Solios Review: Little Watch, Big Impact

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by  David Martin | Last Updated: 

Changing the batteries in your watch is a major pain. So much of a pain, in fact, that many of us opt to just buy another watch rather than taking the time to go to a jeweler or change the watch batteries ourselves.

Not only is this rough on your wallet, it’s rough on the planet. In this Solios review we’ll take a look at one of their premium solar watches to help you make the step towards never needing to change your watch batteries again.

A sun soaked timepiece
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Solios

Solios

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Bottom line: Solios hit the sweet spot of solar watches that are kind to the planet and look slick on your wrist. Although there’s a limited number of styles for these battery-free watches, Solios’ current offering works for a range of functionalities and formalities.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • No more hassle with dead batteries
  • Solios watches can be charged by both natural and artificial light
  • Sleek, minimalist design
  • B Corp Certified company
  • One acre of rainforest is preserved with every watch purchase

Cons:

  • Limited product selection

The attic smelled like mothballs and leather, and the floor creaked as I stepped around boxes of dusty documents. 

Treasure-hunting in my grandpa’s attic was a favorite pastime of mine, but had yet to yield what I was truly after: a sleek watch. 

As I dug through the drawers of an old oak dresser, my effort was finally rewarded. The dusty, vintage watch I pulled out held all the promises and priceless value of upping my style game and self-confidence, but there was one problem.

The battery was dead.

Worse yet, the battery had leaked, corroding my hopes and dreams into oblivion. In that moment I realized that the pesky problem had a simple solution: solar watches

I like to kill two birds with one stone when I can, and the right solar watch packs a one-two punch of being stylish and not needing batteries. 

I remembered seeing ads for Solios while scrolling Instagram, so I picked up their aptly named “Solar” model to try it out. Here are my thoughts. 

What Is Solios?

Solios packaging on marble table from the side

Solios was founded in 2018 by Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais, two friends from university with an entrepreneurial itch. While traveling through Greece they noticed a large trend towards minimalist fashion and came up with the idea for a statement accessory that would benefit the planet, rather than harming it.

In their own words, “We believe one shouldn’t sacrifice everything in order to make the world a better place. We believe big changes start with small decisions that don’t compromise one’s lifestyle and habits.”

Thus, Solios was born: “the finest-looking solar watch on the market.”

Since then, Solios has grown rapidly, not only in sales, but also in their philosophy. They are the world’s first Certified B Corp watch company and have partnered with the Rainforest Trust to restore one acre of rainforest for each watch sold. 

If a handsome, solar watch isn’t enough to impress your date, tell them that your watch purchase saved some baby chimps. That could be the truth, after all.

Solios Watches

Solios is an excellent choice for you if you want a minimalist, Scandinavian-style watch.

Beyond that, if you care about preserving the environment and want a watch that won’t add more toxic trash to landfills, Solios is a no-brainer.

Shop Solios
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Watch from Solios

Solios Solar in hand detail

The decision to buy a solar watch from Solios comes down to several considerations.

First—and most obvious—is whether or not you want to keep pitching bodies into your dead-watch-graveyard. I’m guessing you don’t.

Let’s say you don’t, but for some reason really enjoy the process of getting your watch battery changed. Did I mention this is hypothetical?

Changing your watch battery can cost anywhere from $10-$60, depending on the complexity of your watch and if it needs to be resealed and pressure tested. 

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If the average battery replacement is $35 and you replace it every two years, within 20 years you could have bought a brand new watch several times over, not to mention the amount of time spent going to and from a jeweler.

Solios estimates that just one of their watches can save 20 toxic watch batteries from ending up in landfills—20 watch batteries that you could have bought.

I digress: a solar watch saves you time and money. 

Another attractive mark for Solios is its commitment to eco-friendly business practices. Besides their pledge to save an acre of rainforest with every watch sold, Solios has entirely removed single-use plastics from their supply chain and uses vegan leather straps rather than animal leather.

If you’re looking for a watch that embodies sustainability, doesn’t add work to your already overflowing plate, and looks sharp as heck, Solios is a good place to start.

Solios Review

The Solios Solar is actually the brand’s only watch model at the moment. However, they offer a wide variety of case colors, strap materials, and strap colors so you can find your perfect look. 

I’ve always been a bit of a watch purist and love the classic combo of black leather straps on a gold or silver case. However, since Solios is changing the minimalist watch game I decided to change mine too, and picked up the Solar with a black case, black mesh strap, and green vegan leather strap for a little flare.

