Solar watches represent the pinnacle of modern timekeeping. They are widely available, generally affordable, and represent a sense of hyper-accuracy and self-sufficiency that true horology always strives for. But with that said, not all timepieces in this category are created equal. There needs to be an honest discussion on which models qualify as the best solar watches available.

What’s impressive is that you’ll find a wide variety of designs, styles, and functionalities utilized across different solar watches in our discussion. Our selection of solar watches here is constantly growing, so please share any additional models you feel should be included in our list.

Timex Expedition Scout Solar Watch

Case Size:40mm x 49mm x 13mm
Movement:Timex M01K (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:5 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:2 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$50 – $80

Sometimes, when looking for a solar watch, you want something practical, functional, and reliable. In essence, you’re looking for a field watch. Field watches are minimalist, grab-and-go, no-nonsense timepieces designed to keep up with you and accurately display the time. Few watch collections embody these ideals more than the Timex Expedition Scout Solar Watch. The timepiece features a bead-blasted case designed not to be too flashy and to help create a matte appearance – this is further emphasized by the dark grey metal finish on the brass case material.

The dial’s perimeter features bold and legible indices, while smaller numerals for military time are adjacent to that track. We found the sizing here to be very smart as well. At 40mm in diameter, the watch is small enough not to be too distracting to you while you’re wearing it, but at the same time, a lug-to-lug measurement of 49mm with a case thickness of 13mm means that the watch still has enough body to feel secure and solid on your wrist.

The Timex M01K solar quartz movement is a mystery since Timex doesn’t release much information about it. However, according to the product manual, it has a power reserve of approximately two months and can reach its total power reserve after receiving five collected hours of sunlight. While the power reserve here is the lowest of any watch on this list, you can keep the watch charged without any issue if this is your daily wearer.

Casio G-Shock GW6900-1

Case Size:50mm x 53.2mm x 17.7mm
Movement:G-Shock Module No. 3179 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:5 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:9 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$80 – $140

First introduced in 1983, G-Shocks have often been the unsung heroes of reliability, functionality, and the true spirit of a no-nonsense shock-resistant watch. In 1998, the collection received an additional enhancement by introducing the G-Shock Tough Solar movement. Since then, G-Shocks have presented themselves as ideal and ubiquitous solar watches for those looking for a more sporty design that can handle almost anything you throw at it.

A long-standing icon in the G-Shock Tough Solar Watches product lineup is the GW6900-1 digital watch, which features one of the brand’s most classic and accessible design iterations. A rugged but restrained 50mm diameter resin case features four pushers that control many functions like world time (31 time zones), auto-calendar (to 2099), 1/100 stopwatch, and way more than I can mention in our discussion.

The G-Shock Module No. 3179 Tough Solar quartz movement powers the GW6900-1 watch. On a full charge from the sun, the watch has a power reserve of 9 months. It’s also radio-controlled, meaning the timepiece operates on atomic timekeeping, considered the most accurate measurement of time available today. If you’re on a continent with one of the atomic time radio facilities, the GW6900-1 will ping the tower to keep itself synchronizing with atomic time.

Casio G-Shock GWM5610-1

Case Size:43.2mm x 46.7mm x 12.7mm
Movement:G-Shock Module No. 3495 (solar quartz)
Solar Charging Time10 hours
Full Charge Run Time:10 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal

Featuring many of the same functionalities as the GW6900-1, the G-Shock GMW5610-1 digital watch is a more nuanced option for those who are interested in a G-Shock but with a bit less of a sports watch design (while maintaining the iconic G-Shock shock-resistance). In conjunction with the vented resin band, the square case creates a more retro aesthetic than anything else. That’s why the GMW5610-1 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants the benefit of a solar watch with the everyday wearing experience of a classic retro icon.

The power reserve on the G-Shock Module No. 3495 is approximately ten months, and with a very tasteful case size of 43mm x 46.7mm, this watch will become your daily wearer.

