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Are Eco-Drive/Solar practical as part of collection?


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Carrying on from another thread I had a bad experience with the only Eco watch I've ever owned. Yes it was 20 years back, but this Citizen, albeit my old one, didn't take kindly to occasionally being brought out into the sunlight and eventually the battery wouldn't charge. The much maligned Kinetic I never had this problem with when shaken into life. As an 'everyday' watch they'd be great, but does anyone concur? Have they improved? Or do you have to leave them on a window sill when not in use?

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10 minutes ago, james brodie said:

Carrying on from another thread I had a bad experience with the only Eco watch I've ever owned. Yes it was 20 years back, but this Citizen, albeit my old one, didn't take kindly to occasionally being brought out into the sunlight and eventually the battery wouldn't charge. The much maligned Kinetic I never had this problem with when shaken into life. As an 'everyday' watch they'd be great, but does anyone concur? Have they improved? Or do you have to leave them on a window sill when not in use?

This has been discussed so many times before and everyone has a different answer. I keep my two on plastic watch stands on my desk, where they get some natural light, some tungsten and sometimes a daylight desklamp. They've been fine like that for years. Others have more elaborate solutions. For example ...

https://thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/148293-how-to-keep-a-solar-watch-powered-in-winter/&tab=comments#comment-1550643

https://thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?/topic/148506-here-comes-the-sun-from-russia-with-love-am-i-missing-out-on-something/&tab=comments#comment-1554005

 

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7 minutes ago, james brodie said:

Carrying on from another thread I had a bad experience with the only Eco watch I've ever owned. Yes it was 20 years back, but this Citizen, albeit my old one, didn't take kindly to occasionally being brought out into the sunlight and eventually the battery wouldn't charge. The much maligned Kinetic I never had this problem with when shaken into life. As an 'everyday' watch they'd be great, but does anyone concur? Have they improved? Or do you have to leave them on a window sill when not in use?

Having lived with 2 kinetics for a few years, my opinion is that I wish I had avoided them. 

I just know they will become "examples of.." within my collection and not watches I wear every so often. Their problems will become greater than their worth at some point and it's then that they will be shuffled down to the bottom of the pile. I would rather pay to get them "frankenwatched" with a new mechanical movement than fix their problems.

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As we're talking Kinetic I had one of those £299 H.Samuel Seiko divers from around 2006 and it was my 'everyday' wear never gave me any trouble for years until I lost it. But I honestly believe collectors should stick to Auto's or standard Quartz

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Just now, Perlative Cernometer said:

No problem with solars at all - even for "collectors"  just don't store them in the dark!

I have to say I'd personally find that very difficult! Always thought idea of collecting watces was in a draw/box/ cupboard/ chest, etc....?

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14 minutes ago, james brodie said:

As we're talking Kinetic I had one of those £299 H.Samuel Seiko divers from around 2006 and it was my 'everyday' wear never gave me any trouble for years until I lost it. But I honestly believe collectors should stick to Auto's or standard Quartz

I consider kinetic and solar to be intrinsically connected to each other. Sure, the power source is different but they still charge a cell that runs quartz and a stepping motor. 

That cell is problematic within 20 years and costs 10x the cost of a battey that lasts 2 years so what was the point? This type of movement is mostly used on watches that will cost as much to fix as their worth is in 20 years (yes, there are exceptions). Fitting new cells is not as easy as most types of batteries in quartz and needs a bit more skill.

Ok. I'm being harsh here. I am currently wearing a kinetic today and it is nice looking, reliable, and easy to use. The question is.. can it last as long and be at least as troublesome overall as a modern manual wind given a long period of time in a collection. I, like many others, don't believe they can perform as well.

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I've had a few solar powered watches and always leave them on a windowsill with no issues whatsoever.  My latest Citizen Promaster even gets radio updates inside which is better than my GPS watch. 

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1 hour ago, james brodie said:

I have to say I'd personally find that very difficult! Always thought idea of collecting watces was in a draw/box/ cupboard/ chest, etc....?

.. get a box with a glass top. Not like most Eco-Drives are in locked in a safe territory.

1 hour ago, SolaVeritate said:

I consider kinetic and solar to be intrinsically connected to each other. Sure, the power source is different but they still charge a cell that runs quartz and a stepping motor. 

The difference between kinetic and solar, especially in the context of a collection, is that you have to do something with a kinetic to keep it running, it will only charge if you are wearing it (or you manage to jury rig some Heath Robinson arrangement with a toothbrush charger) A solar watch on the other hand you can leave it to it's own devices for as long as you like as long as it gets some daylight and it will keep running.

