Looking for a solar-powered watch? When it comes to wristwatches, there are thousands of incredible options to choose from. They’re a classic accessory, and often a functional necessity used by everyone from keen enthusiasts to people who just need to know the time without pulling out their phone to check.
Quartz watches, which are battery-operated, are known to be highly accurate, precise, and reliable. They’re an affordable, accessible and low maintenance option, which is especially popular with those who need a reliable and hardwearing watch.
The problem? Traditional quartz watches have a battery that inevitably needs to be removed and replaced. Aside from the hassle of finding yourself without a watch and then having to have the battery replaced, opening and closing the casing can impact the seal and water-resistance of a watch.
The solution? Solar watches! Solar-powered watches offer all the same benefits, without the hassle and inconvenience of needing to replace flat batteries!
Solar-powered watches come in all shapes and sizes. No matter what you’re looking for, there is a solar watch for you.
That said, so many choices can be overwhelming and time-consuming to sort through, which is why we have chosen 15 of the best solar watches for you to look at today.
Let’s dive right in!
How Does a Solar Panel Watch Work?
In a solar-powered watch, solar energy is captured by the solar panel of photovoltaic cells under the watch dial. This energy is then transferred to the capacitor, which is a battery-like cell, to be stored and used to power the quartz mechanism of the watch.
Traditional quartz watches are driven by energy from a disposable battery cell, which sends an electrical charge to an internal quartz crystal shaped like a tuning fork. The quartz crystal resonates or oscillates at a very precise frequency. The circuit inside the watch counts the vibrations and sends a pulse every second to the watch motor, which drives the mechanism to move the hands and keep time.
Quartz watches are known to be very precise and accurate watches. Their only downfall being battery life and needing to change the disposable battery when it runs out of charge. A flat battery will lead to lost time and necessitate the opening of the watch to replace it, which can compromise the seal and water-resistance of a watch.
Solar watches, on the other hand, do not need to be opened to replace a battery because there is no battery to be replaced! Given enough light, they will continually charge and keep going for many years.
A good solar watch has a power reserve of up to 12 months, in complete darkness, so it can safely be stored in a cupboard or safe without compromising its accuracy or functioning. If you wish to learn more about how solar watches work – check at this introduction by Superwatches.com.
For more great reasons to get yourself a solar watch, have a look at this video by The Town Watch:
15 Best Solar Powered Watches
We have selected 15 of the best solar-powered watches based on their features, value for money, user ratings, quality and aesthetics.
We have selected a wide range of styles, functions, and price points. Whatever you’re looking for, there will be something you love in this list:
1. Casio Men’s G-Shock MTGM900DA-8CR Tough Solar Atomic Stainless Steel Sport Watch
The Casio G-Shock Tough Solar is a shock-resistant, multi-band atomic watch. It is made from stainless steel and is water-resistant to 200 m. Features include alarms, hourly time signal, stopwatch and countdown timer, auto-calendar, world time, and 12/24-hour time formatting. It is a long-lasting solar-powered watch, which will last up to 9 months on a full charge.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.7/5, 2740 reviews):
- High quality and long-lasting, very durable.
- Atomic timekeeping means never having to reset the time while traveling
- Dial is simple and easy to read
- Poor documentation – some reviewers had to watch YouTube tutorials to adjust the band or set the home town for the time
- Band is very large and difficult to shorten
- Heavy and cumbersome on a small wrist
2. Citizen Eco-Drive World Chronograph A-T Men’s Watch, Stainless Steel, Technology, Silver-Tone (Model: AT8110-53E)
The Citizen World Chronograph A-T is an atomic, stainless steel, analog watch. Features resistance to 333 ft/100 m, atomic timekeeping in 26 time zones, the 1/20-second chronograph measures up to 60 minutes, perpetual calendar, 12/24-hour time, power reserve indicator, day, and date. As an atomic, solar-powered watch there is no need to reset the time when traveling or change the battery.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.6/5, 379 reviews):
- Very attractive, aesthetically it is comparable to much higher-end watches
- Very reliable and consistent
- Great customer care from the seller
- Hands are fine and some found them difficult to read in low light conditions
- One reviewer had difficulty getting the atomic satellite signal in high humidity
- One reviewer found the band uncomfortable and had trouble finding a replacement that was the right size
3. Garmin Instinct Solar Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch
The Garmin Instinct Solar is a Military watch with GPS and a host of fitness and health tracking features. Solar charging extends the battery life, which is especially useful for hiking out extended outdoor activities. It is built to the US Military standard 810 for thermal, shock, and water resistance (328 ft/100m). Features include global satellite navigation system compatibility for GPS, heart rate, stress, and sleep tracking, preloaded sports modes, smart notification when paired with a phone, and compatibility with many other fitness and GPS tracking devices and apps.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.5/5, 2232 reviews):
- Excellent battery life – a smartwatch that doesn’t need to be charged all the time
- Durable and great for very active, outdoor lifestyles
- Comfortable and easy to operate and adjust
- No touchscreen – button operated
