Best Solar Watches

Last Updated: 19 March, 2019 by David West

The watch you wear on your wrist is a statement as much as it is an accessory. Paired with an appropriate outfit, it can create a subtle, but powerful effect, as well as offer a glimpse into who you are.

 

As such, if you want to express elegance, strength, but also concern for a more sustainable future, consider a solar watch that is both handsome and environmentally-friendly. In what follows, we’ve put together a list of solar watches reviews featuring the best solar watches currently on the market. Take a look!

Editor’s Pick
CITIZEN Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk Watch
CITIZEN Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk Watch
Top Pick for Quality
CASIO Men's 'G-Shock' Quartz Resin Dress Watch
CASIO Men's 'G-Shock' Quartz Resin Dress Watch
Top Pick for Elegant Women’s Watches
SEIKO Two-Tone SUP-174 Crystal
SEIKO Two-Tone SUP-174 Crystal
Top Pick for Ruggedness
CASIO Men's GW-9400-1CR Stainless Steel Solar Watch
CASIO Men's GW-9400-1CR Stainless Steel Solar Watch
Top Pick for a Tight Budget
CASIO Men's AQS800WD-1EV Analog-Digital Watch
CASIO Men's AQS800WD-1EV Analog-Digital Watch

Solar Watches Reviews: The Best of 2019

 

Solar power cells were first used commercially in the 1970s, but they’ve come a long way in a very short period of time. Today, they are small and efficient enough to power a watch for months on a full charge, even if kept in complete darkness. Furthermore, you have a wide variety of choices in terms of the functionality, style, and price of solar powered watches. Below are just a few of the best examples.

1

CITIZEN Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk Watch

This stainless steel, Quartz movement watch by Citizen is as powerful as it is gorgeous. Although a bit on the expensive side, it sits handsomely at the top of our solar watches reviews due to its excellent craftsmanship, style, and functionality.

 

Citizen’s Promaster Nighthawk is a flight watch intended for novice and professional pilots alike. It features a pilot’s slide rule dial ring that can be easily manipulated using a crown at the 8 o’clock position, as well as a date display, dual time, and large hands for easy reading, coupled with icy-blue luminous markers for low-light conditions.

 

Of course, you don’t have to be a pilot to appreciate the Promaster Nighthawk, which is, beyond all else, a truly elegant display of craftsmanship and functionality. The silver-tone, stainless steel 42mm case and bracelet contrast beautifully with the black dial and stand out without being ostentatious.

 

As such, the watch can complement any type of casual wear, as well as any formal dress, which makes it the ideal accessory for both business and pleasure. Although intended as a flight watch, the piece is also water-resistant and can therefore be worn while swimming, showering, and snorkeling.

 

Overall, Citizen’s Promaster Nighthawk is durable and handsome, and it comes with some great functions too. It’s suitable for pilots and for most professional marine activities, but also for those who travel frequently, particularly due to its GMT function. The icy-blue lights that complement the dial in the dark are stylish and long-lasting, while the rechargeable battery can last for months on a full charge.

PROS:
  • Beautiful flight watch with great contrast between stainless-steel casing and a black dial
  • Functional for both novice and professional pilots
  • Water resistant to 200m (or 660ft)
  • Date and dual time display
  • Easy-to-read, illuminated by icy-blue lights in the dark
CONS:
  • Slightly more expensive than other options
  • Although they look cool on the dial, some functions might be redundant if you’re not a pilot
2

CASIO Men's 'G-Shock' Quartz Resin Dress Watch

As most solar watches reviews will tell you, Casio’s G-Shock resin dress watch is one of the best solar watches this manufacturer has to offer. Featuring a stainless-steel, sleek 53.8mm casing and an additional shock-absorbing resin layer, this Quartz movement timepiece can take a serious beating and emerge unscathed.

 

This dignified watch by Casio looks polished and sharp. None of its features are redundant, while the dial is handsomely complemented by a battery indicator, a chronograph, and a dual dial for GMT function. Inspired by jet engine blades, the indicator is positioned at 9 o’clock and uses a cool red marker to display remaining battery levels.

