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I am in the market for a new Casio. It seems like some people love their solar watches, some people don't. While I like the idea of a solar rechargeable watch I also worry about how hard it might be in the future to get the rechargeable battery/cell replaced vs. a non rechargeable battery. What has been your experience and which do you prefer (solar vs. non solar). Thanks for any feedback.
 

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I have some solar and after some years the duration is ok, no battery drain. Atomic and solar are a must!

Watches: G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 - Mudmaster GWG-1000
 

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A solar cell should last a good ten years if kept charged regularly. I have six solar watches (four Casios, one Seiko, one Citizen) and all are given a sunbath once a week for a hour or two. That keeps them all topped up. I've had solar G-Shocks purchased in the late 90s that only lasted about four years, but I believe that was due to poor charging management and the fact that the solar panels were a little less efficient then.

Replacing a solar rechargeable battery is the same exact procedure as with that done with a G-Shock that requires a regular cell. The standard solar battery costs less than $20 on-line and can be installed in the watch with simple tools like a miniature screwdriver and a pair of needle-nosed tweezers. I would (and have) bought solar G-Shocks without any regrets whatsoever and encourage you to strongly consider the same.

Here are mine, outside for their weekly sunbath:

image.jpeg
 

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I have over 100 solar watches...Casio, Citizen, Seiko. Over the last ten years, six have "failed"...meaning that I have had to purchase a replacement solar battery, and replace the expired one.

The marketing slogan, "Never need another battery" is puffery. Occasionally you will have to replace a solar battery.

Now that we have buried Caesar...in my experience, it is an excellent technology. As I've noted, a few of mine have failed, but some are continuing to work after 15 years or more. They are not bullet proof, but in my experience they are bullet resistant.

I only buy solar watches now, and they must have either GPS or atomic synchronization. I know that there are others on the board that see matters differently, and we are all entitled to our opinions, aren't we :)?




I am in the market for a new Casio. It seems like some people love their solar watches, some people don't. While I like the idea of a solar rechargeable watch I also worry about how hard it might be in the future to get the rechargeable battery/cell replaced vs. a non rechargeable battery. What has been your experience and which do you prefer (solar vs. non solar). Thanks for any feedback.
 

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Changing the battery in a solar watch isn't much more difficult than "standard" battery changes: https://www.watchuseek.com/f43/how-change-ctl1616-rechargeable-battery-41076.html

Considering how many hundreds of thousands of solar watches Casio has made in the past 15 years or so, those batteries should only become MORE available in watch repair shops and elsewhere in the future. Currently these batteries are only about $5 from watch supply sites like Pacparts. (Even in an absolute worst-case scenario, even if companies DID stop manufacturing these batteries for some unknown reason, it's relatively easy to disable the charging circuit and install a "normal" battery instead.)

From everything I've read around here over the past few years, the general impression I've gotten is that people who love their solar watches seem to:


  • only own a few solar watches OR understand that owning too many means that some won't get enough "wrist time" and will need to be charged occasionally,
  • have read and understood the owner's manuals OR have the common sense to realize that "solar panel with the surface area the size of a fingernal" plus "battery large enough for almost a year of operation with no exposure to light" equals "watch will not go from 'low' to 'high' in 20 minutes." The batteries take a long time to discharge, which means that with such a small solar panel they're going to take a long time to charge, too!
  • work outside OR have outdoor hobbies and seldom (if ever) need to do anything to charge their watch(es) besides wear it/them
People who DON'T love their solar watches generally seem to:


  • have too many solar watches and actively dislike the fact that they occasionally have to charge the watches they don't wear often,
  • live too near the Arctic Circle where the sun's rays are weaker OR live in places where the weather is often cloudy,
  • haven't read the charts in the owner's manual, have worn their new watch outside for only one hour and wondered why it's still on "medium," then have come here to ask "why?" and gotten a chart from their manual posted in reply, :-d
  • work indoors AND have indoor hobbies but still bought a rugged solar G-Shock for their excursions to the gym
I currently DO own too many solar G's and Pathfinders -- seven different models and duplicates of most of them -- but I understand that "too many solar watches" equals "not enough 'wrist time'" for all of them to stay on "high" without a little maintenance. Since I started keeping track last year, I've found that MOST of my solar watches will stay on "high" for six to nine months at a time while the watches that I DO wear most often stay on "high" year-round. :) When I notice that one or two have dropped to "medium" I'll park them outside for a day in the sun and they'll stay on high for months at a time again.

