With so many kinds of watch to choose from–solar, automatic, kinetic, quartz, and spring drive (wound)–it can be tricky to know which one is right for you. In this article we’ll compare two kinds, solar watches vs kinetic watches, and dig into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these mechanisms so you can pick the one that suits your lifestyle best.
How Do Solar And Kinetic Watches Actually Work?
A solar watch has a special solar cell installed underneath the face of the watch, or on a bar at the top, which absorbs energy from sunlight or artificial light and converts it into electricity. Using the electricity stored in the power cell of the solar watch, the hands are powered directly.
A kinetic watch, on the other hand, is basically an automatic watch with a few subtle differences. A kinetic watch gains its power from the user and the way they move their wrist. This movement causes internal parts to move and that kinetic energy is transferred to a very tiny piece of quartz–causing it to vibrate.
The energy from the vibrating quartz is then captured and stored via a capacitor, which releases it to power the movement of the watch’s hands.
Solar Watches Vs Kinetic Watches: Pros and Cons
Both types of watch, solar and kinetic, have their distinct advantages and drawbacks, so let’s take a look at exactly what each type is best at.
|Solar Pros||Kinetic Pros|
|No winding needed to keep it powered for months at a time||Minimal servicing requirements unless parts are faulty|
|An accurate watch mechanism with good timekeeping||The charge will last for a long time from just a couple hours of wear|
|Power cell stores energy in case it does not receive light||Good accuracy over time, not as good as solar, but better than automatics|
|A lightweight design thanks to the simple technology inside||Expertly crafted timepieces that can be handed down to family members|
|Cheap compared to many of the automatic and kinetic models||Come in a wide range of styles and colors, something for everybody|
|Long-lasting, from 7-12 years in most cases||Modern capacitors can last for many years without needing to be repaired|
|No lithium-ion power source needed so they’re a greener option||Some may prefer the weight of these watches to lighter solar ones|
|Solar Cons||Kinetic Cons|
|Can be quite expensive||Cannot be wound back up easily if it stops|
|Can be thin and less robust when it comes to bashes and bangs||Not a good buy if you plan on keeping it in a drawer or jewelry box for weeks|
|Shouldn’t be kept in a drawer for extended periods||It is much more expensive to replace a broken storage capacitor than a battery|
|Difficult to repair if the internal mechanisms break down||If the battery is overused and capacitor not charged, the watch will fail to work|
Should I Choose a Solar or Kinetic Watch?
When it comes down to pure aesthetics, if you like an intricate timepiece that has been hand-crafted to endure many generations of use, then kinetic is the way to go. Kinetic watches are things of beauty and complex engineering, but come in a wide variety of shapes and styles so there’s sure to be one that suits every taste.
However, all of these intricate parts may require maintenance if they are to be kept in good working order, and it is much more expensive to replace a capacitor in a kinetic style of watch than to change a battery.
Solar watches, on the other hand, are gaining popularity thanks to their simple designs and environmentally friendly technology. They need minimal maintenance and will last for years if properly cared for. You will never need to worry about having the battery changed, and you will enjoy a higher level of accuracy than a kinetic, especially if don’t choose to wear it all the time. Solar watches also come in many styles–there are even solar watches designed for women, with smaller faces and more delicate styling. While some are less robust than kinetic watches, solar watches like the Casio G Shock are sturdy and even bulky.
The final decision when comparing solar watches vs kinetic watches comes down to your own style and how the watch looks and feels when you strap it onto your wrist. Both solar watches and kinetic watches will keep ticking without the need for servicing over a long period, and both can be picked up for a relatively low cost depending on the model you choose.
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.