 

A full analog watch, this piece comes with a Super Illuminator LED Light to ensure visibility in the dark. In addition, the battery and solar PV cell are powerful enough to keep the watch running at all times, even in the absence of sunlight. In fact, you can charge this watch using not only natural, but also artificial light, which means you basically never have to worry about the battery dying on you.

 

The G-Shock models have been continuously improved by Casio for more than a decade and this resin dress watch is no different. In other words, the watch is made to withstand powerful impact and vibrations without taking any significant damage. In addition, it’s sporty enough to accompany casual wear, but also elegant enough to be displayed at formal parties and meetings.

 

It’s also noteworthy that you can connect this watch by Casio to your smartphone. You can use this link to view the battery level indicator on your phone, but also to allow the watch to automatically synchronize to the exact time up to four times each day.

PROS:
  • Part of Casio’s G-Shock series, this watch can take a beating without significant damage
  • Stainless steel casing offers a sharp look, while the extra resin layer offers protection against impact
  • Water resistant to 200m (or 660ft)
  • Comes with multiple functions, including a battery display, chronograph, dual time, and LED light for visibility in the dark
  • Can be connected to smartphones for time synchronization
CONS:
  • Significantly more expensive than other options
  • Larger than most other options (only a disadvantage if you’re looking for a slimmer, more subtle model)
3

SEIKO Two-Tone SUP-174 Crystal

If our best solar watches reviews focused solely on women’s watches, this beautiful timepiece would sit at the very top. Unlike the other models presented here, this watch is not necessarily large or crowded with dial functions. It is, instead, a display of elegance in two complementing tones.

 

Seiko’s analog crystal watch features a round white dial within a delicate, 22mm stainless steel case tastefully adorned with Swarovski crystals. The link bracelet is also made of stainless steel for durability, while the clasp is a secure, but easy-to-use push-button closure. The dial is covered with a protective Hardlex crystal dial window, which ensures that the timepiece is not easily scratched or damaged on impact.

 

The two colors on this watch by Seiko are equally appealing. The mother of pearl dial is complemented by the silver tones of the hands and the golden hour markers, and the same pattern is emulated by the bezel, lugs, and bracelet. The bracer is easily adjustable to smaller wrists.

 

The Japanese Quartz movement that rests at the heart of this watch is solar powered, so you never have to worry about changing its batteries, even if the watch is not exposed to sunlight for months. The piece is also water resistant to 30m and can be worn both at work and for a classy evening.

PROS:
  • Elegant design featuring a delicate mother of pearl dial with silver and golden nuances, as well as Swarovski crystals for the casing, bezel and lugs
  • Casing and bracelet made of stainless steel for durability
  • Protective Hardlex dial window to prevent scratches
  • Water resistant to 30m
  • Bracelet can be adjusted for smaller wrists
CONS:
  • The watch is an elegant accessory and not a rugged, heavy-duty timepiece (whether or not this is a disadvantage depends on your taste and preferences)
  • Does not come with as many functions as other options
4

CASIO Men's GW-9400-1CR Stainless Steel Solar Watch

One of the most durable, heavy-duty pieces of the Casio G-Shock series, as well as a constant presence in most solar watches reviews due to its high functionality, the Rangeman (as the manufacturers refer to it) can accompany you into the outdoors and survive in the most extreme conditions.

 

With a 53mm case that combines the best of Casio’s shock-resistant resin technologies, the Rangeman is able to withstand great impact without taking any significant damage. It’s not a dive watch, but it is water resistant to 200m (or 660ft), which is a big plus if you frequently find yourself swimming in unpredictable situations.

 

Each Rangeman comes with a triple sensor that can keep altitude, barometric pressure, and temperature. A multi-functional digital watch by the highest standards, it can also display sunrise and sunset data, record time, measure elapsed time, and much more. Given its high durability and functionality, this timepiece is perfect for rescue crews, rangers, and other professionals who spend a lot of time in the outdoors and whose activities demand steadfast reliability.