- Not as user friendly as other smartwatches and fitness trackers
- Heart rate monitor is not as sensitive as some fitness trackers during high exertion
4. BERING Time Men’s 14440-393 Slim Watch
The minimalist Bering Time 14440-393 is a sleek stainless steel solar watch. Made from medical-grade stainless steel, with a sapphire crystal face, it is hardwearing and suitable for everyday use. It is water-resistant to 5 ATM/50m/164ft. Solar charging and power reserve will last 6 to 12 months on a full charge, even in complete darkness.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.4/5, 1358 reviews):
- Scratch-resistant face and durable metal casing held up under hard use
- Comfortable band, light, and easy to wear
- Attractive option, minimalist and modern design
- Not an atomic watch so time needs to be set manually
- The clasp on the band is difficult to fasten correctly and if is not fastened properly it falls off
- Slim hands can be hard to see in dim light
5. Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
The Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is a solar-powered digital watch with an analog display. Made from hardy stainless steel, with a mineral crystal face. Features include atomic timekeeping, a digital compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer, timestamp, 5 daily alarms, stopwatch and countdown timer, day/date/month calendar, and sunrise and sunset date. It is water-resistant to 660ft/200m and suitable for recreational scuba diving.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.8/5, 3574 reviews):
- Very hardwearing and durable
- Accurate atomic time syncing and no need to take it off to sync
- Water resistance rating is great and it is easy to read underwater
- Can be difficult to setup
- Some reviewers had charging issues
- Some reviewers needed to replace it as the face fogged up
6. Seiko Women’s SUT068 Diamond-Accented Solar Watch
The Seiko Women’s SUT068 is a diamond-accented dress watch that is made from two-tone stainless steel. It is a solar-powered watch with a Japanese quartz movement and an analog display. The dial mother of pearl, protected by Seiko’s Hardlex crystal for scratch resistance and strength. It is water-resistant to 164 ft/50 m and suitable for recreational swimming.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.6/5, 489 reviews):
- Comfortable, small, and lightweight
- The band is long so it fits larger wrists but easy to adjust if you need it tighter
- Attractive watch that looks more expensive than it is
- Seiko repairs can be expensive
- Some reviewers had trouble with the date being inaccurate
- Some reviewers found that the battery needed replacing despite it being a solar watch
7. Seiko Men’s SSC017 Prospex Analog Japanese Quartz Solar Stainless Steel Dive Watch
The Seiko Prospex SSC017 is a men’s analog dive watch. It is made of stainless steel, with Seiko’s Hardlex crystal dial window. The bezel is black and blue, on a silvertone stainless steel casing. There are three chronograph sub-dials on the black solar-powered watch face. It is water-resistant to 660 ft/200 m and suitable for professional marine activity and surface water sports. What makes this timepiece even more attractive, there’s a wide range of Seiko watch bands to complement any outfit.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.4/5, 670 reviews):
- Great value for money – very sturdy and durable
- Reliable and consistent time and date keeping
- Solid and weighty design that feels like great quality
- Slight inaccuracy in hand positioning
- Bezel moves very easily
- Some reviewers had problems with the capacitor not charging the battery
8. Casio Tough Solar AQ-S810W-1A4VCF Men’s Quartz Watch
The Casio Tough Solar AQ-S810W-1A4VCF is a solar-powered watch with a quartz movement. It has a dual analog and digital display, 5 daily alarms, stopwatch and countdown/interval, full auto-calendar, 12 and 24 time formatting, multilingual day of the week display, and world time. It is water-resistant to 328 ft/100m, making it suitable for swimming and snorkeling. The case and band are made out of durable, comfortable, and shock-resistant resin.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.5/5, 1279 reviews):
- Excellent value for money
- Very light and comfortable
- Tough and durable
- Difficult to set initially
- Date and digital time are small and hard to read
- Analog hands obscure the stopwatch and digital time
9. BERING Time 14426-010 Women’s Slim Solar-Powered Watch
The BERING Time 14426-010 Women’s Slim Solar Watch is made from silver- and gold-plated medical-grade stainless steel. The watch face is flat sapphire crystal, which is highly scratch-resistant, over an analog display with the date. As a solar-powered watch, it will last 6 to 12 months on a full charge. It is water-resistant to 5 ATM or 164 ft/50 m. This is suitable for short swimming and showering but not for snorkeling or diving.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.2/5, 517 reviews):
- Very attractive, clean, and simple design
- Reliable, durable, and good quality
- Excellent customer care from Bering
- Watch face is small and gold hands can be difficult to see
- Date is very small and hard to see
- Some reviewers had trouble with the strap and clasp
10. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Men’s Solar-Powered Watch
The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver is a quartz, solar-powered watch. It is made from stainless steel with a blue, molded polyurethane strap. It has a unidirectional bezel and blue dial, with a date window and luminous hands and hour markers. The face is a mineral crystal dial for scratch resistance. It is water-resistant to 666 ft/202 m and suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.7/5, 7553 reviews):
- Clean and simple design that is easy to read
- Durable, well-made, and high-quality
- Very accurate and reliable
- Illumination could be better in dark conditions
- Can be a little top-heavy and slide sideways (metal watch is heaver than the plastic strap)