Unboxing

Solios packaging on marble table landscape

Solios has committed to entirely removing single-use plastics from their supply chain, which includes their packaging. The Solar’s packaging takes the form of a fake book and is made entirely of recyclable paper. 

Solios’ brand aesthetic just gets me. Somehow their packaging and clean graphic design makes me want to be considerably more intentional about the net effect my consumerism has on the planet, and I appreciate that. 

In step with the founder’s quote about big changes rising from small decisions, wearing the Solios Solar has been a small reminder to be more environmentally conscious and be nice to ol’ Mother Earth. 

On opening the packaging, I found the Solar neatly displayed in the box with the vegan green leather strap, and an informational pamphlet beside it that details Solios’ commitment to sustainability among other things.

Solios packaging open from side

Beneath the pamphlet was a concealed hollow, where the mesh strap neatly rested. 

Overall I’m very impressed with Solios’ packaging. In an industry where presentation is everything, Solios doesn’t slouch, even to the point of hand-writing my name on the welcome note inside the packaging. 

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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Case

Solios Solar on wrist dial detail

The Solar comes in two case sizes: 36mm and 40mm. I have smaller wrists than most and decided to try out the 36mm, as I already have several watches in the 40mm-42mm range. 

The smaller case size took a little getting used to but it’s actually a refreshing change from larger watches. Being more discreet on the wrist makes this a more subtle point of your outfit, and those who notice your extra attention to detail will perceive you as a bit more mysterious than at first glance. 

Solios Solar case back

The Solar’s case is made from certified recycled steel, which is harder to get than you might think. In the process of sourcing their recycled steel, Solios found that the metal recycling industry is fraught with fraud.

I can attest to this firsthand, as I worked at a landfill for a summer in college. If my landfill of employment was any indication of the general state of other dumps, you’d be tempted to believe no one there knew the difference between a plastic bottle and a steel beam. 

Solios Solar on cork holder from profile

As such, it’s quite impressive that Solios has actually manufactured their watches with certified recycled steel. This extra step to be kind to the planet makes me feel even better about supporting this brand, and I’m sure it’s giving Recyclops the warm fuzzies. 

This certified recycled steel gets manufactured into 316L stainless steel, which is known for its robustness and longevity.

The Solar’s case is just 8mm thick, keeping a sleek profile on your wrist and accommodating the widest selection of fashions, in my opinion. While I doubt anyone would intentionally take this watch for a swim, the Solar is rated for water-resistance up to 30 meters.

Dial

Solios Solar on cork holder from bird s eye

The Solar’s dial is about as minimalist as you can get, featuring a black dial, silver hands, and silver markers. The Solios logo occupies the three o’clock tick, which is a marked divergence from most minimalist watch brands. 

While the Solar is currently Solios’ only watch style, they offer white and black dials, as well as silver, gold, and black cases. Pair this with an extensive selection of strap colors and styles, and you’ve got quite a few watches to choose from. We’ll cover the straps in more detail later on.

There is no date box, which I honestly have no issue with. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I’ve never trusted myself enough to keep up with ensuring the correct date is set, so I never looked to my watch to remind me of the date even if it had a date box. 

I appreciate the simplicity of the dial, and I suspect it was left as simple as possible to allow the greatest amount of light to charge the solar cell. Don’t quote me on that, though.

Crystal

Solios Solar sapphire crystal coating detail

The Solar’s crystal is in fact mineral glass, but covered with a sapphire coating to prevent scratches. In the world of watch enthusiasts this combination is acceptable, but not ideal.

At the very least, it’s better than having only mineral glass, which is regarded poorly due to its tendency to scratch easily and chip, rather than shatter. 

The sapphire crystal coating ensures that your Solar is essentially scratch-proof, and combined with the stainless steel case this watch should stand up well to life’s many dings and bumps.

Movement

Solios Solar crown detail

As we’ve already mentioned many times, the Solar is powered by solar cells beneath the dial that are charged by incoming light. This light energy is converted into electricity, which subsequently powers the watch

You may have noticed that I said the solar cells are powered by “light” and not distinctly “sunlight.” Indeed, the Solar can be powered by both artificial and natural light, which, as the youths say, slaps.

Have you hesitated to buy a solar watch because that corporate servitude you call a job requires you to sit beneath fluorescents for the entire time the sun is up? 

Hesitate no longer—the Solar can be charged even by the most garish of artificial lights. According to Solios, charging the watch for just two hours gives the Solar a six month energy reserve.  

