5 Best Solar Watches for Men: Sustainable Watches for Every Occasion

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by  David Martin | Last Updated: 

So your watch battery died for the last time and you’re fed up. We get it. It’s time to move to solar. 

We put together this list of the best solar watches across several categories so you can find the right light-powered timepiece for you.

Our Top Pick
  • Minimalist design for a stylish, modern, durable watch
  • Uses vegan leather straps to cut down on environmental demand
  • For every watch sold they preserve one acre of rainforest land
Best Solar Digital
  • Built to military standards
  • Tough, rugged design that’s made to withstand a beating
  • GPS, pre-loaded workouts, and sports tracking for a huge variety of sports
Best Solar Dive Watch
  • Water resistance to 200 meters
  • Classic diver design
  • Luminous hands and markers for easy use in dark environments.
Best Atomic Solar Watch
  • Radio-controlled to automatically receive signals that will precisely adjust time and date
  • World time function for 25 time zones
  • Six month power reserve
Best Under $100
  • Cost-effective time piece that will stand the test of time
  • Rugged, sleek look is perfect for variety of outfits
  • Four month power reserve

It’s an age-old problem for guys.

You’ve got a hot date, you’re dressed to the nines, and the last step of your ensemble is that old watch that’s been shoved in the back of your dresser for the last two years.

You dig and find it, only to discover the battery died.

Let’s be honest, how many dead watches do you have in your drawer? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a watch that lasts forever and doesn’t break the bank?

Lucky for all of us, some smart people invented solar powered watches, which means no more dead batteries. These watches are stylish, good for the environment, and even affordable in some cases. 

In this article I’ll take a look at the five best solar watches for men.

5 Best Solar Watches for Men

Best Solar Watch: Solios Solar

Evergreen article Solios June 2021

My all-around champ for solar watches is the Solios Solar. Featuring a Scandinavian, minimalist style and sleek case these watches will easily become your go-to, every day accessory. 

The solar cell at the heart of this watch enables it to be recharged in both natural and artificial light, which I didn’t know was possible. What’s more, the solar cell charges an internal battery that can hold six month’s reserve power. You read that right. You can chuck this into the deepest, darkest corner of your closet and it’ll still be ticking in half a year. 

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Further, this means you’ll never have to change the battery. No more fiddling with microscopic screwdrivers, trying to figure out what battery to use, or defeated trips to the jeweler. 

Solios uses silicone-based vegan leather for its watch straps. I find extra peace of mind knowing that there were no adverse effects to animals or the planet through the creation of these watches. 

If you’re the adventurous (or forgetful) type that is prone to getting your watches wet, Solios offers water-resistance up to thirty meters. The hardened mineral glass of the watch face is covered with a sapphire crystal coating to prevent scratches—great for those of us with bad spatial awareness.

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Best of all, Solios has pledged to save one acre of rainforest land for each watch sold and has partnered with the Rainforest Trust to do so. I like this on several levels. If you gave me $270 and said, “Go save an acre of rainforest with this”, I’d be interested in doing so but would have no idea how to do it. Not only that, I wouldn’t believe $270 was enough. 

Giving money to a program that specializes in rainforest conservation and getting a handsome, enduring watch to boot is some serious bang for your buck. 

Solios is also the first B Corp certified watch brand, staying consistent with their desire to make the world a better place.

What I Like

  • Solios’ watches are sleek, sharp, and can help class-up an otherwise casual outfit.

  • Their pledge to save one acre of land for each watch sold makes me want to buy more watches. 

  • Their watches come in two sizes, so if you don’t have Thor-sized wrists you’re not hung out to dry.

  • The Solios Solar can also be bought with metal straps for a more modern look.

What I Don’t Like

  • There’s currently limited styles available to choose from, but Solios is planning to release new styles soon.

What Other Reviewers Say

With a nearly perfect rating and hundreds of reviews on Judge.me, it’s clear that Solios customers are getting some serious value.

