Picture a daily wristwatch that could potentially last you for over a decade - no maintenance, no repairs needed. Thanks to solar technology, we're now able to reap the benefits of a 'forever' watch. With plenty of sunshine and general care, solar watches can outlast regular battery-operated timepieces.
The wearer might find it a hassle to catch daylight whenever possible, since the watches are solar-powered. Lucky for us, they charge on their own in any light.
"You don't necessarily need sunlight to recharge solar watches - just let them sit under a lamp for a few hours," said Sajid Iqbal, owner of City Spectrum Trading in Dubai, a repair store that fixes all watch-related concerns, from water damage to battery replacement.
Though, best practice has it that a solar watch refuels faster with the sun's rays. Mohammed Irshad Hussain, owner of Dubai-based Irshad Watch Repairing store, says artifical light can take up to 10 to 12 hours to deliver a complete charge.
"There's a small solar panel on the face of the watch, which provides charge to the rechargeable batteries. Watches that are not solar-powered will need battery replacement after a year or two. So, solar watches are reliable and easy to maintain," added Hussain.
Eventually, there will come a time when the solar watch will need a battery swap, too. The battery life differs from watchmaker to watchmaker, but Iqbal averages it to around eight years. "Just don't leave the watch inside a dark closet and forget about it. That's when the batteries die out," said Iqbal.
Both watch experts find Citizen solar watches to have had fewer repairs, while Hussain also recommends Seiko and Casio as popular brands in the UAE. We've compiled the most stylish of these varieties on Amazon, with positive ratings - get discounts on some of them during the Timeout Sale. If you want free, fast delivery, sign up for a Prime membership today.
1. Best Overall: Citizen Promaster World Timer
- Radio-controlled timezone syncing
- Runs up to six months in the dark
- Overcharge and low battery alerts
- Displays time from 24 cities
- Water resistant in 200 metres
Citizen's well-known Eco-Drive range powers the watch using any light source. While there are many styles to be had in this line, the Promaster Sky edition offers a plethora of features. Coming in a 45mm grey ion-plated stainless steel case, its charcoal grey dial contrasts beautifully with red accents. The watch is intuitive enough to let you know when the batteries may overcharge or are about to run out. Since it's a chronograph timepiece, expect to tell more than just time. You get to set alarms and view time in 24 cities, including London, Sydney and Los Angeles; the calendar is also perpetual, with day and date display. Timekeeping is radio-controlled, so it's extremely accurate no matter where you go. More on the battery life; the watch can run for six months without light at a time. Many reviewers call it just the right size for the wrist.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers one year of warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh97 and two years for Dh138.
2. Best for Outdoors: Casio Men's Pro Trek Tough Solar Watch
- Clean, sharp watch face
- Charge lasts for 25 months in the dark
- Three sensors tell altitude, temperature and direction
- Digital and analogue
- Water resistant in 100 metres
- Watch case might be too big
Casio may be synonymous with sporty, resin watches for when you want to dress down. But, the likes of Pro Trek on the other end of the price spectrum offer a design worthy of office wear. It still features a bio-based resin case, band and back cover, while ensuring a sharp look. Large Arabic numerals on the mineral glass and the dial make reading the busy watch face a breeze. A small digital window puts the day and the date on display. With triple sensors, the Pro Trek has compass, barometer and temperature functions. Like the Citizen Promaster, this watch uses radio signals to keep time in different time zones. The solar-powered rechargeable batteries will last you six months after a full charge, and 25 months when in storage. Reviewers love that the display is big and bright even in the dark. Despite being rugged, they note it's lightweight and find it especially useful on hikes or outdoor adventures.
3. Best Green Watch: Seiko Coutura Solar Chronograph Watch
- Six months of running time after a full charge
- Power reserve indicator on the dial
- Tells 24-hour time and date
- Water resistant in 100 metres
- Can be difficult to tell time at night
In search of a trendier colour? Here's an army green Coutura model by Seiko, powered by any light source. Paired with a darker green camouflage-patterned dial, the 45.5mm stainless steel case has a black ion finish. The watch also features black subdials, one of which even shows you how much power reserve is left after a full charge. A small window by the subdial tells the date. Like the Citizen watch, it's equipped with an overcharge prevention function. While the Coutura is more minimal in function and budget-friendly, reviewers say that the hands can be hard to read at night. See other green watches.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty.
4. Best Casual Watch: Lacoste L.12.12 Solar Men's Watch
- Eco-friendly watch design
- Indicates solar power reserve
- Tells the day and date with 24-hour subdials
- Water resistant in 30 metres
- Hours are not numbered
For a monochrome look, check out Lacoste's limited edition all-blue solar watch. Compared to our picks above, this timepiece has a neater chronograph dial, featuring three simple subdials and long discernible hands. Its main takeaway is the eco-conscious build, from the plant-based case to the textile strap derived from cotton and apple peel. Additionally, the sporty watch comes in a felt pouch fashioned from recycled plastic bottles. It only makes sense for the batteries to be solar-charged, as well. The third subdial at six o'clock keeps you up to date on the power reserve.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh18 and two years for Dh25.
5. Best Dress Watch: Timex Men's Solar Premium Dress Watch
- Luxe details, from red second hand to textured dial
- Gold-tone case and bracelet
- Reserves power for up to four months
- Tells the date
- Water resistant in 50 metres
- Has some weight to it, per reviews
Reserve Timex's premium dress watch for black tie events. A black textured dial sits in a 44mm gold-tone steel case, connected to a luxurious bracelet of the same shade. Compared to others in the list, the power reserve is lower at four months with every full charge. This timepiece is void of chronograph dials, which all the more appeals to formal occasions. There's only the date window at three o'clock. Reviewers say they've known Timex solar watches to last for years. Others report back the compliments they receive every time it's on their wrist.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.