Luxury Watchmakers Evolve with Solar-Powered Timepieces
by roberta naas
Luxury watchmakers are crafting environmentally friendly timepieces to appeal to those concerned with preserving the environment.
For several top watchmakers, including Tissot, Seiko, Citizen, and Casio, investing time and effort in developing watches that run on solar energy has been paramount to the evolution of their brands. An alternative option to quartz (i.e., battery-powered) watches, solar-powered timepieces collect energy from any light source and convert it into electrical power that is stored in a rechargeable lithium ion cell.
Generally, once the solar watches are fully charged, the stored energy enables the watch to run for months at a time; some can run for up to six months before needing more light. In the case of the Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000, the watch is also sold with a second rechargeable solar battery to ensure an even longer life span. Additionally, many of these solar-powered watches offer other functions, rendering them both environmentally and user-friendly.
1. From Tissot, the new T-Touch Expert Solar watch ($1,250), available starting in September, offers 25 different tactile functions, including time in two zones, perpetual calendar, two alarms, backlighting, absolute and relative air pressure, altimeter, chronograph, lap and split with logbook, compass, timer, azimuth, and regatta function.
2. From Seiko, this Solar Alarm Chronograph ($450) features a stainless steel case and bracelet with black ion plating finish. The multifunction watch is powered by light energy and offers an additional 12-hour alarm, dual-time function, and chronograph with split-time measurement. Once fully charged, it operates with six months of power reserve.
3. This Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk A-T ($625) is the newest addition to the Citizen Eco-Drive atomic timekeeping collection. Radio-controlled in five time zones, the watch features the Eco-Drive E650 movement, which is powered by light as well as a perpetual calendar chronograph and alarm.
4. From Casio, this Pro Trek PRW-6000 solar watch ($600) features a triple-sensor technology for altimeter, barometer, and compass, and is synced with atomic timekeeping. It offers everything from world time indication to five daily alarm functions and chronograph indications.
photography by jeff crawford; styling by terry lewis