Citizen Eco-Drive Avion

Case Size:45mm x 52mm x 12mm
Movement:Citizen Eco-Drive J810 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:30 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:8 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$150 – $200

If a classic but casual solar watch that features a fresh take on aviation dial aesthetics is more your style, consider the Citizen Avion. We found the overall wearing experience slightly on the larger side, so this would be a good fit for someone with a larger wrist. But the clear design inspiration from classic aviation watches makes this more of an aviation-inspired watch than a pilot’s tool. Especially given that the only lume on the watch is on the hands – there is no lume on the dial. The arrangement of the three concentric scales for minutes, standard hours, and military hours gives the impression of being inspired by a cockpit instrument.

The Citizen Avion features the Eco-Drive J810 solar quartz movement. The J810 features an accuracy rating of -/+ 15 seconds per month, which is more accurate than most mechanical movements. Now, with a power reserve of 8 months, Citizen reports that the J810 needs an accumulated 30 hours of direct sunlight. While not the best solar charging time among the watches featured on this list, if you’re wearing the Citizen Avion relatively frequently or keeping it by a window to grab some sunlight, you should be fine keeping your battery charged.

Redwood Tactical V2 Stealth

Case Size:40mm x 48mm x 11.2mm
Movement:Epson VS17
Solar Charging Time:12 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months

Although they’re a newer brand on the scene, we’ve recently become fans of Redwood Watches. Based in Canada, they manufacture some seriously attractive watches that are easily accessible. As a smaller brand, they also experiment with solar movements, which can be uncommon for a brand this size. That’s part of the reason the Tactical V2 Stealth was so attractive.

The watch also takes its inspiration from earlier military watches developed for the US Navy and you can probably see the resemblance to a watch like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Redwood’s Tactical V2 Stealth is lightweight, reliable, and well under $500. The blacked-out look is also a plus if you’re into that. But Redwood also offers a version without the PVD case finishing if you want a plain stainless steel look.

Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E

Case Size:37mm x 43mm x 9mm
Movement:Citizen Eco-Drive E101 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:12 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$150 – $300

If a highly legible solar field watch is your style, but maybe you’re looking for something on the smaller side, the Citizen BM8180-03E would be a fantastic fit. Featuring a 37mm diameter with a 43mm lug-to-lug measurement, the BM8180-03E would sit incredibly well on smaller and somewhat flatter wrist types (like mine). This type of fit results in a seamless minimalist wearing experience that allows you to forget you’re even wearing a watch until you need to check the time.

Slightly skeletonized hands featuring lume and a bold presence contribute to the overall high legibility of this timepiece. The indicator triangles next to the indices draw the eye toward the center of the watch’s dial. One of the most exciting features of the Citizen BM8180-03E is the three-step knurled crown. This texture creates a tactile and easy-to-grip surface on the crown, which is a great functional feature when setting the time. One of the downsides is that this Citizen solar watch features some shiny polished surfaces along the case. While not necessarily a deal breaker, those generally in the market for a field watch tend to avoid shiny, polished surfaces. But we always emphasize that you should purchase what you like.

The BM8180-03E has a solar power reserve of approximately six months and would need about 12 hours of direct sunlight to reach a full charge.

Orient NEO 70s Solar Chronograph

Case Size:42mm x 48 x 11mm
Movement:Orient KBS00
Solar Charging Time:5 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$100 – $150

The Orient NEO 70s product line isn’t trendy in the United States, which is a shame. The collection refreshes and playfully twists iconic watch designs from the 1970s. My Orient NEO 70 WV0051TX (the Christmas Chrono) comes from this family of timepieces. As a whole, though, a wide variety of solar chronographs are available in truly unique and fun color combinations. You’ll have to dig to find the models online (although you can have some luck on Amazon here in the States).