With some of Casio's earliest (1990's and early 2000's) models there apparently WERE some issues with battery life, but most threads I've seen here indicate that was more of a problem with the batteries themselves, which has apparently been fixed -- there are plenty of ten-year-old solar G-Shocks that are still going strong on their original batteries!
 

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My experience with Solar has been limited to two watches, a Casio Pathfinder and my new Mudmaster. I have had the Pathfinder for several years and has never been my daily wear watch. I have generally worn it while doing yard work, hiking, camping, at the water park, etc. When it isn't on my wrist it is sitting on a shelf in a dark closet and generally goes into power save mode until the next time I need it. I have been very slack on keeping it charged, but it hasn't been an issue. It has always been ready to go when I need it and seems to charge pretty well when outside, especially in the Summer. If I only get 8-10 years out of the battery, I'm ok with that as it is still a lot cheaper to replace than the service bill on any of my mechanical watches.

I just went to grab my Pathfinder to take a pic of it with the Mudmaster and it is at full charge. It was sitting inside a suitcase in my closet where it had been since a trip to Vegas a few weeks ago and I didn't even wear it in Vegas. How it is at full charge I have no idea, but it is a good illustration of how well Casio's power management works on these watches as I have barely worn that watch since last Fall.

My Mudmaster will be a different story. It hasn't left my wrist since I received it earlier this week. When it arrived it was at a Medium charge and is now at full charge from just wearing it, mostly inside. This watch will see a ton of wrist time and is even making me consider selling off some of my watches like the JSAR that just won't get much use anymore. I doubt that I will see this watch fall below a full charge again. As big as it is, it is my most comfortable watch to wear.



Given the choice, I would always prefer solar over non-solar, but it isn't my primary concern when buying a watch. If I can extend the time between battery changes, that's a big plus in my book.
 

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I just have one solar, a Rangeman. I'm confident that by the time I need to replace the solar battery there will be another G-shock that meets my needs even better than the Rangeman and I'll upgrade.

I'm in the UK and a don't seem to have any problems keeping it charged to high.
 

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Owned my first solar in 2007 and still have it. Have acquired several since then. All reliable.
 

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I have a Mudman and have never had an issue it dropping to even medium. I do live in Alaska and for 8ish months it is covered by sleeves when outside, and I never set it in the window to charge. In summer I'm outside pretty much all day soaking up the midnight sun.


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I have a Mudman and have never had an issue it dropping to even medium. I do live in Alaska and for 8ish months it is covered by sleeves when outside, and I never set it in the window to charge. In summer I'm outside pretty much all day soaking up the midnight sun.
Welcome to Watchuseek!

I may have to save your post to quote in the future, since your watch does exactly what these solar models are supposed to do -- although your weather IS a little more extreme than most. ;-) If solar watches are worn outside even somewhat frequently during the five or even six months that most of us get for "short sleeves weather" they should stay on "high" until spring rolls around again!
 

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Living at 60N 136W we don't have direct sunlight except for 2.5hrs a day in Dec., if we are lucky and it is not cloudy. My solar Eco-Drive ladies (35mm) divers served me well from 2000-2012. However, I did clothes-pin it to my bedside lamp each night+put it in the sun every spring. Never had the low battery signal, but it did begin to stop at lower temperatures in 2012. I put off replacing the battery in it, by 2016 there were no parts for it. Citizen Canada says they hold parts for about 8 years, so that will be when I will get the battery changed in the next one, which I am shopping for now!
 

