We’re all looking at ways to cut costs and save the planet. From swapping ovens for air fryers (guilty) to investing in yet another recycling bin (double guilty), our eco-friendly credentials are at an all-time high. But what if I told you that there was another option you may have overlooked?
Powered by the sun, the best solar watches completely remove the need for replacement batteries—not only saving you money but reducing your environmental footprint. And as brands continue to look for new methods to make their products better for the world we live in, the shift to sustainable timepieces is really picking up speed.
To ensure you’re ahead of the trends, I’ve done my research and handpicked some of the slickest styles on the market. So jump aboard the solar train and keep reading for the top 10 designs that deserve to be on your wrist.
First introduced in the 1970s, you could say solar watches are now at peak popularity. Slightly more expensive than your average quartz but cheaper than most mechanical timepieces, the latest crop of solar styles is a shrewd investment for any guy.
Reliable, consistent, and perfect for every day, there’s a whole bunch of designs waiting to be snapped up. From Seiko’s Prospex Speedtimer to Nixon’s Light-Wave, my guide will highlight the best solar watches worthy of your consideration. You’ll find options for every price point, plus some handy tips on what to look out for when working out which one is right for you.
Our Top Picks
As well as being sustainable, trusty, and convenient, the best solar watches are universally appealing. Whether you’re a city guy or a country gent, they’ll take to any wrist and pretty much any landscape. They make excellent everyday timepieces but are also an essential companion for avid hikers and outdoor explorers.
This one from Seiko is purpose-built for an active lifestyle but will look just as good with your favorite suit in the office. It’s inspired by the label’s first-ever chronographs, which were developed for international sporting events in the 1960s. It can measure up to 60 minutes of elapsed time and boasts an impressive power reserve that lasts around six months.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: 6 Months | Water Resistant: Yes
You can’t put a price on sustainability, but it turns out solar powered watches are actually pretty affordable. Thanks to the plethora of options out there, never before has there been a better selection of wallet-friendly (and high-quality) tickers available.
Nixon’s Light-Wave model is up there with the best. Combining retro design with solar charging and recycled plastic construction, it’s a stylish smart-casual option that’ll look great with your off-duty outfits. And thanks to the hardened mineral crystal, you don’t have to worry about the bumps and knocks of everyday use.
Case Material: Recycled Ocean Plastic | Power Reserve: Unknown | Water Resistant: Yes
There are plenty of places to find solar watches, but very few offer the kind of variety that Bezos does over at Amazon. From chronograph watches to vintage styles, the bald billionaire has built up quite the portfolio (and I bet his personal collection isn’t too bad either).
Suitable for outdoor escapades and city adventures alike, this one from Timex deserves an honorable mention. Charged by natural or artificial light, it has a four-month power reserve and can survive in water up to 50m. Not just a pretty face, it’s built to last thanks to a durable canvas strap, resin case, and tactical top ring.
Case Material: Resin | Power Reserve: 4 Months | Water Resistant: Yes
If you’re wearing your watch every day, you’ll be requiring something that can lend itself to pretty much any outfit. Whether you’re rocking your best tailoring or keeping it casual, a time-teller should never feel out of place.
Featuring a stainless steel case and interchangeable eco-leather strap, this versatile design from Fossil is just what the doctor ordered. With its fuss-free dial and bright stick hour markers, it’s a simple yet stylish option that can be worn for work or the weekend.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: Unknown | Water Resistant: Yes
When pulling together my list of the best solar watches, there was one particular style that continued to pop up. So who am I to ignore it? With over 740 five-star reviews on Amazon, the G-Shock DW-5000C is clearly worth talking about.
Packed with a bunch of awesome features that’ll satisfy even the fussiest digital watch fan, it manages to perfectly combine form with function. The tough stainless steel case is smart but not too dressy, while there’s an alarm, Bluetooth connectivity, stopwatch, and reminder function. You can take it into water up to 200m, and it offers a super impressive power reserve of two whole years.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: 2 Years | Water Resistant: Yes
Defined by its elegant case and smart strap, a dress watch is the perfect finishing touch to any formal outfit. And thanks to an ever-expanding choice for classy wrist candy, it’s never been easier to look your best.