Generally, the chronographs will feature a no-frills, almost straight lugs design that opts for simplicity rather than finesse. What the case lacks in individuality, the dial makes up for with uniqueness. In the case of my Christmas Chrono, the dial features a pinstripe texture with a slight alternating stagger to it, which you can see around the Orient logo. Other dials will have mixed metals, unique color combinations, different types of stripes, etc. The fun of the Orient NEO 70s collection is exploring what’s out there and looking for something that catches your eye. Plus, these can easily balance the line between casual timepieces and dress watches, especially with swapping in a leather strap.

Interestingly, Orient labels the movement in these solar watches as the Orient KBS00. However, Orient fans will know that the brand only produces automatic movements. This fact means that this is a white-label movement from elsewhere. Based on my research and spec comparisons, the KBS00 is the Seiko V175, a popular solar chronograph movement featuring a six-month power reserve that can charge with 5 hours of sunlight. The watch conceals the solar panels within its subdials, allowing it to charge quickly to its total power capacity.

Citizen Promaster Diver Eco-Drive

Case Size:43mm x 49mm x 12mm
Movement:Citizen Eco-Drive E168 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:11 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
Crystal:Mineral Crystal
Price:$200 – $300

Few watches command as much respect as the Citizen Promaster Diver Eco-Drive. This watch alone is one of our most recommended affordable and genuinely “go anywhere, do anything” divers. Citizen initially released the BN0151-09L (blue dial) and BN0150-10E (black dial) as part of its Promaster Diver line in 2015. Over time, they have gained their place of recognition and have helped establish the Japanese watch brand as the leading provider of solar watches.

Coming in at 44mm in diameter and featuring an excellent, rounded edge design, the stainless steel case is designed to sit firmly on your wrist. But it’s also designed so that wear and tear over time will only enhance its aesthetic features. The bezel features the unique Citizen design trope of including alternating bezel teeth, which helps tone down the potentially aggressive impression of the design while also creating a memorable design feature. You’ll also notice how the indices are applied and feature strong lume, which promotes strong legibility.

This solar watch is also an ISO-certified diver, which means it conforms to the standardizations of features and functionalities required by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to be considered a genuine dive watch.

The Eco-Drive E168 movement powers this diver and provides a power reserve of up to six months. The watch will charge its entire power reserve with approximately 11 hours of accumulated sunlight on the dial’s solar panel. This charging pattern means that if you get 30 minutes of direct sunlight here – and 1 hour over there, it all adds up to the total number required for the solar movement to charge fully.

Given the affordability, availability, and reliability of the Promaster Diver Eco-Drive, it is sure to be a mainstay of your collection for a long time.

Citizen Nighthawk

Case Size:42mm x 46 x 12mm
Movement:Citizen Eco-Drive B877 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:9 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
CrystalMineral Crystal
Price:$250 – $400

Few watches have become as synonymous with the idea of an affordable modern aviation tool watch as the Citizen Nighthawk. A truly instrumental design approach drives the solar watch’s form-follows-function design language. The case features subtle design queues to draw your eye towards the dial, focusing on all the complications and the scales for the slide rule bezel. Please note how the watch arranges its dial elements to anchor your eye at the center of the timepiece, where you can find the traditional hour, minute, and second timekeeping functionality. But as soon as you want to utilize one of the watch’s many functions, you only need to focus slightly away from the center, and you’re good to go.

The slide rule bezel is what makes the Citizen Nighthawk special here, and it allows you to calculate the following items:

  • Speed In Air (and On Ground)
  • Distance Between Two Navigational Points
  • Time Between Two Navigational Distances
  • Maximum Fly Time
  • Consumption of Fuel

The Eco-Drive B877 solar quartz movement powers the Citizen Nighthawk watch. Citizen designed this particular category of Eco-Drive movements primarily for the Nighthawk collection. With an accuracy rating of -/+ 15 seconds per month, it should only take about nine collected hours of direct sunlight to charge the watch to its entire power reserve of 6 months. The power reserve here is a bit shorter compared to other solar watches. Since the watch features more functionalities, it uses more energy to operate. This energy usage means the draw on the solar batteries is significant, resulting in a shorter power reserve. You won’t have any trouble keeping this watch charged, even if you wear it only a few times a month.

