Were you looking for an in-depth review of the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive? Then you’re right on time. There’s a lot we’re going to be uncovering about these two watches that should help you make an informed decision on the right watch for you.
These watch brands – Seiko and Citizen – are two of the biggest Asian brands currently in the watch industry. We all remember how Switzerland used to be the center of the timekeeping universe. However, with its careful proliferation of battery-powered quartz watches, Asia gradually started to take over.
Seiko and Citizen have been leading the market of Asian brands and these two companies have a whole lot in common. Their watches, however, have certain areas where they differ.
So, without further ado, allow us to guide you through our carefully prepared review on the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Comparison Overview
This review attempts to answer the question “Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – which is better?” Now, if you know these two brands, you know they are giant Japanese watch brands. So, understandably comparing them should be fun as well as tasking.
While it was fun, we did notice from research that the Seiko Solar and the Citizen Dual Eco are two super identical watch lines. They practically offer the same features and do the same things, offering only a few unique features.
If we were to rate both watches, they’d both be getting nearly the same marks. And high ones too because both brands obviously made an effort to give quality watches.
Automatic and quartz movements, water resistance, and batteries that last years (or decades in some cases) are some of the features these guys bring to the discourse. These are like music to any wearer’s ears. Let’s not forget the atomic timekeeping that ensures your watch is also precise as well.
Generally, for the value they give, these are pretty affordable watches only that Seiko is generally a little more expensive than Citizen. Besides that, in our honest opinion, these two are practically the same watch.
For the price/performance ratio, Seiko and Citizen did great. But, of course, Citizen did a better job with the pricing of its watches as they are more affordable.
Seiko vs Citizen – Brand Comparison
Which Is a Bigger Brand: Seiko or Citizen?
Citizen is a bigger brand compared to Seiko. This is because research has shown that Citizen has a wider reach. It also has a higher volume of sales when compared to Seiko.
Seiko is also a popular brand. But its popularity is less compared to Citizen. If you want to buy a Seiko brand of watch, you may have to go and search on Amazon. Or you can buy directly from Seiko or specialty watch dealers.
This isn’t totally uncommon, buying from specialty watch dealers, that is, but it’s usually exclusive to luxury watchmakers. Think TAG Heuer or Rolex. Seiko is, obviously not a luxury watch brand, that much is well-known. Nobody comes out to say I’m wearing a Seiko. It’s just not done.
Since it doesn’t have this status, therefore, the majority of its customers would naturally tend to search major retailers like Amazon first rather than specialty shops. Of course, the fact that they are not popular on such platforms means that they lose a good deal of trade which Citizen is seriously reaping from.
In comparison, Citizen is practically everywhere. You find them in all major retail stores and that’s not all the reasons their penetration is so impactful.
Their Eco-Drive technology is also another reason for their huge popularity among in the watch community. Everyone loves something that’s reliable as well as environmentally friendly and the Citizen Eco-Drive is all of those and more. Plus, let’s not forget that solar technology also eliminates the nuisance of changing batteries.
Even though Seiko is also aboard the train, Citizen had a clear head start and amassed good followership before Seiko could catch up. For this reason, Citizen is more popular in the solar watch community than Seiko.
It might be somewhat tricky saying categorically which brand gives higher quality. However, one thing is sure Citizen gives a better value for your dollar, at least for now. Its futuristically designed watches are also pretty exciting to look out for as well.
Nevertheless, Seiko is still your go-to for the best quality, affordable mechanical watches.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Comparison Of Major Specs And Features
Citizen Eco Drive
|Movement||Solar, Quartz, Automatic||Solar, Quartz, Automatic|
|Water-Resistance||Yes, 330 feet||Yes, 660 feet|
|Power Reserve||About 10 years||Second battery lasts up to 20 years|
|Chronograph (and Tachymeter) watch||Yes||Yes|
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – What Situation Is Each Watch Best For?