Many reviewers cited excellent experiences with Solios’ customer services and satisfaction in the knowledge that their watches are kind to the environment.

The Verdict

The Solios Solar is the complete package for anyone who loathes batteries and loves the environment. These watches are the perfect combination of durable, sustainable, and stylish, and can even make for a good conversation starter. 

Take this watch on your date, bring up the fact that it’s solar-powered and you’re an eco-friendly warrior, and watch the ladies swoon. 

If you’re looking for a long-lasting, stylish watch that takes care of Mother Earth, Solios is an excellent choice. 

Our Top Pick
Solios Solar

Solios may only have one model (available in Black and White), but it brings the heat. This solar-powered watch needs no maintenance and will run for years.

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Best Solar Digital: Garmin Tactix Delta Solar

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My top pick for the best solar digital watch might be a bit outlandish, but it’s hard to pass up on this Swiss Army knife of a watch. Built to military standards, the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar is a workhorse watch that provides capabilities you’ll likely never use outside of an open warzone. 

Ever wanted to wear night-vision goggles and still be able to check your watch? Garmin’s Tactix Delta has you covered. 

This solar smart watch comes with the usual bells and whistles like payments, notifications, and music at your wrist, and then steps everything up about ten notches. Examples include the following:

  • A Kill Switch: instantly wipe the device of all memory
  • Jumpmaster Mode: helps you navigate from high-altitude release points. Yep, I’m talking about skydiving.
  • Dual-Format GPS: so you can be crystal clear, down to the latitude and longitudinal coordinates, of where you are. 

The Garmin Tactix Delta comes with a host of other sports-related features and functions, and ultimately makes this list because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to an actual James Bond watch that shoots lasers.

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This digital watch is fully solar powered, so you don’t have to worry about running out of batteries when you’re running covert military operations, running a marathon, or trying to be Bear Grylls.

Is it unnecessary for most guy’s everyday use? Yes.

Is it cool as heck? Also yes.

What I Like

  • It has super cool, spy-level functionality and usability.

  • The Tactix Delta can do all that and last for 24 days on a full charge.

  •  looks tough and tactical, yet sleek.

What I Don’t Like

  • Coming in at over $1,000, it’s not cheap by any definition.

  • The tactical functions are cool, but realistically applicable to a select few guys. 

What Other Reviewers Say

A surprising amount of guys are huge fans of this watch. With an average 4.6 rating and several hundred reviews on Google, typically succinct men waxed eloquent on the functionality and capability of Garmin’s Tactix Delta Solar.

Common complaints I found were regarding the price, but there were less than I expected. Most reviewers seemed to be training for duration races like triathlons or Iron Mans, and this watch provided the granularity of data they needed.

The Verdict

The Garmin Tactix Delta Solar is not a practical watch for everyday use and certainly shouldn’t be worn in formal or semi-formal situations.

However, if you’ve got a grand in cash to throw around and really love data, night vision goggles, and jumping out of planes, this is the watch for you.

Best Solar Digital
Garmin Tactix Delta Solar

This solar smart watch comes with the usual bells and whistles like payments, notifications, and music at your wrist, and then steps everything up about ten notches. Examples include the following:

  • A Kill Switch to wipe the device of all memory
  • Jumpmaster Mode to help you navigate from high-altitude release points
  • Dual-Format GPS so you can log your latitude and longitudinal coordinates
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Best Solar Dive Watch: Citizen Promaster Diver

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Legendary watch brand Citizen is actually credited with developing the first watch powered exclusively by light. As they tell it, the 1973 oil crisis raised awareness and need for alternate sources of clean energy. Citizen responded by creating their first light-powered watches, which they dubbed Eco-Drive. 

The Citizen Promaster Diver is one of the brand’s cheaper solar dive watches. Featuring water resistance up to 200 meters and anti-reflective mineral crystal glass, this watch is an excellent choice for any diver looking to get an affordable and enduring watch. 

The dial is crafted with blue, luminous hands and markers so you can track your dive in any light, at any time of day.

