Solar Watches that are Chic (not Geek)

A Citizen Eco-Drive... charging up in the great outdoorsIf you’re under the impression that a solar-powered watch is a fashion accessory most appropriate for a Star Trek convention, you’ve got no reason to apologize… a quick look at the history of these timepieces shows that gadgetry often overtook style in the development of sun-powered wrist watches. Just take a look at some of these bad boys from (the appropriately named) Uranus Electronics, Xenrus, and Casio

Yeah, eww, right… not something you’d show up wearing at a cocktail party or a business meeting or a date. Fortunately, the gear heads of the 70s and 80s don’t completely control the design of solar watches anymore, and you can find many models that will show off both your fashion sense and your eco-consciousness.

Solar Watches That Won’t Make You Look Like a Geek

The Citizen Eco Drive: Introduced in the mid-90s, Citizen’s Eco Drive line may be the most popular solar-powered watches out there. The green credentials seem solid: they can harvest energy from natural and artificial light, and don’t require changing batteries. They’re also available for almost any occasion: Citizen offers Eco Drive models for dress, casual and active wear… and I haven’t come across one yet that screams “geek chic.” (Author’s note: I wear one of these… and love it!)

Casio’s Tough Solar watches: Hey, wait a minute… didn’t I  just put Casio into the “solar geeky” category above? And doesn’t Casio inevitably mean plastic cases, digital displays, and lots of buttons? OK, if you’re old enough to remember when digital watches first got really cool in the early eighties, you’re forgiven if you have these perceptions (I certainly did). But Casio makes some really nice watches also, and many of them feature the company’s “Tough Solar” technology… very similar to Citizen’s. Check out both the Dress and Baby-G lines. And the Waveceptor combines solar and atomic timekeeping technology in some models.

Bulova Millenia and Marine Star: Both of the these watch lines feature some really sharp designs, and the company did at one time make solar versions of both… they don’t seem to anymore, though I did find a few available on eBay.

Seiko Hybrid Solar: In April, several techie blogs mentioned this line of ten watches that the Japanese company planned to launch in May… however, I’ve found them nowhere! The promotional photo makes them look rather chic, so I’m wondering if you know of the status of these watches. Only being sold in Japan maybe…? If you don’t feel like spending time digging for these, check out the company’s Kinetic Drive watches, which are powered by your body movement…

Know of other brands and/or models of solar watches that won’t crimp your sense of style? Let me know about them…

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of long-running green blog sustainablog, which now features the Green Choices product comparison engine. Come by and take a look at our selection of Citizen Eco Drive watches. More solar energy facts.

Image credit: RegNatarajan at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Written by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

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