Citizen Eco Drive
| For now, Seiko’s use of its solar-powered technology is still quite limited. Of course, Seiko will extend the solar technology to more of its watch lines, but for now, that range is pretty limited. So, this naturally reduces your options. |
For instance, there’s no Seiko solar for sporting or rigorous, outdoor activity.
Nonetheless, Seiko Solar still looks good and will work for all kinds of occasions – formal or informal.
| The Citizen Eco-Drive is a pretty common technology on most of Citizen’s watches. So, unlike as we had it with the Seiko Solar, you have a wide variety to choose from. |
This watch line contains all kinds of watches you can wear for all kinds of occasions. This brand also carries dive-ready and all-terrain watches all equipped with solar technology.
Get your Seiko Solar watch here!
Get your Citizen Eco-Drive watch here!
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Which Features Do They Have In Common?
Solar-Powered Watches – How Do They Function?
Solar-powered watches have evolved over the years from the undependable reputation they used to have to quite an impressive one now. The fact that you’re here reading up on the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive already proves that.
At the very basic level, solar-powered watches make use of solar cells either completely or partially as a source of power.
Why You Should Love Solar Powered Watches
Their biggest advantage is that you can store them away in your drawer for a pretty long time and still get them working in no time. This is almost impossible for other kinds of watches except you have a spare battery on hand.
Solar-powered watches are also a lot better for the environment too which is another huge plus. Since they use a renewable energy source, they help protect our environment which we believe everyone should be crazy about getting involved with. No more piling up dead batteries in landfills.
Over the years, this technology has improved so much that the storage capacity has nearly tripled. Some solar watches can continue without further charging for up to 8 years. Of course, this depends on the kind of model you buy. But the fact that this is a possibility at all, is really encouraging.
In fact, the shortest a solar watch can stay without needing further charging is 30 days. This, in itself, is a big achievement for solar watches.
Moreover, solar watches have evolved from the less creative and not so attractive designs they used to come in many years back. These days, your options for a stylish solar-powered watch are wide and varied. So, you can help our environment without losing your cool and style.
Solar Watches Use More Than Just Solar Energy
Their name might suggest that they get their energy from the sun. Nevertheless, while that is correct, solar watches these days don’t get all their power from the sun alone. You can also charge your watch under artificial light. This is great as it means that your watch will always be full of charge.
Plus, if you haven’t used it all day but you need it up and running right away for an outing in the evening, you can be sure the watch will always be ready.
However, here’s the thing with constant charging. As you know, the more you charge any battery the more the battery degrades. So, it will only take so many recharges before the battery starts to fail. You want to keep that in mind.
Nonetheless, these watches generally tend to last really long. As long as decades in some cases. Plus, the idea of never running out of power is also quite enticing.
Citizen Has Been In The Solar Business For Longer
Alright, before we continue with this section of the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive review, let’s give a brief overview of the Citizen Eco-Drive watches.
Although only one Eco-Drive technology is popular right now, the truth is that there have been several other kinds of this same technology before and after this particular Eco-Drive under review. All of them got discontinued though for one reason or the other.
For instance, we saw the Eco-Drive Duo series which came solar-powered but was also supplemented by an automatic quartz power source. This was, however, discontinued for certain reasons.
We also had the Citizen Vitality which had a pretty interesting technology to it. In Citizen Vitality watches, the movements of the watch hands did more than mark time. They were also used to drive a small electric generator in the watch which, in turn, powered movement.
Now, while this looked cool and all, there were fears that the device could explode while on the wearer’s hand. For this reason, therefore, Citizen discontinued the model obviously.
Next, Citizen also launched an Eco-Drive Thermo model which also had a pretty interesting technology to it. This one worked by exploiting the differential between the ambient temperature and that of the wearer’s hand. The Citizen Eco-Drive Thermo model has also been discontinued.
Currently, Citizen only uses one Eco-Drive movement which is the solar-dependent one.
Below is a video on the Eco-Drive technology.
Video Title: Citizen Explains Eco-Drive Technology- In this video, Citizen explains how the Eco-Drive technology works.
Below is a brief review of a Seiko Solar watch.
