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  1. #1
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Question Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    I own several Citizen Eco-drive watches and all of the manuals state that the secondary battery will "last a lifetime". That suggests around 70 years.

    However, information I've seen from anywhere else (like here) about secondary rechargeable batteries for watches suggests that the batteries usually last anywhere from approximately 10-25 years. So, is Citizen full of it, or do they have some special custom battery exclusive to Citizen Eco-drive watches that indeed lasts a lifetime?

    It's also suggested that the cost of the secondary batteries is about $40. Add shipping (about $15 insured) and the labor charge ($100), and you're looking at rather ridiculous cost if your original purchase price was $200 or less.

    So, naturally it's curious to think about what it takes to do the battery change yourself. Certainly this should be possible, if you have the right tools and know what you're doing... has any watch enthusiast here done this? If you could obtain the tools, know-how, and the right preparations for doing it for about the cost of the first battery replacement, then it would certainly be an economical thing to do if you've got more than one Eco-drive watch and you're mechanically inclined...
    Last edited by xevious; February 2nd, 2008 at 00:07.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Seiko SKA-413 | Omega Seamaster DeVille | Casio GD-350, TW-7000, DW-5025D, G-7900MS, G-7800B, GW-9100MB, GW-2310, GL-110, G-2000

  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Moderator D N Ravenna's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    I have replaced the capacitor on several Seiko Kinetics and on my Eco-drive perpetual. It is a lot easier than cleaning and lubricating a mechanical watch. That said, it was not as easy as replacing a battery either. Cost was under $15 for the replacements.

    Kind of sux, but they are meant to be used relentlessly. If you are like me and rotate watches, they will suffer.

    Cheers!

    Dan

  3. #3
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Thanks for the replies. I didn't mean to suggest I'm seriously worried about the batteries. I'm curious about the validity of Citizen's claims and if they are the only ones capable of opening Eco-drive watches.

    I have seen some people on watch forums post claims of their Eco-drives dying on them just after the warranty ended. And only a couple said they had put their watches through several long periods without light exposure (full sunlight was no longer restoring a full charge). In my case, the oldest Eco-drive I have is approaching 9 years and it seems to work just fine. So I'm confident my watches will last a long while.

    I hear you about gaskets... although I wonder what's really involved with these single piece molded cases--it could be that whatever gasket is used is so well protected from the elements that it would last virtually as long as the battery.

    Anyway, if it turns out that 20 years after ownership the battery does require replacement, I have no doubt Citizen will still be around to do it... I just hope they don't charge an absurd fee for the maintenance.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Seiko SKA-413 | Omega Seamaster DeVille | Casio GD-350, TW-7000, DW-5025D, G-7900MS, G-7800B, GW-9100MB, GW-2310, GL-110, G-2000

  4. #4
    Member b3nry's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    I have had an eco-drive for 2 years - I think - and it has never run out. I wear it very few times a year and simply store it in my room with the case lid open. It has only run on the low charge indicator (hand jumps every 2 seconds) once. However, because I store it with the lid open, I noticed it and placed it under a lamp over night and then in the sun for a few hours the next day and it was back to normal. If you wear it once a week or even once a fortnight - making sure it gets some sun exposure - she'll be right.
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  5. #5
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Does gasket life vary based on the usage? I have a 14 year old Casio LCD stainless steel watch I've kept in very good condition and after I removed the case back, I can see the original gasket is still in excellent shape (I even examined it under a loupe for fraying--none). Of course, the manufacturer will have the usual disclaimer that whenever the battery is serviced, the gaskets should be replaced. But I wonder if many of these gaskets are engineered with a material that can last for at least two battery changes.

    I have a 10 year old Citizen Eco-drive that just went diving with me a couple of months ago, down to 100 feet--no leaks whatsoever.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Seiko SKA-413 | Omega Seamaster DeVille | Casio GD-350, TW-7000, DW-5025D, G-7900MS, G-7800B, GW-9100MB, GW-2310, GL-110, G-2000

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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Well off of wikipedia, the batteries in eco-dive watches are a silicon ion watches, which i've never heard of before, so that gives it some credibility, standard rechargeable are lithium based and do begin to lose their charge with age.
    Regards,

    Mike



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  7. #7
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    These watches do not use batteries in the usual sense. They use an electronic device known as a capacitor, which stores energy as a battery does, but in a different way than a battery. Where batteries perform chemical reactions to generate electrons, capacitors actually store the electrons directly in internal plates. There are no chemical changes involved or at least, in normal operation there shouldn't be. This is why rechargeable batteries are good for maybe 100-500 charge cycles but capacitor cycle life is essentially unlimited. The type of caps used in watches are known as "super capacitors" due to their unusually high energy density (energy stored per unit volume) as compared to the typical capacitors used in electronic equipment. The only downside is that they are much more expensive than the typical throwaway battery used in other quartz watches.

    The "Silicon Ion" referred to above is a reference to the power source of the watch, basically a silicon solar cell similar to those used in battery-free calculators and large solar panels. It has nothing to do with the battery.

    The use/non-use of the watch will likely have little to no effect on the life of the capacitor. Capacitor life is not associated with the number of charge / discharge cycles as it is with an electrochemical battery. Rather, it's life is for the most part limited by the loss of the liquid electrolyte contained inside the capacitor. This loss is determined by the quality of the seals which degrade over time and high temperature allowing the capacitor to literally dry out. This causes loss of capacity and eventual failure.

    Not using your watch for long periods should not affect the capacitor life very much, if at all. But it probably is not all that great for the mechanics of the watch to be left still for long periods of time. Kind of like what happens if you don't run your car for a year.

    Anyway, if you are getting 10 years of life out of a $100 watch, I think you are doing pretty well.
    asingh1977 likes this.

  8. #8
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Actually, they do use batteries and at the really high capacity end of capacitors, which these are, there is very little difference between a battery and a super cap.

    It is very much true that running them down and storing for a long period will do bad things to the physical state of the inside of the cell, because they're designed to be stable while holding a charge, not while fully discharged. So don't do that.

    Eco-drives last just fine if you keep them charged. Leave one in the dark for a couple of years and you can expect to have to replace the cell. Kinetics are more annoying, because they have such a short power reserve... fortunately, you can find induction chargers for kinetics that will keep them running. But I just won't buy a Kinetic because of the relatively poor battery life... may as well be standard quartz at that point.

  9. #9
    Member Citizen V's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Don't Kinetics have the same power reserves as eco drives? 6 months?

  10. #10
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Re: Citizen Eco-drive secondary battery life

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen V View Post
    Don't Kinetics have the same power reserves as eco drives? 6 months?
    Kinetics have improved a bit from their earlier incarnations. But their power reserves are capped around 6 months maximum (most capable models). Eco-drives have far greater power reserves. Earlier models couldn't go for more than 3 months before depletion, but there are some models capable of going for 5 years on a single charge. Yes, that's no typo--5 years! But that's on a very simplistic model with just a date function. Mainstream Eco-drive models with a decent array of functions (atomic sync, chronograph, alarm, date indicator) often have a 9 month power reserve.
    asingh1977 likes this.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Seiko SKA-413 | Omega Seamaster DeVille | Casio GD-350, TW-7000, DW-5025D, G-7900MS, G-7800B, GW-9100MB, GW-2310, GL-110, G-2000

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