Solar-powered watches have existed in some form on the market since the early 1970s—and arguably were ahead of their time.
Solar watch technology was understatedly groundbreaking: Here was a watch that allowed its wearer to charge off of both sunlight and artificial lighting, with low maintenance costs and movements that were as accurate as their battery-operated counterparts.
Solar-powered watches were also emerging during a time of great social change regarding how we interact with our environment—an awareness and movement that is only continuing to grow today.
Sadly, despite their many benefits over mechanical watches and their competitiveness with battery-powered timepieces, solar-powered watches are still considered a niche item.
At Anne Klein, we aim to change that: We launched our Considered Collection of women’s solar-powered watches to bring this fashion-forward accessory to the fore.
What Are Solar-Powered Watches?
A solar-powered watch is a unique watch that is powered by light. While this seems straightforward to us today, it was an incredible technological breakthrough at the time such watches were invented.
A solar-powered watch is a green alternative to many modern watch designs that rely on disposable batteries. Additionally, solar-powered watches clear many of the environmental hurdles of reusable batteries as well by using passive charging. At Anne Klein, we are reinventing women’s solar-powered watches even further to reduce their environmental impact.
We’ve made a commitment with our Considered Collection to provide solar-powered watches for women that are fashionable, functional, and eco-conscious. When you choose one of our solar-powered watches, you are also making a difference for the world’s oceans through our partnership with Oceanworks®.
Ultimately, a solar-powered watch is so much more than a watch that runs off of light—it is a statement piece that describes your commitment to a sustainable future.
How Do Solar-Powered Watches Work?
Underneath the dial of a solar-powered watch is a solar cell. This solar cell is what turns light energy into electric energy that powers the watch and allows the hands to move like a conventional, battery-powered watch. This energy is then stored within a rechargeable battery inside the watch for future use.
When fully charged, our women’s solar-powered watches will typically last four months before they need to be charged again. However, a solar watch is “trickle charging” any time it’s exposed to light.
Does a Solar-Powered Watch Need Constant Sunlight to Function?
A solar-powered watch has a rechargeable battery. This allows it to draw power without taking in any light. However, it’s good practice to ensure your watch is getting proper exposure to light when possible.
Charge length will depend on a few factors—the first being the type of light exposure. Sunlight is the best choice with the fastest charge, but artificial light will also do the trick slowly over time.
Light intensity is another crucial factor to consider. A gloomy day in the middle of the winter won’t charge a solar-powered watch as quickly as a bright, sunny day.
How Long Will a Solar-Powered Watch Last?
When you buy a watch, you want it to last. When solar-powered watch technology was first invented, it was designed to be rugged and long-lasting in all conditions.
For this reason, a high-quality, solar-powered watch is a sound investment—the battery will typically last up to 10 years. Additionally, these watches require very little maintenance compared to their mechanical counterparts.
The most important form of maintenance for a solar watch is consistent exposure to light for power. Try not to leave your watch unloved in a dark jewelry stand for too long when you want to wear other pieces. If you take care of your watch, it will provide years of reliable service.
Are Solar-Powered Watches Reliable?
Although we love the look of a watch and the flair it provides to your outfit, there’s an obvious functional element to a good watch. It needs to tell the time accurately!
Here’s the good news: A solar-powered watch is considered one of the market's most reliable and accurate types of watches.
Take a battery-powered watch, for example. You’ll need to change the battery at least every six months, and if you don’t do it on time, you’ll start noticing that your watch time will be off. Similarly, a classic mechanical watch, though a sought-after design by collectors, requires manual winding daily for it to function properly. These watches occasionally lose time if not cared for properly.
As long as you take care of your solar-powered watch and ensure it gets the right amount of sunlight, you’ll have a watch that will stay accurate for years and years.
Solar-Powered Watches vs. Conventional Watches
Should you get a solar-powered watch over other types of watches? We believe that a solar-powered watch has some clear advantages over traditional designs.
As we mentioned above, solar-powered watches are highly accurate and last a long time. Since the battery is rechargeable, it doesn’t need to be replaced frequently like a traditional battery-powered watch. If you’re looking for a watch option that limits your environmental impact, this is it.
Solar watches are also a low-maintenance option for a stylish watch and require very little effort to keep running—especially when compared to a mechanical watch. There’s no need to change a battery every six months or manually wind up the watch to keep it running at all times.
Lastly, you’ll still have access to a diverse array of beautiful timepieces. Your aesthetics are no longer limited to the gaudy plastic watches of years past. For example, we love the clean aesthetics of our Considered Solar Powered Ceramic Watch:
Our Considered Solar Recycled Ocean Plastic Bracelet Watch also takes eco-friendly style up a notch—it features recycled plastics removed from our delicate oceans.
Not only is this watch a great option for those who want to reduce their environmental footprint, but it’s a stylish choice that is sure to turn heads. You’ll love our elegant and bold Gold-Tone & Black colorway new for fall: