Solar Powered watches
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  1. #1
    Member Michael Day's Avatar
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    Solar Powered watches

    As a mechanical watch fan I'd like to ask other such non-quartz enthusiasts what they think of the Seiko solar powered watches. While they are quartz and run on a battery you never have to replace the battery.

    Interested in other people's views.


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    Last edited by Michael Day; October 24th, 2016 at 10:52.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    In theory you never have to replace the battery. In practice there may be components that need to be replaced, such as capacitors. The movement is also subject to wear and tear and may need to be serviced or replaced at some stage.

    I think solar watches are fine, and I hope they are more reliable now than when they were first introduced.
    Last edited by Seibei; October 24th, 2016 at 18:54.
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  3. #3
    Member Michael Day's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Seibei View Post
    What language is that? Could you kindly post in English?
    Ahhh. Read before posting!


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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Seibei View Post
    What language is that? Could you kindly post in English?
    The quote feature, preserving our mistakes in digital amber for all eternity.


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  6. #5
    Moderator Public Forum GlennO's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Day View Post
    As a mechanical watch fan I'd like to ask other such non-quartz enthusiasts what they think of the Seiko solar powered watches.
    I'm a fan of most movement types including quartz. I guess that disqualifies me from commenting.

  7. #6
    Member MrDagon007's Avatar
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    Solar Powered watches

    You have to keep them and similar gshocks in bright rooms or they may discharge quicker than you'd think.
    Otherwise what's not to like. Even more convenient than a standard quartz. Instead of replacing a battery every 3 years or so, now only every 8 to 10 years when it has worn down too much.
    Last edited by MrDagon007; October 24th, 2016 at 11:25.

  8. #7
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    While much of the advertising says that you need never change a battery the actual life expectancy of one of these little do dads is about 15 to 20 years if looked after. By the time your watch is 20 you may be ready to replace it anyway so the battery may indeed last the life of the watch.

  9. #8
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    I'm thinking an orange dial solar diver is what I want the most.
    Automatic and hand wind are nice but take a lot of date changing and such when I want to wear them. At worse I might need to hack a quartz.

  10. #9
    Member Barry H's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    Solar watch batteries are ipso facto rechargeable, hence 'no need to change'. Could be wrong, but ISTR most watch manufacturers use Panasonic manganese-titanium-lithium batteries which should be good for 10 years, though I wouldn't be surprised if they lasted 20 years if kept at, or near, full charge with few, if any, complete discharges. So ignore those who say that you'll need to replace this and that. Just wear often or keep in a brightly lit place (ie windowsill). The Seiko V158 has a run time of 10 months once fully charged and two minutes of bright light is enough to power the watch for one day (no complications other than date).

    I prefer solar for quartz watches as
    (a) I like and appreciate the technology
    (b) I hate the idea of not knowing for sure when a 'normal' battery will die and
    (c) don't want some ham-fisted, underpaid, overworked guy changing a battery (don't trust myself to do it either).

    Seiko solar is my default quartz option - have a couple and the seconds hand hits all the markers on both - a point worth mentioning.
    Last edited by Barry H; October 24th, 2016 at 21:35.

  11. #10
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    Re: Solar Powered watches

    Citizen claims their battery will retain 60% capacity after 20 years. The power reserve on relatively recent models (say, last 5 years) is long...10+ months, generally...so you should still be looking at 5 months run time, with NO light.

    Also, in daylight the Citizens recharge fast. Here's a recharge table from Citizen Hong Kong:
    Citizen Watches Co Ltd / Eco-Drive Charging Table

    So, it recovers a day of charge in 5 minutes on a cloudy day, as a pretty representative number, and 10 minutes is largely worst case. Cloudy day should also be representative of a sun-facing window. So even 2 hours a week will improve the charge level.

    I'm not going to discourage a Seiko, but I'd check Citizen and Casio. You might see something you didn't anticipate. Casio Oceanus has some very nice solar and RF watches. And DON'T limit your checking to the Citizen and Seiko US sites...those are just the basics.

    seiko-watch.co.jp
    citizen.jp

    Citizen doesn't have an English language option, but Chrome includes an auto-translate. It doesn't work great on Citizen's site, for whatever reason. But both companies' interesting offerings are almost completely restricted to the Japanese market ONLY...they're not officially distributed outside Japan and maybe nearby areas like HK and Malaysia. Why? Who knows. But the Seiko solar RF and Citizen HAQ watches are JDM. You *can* order them...from a Japanese dealer, which is easy enough (done that 3 times) and Amazon serves as a middleman for some.

    EDIT: Seiko does suggest a 5 year service interval...but manufacturers *generally* suggest conservative service intervals. And the cost of a complete service, even with a replacement power cell, is *cheap* by comparison to the cost of a mechanical service. And as noted...if you get 15 years, is replacing it painful? You can also figure that 15 years from now, battery tech will be better, solar tech will be better, movements may be more efficient and/or more accurate (thermocompensation may become reasonably common, if still minority, rather than the isolated, specialty feature).
    Last edited by gangrel; October 24th, 2016 at 22:05.
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