Video Title: Review of Seiko SN039 Solar Watch- This video gives a complete review of Seiko SN039
Which Has a Better Stainless Steel Case – Seiko Solar or Citizen Eco-Drive?
Both Seiko Solar and Citizen Eco-Drive share the same type of case which is stainless steel. Typically, the stainless steel cases either come polished or brushed. The top surfaces are usually the brushed surfaces while the sides come polished. So, in all, these are good looking watches.
They also come fairly large with measuring around 40 millimeters in diameter.
Flipping either of these watches on its other side, you also find stainless steel backs. This ensures that both watch lines are water-resistant. Their screw-down lock style also further improves the water-resistance of the watches. We will discuss this feature further in the next section.
This feature is pretty common when discussing Seiko’s and Citizen’s watches. Most of their watches come water-resistant and their solar-watches are not excluded. Nonetheless, Citizen outdoes Seiko in this department. Check out this table for more information about that.
|The Seiko Solar watches are water-resistant, however, vs the Citizen Eco-Drive, they are limited. Being that the Seiko Solar watches are water-resistant at a water depth of 100 meters, though, according to ISO 6425 standards, this technically makes them dive-ready. |
Besides that, they also come with hands that luminesce in the dark. Another feature that is important for dive-ready watches.
Please note that Seiko has separate solar watches for divers. So, even though all their watches are water-resistant, not all are dive-ready.
Another thing to note is that many times, the water resistance rating on the watch is far removed from what you actually get in reality. So, 100 meters might not be 100 meters in real life.
The Citizen Eco-Drive, on the other hand, has a water resistance rating that is twice that of Seiko Solar. This one can dive up to 200 meters underwater, that is, 660 feet.
Citizen carries a number of different kinds of watches under its solar line like we already explained before. So, it will interest you to know that there are both all-terrain and dive watches in Citizen’s Eco-Drive line.
So, if you’re looking for solar watches for all kinds of adventures, you’d surely find one in its Citizen’s offering.
Analog Time Display
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive, both use an analog display. We all know what that means so we won’t go in-depth explaining that. All watches in both series come with three hands – the hour hand, the second hand, and the minute hand.
Of course, as you’d expect, the looks of the hands differ from watch to watch. Luminescence is also another feature that is common in watches of both series. In fact, it’s a feature that is becoming a staple in today’s watches for obvious reasons.
Looking through these watches you find that both Seiko and Citizen tend to favor markers rather than numerals for the hour designations.
These markers typically rest on either a white or a dark dial. Everything else works as you’d expect in a watch. So, we won’t bore you going in-depth into all that.
What are the functions of GPS in a watch?
GPS helps your watch automatically update itself based on your time zone. This means that if the watch you are wearing is equiped with GPS,
you don’t have to adjust your watch as you check into a new time zone.
The GPS in a watch also helps to calculate how much workout one has done. It also gives you precise navigation and weather results.
Still, on the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive, we’re looking into the features these two watch series share. One of the many is the fact that both watch series come with GPS.
What is a chronograph?
A chronograph is simply a timer or a stopwatch. Chronographs usually have their own independent buttons between 1 and 3 in number. These buttons help to start the chronograph function, reset it, or stop it altogether. All these are without interfering with the watch itself.
The limit of a chronograph usually varies from watch to watch. There are some that can record up to 30 minutes at a time. And then there are some that can carry on recording up to 12 hours at a time.
You can read the chronograph’s time on a separate sub-register on the dial of the watch. So, once you activate the pusher, the recorder/sub-register begins to record the elapsed time in seconds, minutes and hours (depending on the limit of the chronograph function, of course).
What is Tachymeter?
A tachymeter is used to measure speed. It is sometimes inscribed around the rim of an analog watch with a chronograph. All tachymeters come with a chronograph watch but not all chronograph watches come with a tachymeter.
Tachymeters are of several different types such as the following:
- Circumferential tachymeter on a fixed bezel.
- Snail-type tachymeters.
- Circumferential tachymeter on a moving bezel.
- Heuer’s rotating tachymeter bezel.
