Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives
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  1. #1
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    Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    I have a bit of a collection of automatics, mostly Seiko, and a few Citizen Eco Drives. I wear them all in short rotations depending on my mood. Its a bit of a pain having to reset the automatics each time I swap watch however, I like the idea that they are not ticking away in a draw while they are out of rotation. I have this weird idea that if they are not running for 90% of the time they are going to last allot longer. The Eco Drives of course do tick away in their dark solitude. The question is: Will I prolong the life of my Eco Drives if I pull the crown when they are not in use. Does the whole of the mechanism including the electrical come to a halt is it it just a disconnect at the distal end of the drive train?
    Any Thoughts

  2. #2
    Member J.D.B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    They're built to run. Mine live near the window, out of direct sunlight. The cell doesn't like to be "deep-cycled", so, my thought is to keep it charged and the watch running. My Skyhawk has been running since '04. I have another (regular) quartz Citizen that has been running since 1981 or '82. It's stopped briefly for battery changes along the way, of course, but, again, it was (well) built to run. In the mechanicals, the oil will fail over time whether or not it's running. It will likely last longer by stopping between wearings, but, only because it's sitting still over that time. My advice: Wear them and enjoy them. Fix them when they break rather than fretting over how long they'll go without servicing.

    Josh
    Last edited by J.D.B.; August 5th, 2012 at 16:53.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D.B. View Post
    They're built to run. Mine live near the window, out of direct sunlight. The cell doesn't like to be "deep-cycled", so, my thought is to keep it charged and the watch running. My Skyhawk has been running since '04. I have another (regular) quartz Citizen that has been running since 1981 or '82. It's stopped briefly for battery changes along the way, of course, but, again, it was (well) built to run. In the mechanicals, the oil will fail over time whether or not it's running. It will likely last longer by stopping between wearings, but, only because it's sitting still over that time. My advice: Wear them and enjoy them. Fix them when they break rather than fretting over how long they'll go without servicing.

    Josh
    Hi, new member here... just got my first Eco-Drive. (BR0061-04E, pictures are still in the wife's memory card, sorry.)

    Just to elaborate on the previous point... As Josh already mentioned, batteries can be seriously harmed by apparent lack of use. There's no practical way to disconnect the storage cell in a solar watch, so after the watch has stopped, there will still be a drain on the cell - at least the self-discharge, which can be as great a load as the movement, if not greater, depending on the particular chemistry. The cell will be drained further and eventually damaged ("deep-cycled"). I've seen this happen in camera and laptop batteries (lithium chemistry) left unused for long periods of time. It can also happen in a solar watch if it's left in the dark for an extended period. So from an electrochemical standpoint, to reduce wear and tear on the cell one might do well to take out the watch two or three times a year, even if it's not in active use, or just keep it in a place where it gets some light.

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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    Thanks for your replys.
    My original issue wasn't with wear on the "battery" but rather mechanical wear of the gear train. I should be concerned with battery life since I recently got a jeweler to quote replacing one in my wifes Eco Drive: the price $250 coincidentally what the watch cost me. I do accept evaporation and degridation of the oil would be inevitable and little different between running and not. As for battery chemistry. I understood that Eco Drives us a capacitor rather than a chemical cell. Is this correct and does anybody know what type of capacitor they are. Either way the stopped watch should hold charge for longer than a running one. I could store them on the dresser rather than in it.
    As for wearing them. Alas, my arms are too short and too few.

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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    Quote Originally Posted by Fridgmag View Post
    Thanks for your replys.
    My original issue wasn't with wear on the "battery" but rather mechanical wear of the gear train. I should be concerned with battery life since I recently got a jeweler to quote replacing one in my wifes Eco Drive: the price $250 coincidentally what the watch cost me. I do accept evaporation and degridation of the oil would be inevitable and little different between running and not. As for battery chemistry. I understood that Eco Drives us a capacitor rather than a chemical cell. Is this correct and does anybody know what type of capacitor they are. Either way the stopped watch should hold charge for longer than a running one.
    I found the importer's technical data sheet (Finnish text, sorry), which states the battery chemistry as "Titanium Lithium Ion". Also, Google picked up this: Citizen Eco Drive Power Generating and Storage system. It looks more like an advertising blurb, but it also mentions the titanium lithium ion chemistry. In English, it's basically a lithium ion battery that works at a lower voltage and somewhat more efficiently, the carbon electrodes having been replaced with titanium oxide.

    Judging by the specs available, the cell might be something like this. It is definitely not a capacitor, as all literature talks about a "secondary cell" or "battery" and mentions the titanium lithium ion chemistry. Lithium batteries will last long if it is used frequently with relatively shallow cycles.

    If one were to maximize the shelf life of both the movement and the battery, I would think that one possible way might be to store the watch as you suggested, with the crown pulled on top of the dresser.

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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    I think I'd try to use it as they intended. That means keeping it topped off and running. These watches should run for over 10 years without a problem if you do that. I've seen plenty of Citizens that I can tell were daily wearers that are still ticking away after a very long time.


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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    The Citizens use the MT-920 in several of it's variants over their range. Definitely a "battery".
    $250 is expensive for that replacement, Fridgmag, I'd shop around. The cells typically run in the $20 range. That price MAY be because the cell is truly buried in the movement or soldered in? At that price, I'd just replace it if I could.

    Josh
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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    I think you can send the watch in to Citizen and get the battery replaced for next to nothing. They guarantee it for life. While it's there, you can pay for a new crystal and other maintenance to be done to it. Shouldn't cost anywhere near $250. Talk to Citizen before some scam artist jeweler.


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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    Thanks for that excelent bit of information.

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    Re: Reducing Wear and Tear on Eco Drives

    Just to provide more info:
    My chrono Pilot AS4050 stops the seconds arm in the darkness, to resume the correct position when enough light gets to it.
    so no ticking in the darkness...

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