Solar watches are just such an amazing upgrade to every guy’s must-have accessory!
Think about it: your beautiful, masterpiece of a watch really only has the one glaring flaw of needing a new battery after a few years of use. But with the ability to charge in sunlight, you’ll never have to worry about changing the battery again.
Solar watches are becoming more and more common, with big-name luxury brands offering watches with integrated solar-charging capabilities. Thankfully, there are also a few budget-friendly models for those who don’t want to spend a small fortune but still want a truly reliable watch.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best solar watches for men, including a few brands you’ll be familiar with alongside a few who are new and revolutionizing the industry.
There are so many great options to choose from below, I guarantee you’ll find the perfect timepiece to add to your collection.
But first, we’ve got to take a deep dive into a few important details and look at how solar watches work, why they’re worth your investment, and how to find the right watch!
How Do Solar Watches Work?
Solar watches combine an integrated battery with miniature solar panels (usually built into the watch face) that use solar energy to charge up the battery. The light energy collected by the solar panels is turned into electricity, which in turn is converted into mechanical energy required to keep the watch mechanisms ticking. With frequent exposure to sunlight, you can keep your solar watch working for a lifetime without ever needing to change the battery.
Many solar watches are capable of charging not only using direct sunlight, but also ambient light. You can place your watch under a lightbulb or overhead lights, and it will charge up. However, take note that ambient light generates far less electricity than direct sunlight.
Benefits of Solar Watches
Let’s talk about a few of the reasons that you should consider investing in a solar watch:
- Never replace your battery. This is the obvious one: thanks to the integrated solar panels, you’ve got a watch battery that will stay charged and last a lifetime. That makes solar watches ultimately far cheaper to maintain than standard watches, which need battery replacements every 2-4 years.
- Sustainable products. Typically, solar watches are manufactured by brands that prioritize sustainability and environmental consciousness. Not only are the batteries longer-lasting and the power source fully renewable, but the watches are also often made using eco-friendly and “green” materials.
- Stylish. Solar watches come in all range of styles, shapes, and sizes, and they make a great addition to your watch collection.
- Affordable. For every luxury brand commanding very high prices, there are more accessible brands offering reliable, beautiful timepieces at a much more affordable price.
- Easy storage. With luxury timepieces, you often have to store them in specialized winding cases. Solar watches, however, don’t need any fancy case, but can be stored in a standard watch box. As long as you pull them out periodically and place them in direct sunlight to charge, they’re incredibly low-maintenance and easy to store.
As you can see, it’s definitely worth considering investing in a solar watch!
The Best 15 Solar Watches for Men
- The Best 15 Solar Watches for Men
- Garmin Tactix 7 Pro
- G-SHOCK MEN'S SOLAR SPORT WATCH
- Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive
- Solios The Solar Black
- TAG Heuer Aquaracer Solargraph
- GARMIN INSTINCT SOLAR GRAPHITE SMARTWATCH
- Junghans max bill MEGA Solar
- Seiko SNJ025 “Arnie”
- Casio Men's GW-M5610-1BJF G-Shock
- Citizen Caliber 0100
- Skagen Grenen
- Casio AQ-S810W-1AV
- TIMEX MEN'S EXPEDITION SCOUT SOLAR-POWERED WATCH
- Casio Oceanus OCW-T200S-1AJF Radio Solar Bluetooth Watch
- CITIZEN ECO-DRIVE CHANDLER WATCH
Let’s start off this list with a HELLA smartwatch that will be your perfect companion for every hiking, camping, trekking, hunting, snowboarding, and kayaking adventure! This smartwatch is packed with all the functions you’d hope for from Garmin’s finest—from heart rate monitoring to stress levels to sleep analytics to calorie counting to hydration—but takes it so many steps farther by adding incredibly features like GPS/GLONASS/Galileo functionality, elevation tracking, a barometric altimeter and compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, pulse ox, thermometer, smart notifications, weather, music storage, and the list goes on. It’s truly a game-changing watch you’ll be proud to own.
Best of all, it’s got a built-in solar battery that will let you max out the life of your watch. You will still need to charge it (it’s not exclusively solar-powered), but the addition of solar power extends the battery life from 28 to 37 days (on smartwatch mode), from 90 days to 1+ year on battery saver mode, and 89 to 122 hours on GPS mode. It’s waterproof, ultra-tough, and insanely “smart”—everything you’d want in an adventure-ready smartwatch.
- Size: 35 mm
- Movement: Digital
- Crystal: Power Sapphire™
- Case: Fiber-reinforced polymer with titanium rear cover
When it comes to durability, you just can’t beat the Casio’s G-Shock watch! This watch can take a serious beating and survive without a scratch, thanks to its ultra-tough resin band and carbon-resin case. It’s also insanely long-lasting, with a battery that will last for up to 18-months without being exposed to ambient or sunlight. It has a built-in power saving mode that will switch it off to save battery. Keep it out in the light, however, and it will literally endure a lifetime.