Below is a video on Tachymeter
Video Title: Tachymeter Explained- This video explains what a tachymeter is.
Timekeeping is becoming even more precise than ever imagined and it’s a feature you find on both Seiko Solar and Citizen Eco-Drive.
What is an atomic watch?
An atomic watch is radio-controlled. This is what enables it to keep the most accurate time on earth. You never have to set your time or date.
An atomic watch receives a low-frequency radio signal from the US atomic clock somewhere in Colorado. This signal which it receives every night ensures that the watch stays perfectly synchronized with the US atomic clock.
So, what happens is that the watch comes with a built-in antenna that searches for the 60 kHz radio signal from the atomic clock in Colorado. It does this once a day and once it receives and decodes this signal, it updates its time and date accordingly.
So, even during Daylight Saving, leap seconds, and leap years, you don’t have to make any adjustments yourself. The watch automatically does so itself once it receives the signal from the atomic clock.
The almighty US atomic clock broadcasts its signal all over the United States which might lead you to wonder just how wide its broadcast radius is. Well, it has a broadcast radius of 1864 miles. So, as you can see most of the US is covered except for Alaska and Hawaii.
What happens when you take a vacation to any of these places then, right?
Well, if you do travel out of your range, your watch just ceases to function as an atomic watch and instead functions as a regular quartz watch. So, that means, no regular/automatic updating of time and date.
Talking about traveling outside the US, Europe has its own variant of atomic clocks. The frequency is different from that of the US and therefore incompatible with a US atomic watch.
In the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive, both watches have all the time zones of the world on the dial.
In addition to their Solar and atomic movement, the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive watches also offer an automatic movement. Well, considering that you’ll be spending more than $1000 for one of these pieces, an automatic movement is, in fact, somewhat demanded.
What is an automatic movement in watch?
A watch with an automatic movement is a self-winding watch. So, the watch winds the mainspring automatically, by itself, as a result of the wearer’s natural swinging motion.
In essence, as you swing your arm, the watch winds its mainspring by itself and you don’t have to do that yourself.
How did the Japanese quartz come to be?
The Japanese Quartz movement began in 1969 by Seiko. At that time, the Swiss quartz movement was already in existence. Asia launched this new movement that challenged the existing order of things by bringing one that relied on batteries rather than a mechanical movement to power the watches.
In response to this, we watched as an onslaught of battery-operated quartz watches flooded markets. Even the most established brands started to release their own battery-operated watches.
How do quartz watches operate?
Quartz watches are powered by batteries that send electric signals through the crystal quarts. This quartz vibrates about 32768 times every second thereby creating a signal of a really precise frequency. The circuit in the watch then measures these vibrations and converts them into one pulse per second. This pulse is responsible for the consistent movement of the second hand.
Quartz movements have several advantages.
- It hardly veers off the exact time.
- It’s battery-powered and does not need your intervention to maintain the ticking of the hand.
- Quartz watches are typically low maintenance since there are only a few moving parts. Plus, they use batteries too.
- Quartz watches are about the most affordable kinds of watches you can get. Automatic and mechanical, on the other hand, require a lot of skill and work hours. So they are typically more expensive.
- With fewer moving parts, quartz watches are typically durable than mechanical watches.
Quartz watches are your regular everyday watches and the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive series both offer you quartz watch options.
Below is a video about the difference between quartz and automatic movement.
Video Title: Watch Movements- This video explains the difference between quartz and automatic movements
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Features Unique To Each Watch
This section of the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive would likely present the deal-breaker for most people going through this review. So, we’d need you to pay close attention as we go in-depth in these sections.
Before we go on, you might want to know that the Seiko Solar watch is more expensive than the Citizen Eco-Drive. So, naturally, you might find more customers getting the Citizen Eco-Drive than the Seiko Solar watches.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Features Unique To The Seiko Solar
With the advancement in technology, Seiko has also followed closely, implementing such changes in its solar watches. One of such advancements is its opaque dials.
