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Thread: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

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  1. #1
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    Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    So, I am interested in adding a solar something or other to the watch collection in the future, and I rather like several Seiko Solars (SNE107 and SSC003 for starters), but a jewelry store I usually trust without a second thought gave me pause. Their watch guru said to stick with Citizen for solar movements. He said Seiko's power cells usually bite the dust sooner and he's replaced/worked on far more of those than the Citizen ones. He USUALLY really knows his stuff, but I took issue with this one. My perception was that Seiko made really high quality solars, and that Citizen was good, but you might be paying a bit for the look or the name on the dial. I feel like if I knew who had the better internals, it could help me figure out what to buy when I do finally purchase. Right now, the only Citizens I have seen that I like enough to actually consider purchasing are maybe the BM-847500X and the BM-847526E (I love Bell + Ross, so this might help scratch that itch). I've been able to find many more Seiko Solars that I would love to buy, but I know I could find something I like in either camp.

    So who do you think has the edge when it comes to Solar powered movements? I'm talking longevity and durability of just the movement/solar power system, I don't care about looks or case/dial fit and finish, etc.
    "If only buying more watches could buy us more time..."

    Grail:
    Grand Seiko SBGV005.

  2. #2
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Citizen has had the lead in light-replenishable battery technology. They have really concentrated on their eco-drive technology, whereas Seiko seems to have divided their R&D efforts between a small solar-power program and the kinetic-drive program. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that Citizen eco-drives will outlast or be more durable than Seiko solar models. I'm frankly surprised that this watch guru said what he did, since eco/solar has been around for a relatively short period of time, and I'd be surprised if a non-negligible proportion--of either brand--have had either their light cells or the accompanying rechargeable battery conk out yet. It would, of course, be foolish to believe the "you'll never need another battery" nonsense that the marketing departments spew out in connection with this new light-charging technology, and the conventional wisdom (albeit largely speculative) seems to be that 10-15 years might be the realistic life-span. Once either the light cell or rechargeable battery do die, though, they can easily be replaced. The fact is that we really don't have any credible empirical evidence yet on the comparative merits of Citizen vs. Seiko. However, if you can dig into the company literature and claims each company makes regarding length of time the battery will stay alive in the dark (and anything else that is published and able to be compared), you might learn something. I think purely on reputation with respect to this technology and length of time spent developing it, the nod might go to Citizen.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    You make some really good points. Citizen seems to be very heavily invested in their Eco-drive tech. Seems like every watch they make is Eco-drive now. It would heavily tarnish their reputation if all those watches started failing prematurely. I'll have to keep looking at Citizen until I find some models I like. I wish they made something that looked like the Seiko SSC003. But I still feel like I'd get my money's worth out of a Seiko if I were to go that route.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
    "If only buying more watches could buy us more time..."

    Grail:
    Grand Seiko SBGV005.

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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Sounds like the watch guru's store gets a higher profit on Citizen so he's pushing them.

    I own both Seiko Solar and Eco-Drive models and have no reason to believe that durability/longevity isn't a toss-up between the two. Both are excellent companies with long histories of providing quality product and supporting well what they sell.

    Buy whichever you like and don't worry about if it might fail.

    HTH
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  5. #5
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Quote Originally Posted by sirgilbert357 View Post
    You make some really good points. Citizen seems to be very heavily invested in their Eco-drive tech. Seems like every watch they make is Eco-drive now. It would heavily tarnish their reputation if all those watches started failing prematurely. I'll have to keep looking at Citizen until I find some models I like. I wish they made something that looked like the Seiko SSC003. But I still feel like I'd get my money's worth out of a Seiko if I were to go that route.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
    As far as the rechargeable batteries go; both Seiko and Citizen are likely using the same or similar ones from the same manufacturers so longevity will be about the same in a static situation.
    The solar cells will both be similar but likely are different enough to warrant patents. That simply means that we won't know which is better until we start to see one or the other fail.

    Another difference in the solar cells might be efficiency; ie how well they convert light to electricity.

    I wouldn't personally make a choice based on this but rather on which watch I liked the looks and functionality of.
    Ottovonn and oogabooga like this.

  6. #6
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    I fully agree with Gaijin and Pawl, I have Seiko Solars and Eco Drives too and can't see why one should in principle last longer than the other. This bearing in mind that the rechargeable li-ion batteries that power them are not made by either company but by a third party (typically Panasonic) and that this is in general the component that fails and needs to be replaced.

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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    I would trust both brands with my hard earned money. That being said, we just don't know how good the Seiko Solar line is yet. It's too new to tell. Citizen Eco Drive has been around for awhile, so if you want to buy something with a good reputation, go with Citizen. This isn't a knock against Seiko Solar. Seiko is an incredible company, and they absolutely know what they are doing. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Seiko Solar.
    CitizenM and oogabooga like this.


  8. #8
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Anyone else notice that there aren't enough pictures in this thread?











    HTH
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Quote Originally Posted by Shagrath View Post
    I would trust both brands with my hard earned money. That being said, we just don't know how good the Seiko Solar line is yet. It's too new to tell. Citizen Eco Drive has been around for awhile, so if you want to buy something with a good reputation, go with Citizen. This isn't a knock against Seiko Solar. Seiko is an incredible company, and they absolutely know what they are doing. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Seiko Solar.
    It's true that most of Seiko's solar models are new but there have been Seiko solar models almost as long as Citizen first came out with the precursor to Eco-Drive. Seiko chose to concentrate instead on a technology(kinetic) that was made redundant by 10 year batteries almost from the beginning.

    Seiko has finally realized or accepted that solar is the way of the future...or at least until they perfect the human electrical charging system.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Longevity: Eco-Drive VS. Seiko Solar

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawl_Buster View Post
    Seiko has finally realized or accepted that solar is the way of the future...or at least until they perfect the human electrical charging system.
    First I've heard of this human charging system...do elaborate.
    "If only buying more watches could buy us more time..."

    Grail:
    Grand Seiko SBGV005.

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