The watch can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth to let you adjust the data (date, time, time zones, etc.) and can be used both to set yourself reminders and track your missing smartphone if necessary. Its double LED light (backlighting and face light) ensure you can always see the face even in zero-light conditions. Ultimately, its durability and reliability make it one of the all-time best sport-friendly solar watches you can own.
- Size: 45 mm
- Movement: Quartz
- Crystal: Mineral Glass
- Case: Carbon / Resin
Divers, get ready to fall in love with the PERFECT timepiece for your needs! This masterpiece by Citizen is solar-powered and engineered specifically for divers, including water-resistance up to 200 meters and luminous hands and large-print markers easily visible in low-light environments. It’s also got a power reserve indicator that makes it easy to keep an eye on your watch’s battery life so you know when it’s time to charge up—which it easily will in both direct and ambient light.
The case is made of ultra-tough “super titanium” and the strap a blue polyurethane, both rated to handle the pressures of deep underwater. It’s a beautifully affordable watch compared to most purpose-built diving watches, and the fact that it’s solar-powered makes it perfect for anyone who wants a hassle-free, zero-maintenance timepiece that will last a lifetime.
- Size: 46mm
- Movement: Eco-Drive
- Crystal: Mineral Crystal
- Case: Super Titanium
If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, give this sleek and stylish watch by Solios a try! It’s far slimmer than the bulkier sports watches on our list, but it gives off an air of sophistication and elegance that will only grow more pronounced the more you wear the watch.
Thanks to the integrated solar panels, the battery will last for up to 6 months without sunlight, but charge in just a matter of hours once it’s exposed to direct light. It will also charge using ambient light, so even just leaving it on your bedside table or desk is enough to refuel the integrated power cells.
Thanks to its sapphire-coated hardened mineral glass crystal and 316L Stainless steel hypoallergenic case, it’s tough enough to withstand the rigors of your daily work life and commute. The straps—made of eco-friendly vegan leather—are stylish and can be easy changed out to let you accessorize according to your daily outfit. And you definitely won’t find many solar watches this elegant and this affordable!
- Size: 36mm (with option for 40mm)
- Movement: Solar Powered quartz movement
- Crystal: Sapphire Coated Hardened Mineral Glass
- Case: 316L Stainless steel
Runners, swimmers, triathletes, and rowers, this one’s for you! The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Solargraph is built specifically for athletes who spend their time in the great outdoors, where the sunlight will keep it charged all day—and night—long. The semi-transparent dial face actually facilitates charging in any light and guarantees the watch will keep up with your long-distance runs, swims, and boating races like a boss. Just two minutes of sunlight is enough to power it up for the entire day!
Of course, given that it’s TAG Heuer, the watch is also a masterpiece of precision timekeeping and elegance. The bezel is made from an eye-catching blend of green Super-LumiNova (a proprietary material) and carbon that will light up after dark, and the Super-LumiNova hands and markers will be visible even in no-light environments.
Though it’s one of the pricier watches on our list, it’s an investment you can make knowing that it will last you a lifetime.
- Size: 40mm
- Movement: Calibre TH50-00
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Case: Stainless steel
Hikers and trekkers, this is the solar smart watch you’ll want to wear on your next adventure. Not only is it built tougher and more durable, but it’s compatible with all the standard Garmin sport apps (fitness tracker, GPS, navigation, and more) and keeps you connected to your smartphone without ever putting your phone at risk when wading through rivers or hiking in heavy rains.
Like the other Garmin on our list, solar charging only extends the battery’s lifespan, but doesn’t fully eliminate the need for charging via cable. Still, you can get up to 54 days of battery life (in smartwatch mode) with just a few hours of sunlight a day. It’s also built to U.S. military standard 810, and it’s fully thermal, water, and shock-resistant. It’s one of the toughest, most versatile sport- and adventure-friendly watches on our list!
- Size: 45mm
- Movement: Digital
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla
- Case: Chemically strengthened, fiber-reinforced polymer
Go minimalist and ultra-stylish with this watch by Junghans! The max bill MEGA Solar watch is designed in the Bauhaus style, with a slim and compact case, clutter-free watch face, and simple band that will pair perfectly with any business or formal outfit. It’s also incredibly accurate, thanks to its radio-controlled solar movement.
The watch is incredibly easy to adjust—either use the crown or let it auto-adjust via Junghans’ smartphone app, Junghans MEGA. The watch derives all the power it needs from the sun, including the power necessary to light up the luminous dots so you can easily see the time after dark. The case and strap are both made of super-tough titanium that will last for years of regular use without wearing, fading, or rusting. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but well worth it for the luxury and reliability.