Seiko Prospex SNE 38m Solar Watch

Case Size:38mm x 46mm x 11mm
Movement:Seiko V147 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:10 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:10 Months
Crystal:Sapphire Crystal
Price:$260 – $495

If you’re in the market for a solar watch that’s a diver and also features more classic dive watch characteristics, the Seiko SNE 38mm may be a great fit for you. What we found most impressive about these pieces is their ability to combine a smaller wearing experience and the robust reliability you’d expect from a Seiko Prospex piece. The wristwatch features a classic Seiko dial with dot lume makers, a lume triangle at 12 o’clock, and iconic Seiko diver hands. The screw-down crown and caseback also facilitate the 200 meters of water resistance here, which is suitable for most water submersion and diving activities.

Seiko equipped the Seiko SNE 38mm with the V147 solar quartz movement, with an excellent accuracy rating of -/+ 15 seconds per month. This solar watch is also rated to reach a full charge with approximately ten hours of sunlight, giving the Seiko SNE 38mm a power reserve of 10 months.

The one con owners sometimes share here is that the dial size is relatively small since the stainless steel watch case is 38mm with a dive bezel. So, if you’re in a scenario where you sometimes have difficulties reading smaller dials, this may not be a good fit for you.

Seiko Ana-Digi Tuna SNJ025 (The “Arnie”)

Case Size:49.5mm x 49.5mm x 14.3mm
Movement:Seiko H851 (Ana-Digi Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:10 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
Crystal:Seiko Hardlex
Price:$300 – $500

Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized this solar watch by wearing it in the movie “Predator” in 1987, and it afterward became commonly known as the “Arnie.” Seiko officially classifies this watch as the SNJ025, a Solar Ana-Digi Tuna, which includes analog and digital displays. As such, this is one of the more unique offerings for those interested in a solar watch.

Powered by the Seiko H851 analog-digital solar quartz movement, the Arnie has a power reserve of 6 months, requiring about 10 hours of direct sunlight to reach that charge.

The Arnie is a solar watch suited for people with larger wrists (or people who enjoy wearing watches in larger sizes). Given the nearly 50mm x 50mm dimensions with the 14mm thickness, don’t expect this to fit under a shirt cuff.

Seiko Prospex SNE498

Case Size:46.7mm x 46.7mm x 12.4mm
Movement:Seiko V157
Solar Charging Time:10 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:10 Months
Crystal:Seiko Hardlex

While it’s a bit of a sleeper hit at this point, you can’t forget about the Seiko SNE498 when talking about solar watches. This version still packs a punch even in today’s crowded field of Seiko divers. The SNE498 is special, mostly due to its visual connection to the Seiko “Golden Tuna” 7549-7000 released in 1978.

While those vintage Tunas can be huge and difficult to find in good condition, the SNE498 is manageable at 46.7mm in diameter with a near-lugless design. Everything else you’d expect from a Seiko diver is there, including that scorching Lumibrite on the hands and indices. But on top of that, you get the convenience of a solar movement that’ll tick for 10 months on a full charge.

Seiko Prospex SNE549 PADI

Case Size:43.5mm x 50mm x 11.6mm
Movement:Seiko V157 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:10 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:10 months
Crystal:Seiko Hardlex
Price:$300 – $400

So let’s say the previously mentioned Seiko SNE 38mm was too small, but then the Seiko “Arnie” SNJ025 was too big. That means the Seiko Prospex SNE549 is big enough to feel substantial on your wrist but not too big to be distracting (mainly thanks to the slim 11.6mm case thickness). This solar diver is one of those timepieces created in collaboration with PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the diving organization most widely responsible for testing for and distributing diving certifications. Generally, PADI dials offer mainly aesthetic differences from non-PADI dials. Still, it’s one of those collaborations that signals this is a serious diving tool (if that’s what you need it for).

The dial features an applied chapter ring that features the second’s ticks and creates a unique raised platform for each lume marker. The effect is that of creating a dynamic presentation to the dial – it’s not just a flat dial with markers. There’s light and shadow play as well. These subtle aesthetics are also further displayed with the red ring detailing on the crown and the red hour hand.