In recent times, the dials on Seiko Solar watches no longer resemble the traditional dials you find on solar-powered watches. On the Citizen Eco-Drive, for instance, you see a clever attempt to hide the fact that the dial is actually semi-transparent.
Usually, on a solar-powered watch, the dial is the part of the watch through which light passes through to the photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells are found under the dial. And now, Seiko has made the dial almost completely opaque to the human eye.
With this technology nailed to the t, is it possible that Seiko is planning to replace most of its current quartz movements with Seiko Solar movements? We guess only time will tell now. No pun intended.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Features Unique To The Citizen Eco-Drive
What is a perpetual calendar?
A perpetual calendar mechanism means that the watch “perpetually” displays the correct date. Such watches with perpetual calendars usually take the different lengths of months into consideration as well as leap days. Because of how their internal mechanism is wired, they are able to move the dial to the next day.
The Citizen Eco-Drive has this feature, however, the Seiko Solar does not seem to have any solar-powered watch with a perpetual calendar. Don’t get us wrong, there are Seiko Perpetual Calendar watches. However, we’re not sure we’ve seen any in the solar-powered line.
Please note that you might have to make a daylight savings adjustment to the calendar twice a year. Of course, this will depend on where you live.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Unique Pros
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Pros Unique To The Seiko Solar
- Opaque dials give Seiko Solar watches a stunning and less regular look.
- Most of its solar watches are automatic movements.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Pros Unique To The Citizen Eco-Drive
- Comes with a perpetual calendar.
- More affordable than the Seiko Solar watches.
- People trust Citizen more because it has been making solar watches for longer.
- There are more applications of solar technology on many of Citizen’s watch lines unlike with the Seiko Solar watches.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Unique Cons
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Cons Unique To The Seiko Solar
- Generally pricier than the Citizen Eco-Drive watches.
- No perpetual calendar.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Cons Unique To The Citizen Eco-Drive
- A vast majority of its solar watches are quartz movements.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Common Pros
Citizen Eco Drive
|This is a maintenance-free watch as you don’t have to keep opening up the watch and replacing batteries every now and then.||Also applies here.|
|Solar powered watches are great for our environment. You won’t be throwing away used batteries and our ecosystem will be better for it.||Same here|
|Seiko Solar watches come with a slim profile which is really classy.||The same goes for Citizen Eco-Drive.|
|Automatic movement means that besides getting charged from sunlight (and other artificial lights), the natural swinging motion of the wearer’s arm also powers the watch.||The Citizen Eco Drive also comes with automatic movement.|
|This is a water-resistant watch up to 100 meters. It doesn’t dive ready as Seiko carries another line for such watches, but it is still water-resistant.||The Citizen Eco-Drive watch is also water-resistant up to 200 meters or 660 feet. Being that Citizen uses its Eco-Drive on more of its watch lines than Seiko, it’s no surprise that the brand also carries dive-ready Eco-drive watches as well as all-terrain Eco-Drive watches.|
|These guys last pretty long after just one charge. Seiko advises you to change out the battery after ten years. So, there you go. This can go for about a decade without charging.||As for the Citizen Eco Drive, we found that the second battery will be able to retain 80% of its recharging capability for two decades! Fantastic.|
|Comes with chronograph and tachymeter functions||Also features chronograph and tachymeter functions.|
|Atomic timekeeping ensures that your clock is always precise to the t. By receiving radio signals from the US once a day, you can count on the accuracy of your watch at any time. Plus, it applies all across America except for Alaska and Hawaii.||Also applies for the Citizen Eco Drive.|
|Features GPS function||Also features GPS function|
|Get your Seiko Solar Watch here || |
Get your Citizen Eco Drive Watch here!
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Common Cons
There are no common cons shared by the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – General Feeling Among Users
So we tried to feel the general pulse of the public on the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive debate. Here’s a summary of the word on the street.
|Citizen Eco Drive|
| Apparently, a lot of people have great respect for Seiko. It is the older establishment of the two companies and has done well by its customers, giving them the best quality of every watch it has ever made. |
For the Seiko Solar watch, we would say it had a positive acceptance in the watch community. However, for now, many are still playing the skeptic game considering that Seiko just joined the solar train not too long ago. They intend to see just how well Seiko will pull off solar.