- Size: 38.0 mm
- Movement: Connected radio-controlled solar movement J101.85
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Case: Titanium
Seiko is a brand all watch lovers are familiar with, so it should be no surprise that their solar watch makes it onto this “best of” list. Few brands offer reliability and consistency at such an affordable price, and the Seiko SNJ025 (nicknamed “Arnie”, thanks to the fact that it graced Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in multiple movies, including The Predator and Commando) definitely lives up to the standard.
The diver’s watch is fully waterproof up to 200m, with LumiBrite hands and markers that are highly visible even in the dark depths of the ocean. The built-in power reserve lasts for up to 6 months without needing any sunlight, and it’s fully charged within just 8-10 hours in sunlight.
It’s on the large side, with a 48mm watch case that is ideal for guys with larger wrists. Thanks to its silicone band, stainless-steel-and-plastic case, and Hardlex glass, it’s a watch you can trust will last you for years to come.
- Size: 48mm
- Movement: Solar H851 movement
- Crystal: Hardlex
- Case: Stainless steel and plastic
Casio’s G-Shock line of watches are built tougher than the rest, and when they add in solar-charging capabilities, it’s a winning combination that you’re guaranteed to love. This particular model is on the more affordable side, with simpler features (including world time, city code display, stopwatch, countdown timer, five daily alarms, and automated calendar) that make it an excellent entry-level multi-functional watch.
In addition to solar-charging capabilities, it also has a battery indicator displayed on the face, so you can always know exactly how much power you have left before you need to charge. But don’t worry: a full charge will last you for 10 months. The atomic timekeeping maximizes accuracy; it regularly received radio signals to calibrate the time and ensures the watch is accurate to within milliseconds even after years of use.
You’ll love that it’s also shock-resistant and has 20-bar water resistance, making it ideal for taking on your diving, boating, hiking, camping, and kayaking trips.
- Size: 43mm
- Movement: Multi-band 6 Atomic Timekeeping technology
- Crystal: Mineral
- Case: Resin
If you want a luxury “splurge” (read: investment), this Citizen solar watch is a top contender! Only 500 of these bad boys were made, meaning it’s a limited-edition collector’s item guaranteed to be well worth every penny.
The watch is built from ultra-tough “super titanium” with a sapphire crystal case, and the combination makes it incredibly sturdy and resistant to a lot of damage. Not that you’d want to let the watch be damaged; it’s one you’d store in a watch box, and only bring out on those special occasions to dress up with a business suit, tux, or other formal outfit.
The Eco-Drive solar movement keeps the watch powered up for months at a time, and maximizes the accuracy of its timekeeping. Best of all, slim, sleek, and insanely stylish!
- Size: 38mm
- Movement: Eco-Drive
- Crystal: Anti-Reflective Sapphire
- Case: Super Titanium
This watch combines quality Japanese accuracy (in the movement) with modern, sleek Scandinavian design, bringing the best of both worlds into a single timepiece. Everything about its appearance—from the inky black stainless steel case to the mesh band—screams the latest in Nordic styles, but it’s made in Japan using Japanese quartz to ensure precise timekeeping.
The case is on the smaller side (just 37mm), and it’s slim enough that it will blend perfectly into your attire for any formal or business event. However, it’s tough and reliable enough to wear in your everyday life, too. Thanks to its solar charging movement, you can trust it will last you for years to come.
- Size: 37mm
- Movement: Solar-powered quartz
- Crystal: Mineral
- Case: Stainless steel/recycled stainless steel
Take this watch with you on your next holiday or adventure trip! Casio builds their watches tough, combining a sturdy resin glass with a resin case and band that can withstand pretty much anything the great outdoors can throw at it. Thanks to its 10-bar waterproof rating, it’s also great for diving, scuba diving, fishing, and boating. With the solar-powered battery, the more time you spend outdoors, the less you’ll have to worry about ever running out of power. But don’t worry that storing the watch will drain its power; the integrated Power Save feature will shut off the display after long exposure to darkness, extending its lifespan up to 23 months between charges.
The Neobrite hands and markers ensure that you can always tell the time in even low- or no-light environments. Packed with all the useful features you’d expect—including stopwatch, timer, five daily alarms, world time, 31 time zones, and full auto-calendar—it’s a sportsman’s friend anywhere, anytime. Best of all, it receives radio frequency signals every hour to maintain precise timekeeping at all times.
- Size: 52mm
- Movement: Connected radio-controlled solar movement
- Crystal: Resin Glass
- Case: Resin
Timex is a brand that has made its mark on the watch world by offering affordable, budget-friendly timepieces that are reliable and durable enough to be well worth the investment. This is one of the cheapest models on our list, but it’s never “cheap”. Everything from the black stitched leather band to the brass case to the mineral crystal are tough enough to make sure your watch delivers years of regular use without sustaining damage.
