a damn great watch with great value for money.


Best Solar Powered Watch Reviews

Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Navihawk Atomic Timekeeping Watch, JY8035-04E

Best solar atomic watch

Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Navihawk Atomic Timekeeping Watch,  JY8035-04E

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This has it all.

From a reputable company, comes a watch that’s earned itself a prestigious reputation in no time at all.

It’s smart, sexy and built to last a lifetime.

What I liked about it:

  • I can’t help but be drawn to the design this has. The stainless steel, black edges and black strap really makes the orange accents on the dial stand out and give it an overall smart but flashy look.
  • The analog display is made from Japanese quartz while the stainless steel case has anti-reflective minerals built into it, so it doesn’t catch the sun.
  • You don’t get much more accurate than this fella. Built with atomic clock synchronisation it should never go out of sync or start lagging. You don’t get more accurate than this and there’s a radio controlled digital display that shows the time in 43 cities too.

Who’s it for?

This is if you want the absolute best of the best and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it.

In terms of design, reliability, and durability this simply can’t be beaten.

It costs about 300 bucks but damn does you get what you paid for.

Some other sweet features:

  • There is a power reserve indicator so you’ll be warned before the battery runs out.
  • It also has a countdown timer that works up to 99 minutes and a stopwatch that can measure up to 24 hours with an accuracy of 1/100th of a second.
  • It’s water resistant to a depth of 200 meters, which means it’ll be fine to take with you on any kind of water sports adventure, as long as you’re not going deep water diving.
  • There is a backlight which illuminates at the click of a button.

Casio Men’s Solar Runner Tough Solar Multi-Function Runner Watch

Best for Budget and Our favorite picks 2018

Casio Men's STL-S110H-1ACF Tough Solar Runner Digital Black and Orange Watch

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Casio’s been leading the watch market in high-end and highly functional watches for a while now.

What they’ve managed to do here, is keep the quality that’s made them famous while bringing the cost right down.

With a battery that’s better than loads of watches that cost hundreds of dollars, a super durable design and that cool look, this is probably one of the best budget options out there.

What I liked about it:

  • The size of the solar battery is wicked. If it’s fully charged it’ll last 11 months without the need of any light at all. This is pretty wicked if you live somewhere with long dark winters, even there it’ll work fine all year round.
  • It also tells you how much battery it has left which is super handy and a feature that a lot of watches don’t have. Not only does this let you know when you need to go out and get it charged, it also just gives you a bit of peace of mind.
  • The price! It’s only about 50 bucks which makes it one of the cheapest solar watches you can buy and it’s still damn awesome!
  • There’s a quartz movement analog watch face and a digital display, so you can choose which way you tell the time.

Who’s it for?

If you’re on a budget then this is without a doubt one to seriously consider.

It’s pretty much unheard of to find solar watches for so cheap and this isn’t some knock-off, crappy watch, it’s made by Casio.

If you’re looking for something cheap but want good quality and craftsmanship too, I’d highly recommend having a look at this fella.

Some other sweet features:

  • The backlight on it is pretty decent, so you can easily check the timeout even if you stood in the pitch black.
  • With preset times for almost 50 different cities, you can change your time zone at the click of a button.
  • It’s got all the extras you expect a watch to have, 5 different alarms, a calendar, a stopwatch and two independent countdown timers.
  • Water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters it’s fine to keep on your wrist when you’re swimming or snorkeling.

Seiko Men’s SSC233 Sport Solar Brushed Stainless Steel Watch

Best for Sport

Seiko Men's SSC233 Sport Solar Brushed Stainless Steel Watch

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If you’re environmentally conscious and into fitness then this is the perfect watch for you.

Designed especially for runners and sports enthusiasts, it is shock resistant, water resistant and has an extremely accurate stopwatch built into it.

Reliable, stylish and lightweight this is definitely one to check out.,

What I liked about it:

  • The first thing you can’t help but love is just how cool this guy looks. The mixture of the stainless steel, dark dial, and bright orange features really make it stand out.
  • The efficiency of the solar power is also something to be impressed by. Not only does it generate electricity super fast it can also store enough energy to last you six months. So even if you’re hidden away inside and not in the sun for months it still won’t die.
  • The fact that it comes with a 2-year warranty is something that I’m really impressed with too. It just shows how much they believe in their product, and the faith they have that it will stand up to the test of time.

Who’s it for?

If you’re looking for a mixture of style and reliability then I’d definitely consider going for this guy.

They’ve got the perfect balance of making it look good while also making it functional as ever.

This guy wasn’t invented overnight, this is the result of years and years of research, development, and innovation.

Some other sweet features:

  • It’s water resistant up to a depth of 100 meters, which is 330 feet. This means it’s absolutely fine to go swimming or snorkeling with, but it’s probably best to leave it at home if you’re going scuba diving.
  • It has a stopwatch inbuilt into it which is accurate down to 1/5th of a second and can measure split time races for up to 60 minutes. Great for if-if you’re into exercise and want to push yourself to constantly beat your old personal bests.
  • The strap is made from nylon which is known for being really durable and long lasting. It’s fine to get wet and is pretty damn comfortable too.
  • Costing around 275 bucks, it’s not a cheap option but for such a solid mix of style, reliability, and functionality you really can’t complain.