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Living at 60N 136W we don't have direct sunlight except for 2.5hrs a day in Dec., if we are lucky and it is not cloudy. My solar Eco-Drive ladies (35mm) divers served me well from 2000-2012. However, I did clothes-pin it to my bedside lamp each night+put it in the sun every spring. Never had the low battery signal, but it did begin to stop at lower temperatures in 2012. I put off replacing the battery in it, by 2016 there were no parts for it. Citizen Canada says they hold parts for about 8 years, so that will be when I will get the battery changed in the next one, which I am shopping for now!
It seems kind of odd that Citizen wouldn't have a suitable replacement battery for your watch. From what I understand, Casio solar watches only use a handful of rechargeable battery types across all models.
 

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I have 4 solar watches and so far i never had any issues. Sometimes they go to lower power mode and I keep it under sunlight for 4 hrs. All shoot to High battery power. All the casio solar watches works fine.
 

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Owned my first solar in 2007 and still have it. Have acquired several since then. All reliable.
My experience as well. My '07 GW800 is on its original battery, 4 others bought new all work perfectly.

One minor exception: got a used G2300 that arrived with battery indicator on empty and wouldn't display for more than a few seconds. After 3 days of direct sun it charged back to High but overnight discharged to medium. Figured I'd have to change the battery, but after another day or 2 of direct sun it stayed at High and hasn't discharged. I may still have to change the battery but my experience suggests it's reliable technology.

As far as solar vs. standard: some people swear by solar and will own nothing else. I think the feature set is most important, as battery changes are usually not difficult or expensive, and not frequent enough to be a concern for me. It is nice to be able to use light and alarm functions without concern about battery life.
 

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I have 4 solar watches and so far i never had any issues. Sometimes they go to lower power mode and I keep it under sunlight for 4 hrs. All shoot to High battery power. All the casio solar watches works fine.
But do they STAY on "high" after you take them out of the sun?

Even with direct sunlight, that's about five times faster than Casio estimates [yes, that's three different links], and runs counter to the many "I charged my watch for x hours so why is it still on medium?" threads around here.
 

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It should be pointed out that you never have to replace the "solar cells"... it's the "rechargeable battery" that requires replacing at some 10~20 year interval. The solar cells should last the life of the watch.

From my experience, the only notable disadvantages with solar recharged watches are:

1) You do have to keep the charge level in mind and be sure the watch gets sufficient sunlight from time to time. Usually this is easily taken care of by leaving the watch on a window sill when not worn. It doesn't need to be in direct sunlight -- strong ambient light will usually do the trick. It takes longer, but then your resin isn't getting bombarded by UV rays and the watch won't heat up.
2) Alarm tone levels are usually lower than with non-solar G-Shock watches. In some cases they are absurdly low, like with the GW-M5610 series. Really unusable for most practical situations.
3) Backlight can be a bit shorter on some models (like 1.5 sec vs. 2, 2.5, and 3 sec on other watches). Most newer solar G-Shocks seem to have let up on this restriction.
4) Battery cost is higher, if you have the watch changed by a jeweler. If you source the battery and install it yourself, you can save quite a bit of money. If all hell breaks loose where society collapses and batteries are no longer being made, you'll be better off with solar... at least your watch will run longer until someone is able to manufacture the cells again. ;-)
 

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I have a white Casio G-shock solar. It is fantastic. I can leave it in a drawer, but I pull it out for every vacation due to the automatic time sync and multiple time zones. I dive with it to. I never even think about the battery and it never fails.


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My experience is mediocre to bad and I won't buy another solar watch again. Right now five solar G's sitting on a pipe on a window sill but practically I (almost) never wear them. Functions are too limited for me and I HATE the glare the solar ring makes compared to a steril non-solar display. IMO solar and atomic are the two most overrated features, but kudos to Casio for doing an excellent marketing job.


cheers
 
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