The Seiko V157 Solar Quartz chronograph features the standard -/+ 15 seconds per month accuracy rating with a projected charge time of 9 hours of sunshine to reach the power reserve of 6 months. If you make this your swim watch or diving watch, it will probably get all the sunlight it needs.

Seiko Speedtimer Solar Chronograph

Image: Seiko
Case Size:39mm x 45.5mm x 13.3mm
Movement:Seiko V192 (Solar Quartz)
Solar Charging Time:5 Hours
Full Charge Run Time:6 Months
Crystal:Sapphire Crystal

Featuring solar quartz movements, Seiko loosely based these modern Speedtimer releases on the original 1969 watch, one of the world’s first automatic chronographs. The overall impression of the watch is that of a functional timepiece with a slight design inclination towards something vintage. The bold tachymeter scale on the bezel emphasizes this timepiece’s tool watch roots. The bezel’s bold presence is juxtaposed interestingly by the solar watch’s size, which is 39mm in diameter and 45.5mm lug to lug. While some chronographs typically provide a larger and unbalanced wearing experience, this one offers a more balanced and compact feel.

The dial layout is typical of a solar quartz chronograph. There’s a 24-hour subdial at the 2 o’clock spot, a 60-minute totalizer subdial at 6 o’clock when the chronograph is activated, and a real-time running second at 9 o’clock. The different Seiko Speedtimer dial options utilize the colors and design queues of the dial layout very well. One downside here is that some of the models feature fauxtina lume, which is lume that’s artificially aged to make the watch look older than it is. Using Fauxtina in this context may be a way to honor the original Speedtimer. However, only some of the models feature it.

The Seiko V192 solar chronograph movement only requires 5 hours of constant sunlight to reach its fully charged power reserve of 6 months. For those interested in chronographs but unsure if you want to go all in on a mechanical one, I’ve always preferred quartz chronographs. Here’s why – they rarely break. The functionality of mechanical chronographs requires numerous intricate movement parts. More parts mean more things that can break. If you’re interested in a chronograph and generally steer towards reliable, less fiddly items, go for a solar quartz chronograph like Seiko Speedtimers.

Commonly Asked Questions About Solar Watches

Are Solar Powered Watches Any Good?

Yes – solar watches present an incredible technological achievement and high-value functionality. The watches draw energy from exposed light and then convert that energy into a stored power source. This energy-storing process differs from mechanical watches that depend on winding or traditional quartz watches that require battery changes every 1 – 3 years. Solar watches are even very eco-friendly since there’s no excess battery waste.

How Long Will A Solar Watch Last?

The power reserve on a solar watch can vary anywhere from 2 to 6 months and sometimes longer. You need to recharge the watch once the power reserve runs out.

Do Solar Watches Run Out Of Battery?

It depends – while all solar watches will need periodic recharging from exposure to light, some solar watches may need a battery replacement at some point in their lifetime. However, solar water battery replacements are rare and are only required if the battery is damaged or if the manufacturer recommends a replacement after a particular set of years.

What Are The Cons Of A Solar Watch?

While solar watches are the near-ideal perfection of modern technology-based horology, they face the most because they aren’t mechanically powered. Some watch enthusiast circles see the lack of being mechanically powered as a con since the watch relies too heavily on modern technology.

9 thoughts on “The Best Solar Watches of 2024 | Affordable and Self-Sufficient”

  1. These are too expensive than style. Guys, you can buy North Edge Solar Evoque watch. You can afford it within 100 dollars with a compass function

    • Hi, Jub:

      This piece is going to be updated soon and will include some more options, which will include both men’s and women’s watches in different sizes.


  2. It’s a no brainer to include the Momentum Eclipse in any future articles. I own the Steelix Eclipse and love it, especially the large offset crown and funky colours, I’ve got the yellow on a yellow tropical strap, great fun and 200m water resistant.


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