The watch is water-resistant up to 50m, perfect for recreational swimming and triathlons. The built-in power reserve can last for up to 4 months between charging, but it’s powered by both solar and ambient light. The black dial is stylish and eye-catching, and the luminous numbers and hands are large enough to be instantly visible in any environment.
- Size: 40mm
- Movement: Solar-powered quartz
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant mineral
- Case: Brass
Divers, take note: this Casio watch is purpose-built for you! Not only is it 10-bar water resistant (suitable up to 100m deep), but it’s built with a beautifully tough stainless steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire glass treated with a special anti-reflective coating.
At just 4.7 ounces, it’s one of the lighter-weight diving watches on our list, great for those who want to avoid being overloaded with gear and accessories. Thanks to its 41mm face and luminous hands and markers, it’s easy to tell the time at a glance even when deep underwater.
Not only is it solar-powered, but you can connect your smartphone to the watch via Bluetooth to update the time and details, or let it auto-update via radio signal. It’s a masterpiece of Japanese construction you’ll be glad to wear on your next scuba diving or snorkeling trip!
- Size: 41mm
- Movement: Quartz
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire
- Case: Stainless steel
Citizen offers a “military-style” watch that will look great, wear hard, and serve you well no matter how active you are in law enforcement, security, or military ops. Between the ultra-tough mineral crystal, silver-tone stainless steel case, and stitched leather band, it’s beautifully sturdy and capable of withstanding the rigors of active duty while still being a stylish addition to your outfit.
The watch is powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive solar movement, which charges from both ambient and direct sunlight. You’ll never need to swap out the battery because it will always be drawing power anytime you wear it around.
Best of all, it’s one of Citizen’s most affordable options, but it’s built to be as stylish and tough as their higher-end models.
- Size: 42mm
- Movement: E111 Eco-Drive
- Crystal: Mineral
- Case: Silver-Tone Stainless Steel
Solar Watch Buying Guide and FAQs:
Considering buying a solar watch? Here are a few factors to consider:
Battery Life – Most solar watches will refer to battery life as “power reserve”. Typically, the average lifespan of the batteries integrated into solar watches will be 3-6 months. A longer battery life may be better if you plan on storing the watch and only infrequently wearing it, while a shorter battery life may be fully acceptable if you intend to wear the watch around daily (as it will always be charging).
Water Resistance – Solar watches, like most watches, tend to be water-resistant, though the water-resistance will vary from watch to watch. Ideally, you want a watch you can at least get wet without it sustaining damage—for example, if you end up in the rain or forget to take it off before you shower. For more advanced sport-friendly solar watches, consider looking for waterproofing up to 100m, or at the very least 30m.
Display Features – In addition to telling the time, you might want other display features, such as:
- Day/date sub-dials or windows
- Second hand
- Luminous markers and hands
- Case bezel
These aren’t necessary, but useful additions.
Additional Functionality – Other functions you might want from your watch could include:
- Fitness tracking capabilities (steps, heart rate, calories, etc.)
- Alarms and sensors
- Time zone options
- “Smart” functionality
Be aware that “smarter” watches tend to cost more, but they may be worth it for the additional advanced features.
Durability – The more durable the watch, the longer it will last, and the longer your investment will be protected. Your watch straps, case, and crystal are all variables to take into account when considering durability.
Warranty – Many solar watches are backed by warranties ranging from 2 to 10 years, though some will come with a 20, 30, or even a lifetime warranty. The longer the warranty, the better-quality the watch is likely to be.
Price – Price is always the last factor to take into account, but a factor nonetheless. Some of the watches we listed above are PRICEY, luxury items that are more investment than splurge. However, if you’re looking for a simple, reliable, versatile everyday watch, there are plenty of more budget-friendly options to consider.
Solar Watch FAQs:
Do you have to change the battery in a solar watch?
Typically, no. The battery is designed to be fully rechargeable (via energy collected by the solar panels) and should last a lifetime.
However, there are instances when the battery malfunctions or stops working, and will need to be replaced. Typically, you’ll have to insert a new solar-charged battery, ideally made by the same manufacturer.
How long does it take to charge a dead solar watch?
To fully charge a dead solar watch to full capacity, you’ll need to leave it out in direct sunlight for 8-12 hours (on average), or 72-120 hours in ambient light. However, be aware that letting the solar battery drain completely isn’t ideal for the watch’s mechanisms. Better to charge it regularly rather than letting it reach “dead”.
Will a flashlight charge a solar watch?
Yes! Solar watches designed to charge via ambient light can also be charged by LED lights. The power generated will be significantly less than is generated from direct sunlight, however.