What I Like

  • This is a classic, tried and true dive watch that will never need the battery replaced.

  • The watch is handsome, classic, and functional.

  • Water resistance up to 200 meters gives you some serious range without worry of compromising the watch’s functionality.

What I Don’t Like

  • The case size is 44mm, which is fairly large and chunky on the wrist

What Other Reviewers Say:

Reviews for this watch are overall very positive. Most buyers are happy with the low price and affordability, given that many other dive watches come in well above $500. 

Some common complaints cite the size of the dial’s numbers and date, which are evidently too small to be easily glanced at.

The Verdict

The Citizen Promaster Diver is a perfect choice for an entry-level dive watch. If you want a rugged watch to give you the critical information for a safe dive, or just an all around solid watch for outdoor activities, Citizen’s Promaster Diver will treat you well and not hurt your wallet.

Best Solar Dive Watch
Citizen Promaster Diver

Although it bulges with a rather large 45mm case diameter, the Citizen Promaster Diver is a highly versatile watch that you can dress up or down with ease. Boasting Citizen's Eco-Drive moment, it's also quite affordable given the quality on offer.

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Best Atomic Solar Watch: Seiko Coutura SSG021

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The Seiko Coutura is a radio sync solar chronograph that looks like it could be straight off the wrist of 007. Radio sync watches, or atomic watches, are the pinnacle of time-keeping precision and automatically receive radio signals to adjust the time and calendar accordingly. 

This solar watch comes with 25 built-in time zones, so a quick twist of the dial will automatically adjust the watch to display the ultra-precise time and date in the timezone of your choice. Like other solar watches, there’s no need to ever replace the batteries. 

The Coutura is also water-resistant to 100 meters and features LumiBrite hands and markers to make this largely functional as a dive watch. The case is stainless steel and has a black ion finish, giving it a sleek, tactical look.

What I Like

  • The radio sync functionality ensures you’ll never have to adjust your watch to be accurate.

  • The design is sleek, sharp, and will work for both active and semi-formal situations.

  • Water resistance to 100 meters lets the Seiko Coutura double as an amateur dive watch.

What I Don’t Like

  • This atomic watch carries a hefty price tag, at $700. However, if you’re OCD about precision time in almost any time zone, it’s likely well worth it.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Seiko Coutura has largely positive reviews, but with some noticeable negatives. On the positive side, customers love the look and feel of the watch, and are enthusiastic about its various use cases.

On the negative, a substantial number of reviewers cited difficulty in having the watch correctly sync the time, which is the point of an atomic watch. Granted, these reviewers could live in areas with poor radio signals, which is no fault of the watch.

The Verdict

The Seiko Coutura is a beautiful watch and eye-catching on the wrist. The radio sync functionality provides precisely accurate time and date information all around the world without the need for manual settings, provided you have a good radio signal. 

If you’re looking for an atomic watch that will never need a battery replacement, and can even moonlight as a dive watch, the Seiko Coutura is a great choice.

Best Atomic Solar Watch
Seiko Cotura SSG021

The Seiko Coutura is a radio sync solar chronograph that looks like it could be straight off the wrist of 007. Radio sync watches, or atomic watches, are the pinnacle of time-keeping precision and automatically receive radio signals to adjust the time and calendar accordingly. 

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Best Under $100: Timex Expedition Scout Solar

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At this point you’re probably tired of seeing solar watches that cost hundreds of dollars, so this will be a relief. Timex’s Expedition Scout Solar comes in at just $75, and is easy on the eyes to boot. 

This solar watch is perfect for the casual outdoor enthusiast who wants an attractive watch that can take a little wear and tear. The case is 40mm in diameter which will fit all but the smallest wrists and is made of brass, which should age nicely. 

The battery can be charged up to a four month power reserve and has water resistance up to 50 meters. I wouldn’t recommend this as a dive watch, as the definition of water resistance is a bit fuzzy, but it can definitely handle the occasional recreational swim.