You can tell from the atmosphere though, that everyone is quite optimistic about these watches. In fact, most give these watches their vote of confidence based on the reputation of the brand and use as well.
We could sense that there were loads of happy campers who bought and are using these Seiko Solar watches, even though its price tag made some potential customers shy away.
| It was a no brainer over on this side of the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive review. Citizen has been around since forever with the solar watches which worked. Unlike Seiko that seems to want to reconnect to the past with classic timepieces, Citizen is more futuristic. |
So, it’s no surprise that they hopped aboard the solar train before Seiko could decide to.
Many customers had praise for these watches for so many reasons. The wide array of choices available to you, the affordable price, plus the fact that Citizen hasn’t failed before.
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive – Final Thoughts
As you can see, there isn’t so much of a difference between watch lines. If at all, they most likely are cosmetic without any significant effect on the working of the watches.
We had fun researching and reviewing the Seiko Solar vs Citizen Eco-Drive. We also hope that we’ve given you enough information to help you make your best choice.
For more on theta-watches, check out these articles
Seiko Solar vs Citizen Echo-Drive – FAQs
How long does Citizen Echo-Drive watch last?
Citizen Echo-Drive can last up to ten years because of the solar cells and the secondary batteries that are used in it. The solar cells and batteries are laced with lubricants. The work of these lubricants is to help elongate the lifespan of the cells.
The oil that is used as the lubricant can last more than 20 years without hardening or evaporating. As a result, the batteries and solar cells are expected to last longer than the estimated 10 years.
Why did my Seiko solar watch stop?
Your Seiko solar watch stopped working because the battery is not properly charged. It is not enough that your Seiko solar watch is exposed to sunlight. You may think that the watch is charged just because it has been exposed to light.
To sufficiently charge the Seiko solar watch battery, expose it to intense sunlight for a considerable length of time.
If after charging the watch batteries under such condition and it is still not working, it then means that the cells of the solar battery are dead, or that the watch has a mechanical fault.
How long does Seiko solar last?
The batteries in Seiko solar watches are made to last for a minimum of 10 years. They are protected with a lubricant that helps to protect and elongate their lifespan. This lubricant in Seiko solar watches lasts more than 10 years.
To get your Seiko solar watches to work perfectly, you need to store it close to the window or where sunlight can easily shine on it. In this way, you will be sure that your solar watch will remain adequately charged.
Can you overcharge a solar watch?
A solar watch battery cannot be overcharged. It is built with a mechanism that prevents it from charging once it becomes fully charged. That is why when you get a solar watch, the makers do not warn you about the danger of it being overcharged.
However, the makers of solar watches do warn you about the battery getting overheated. What charges the battery in a solar watch is the heat that comes from the sun.
When the battery is fully charged, the heat will no longer be converted to electrical energy. This will cause an increase in the temperature of the battery which can lead to overheating and damaging the battery.
Does Seiko own Citizen?
Seiko does not own Citizen. The two watch giants are from Japan. They are among the biggest and most recognized watch brands in the world. However, they have one of the biggest rivalries in the watch industry.
There are so many other watchmaking companies around the world. But the reason for their rivalry is because they occupy a similar market space. The quality of their watches and the price are within the same range. Therefore, their products appeal to customers of the same category. That is why their names seem to be mentioned in similar circles.
Do solar watch batteries need to be replaced?
The battery in a solar watch does not need to be replaced. This is because the battery is typically made to last for 10 years. This period is seen as the peak period. That means the battery works at its best during this time.
Within the peak period, the battery attains full charge quicker. It also takes more time for it to discharge its power. After the peak period of ten years, the battery can still last an extra 10 – 15 years.
But for this period, it will take a longer time to charge and a shorter time to discharge. In essence, your solar watch battery can last for as many as 25 years uninterrupted.