Solios packaging details1

Charging the watch doesn’t require you to do anything specific, either. Just wear it in a place that has light of some sort, and the Solar will collect the light energy on its own.

In order to maintain the minimalist, Scandinavian watch style and full solar-powered capabilities, Solios designed their dial to be opaque to the human eye, but transparent enough for light to get through and charge the solar cell below.

Come to think of it, if I didn’t know Solios made solar watches I would have confidently assumed they were battery-powered. Kudos to their design capabilities.

Straps

Solios Solar butterfly clasp detail

The Solar came with the green vegan leather straps attached, which I initially assumed were just the regular old strap and clasp combo. In fact, these straps came equipped with a butterfly clasp which is widely considered to be the most elegant clasp system in the industry.

Why? 

Because the butterfly clasp is essentially invisible during use, and it increases the longevity of your straps by orders of magnitude. 

A butterfly clasp features two hinges on opposite ends of the clasp which then fold on top of one another, bringing the straps along with it but not necessitating the straps to be scrunched and bent like you’d have to do with a normal clasp. 

Solios Solar butterfly clasp in use

The butterfly clasp was so well concealed that I didn’t even realize it was there until I removed the Solar from its cork holder. 

Given that butterfly clasps are typically reserved for vintage watches that easily cost over $1000, this inclusion gives significant credibility to Solios’ claim that they make the “finest-looking solar watch on the market.”

The green vegan leather straps are made with silicone, which is a unique point among vegan leather straps. Most vegan leathers are actually quite harmful to the environment, but Solios’ “Eco Sileather” is made without phthalates, heavy metals, solvents, and toxic by-products.

Solios Solar vegan eco leather strap

Also, instead of the usual rubber found inside the strap, Solios uses cork instead. 

In addition to the green vegan leather strap, Solios sent along one of their black mesh metal straps. For being metal, the strap is flexible and comfortable, and features a magnet attachment at the end of the strap to ensure a perfect fit.

Interchanging the straps doesn’t require tools, which is a huge bonus in my book. The straps have tiny, spring-activated mechanisms that push rods into the case’s holes, giving secure attachment in seconds.  

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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What do Other Reviewers Say About Solios?

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Solios is well-loved by watch enthusiasts and amateurs alike. A quick glance at Judge.me showed Solios had well over 200 reviews and averaged a 5-star rating. 

A common positive sentiment regarded the watch’s solar capabilities and positive impact on the environment. Other reviewers noted the clean, minimalist design and attention to detail, like the watch being preset to the purchaser’s time zone.

The only complaints I found were regarding the lack of a date box on the dial. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that in Solios’ future watch generations.

My Thoughts Overall On Solios

What I Like

  • The Solar is sleek and well-designed with materials that are kind to the environment.

  • I love that I’ll never have to worry about changing the batteries.

  • The solar cell’s six month power reserve, after just two hours of charging, is impressive.

  • A sapphire crystal coating keeps the watch safe from most scratches.

  • Saving one acre of rainforest per watch sold definitely encourages me to buy.

What I Don’t Like

  • Solios currently only has one watch style.

Who is Solios for?

Solios is an excellent choice for you if you want a minimalist, Scandinavian-style watch. Beyond that, if you care about preserving the environment and want a watch that won’t add more toxic trash to landfills, Solios is a no-brainer.

The Verdict

All said, Solios packs some serious value into a small package. From clean designs and beautiful aesthetics to eco-friendly materials, Solios’ watches are a vote for protecting the planet and a step in the right direction. 

If you’re not of the environmental conservationist ilk, Solios still presents a strong value proposition by the fact that you’ll never have to replace a battery or make a visit to the jeweler.

Although Solios only has one watch style currently, they provide a broad selection of case colors, straps, and strap colors so that there’s a little something for everyone. I’m looking forward to future Solios releases and the continued value they’ll bring to the industry.

Solios Watches

Solios is an excellent choice for you if you want a minimalist, Scandinavian-style watch.

Beyond that, if you care about preserving the environment and want a watch that won’t add more toxic trash to landfills, Solios is a no-brainer.

Shop Solios
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Is Solios a good watch brand?

Solios creates premium solar watches via environmentally-friendly business practices, without sacrificing their design or aesthetics.

Where are Solios watches made?

Solios watches are completely designed and manufactured in Montreal, Canada.

How long does the charge on Solios watches last?

Solios watches hold a reserve charge of six months after just two hours of charging.

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