a watch that doesn't need to come off for a battery change. I'm a
HUGE fan of Citizen Eco-Drive light-powered watches....
Be very careful with that idea. Yes, from a technical standpoint,
Eco’s do not use a ‘battery’ but they do require periodic replacement
of a capacitor, or a place to store the power it collects from sun.
Instead of a $8-10 battery cost, it will more likely be a 30-50$
capacitor cost. And more, not every place knows how to change
capacitors, and even fewer places stock them. Citizen probably has
all of them in stock, but will probably charge close to hundred
dollar range for the service episode. I stock the topselling 3 or 4
for Citizen Ecos and Seiko Kinetics, but there are actually more like
50 or so different models that I can order.
Citizen says the average life is 15 yrs, but I am seeing a heck of
alot of them come it at average 5-8 yrs old(hard to collect real data
as most people dont remember exactly how long they have owned their
watch). And Citizen will take quite a while for complete turnaround
time. And you sure wouldnt want to send your watch, with a custom
made band on it, into Citizen if you expect to get that band back.
Nowadays Citizen is doing alot of age-prorated replacement deals
rather than service the actual watch you send in. Becoming more
common wioth many brands of watches and other products as well.
Also, I have found that alot of people(average 2-5 a month)
experience a problem from Ecos as a result of wearer error. Too much
time stored in dark drawers, and worn under long shirt/coat sleeves,
so they dont get enough solar exposure. Also many wearers are in
locations where lighting is poor to provide enough energy. There are
tables available that show the amount of time under various lighting
scenarios, of the amount of time needed to recharge fully. Differnt
models/ movement calibres require different amounts of time. Most
rechargable power storage systems have a specific range of the number
of times it can be recharged, just like a cellphone battery, and
eventually it uses up its ability to recharge. Since the watch seldom
gets a ‘full tank’, so to speak, it needs to recharge more often,
hence, uses up faster the number of times that it can be rechargeed.
I believe Citizen means 15 yr capacitor life only if worn in optimum
conditions, which most are not worn anywhere near optimum
conditions, resulting in considerably shorter capacitor life in the
real world than in the lab world testing ground.
In addition to capacitor replacement, Ecos, just like any other
watch with water resistance of any degree, do not stay W/R forever on
its own. It will need rubber gaskets replaced on average every 3 yrs
to maintain even close to its original W/R. There again, most stores,
and jewelry depts do not stock any gaskets at all. I carry about 200
or so sizes in stock. Gaskets are inexpensive($6 av. retail), but a
quality watch will turn into a rustbucket in short time without
periodic gasket replacement. Then you have a nice custom made band
with a watch that no longer works.