What I Like

  • This watch is kind to your wallet and even more kind to Mother Nature.

  • The design is simple and sleek—great for hitting the rugged, sophisticated look.

  • A four month power reserve is solid for a budget solar watch.

What I Don’t Like

  • The open stitching on the leather straps makes the watch look cheap. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Timex’s Expedition Scout Solar has a very solid rating on Amazon, with several hundred reviews. Reviewers love that this watch doesn’t try to be anything it’s not—just a simple, reliable solar watch with a clean design and affordable price point. 

A small subset of reviewers reported that the solar function stopped working after about a month, but this was by no means the common case.

The Verdict

The Timex Expedition Scout Solar is a great entry-level solar watch. By far the cheapest watch in this article, it provides affordable solar capabilities in attractive and durable casing. 

If you’re looking for a basic solar watch that won’t be too nice to get scuffed up on a hike, the Expedition Scout Solar is an excellent choice.

Best Under $100
Timex Expedition Scout

This solar watch is perfect for the casual outdoor enthusiast who wants an attractive watch that can take a little wear and tear. The case is 40mm in diameter which will fit all but the smallest wrists and is made of brass, which should age nicely. 

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Can a Solar Watch Be Charged with Artificial Light?

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A solar watch can be charged with both natural and artificial light. Turns out, it’s kind of a hot topic, but not because of the sun. 

I’m in deep, internal pain after making that dad joke. Please forgive me.

Charging your solar watch with artificial light is a hotly debated topic because solar acolytes argue that it’s a waste of energy, and inefficient. I see their point. Why turn on a lamp, which is powered by electricity and therefore the electric grid and likely coal, to charge your solar watch? 

That does seem wasteful, and certainly inefficient, shown by the table below from Casio’s G-Shock solar watches:

pasted image 0

“Lux” is a measure of power output, and as you can see, the sun puts out some hefty power. This chart shows the amount of charging time necessary for one of Casio’s watches to function for 24 hours. If you’re in direct sunlight, it only takes 5 minutes. If you’re holding your wrist close to a lightbulb, be prepared to do so for 8 hours. 

That’s quite the difference.

While I agree that turning on a light to charge your watch is wasteful, I think if you’re already in a room with artificial light and your watch happens to cop some juice from it, it’s all good. 

What are the Advantages of Using a Solar Powered Watch?

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Using a solar watch is advantageous in several ways. First, no more discovering your battery is dead, which means no more changing your battery. This is not only time and cost effective, but can also save you a trip to the jeweler in those instances where opening the back of the watch is like solving a Rubik’s cube.

On a related note, not having to change your battery means less batteries used overall. Solios estimates that just one of their watches will eliminate at least 20 batteries over its lifecycle, which will ideally reduce the production of toxic batteries.

Get Some Sun

Our top pick for the best men’s solar watch is Solios for good reason. Not only are their watches affordable and stylish, they pack some serious environmental impact into a small product. A six month power reserve, vegan leather straps, and one acre of rainforest preserved for each watch bought is hard to top.

Solios Solar

Solios may only have one model (available in Black and White), but it brings the heat. This solar-powered watch needs no maintenance and will run for years.

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In 2nd and 3rd place we have the Citizen Promaster Diver and the Seiko Coutura. Both of these are excellent solar watches but have a bit of a niche market compared to Solios’ Solar.

The Solar is great for both men and women, appropriate for many formalities, and comes in two different sizes to accommodate those with thinner wrists.

FAQs

What is the best solar watch?

The best solar watch, by many watch enthusiast’s standards, is the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver.

Is a solar watch worth it?

A solar watch is easily the most reliable and consistent watch when it comes to accurate timekeeping. Since it gets charged whenever it’s exposed to light, consistent use guarantees it will never die and need to be reset.

Can you overcharge a solar watch?

Solar powered watches are often equipped with overcharge protection functions that ensure the battery does not become damaged from charging when the battery is already full.

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