Casio G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch

Best for diving

Casio G-Shock GWM500A-1 Digital Wrist Watch

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Once again, Casio has proved why they’re the market leaders with what they’ve created here.

A great price, a great battery and a great design.

What I liked about it:

  • The main thing that’s great about this guy is all in the battery. Of course, it’s rechargeable by solar light but it also can be recharged by any other type of light as well. As it has a storage battery it’ll last 9 months on a full charge even if it’s sat in a drawer and sees no light at all.
  • All of this is accompanied by an indicator that warns you if your battery runs low and a power saving function you can use to extend the battery life even further.
  • Another thing that makes this guy stand out so much is how damn strong it is. You’d find it hard to break it even if you tried, it’s shock resistant, scratch proof and can go 200 meters underwater.

Who’s it for?

If you’re looking for something that’s stylish, functional and cheap then this is just perfect.

It only costs around 70 bucks has a cool black/red design and does everything you’d want a watch to do.

Some other sweet features:

  • The stopwatch is accurate down to 1/100th of a second, there’s a countdown timer and you can set up to 4 alarms.
  • The backlight is a good level of brightness so it’s super easy to read when it’s dark and the numbers have a nice afterglow to them after the light goes out.
  • It has preset times for cities all around the world and you can choose between a 12 or 24-hour digital display.
  • It also comes with a 1 year warranty which just gives you that extra peace of mind.

Seiko Men’s SSC021 Solar Diver Chronograph Watch

Best solar digital watch

Seiko Men's SSC021 Solar Diver Chronograph Watch

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Seiko has been dedicated to watch design for over 125 years and you can bet that in that time they’ve learned a thing or two.

Here is an example of true innovation and pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible.

With a uniquely designed solar-powered quartz movement, any light whatsoever is converted and stored into power that can be used to keep it ticking.

What I liked about it:

  • The hands are luminous making it easy to see in the dark.
  • The casing is made from scratch resistant Hardlex crystal so that it stays looking fresh and new even over years of use.
  • It’s water resistant up to a depth of 200 meters, so you can take it swimming or snorkeling and never have to worry.

Who’s it for?

If you want something that looks good and performs well too then this would definitely be one to consider.

It’s not cheap costing around 350 bucks, but the attention to detail and quality of design just can’t be beaten.

Some other sweet features:

  • The date is shown at the fifth hour. This subtle placing is actually really nice, it’s easy to read and gives it a sophisticated look.
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty, something I imagine you’ll never have to use, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

FAQ SECTION

Do they have batteries?

Yes, even solar powered watches need batteries as otherwise as soon as you were in the dark they’d turn off.

But they don’t all work the same way.

There are two different ways that batteries tend to work on these…

The first is them running off of just a solar powered battery which solely uses the recycled energy it’s taken in from the sun.

The alternative is to have what’s called a storage battery, which you simply “top up” with the solar energy.

These are more reliable and less likely to run out of charge if they are out of the light for too long but tend to be heavier and slightly more expensive too.

Whichever you go for is really up to personal preference.

Reliability or price and weight?

Can solar watch batteries be replaced?

They can indeed!

It’s super easy to change the batteries over and companies like Seiko suggest that you change them over once every ten years.

How does Seiko solar watch work?

Seiko watches are probably some of the most innovative out there and I could write a whole article on some of the crazy mechanisms they use to be as efficient as possible.

In short, though, the quartz display has small panels on it that convert any available light whatsoever into power, which it stores to use in times of darkness.

Can it be repaired?

They can indeed!

You shouldn’t need to repair them as they’re built to be solid as hell but if anything does happen you can send them back to the supplier and most of them will fix it right up for you.

How durable are solar watches?

These days if you buy the right model, they’re durable as hell.

This is one of the areas that they’ve really improved on in the last few years.

Nowadays these guys are shock resistant, scratch proof and built to go through a real bashing.

As long as you don’t drop them off a cliff you should be alright.

How to keep solar watches charge?

That couldn’t be simpler, just give them some light!

It’s not just sunlight either, artificial light of any kind will work too.

Most can last between 6 and 10 months in complete darkness and still run, so you shouldn’t need to worry about it too much.

But, if you feel like it might be running low, or if you haven’t been out in the light for a while, just put it on your wrist and go for a walk in the sun.

Does it have an altimeter?

Unfortunately, none of the watches on my list have an altimeter.

This is because of the amount of power that they take to run which would suck up all of the solar energy much too quickly.

Does it come in women’s size?

All of the straps on these are adjustable so it doesn’t matter if your a man or a woman they should fit you just fine.

Is Seiko manufactured in Japan or China?

These days most Seiko watches are manufactured in specially selected factories in China, which has enabled them to keep their prices low while maintains their standards.

Some of their really top-end ones are still made in their famous in-house Japanese factories, but this is saved for their luxury watches, just because the process is so much more expensive.

Scott Moey
 

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