1 hour ago, SolaVeritate said:

That cell is problematic within 20 years and costs 10x the cost of a battey that lasts 2 years so what was the point? This type of movement is mostly used on watches that will cost as much to fix as their worth is in 20 years (yes, there are exceptions). Fitting new cells is not as easy as most types of batteries in quartz and needs a bit more skill.

Ok. I'm being harsh here. I am currently wearing a kinetic today and it is nice looking, reliable, and easy to use. The question is.. can it last as long and be at least as troublesome overall as a modern manual wind given a long period of time in a collection. I, like many others, don't believe they can perform as well.

 

The point is you've had 20 years (or more, Citizen are talking about more like 40 for their latest) of maintenance free service by that point. If you had the choice of a car that broke down every 6 months but only cost £100 to fix, or one that broke down after 5 years but cost £1000 which would you pick? Meanwhile what about your mechanical watch? Chances are a mechanical watch that hasn't been looked at in 20 years is starting to get a bit out of spec on timekeeping and, let's face it, it was never as accurate in the first place and will cost considerably more to service.

 

No axe to grind, I've got mostly standard battery quartz watches, quite a lot of automatic mechanicals, and an odd half dozen solar, but I'll buy what I fancy and don't worry too much how it is powered - I just can't understand what people have against solar watches, especially as compared to disposable battery quartz watches. Just.... don't keep it in the dark!!! If it fails because the owner has had it in a drawer for a year that's not really the watches fault, that's just user error. The only kinetic I had meanwhile I did give away because I didn't wear it anywhere near often enough to keep it charged.

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Perlative Cernometer said:

The point is you've had 20 years (or more, Citizen are talking about more like 40 for their latest) of maintenance free service by that point. If you had the choice of a car that broke down every 6 months but only cost £100 to fix, or one that broke down after 5 years but cost £1000 which would you pick? Meanwhile what about your mechanical watch? Chances are a mechanical watch that hasn't been looked at in 20 years is starting to get a bit out of spec on timekeeping and, let's face it, it was never as accurate in the first place and will cost considerably more to service.

 

Thinking that quartz watches never need a service is just plain wrong. If you have potentially a 40 year battery in a quartz watch of decent quality it will need serviced (probably about every 10 years or so.. has anyone got an Omega quartz?).

The thing about it is that most solar/kinetic watches are not in the thousands of pounds bracket and its rare to be able to have a direct comparison of costs. What we do have in comparison are cheaper mechanical watches that don't tend to be serviced. We could compare Seiko 5s, Vostoks etc with them and have a guess over which will be the less troublesome or cost effective or even which watch will be last watch standing.

My money is on the mechanicals.

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24 minutes ago, SolaVeritate said:

Thinking that quartz watches never need a service is just plain wrong. If you have potentially a 40 year battery in a quartz watch of decent quality it will need serviced (probably about every 10 years or so.. has anyone got an Omega quartz?).

The thing about it is that most solar/kinetic watches are not in the thousands of pounds bracket and its rare to be able to have a direct comparison of costs. What we do have in comparison are cheaper mechanical watches that don't tend to be serviced. We could compare Seiko 5s, Vostoks etc with them and have a guess over which will be the less troublesome or cost effective or even which watch will be last watch standing.

My money is on the mechanicals.

Well if you're talking about just buying and wearing 'till it drops who knows really? I mean if you are looking at say 30 or 40 year old watches an awful lot have given up by that stage, both quartz and mechanical. Funny you should mention Omega quartz. My mum and dad both bought themselves Omegas at the same time, probably about the 20 years ago. Mum's is a quartz, battery always lasts about 3 years, every time it goes she sends it dutifully back to Omega so they can re - battery it, clean it up and re seal it. Last time it went back 3 years ago they came back and said it needed some extra work so it was a few hundred quid bill. My dad's is a Constellation chrono, supposed to be chronometer spec. Never really ran right, nowhere near spec and lost the odd hour here and there. Been back to Omega several times and every time it came back definitely nothing wrong with it, bang on, these movements never give any problems.... and still he never could quite rely on it. Been a passing comment once he used to fly a lot and one jeweller speculated maybe it had been getting magnetized in the airport metal detectors. So now it's just gone back for it's first normal service so we'll see how it comes back this time. My mum's battery has just given up again so that's just been replaced with no other servicing required beyond the normal clean and reseal.

 

..While my mum's watch has been away she's been wearing one of my wife's old watches. Roughly the same age, eco drive, never been opened since it left the shop. Take from that what you will.