Citizen’s eco-friendly option uses the latest technology to keep the hands moving via light (whether that be the sun or the lamp on your desk). It’s styled with a stainless steel case, black leather strap, silver-tone dial, and date display. You’ll probably want to wear it with a shirt and slacks, but it won’t look out of place with a crew neck tee and jeans.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: Unknown | Water Resistant: Yes
Dive watches have become so much more than just trusty underwater companions. As stylish as they are functional, they’re now excellent everyday timepieces that can accompany you to the office, as well as trips to the beach and bar.
Part of the label’s Prospex collection, Seiko’s Tuna watch (affectionately named by fans for its large diameter and bold shape) is ideal for sports lovers, city boys, and adventure seekers alike. It combines analog and digital watch technology with a classy, easy-to-read dial that can travel to water depths of 200m. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the water, sky, or on land, this is definitely one of the best solar watches you’ll find.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: 10 Months | Water Resistant: Yes
The best solar watches aren’t just available at entry-level. It turns out the big boys are in on the act too. But that doesn’t surprise you, does it? And I bet it wouldn’t raise any eyebrows if I were to tell you that Tissot has absolutely nailed it.
The T-Touch Connect Solar is a hybrid smartwatch that uses tiny sensors on the dial to capture light that is stored in an accumulator. The energy is then used to help the watch run for several months without ever needing a recharge. But while its eco-friendly efforts are to be applauded, there’s plenty more to get excited about. You can count steps, track calories burned, and it’ll even display your calls, texts, e-mails, and social notifications.
Case Material: Titanium | Power Reserve: Several Months | Water Resistant: Yes
A relative newcomer to the world of watchmaking, Solios was started by university friends Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais. Obsessed with timepieces but concerned about the lack of planet-friendly (yet stylish) options available, they set out to prove that it’s possible to bring together design, elegance, and sustainability.
This classic mesh design is a fine example of their goals coming to fruition. A perfect blend of minimalism and ethical practices, it’s powered by clean, renewable energy and features an 8mm thin recycled stainless steel case. Oh, and did I mention that Solios will restore one acre of rainforest for every watch sold? Pretty cool, eh?
Case Material: Recycled Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: 6 Months | Water Resistant: Yes
Timex is very much a brand for the people—offering up some seriously slick watches at a price point that won’t leave you homeless. Don’t believe me? Head to the brand’s online store, and you’ll see exactly the kind of luxury you get for your money. But before you do that, take a look at this particular style that makes it into my top 10 of the best solar powered watches.
For a very reasonable cost, you get a 41mm stainless steel timepiece that can be worn with everything from tailoring to sportswear and smart-casual staples. Inspired by old-school military styles, you’ll find a sleek black dial that’ll continue ticking for up to four months when fully charged.
Case Material: Stainless Steel | Power Reserve: 4 Months | Water Resistant: Yes
What To Look For In The Best Solar Watches
Choosing the right size watch is not only important for comfort but also wearability. If you go too big or too small, chances are it’s going to look a little naff. To find the perfect fit, it pays to make a note of the thickness of your wrist. The bigger your wrist, the larger your watch can be. If you have a small wrist, you’ll need a watch to match.
Solar watches use natural (or artificial) light to store energy and get things moving. This means that if you spend a lot of time outside, your watch will continue to tick for much longer than if you are always at home sitting in the dark. However, to make up for this, you can pick a watch with a bigger power reserve. Each watch will vary, so be sure to check this out before hitting buy.
Some watches can be fully submerged in water for hours on end, while others can only cope with a few splashes. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time getting your watch wet, water resistance is a pretty important feature.
If I’ve done my job properly, by now you should have a pretty good idea of which of the best solar watches you have your eye on. However, if you’re still struggling to narrow down your options, let me offer one last helping hand.
Seiko’s Prospex Speedtimer is the ultimate time-telling machine. Suitable for sports as well as every day, it’s a versatile addition to any collection. Better yet, with a power reserve of around six months, it doesn’t matter if you choose to alternate it with another watch in your wardrobe.
Solar watches are an excellent all-round option that’ll improve any watch wardrobe. They’re particularly appealing for those who are looking for a reliable everyday timepiece that’ll never let you down, as well as guys who like to frequent the outdoors.
This is up for debate and very much depends on the individual. However, if you’re looking for a watch that is self-winding and requires no battery changes, then a solar watch is a great investment.
While solar watches are powered by the sun, they still use quartz movements. This means they’re just as accurate. In fact, this type of watch features one of the most reliable and accurate movements available.