How long would an eco-drive watch last?
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  1. #1
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    How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Specifically the Nighthaw. I do realize the battery may need to be replaced in 10 years. What I'm asking is if I was to change the solar battery if it died, how long the watch would last. Is there any chance it would last as long as a mechanical would?

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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Quote Originally Posted by kaywalker View Post
    Specifically the Nighthaw. I do realize the battery may need to be replaced in 10 years. What I'm asking is if I was to change the solar battery if it died, how long the watch would last. Is there any chance it would last as long as a mechanical would?

    Quartz movements usually last very long, my first "nice" watch was a quartz chronograph given to me 15 years ago and it still run strong, your love for the watch may only last a couple of years.
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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Citizen are quoting 80% battery life in 20 years time on the current eco-drive models.

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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Furthermore, in my pre-sales interrogation of COA personnel, I was told that the battery on the Eco-Drive is covered for the life of the watch so long as the watch has only been serviced by authorized service centers and it was purchased from an authorized dealer.

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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    If you are asking how long a watch rechargeable battery (recharged by a solar cell) will last before needing replacement, there is no clear answer at this time. Solar-powered rechargeable batteries have not been used in watches for long enough for us to know their average, or typical, lifespan (even though they've been around for more than 15 years); there's just insufficient empirical data on this issue at hand. We definitely need to disregard the marketing bumf like "you will never need to replace the battery."

    There are a number of factors involved. One important factor is whether the battery is subjected to a number of "full recharges," such as when it runs down completely (or nearly completely) and has to be recharged a long way back to full charge. The rechargeable battery will take only so many of these before giving up. The standard recommendation from the watchmakers is to try to keep the battery "topped up"--that is, never let it go down too far, but instead keep the watch exposed to light all the time (or nearly all the time). Another factor might be the quality/efficiency of the solar cell/battery combination, with the different watch brands perhaps differing in this regard. Other factors might include the variations in temperature the watch is exposed to and impacts.

    Some time ago, there was a thread on this issue, and the impression I got from the discussion was that we might think in terms of 12-15 years for the life of a solar rechargeable battery, although, as noted above, this was really not much more than speculation, and is dependent on the factors mentioned above. Frankly, I'd be surprised to find, in time, that, on average, they last 20 years. There have been reports of them dying in 3-5 years, but we don't know all the circumstances surrounding these cases.

    As for the lifespan of a solar-powered-battery watch, once the battery and solar cell have been replaced, I can't see why you wouldn't get the same number of years as you got on the original solar cell/battery. So, these two elements can certainly be replaced, and the time between replacements would be (we assume) far greater than that for regular batteries. If the latter part of your question is how long will a quartz module live for (as you replace the power supply along the way), that's another good question to which we have no hard-and-fast answer. Even though quartz watches have been around for more than 40 years now, we seem to lack good empirical data on typical or average lifespans. There have been lots of reports of early (say early 1970s) watches still running, although there have also been lots of reports of much shorter lifespans. My local watchmaker (a German artisan who much prefers mechanical watches) told me once that it has been his observation that often the quartz modules just die somewhere around 25 years. This is not hard to understand if we remember what the workings of a quartz watch consist of. Integrated circuits could become corroded or give way over a long time. Solderings could give out. One would have to believe that, to a great extent, the movement's lifespan is related to the quality of the watch and, perhaps, the amount of handwork applied to the movement. One good example of this might be the Seiko 9F thermocompensated quartz movements. Seiko openly claims that these can go 50 years between full servicings (battery changes, of course, have to be made). The vulnerable parts of these movements are in vacuum-sealed housings.

    So, I guess, the answer to your questions is "it all depends."
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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Agree as to full discharge/recharge cycles diminishing lifespan of rechargeable battery. But in my mind, I will never have to replace a battery in my Eco Drive watch. Citizen has given me their assurance that the battery is covered for the life of the watch. COA may have to replace the battery but not me. So it's not marketing hype. They say "Never needs a battery" and I choose to take them at their word.
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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Quote Originally Posted by robo21 View Post
    Agree as to full discharge/recharge cycles diminishing lifespan of rechargeable battery. But in my mind, I will never have to replace a battery in my Eco Drive watch. Citizen has given me their assurance that the battery is covered for the life of the watch. COA may have to replace the battery but not me. So it's not marketing hype. They say "Never needs a battery" and I choose to take them at their word.
    If Citizen needs to replace the battery (even though they may cover this, and you will not be responsible), it would still represent a counter-example to their marketing hype, wouldn't it. I interpreted the OP as asking about the actual lifespan of a solar-cell/battery unit, not whether he himself would be responsible for paying for the replacement.

    I think it is now the consensus among WISs that the marketing claims of the solar-charged batteries never needing replacement is just nonsense, and, in my opinion anyway, deceptive advertising.
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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    I will agree to disagree. For many people 10 or 15 years will represent the most life they would want or need from a watch. At 20 years the cells are projected to have 80% of their usable charge capacity. That's fine with me as I don't deep cycle the batteries on my Eco-Drives. I don't see anything deceptive about Citizen and I am very satisfied that they will fully stand behind their product 100% if a battery fails in the Eco Drive. They really have nothing to gain by lying and I don't believe they are doing so.
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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    A few points....I know that folks have had batteries replaced from Citizen and they've been charged. Maybe not for the battery, but for a pressure test, new seals, movement lubrication...something....so I'm not 100% convinced that you could send an eco to COA and say ....just replace the battery and do nothing, and get a free service. They may insist on pressure testing and new seals. I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on this.

    One thing not mentioned is the lifespan of the solar cell. Those have finite lifespans as well....but...we don't know how long. I've recently noticed that at least on their Japanese site, Citizen is specifically stating that these cells will require periodic replacement.

    I've had more than a couple of Eco's fail on me so I'm not as convinced as others as to there invincibility. They go in funny ways too. They stop, you do a reset, put them outside in the sun and they start right up and seem to run fine. A month later, you look at them and see that they had stopped again at some point. Mine are always kept in a bright sunny room so they get plenty of light and aren't going through drastic recycling.

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    Re: How long would an eco-drive watch last?

    Quote Originally Posted by robo21 View Post
    I will agree to disagree. For many people 10 or 15 years will represent the most life they would want or need from a watch. At 20 years the cells are projected to have 80% of their usable charge capacity. That's fine with me as I don't deep cycle the batteries on my Eco-Drives. I don't see anything deceptive about Citizen and I am very satisfied that they will fully stand behind their product 100% if a battery fails in the Eco Drive. They really have nothing to gain by lying and I don't believe they are doing so.
    I think it's safe to say that the "projection" of 80% charge left after 20 years is nothing more than speculation and is just part of the marketing bumf. Robo21, the question was not whether a person would be happy with a Citizen eco-drive watch, or whether Citizen would honor their commitment to replace the battery system once it bit the dust, but, instead, just what we might expect from this technology in terms of the lifespan of (a) the solar-cell/battery unit and (b) from the module itself. I'm happy you're happy with your Citizen watch, but, with all due respect, that's not the issue here. You state that Citizen has nothing to gain by misrepresenting the actual lifespan of a solar-rechargeable battery system, but they obviously certainly do have something to gain--sales! If they can convince the customer that s/he will never need to have a battery change, we can reasonably assume that this will sell more watches than would a more considered and honest claim like "battery life of 15 years expected." No?
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