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In terms of a reliable timepiece from any collection you can't beat the good old ubiquitous and reliable Seiko 5 movement without any of this nonsense: A few shakes and it's as good as new after years of storage- and maintenance free :)

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8 hours ago, Perlative Cernometer said:

(or you manage to jury rig some Heath Robinson arrangement with a toothbrush charger)

I say, the toothbrush charger is a cinch, I currently have 6 display spaces for my Pulsar kinetics, and I think I need to buy another kinetic so that all the slots are filled while one is in the toothbrush charger!

The charger is chrome, and looks very swish.

I do keep my Eco drives tucked away, and just bring them out every three to six months for a day or two on the window sill - my satellite wave GPS watch has a massive battery, a charge indicator, and goes to sleep in the dark anyway.  I have a Casio LCD radio controlled, a Citizen GPS, and a Citizen GMT diver.  I have had a couple of Citizen analogue RC too - including the cream special edition that someone else on the forum has, which both looked great and functioned well, but the hand sets not quite chunky enough for my ancient eyes so I flipped them.  I had a lovely Seiko Solar turtle too, but the seconds hand did not hit the markers, and it irritated me a bit, so I flipped that too.  The chap who bought it was miffed also, and wanted to write to Seiko!

5 hours ago, james brodie said:

A few shakes and it's as good as new

I don't even have to shake my GPS watch - I just take it out of the drawer, it comes out of hibernation and sets itself to the precise time in about 3 seconds.

7 hours ago, SolaVeritate said:

hinking that quartz watches never need a service is just plain wrong. If you have potentially a 40 year battery in a quartz watch of decent quality it will need serviced (probably about every 10 years or so.. has anyone got an Omega quartz?).

My quartz TAG 6000 is over 25 years old and never been serviced, when it does go away I will probably just ask for a new movement, which I could actually do myself - I have done two quartz movement replacements already (buttons compared to a mechanical service) - but since it is my TAG will prolly have it done professionally. I do the batteries myself and re-grease the seal.  They last forever.  Ish.

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On 18/05/2021 at 17:44, james brodie said:

In terms of a reliable timepiece from any collection you can't beat the good old ubiquitous and reliable Seiko 5 movement without any of this nonsense: A few shakes and it's as good as new after years of storage- and maintenance free :)

:huh:

Maintenance free? :hmmm9uh:

 

 

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30 minutes ago, james brodie said:

Have 3 Seiko 5's, one 33 years old; certainly never needed anything done to date. Conversely my Rolex has cost asmall fortune at 18 years old, similar wear. Just a point

Question is did the Rolex "need" servicing or repair or did it get done because it was due/ overdue and ...  Rolex? And if the Rolex hadn't been serviced would it still be ticking away merrily next to the 5's? And if not why not, when it is so much "better"? And if you had the 5's serviced on the same basis as the Rolex, then how much difference would there be in the ownership cost? Bit of an unfair comparison if you sent the Rolex away and spent a fortune on it while it was running just as well as the Seikos but you just chose not to spend the money on them.

..And frankly if the Rolex genuinely needs this level of maintenance to outlast a Seiko 5 ... why on earth would you want the Rolex? If it's because it's more accurate, well buy a quartz, if it's more durable, stop spending money on servicing it.

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I have three different types of solar watches. Have a Seiko solar. Citizen ecodrive and a gshock toughsolar. To answer the original question. I would say yes. Very practical and a great addition to a collection. I actually bought these pieces as something different to what I already have. Low/no maintenance just grab and go. No fuss and no drama.

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On 18/05/2021 at 11:02, james brodie said:

Carrying on from another thread I had a bad experience with the only Eco watch I've ever owned. Yes it was 20 years back, but this Citizen, albeit my old one, didn't take kindly to occasionally being brought out into the sunlight and eventually the battery wouldn't charge. The much maligned Kinetic I never had this problem with when shaken into life. As an 'everyday' watch they'd be great, but does anyone concur? Have they improved? Or do you have to leave them on a window sill when not in use?

I have given Ecodrive/solar a go and decided they would be fine if I had a couple of watches but as part of a collection more bother than they are worth. There are plenty of grab and go quartz watches as alternatives

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What are you guys doing wrong for you to have issues with solar powered watches?

As some of you know I have one of the larger collections on here and never had any issues with any of the solar powered watches.

A G Shock MTG took a few days to come back to life in the sun but that was because it was dead for a couple of months. But I don’t see that as an issue with the watch; more done to user error where it was kept out of any light for a long period of time.

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2 minutes ago, Igerswis said:

What are you guys doing wrong for you to have issues with solar powered watches?

As some of you know I have one of the larger collections on here and never had any issues with any of the solar powered watches.

A G Shock MTG took a few days to come back to life in the sun but that was because it was dead for a couple of months. But I don’t see that as an issue with the watch; more done to user error where it was kept out of any light for a long period of time.

You have more sun and daylight than here in the UK!

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