- Some reviewers received watches that weren’t functional from the seller (on Amazon)
11. Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Solar-Powered Watch
The Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Solar Powered Watch is made from resin, with an acrylic face cover and nylon strap. The dial is a simple analog display with luminous hands and a date window. It is water-resistant to 165 ft/50 m and suitable for swimming but not snorkeling or diving. The power reserve will keep the watch charged for up to two months on a full charge.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.3/5, 313 reviews):
- Very light and comfortable to wear
- Hardwearing and suitable for outdoor sports and hiking
- Hands line up perfectly, very accurate
- Strap is not the best quality
- Can be hard to read in low light because the hands are a dark color
- Poor luminosity on the dial at night
12. Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E Garrison Unisex Military Field Watch
The Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E Garrison Military Field Watch has a stainless steel case and a canvas strap. The face is an analog display with three hands, luminous markers, and a day-date window. It is water-resistant to 10 ATM (100m) and suitable for professional marine activity and water sports.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.5/5, 7302 reviews):
- Very easy to operate
- Clean and simple display that is easy to read with good luminosity in the dark
- Great battery life and charges easily in all light
- Many reviewers did not like the strap and replaced it with aftermarket ones
- Crown makes it difficult to change the date setting
- Unisex sizing made it too small for men with larger wrists
13. Seiko Men’s SNE039 Stainless Steel Solar-PoweredWatch
The Seiko SNE039 Stainless Steel Solar Watch is made of stainless steel, with Seiko’s Hardlex crystal dial window. The fixed bezel display has luminous silver hands on a black face with a day and date window. It is water-resistant to 100 ft/30 m and suitable for short immersion while swimming or showering but not for snorkeling or long swimming.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.6/5, 1174 reviews):
- Slimmer and less bulky than other watches, which makes it light and comfortable to wear
- Very accurate and precise
- Classic, simple and attractive design
- Strap requires specific tools to remove links
- Doesn’t charge well in indoor/low lumen light
- Silver hands can be difficult to read in the dark or very bright light
14. Casio Protrek Tough Solar Powered Watch
The Casio Protrek Tough Solar Powered Watch boasts a band, case, and back made from biomass plastic. With a big black face and large silver hands, you can do more than tell the time with this watch. This watch has a built-in thermometer, compass, and barometer. Thanks to advanced sensory technology, you can measure changes in your environment, like direction, temperature, height, and air pressure.
What Amazon Reviews Say (4.5/5, 16 reviews):
- Lightweight and comfortable to use for outdoor activities
- Excellent legibility with large dials
- Excellent illumination and readability
- It may scratch quickly
- No manual or link to configure the watch
- Can be challenging to set up
15. Vaer DS4 Meridian Solar Dive Watch
The Vaer DS4 Meridian Solar Dive Watch is an ocean-ready watch with a black band and stainless steel case. You can dive 656ft/200 meters underwater with this solar watch. The analog dial window is made from sapphire crystal with a Japanese quartz movement. For resistance and durability, this watch has an AR scratch-resistant coating and a 316L steel case.
What Amazon Reviews Say (5/5, 25 reviews):
- One user mentioned how affordable this watch is for the available features and top-tier technology
- Comfortable and resistant
- One user says they love to wear this watch every day, outside of diving and swimming
- One user suggested this watch should have a dome crystal for added aesthetic
Our 2 Top Picks
Every watch on this list is a great watch! With so many great options and such a variety of styles and functions, it is difficult to pick the best two options. That said, here are our favorites:
Top Pick #1: Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
We love the Casio G-Shock Rangeman for its impressive suite of functions, the value for the price point and that is an atomic watch that is also fully functional and easy to use when scuba diving! What’s not to love?
We love the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Watch for its high-quality and simple, attractive, styling. Dive watches are a timeless classic and at that price point, it is excellent value for money! We also love that it can be used for swimming and snorkeling, making it a watch that is as functional as it is stylish!
References and Useful Resources
The Truth About Watches: Solar Watch Charging: The Debate Rages!
Watch Ranker: What Are Atomic Watches and How Do They Work?
Watch Ranker: Solar Watches Pros and Cons
Davosa: Watch Movements
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a solar-powered watch?
A solar watch is a quartz watch that uses a small solar panel in the watch face to generate power and run the watch. Solar watches do not need a traditional battery to operate and never need to have the battery replaced, unlike traditional quartz watches. Read the full article for more info on solar watches and how they work.
Can you get an atomic solar-powered watch?
Yes. There are several atomic watches that are solar powered. Read the full review for some of the best atomic solar watches available.
How long do solar watches last on a full charge?
Different watches have a different power reserves built into them. Some last only days or weeks and others will last up to a year on a single full charge. The power reserve allows you to charge your watch and then store it in complete darkness without it turning off. Check the full review or the power reserve on some of the best solar watches available.