Introduction to Solar watches
Be honest, how many watches have you got squirrelled away somewhere because you love them, but the battery ran out and you’ve never replaced it?
It can be really frustrating to have a watch you love, but can’t use without going out of your way tog et it working again. They end up back in the box and shoved away again until the next time you have a spring clean.
There are ways you can bring a watch back to life even if it has been hiding for a decade. These kinds of watches have been around for a long time, but some people remain sceptical on their reliability. These watches are solar powered and made by pretty much every major watch brand you can name.
Solar-powered watches can be hidden away in a box for years and still work when you get round to finding them. They’re also much more environmentally friendly than their battery-carrying counterparts.
The most popular example of a solar-powered watch is the Citizen Eco-Drive.
If you’re looking into solar smartwatches, at the moment, Garmin is the undisputed market leader in this market.
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Let’s have a deeper look into what solar watches are about.
Solar watch technology is better than ever
Solar power is incredibly similar to luminous watches. There are actually different ways a watch can harness the energy from sunlight. A solar-powered watch that you bought 10-20 years ago isn’t going to be the same as the one you might buy today. Things change. It would be like comparing one of those clunky MP3 players to your iPhone. Sure, they both play music, but the tech is significantly different now.
Since the earlier days of solar-powered timepieces, there have been some huge steps in their ability to harness and store energy. An Eco-Drive, for example, can last up to 8 years if you get the right model.
Another improvement we see today is that designers have ditched some of the more questionable aesthetics we saw between the 70s and 90s. These designs were down to the need for incorporating the solar panels into the watch. Nowadays, solar watches look just like any other.
So, don’t judge whether or not you want to buy a solar watch in 2020 off the back of that dusty, clunky one you might have in a cupboard somewhere. It’s apples and oranges.
Solar watch tech doesn’t just rely on direct sunlight
Despite the name, solar-powered watches can get a charge from more than just direct sunlight. You can charge one with artificial light, too! So today’s solar-powered watches are going to be a lot more reliable than their predecessors, thanks to the evolution of the source of their charge.
It’s almost impossible that you’ll be shielded from the sun long enough for your solar-powered watch to die. Knowing that you can utilise artificial light means you’re probably always going to be near a source of energy for a quick boost.
Constantly on charge
One huge benefit to having a solar-powered watch is that they are constantly charging. This means the power reserve is only relied on in times of absolutely no light source. As mentioned, specific Eco-Drive models can last up to 8 years in no light. Which, unless you’re living in some dystopian post-apocalyptic underground bunker with no electricity, you watch won’t die.
There are two things to remember about a watch that is constantly charging. Small and frequent recharges actually degrade the battery life, eventually. Your watch can only take so many recharges before the battery quality begins to deteriorate.
Seiko, who make some excellent solar watches, recommend a battery replacement once every decade. Not too much to ask, is it?
This means you watch can perform for more than this ten year period. An Eco-Drive comes with a replacement battery. Testing has shown that a Citizen battery can retain over 80% of its capacity over a 20 year lifetime. So this ten year figure is a minimum!
If you switch to smartwatches such as Garmin on the other hand, you will get longer times between charging and up to 30 days in some cases. The Garmin Fenix 6X Solar is one such example with it’s battery lasting up to 21 days in the solar version.
Made by brands you can trust
Buying a solar-powered watch doesn’t mean you have to look at cheap ones made by brands you’ve never heard of. Big brands like Citizen, Seiko and Casio (check out the G-Shock Tough Solar) are some of the better quality options available. Garmin has recently released a Solar sportswatch that knocks the competition out of the water. So if you’re into big outdoor adventures, check this out.
Buying a big brand means you get quality, accuracy and reliability for many years. You’ll also get peace of mind knowing your timepiece comes with a guarantee.
There’s an abundance of decent options from multiple brands. You can find a make you love in a style that reflects your personality.
The first solar watch came out in the 1970s and since then the tech has gone through some impressive changes. The earlier styles were big and heavy because they needed to accommodate large solar panels. Thankfully, we’ve refined this and you can now own a watch you love that will stay with you for 20 years or more.
Your solar-powered watch will be equally reliable as their quarts counterparts. If you’re into environmentally-friendly products that look great, get yourself a solar watch.