 

Casio’s Rangeman is fairly large and it comes in full black with tasteful red accents. Overall, it’s one of the most rugged-looking best solar watches currently on the market and, although double in price compared to other G-Shock models, it’s more than worth the investment thanks to its guaranteed durability.

PROS:
  • Durable, heavy-duty watch featuring the most advanced shock-resistant resin technology by Casio
  • Highly functional, designed for outdoor use: can keep track of altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and much more
  • Functions are easily accessed with no more than one touch each
  • Full black with tasteful red accents
  • Full rugged look
CONS:
  • Significantly more expensive than other options
  • Fairly large: not suitable for small wrists or for those looking to buy a slimmer, more subtle accessory
  • While its rugged look is cool and ideal for the outdoors, it’s not necessarily suitable for formal occasions
5

CASIO Men's AQS800WD-1EV Analog-Digital Watch

You won’t find this model by Casio in many solar watches reviews, but if you’re on a tight budget and you still want an exceptional timepiece for your money, this is one of the best solar watches for you. Produced by an already notorious manufacturer, this analog-digital watch offers many of the functions of pricier models for an extraordinary cost-to-quality ratio.

 

The stainless steel casing for this timepiece by Casio is reasonably sized at 41.5mm, while the sleek subdued black dial contrasts handsomely against large silver hands and time indicators. Overall, the watch features a minimalistic look and is perfectly suitable for both casual and formal meetings.

 

In addition, the functions that come with this watch are impressive for its price range. A largely analog watch that incorporates a smaller digital display in addition to the main dial, the piece features a stopwatch, a countdown timer, five different alarms, an auto-calendar function, as well as world time for 31 timezones and 48 cities.

 

Although not part of Casio’s G-Shock series, this watch still benefits from some of the manufacturer’s signature, shock-resistant technology. It is water resistant to 100m (or 330ft), which makes it suitable for most water sports, but not for diving. Finally, the rechargeable battery and small solar panel are powerful enough to keep the watch running for up to 20 months on a full recharge. You can easily recharge this timepiece using both natural and artificial light.

PROS:
  • Very affordable Casio watch with many of the advantages of pricier models
  • Minimalistic, sleek look with contrasting black dial and stainless steel band
  • Large enough to make a statement, but not ostentatious: suitable for both casual and formalwear
  • Comes with various functions, including a stopwatch, alarms, auto-calendar, and world time
  • Water resistant to 100m (or 330ft)
CONS:
  • Not part of Casio’s G-Shock series, though still fairly durable
  • Some customers complained that the alarm function was too silent
6

PROS:
CONS:

How Is a Solar Powered Watch Different?

Combing through a few solar watches reviews, you’ll undoubtedly notice how cool these timepieces actually are. But how are they different from normal watches and how do they actually work?

 

In fact, the mechanics of a solar watch are quite simple. Each solar powered watch features a photovoltaic (or PV) cell or, in other words, a very small solar panel, either in place of the dial or one layer behind it. When exposed to sunlight or, in the case of the best solar watches, when exposed to any type of light (even a desk lamp), these solar panels convert photons into energy and then into electricity. The latter is stored in a rechargeable battery and, depending on each brand, can power the watch for several months without further exposure.

 

There are several advantages to wearing a solar powered watch:

  • Solar powered watches are environmentally-friendly because they do not use conventional batteries to function. Meanwhile, rechargeable batteries last much longer and require virtually no maintenance.
  • Solar watches are convenient because you rarely have to worry about changing their batteries. In this regard, they are more reliable than conventional watches, which might otherwise stop working at a critical time.
  • Although more sustainable than other options, solar watches are not necessarily a compromise in terms of functionality and style. You’ll find these watches in all manners of shapes, sizes, and colors, and many of them will come with a variety of functions typical for conventional timepieces.

 

What Are the Best Solar Watch Brands Today?

Today, there is a growing market for solar watches and a number of brands have made significant progress towards the development of high-end timepieces that are both stunning and eco-friendly. Some of the most trustworthy names include the following:

 

Casio

Casio is not only one of the best and largest watch manufacturers on the planet, but also one of the first to have gone solar. They make watches that range from $10 to $6000 and more in price and, over the years, they have accumulated a vast experience in the implementation of solar technologies. Their G-Shock series is notorious for some of the most rugged, impact-resistant watches on the planet, while their “tough solar” technology ensures that their solar timepieces can be charged using even the faintest artificial light source.

 

Seiko

Seiko manufactured its first pocket watch as early as 1895 and the first quartz watch worldwide in 1969. In 1977, they introduced their first solar watch, while in 2012, they created the first GPS solar watch that would automatically detect your time zone and adjust accordingly. Since their inception in the late 19th century, Seiko have been dedicated to innovation. When you buy one of their watches today, you know that you are getting the best possible quality for the price you pay. In addition, the solar technologies employed by Seiko are notoriously reliable, as well as cutting-edge.

 

Citizen

Citizen watches might be slightly more expensive than the competition, but they also represent the highest standard in terms of quality. They use a proprietary light-powered technology called “Eco-Drive” which ensures that you will never have to replace the battery of any watch they manufacture. The technology can generate power from any type of light source, whether natural, artificial, or even very dim, and one full battery charge can last up to 20 months. It’s difficult, in fact, to find a brand that is more reliable than Citizen.

Before You Buy a Solar Watch

Before You Buy a Solar Watch

Now that you’ve gone through several best solar watches reviews, you’re almost ready to make your choice. Before you do so, however, consider these important questions against the final list of candidates.

 

Do you love the way it looks?

Depending on its brand and price, a watch might initially seem like an investment, but it’s actually much more than that. Buying a watch, in other words, is not like buying gold, for instance, because while both might maintain a decent value in time, you’ll actually wear the watch for countless occasions, both casual and formal. To enjoy the timepiece you buy, you have to absolutely love the way it looks. Consider every detail – the size, the shape, the color, as well as the materials it’s made of. A watch can be a priceless accessory and even a decent companion, so keep on your shortlist only those models that check all your requirements.

 

What kind of outfits will it complement?

In other words, on what occasions are you more likely to wear this solar watch? Many solar watches reviews will make recommendations regarding the most appropriate dress for each watch, but you can also gauge this information yourself, based on your particular style. Just remember that while a sports watch is suitable for casual, business, and many formal occasions, a rugged-looking timepiece designed for outdoor survival does not necessarily enjoy the same kind of versatility. At the same time, important formal events will call for a specific type of dress watch, so consider your options carefully. Generally speaking, you don’t want something too fancy if you dress casual most of the time and you shouldn’t go for a rugged piece if you intent to wear it at formal parties.

 

Is it comfortable?

Some people wear their watches only on special occasions, while others do not leave their homes without their trusty time-keeping companions. Furthermore, you might one day wear your watch for only a couple of hours during a party, while in other days you might keep it on your wrist for upwards of eight hours, at work. At any rate, this solar watch will spend a lot of time on your wrist, so it is absolutely essential that it feels comfortable. When you put it on your skin, does it create pressure markings? Can you make it tight or loose enough or do you have to keep adjusting it to fit your wrist? Finally, is the band easy to close and secure enough? You might think these details are negligible to begin with, but they’ll actually have a big impact on whether you can enjoy your watch long-term.

 

Does it come with the functions you need?

Solar watches may be eco-friendly, but they user-friendly as well. You shouldn’t have to compromise on look, style, or functionality when you choose the best solar watch, so consider which functions you need and shortlist only those watches that meet all your requirements. You’ll find solar watches for flight, diving, outdoor survival, and much more. Many of them come with alarms, stopwatch functions, chronographs, height and temperature sensors, date displays, GMT functions, GPS functions, and even weather forecasts. In short, solar watches can do virtually anything conventional watches can. Prioritize accordingly.

 

A wristwatch is a very personal accessory that can speak volumes about who you are and what you value the most. As such, it’s only natural that choosing the best solar watch is not a “one verdict fits all” type of decision. Solar watches reviews can go a long way towards pointing you in the right direction and making the most of your money, but ultimately, your personal preferences and style must be the deciding factor here.

Overall rating: