Citizen is a watch company that is known for reliable, attractive time pieces. However, I was just introduced to a technology that makes Citizen’s Eco-Drive watch not just beautiful and accurate, but almost, magical! They are powered by natural or artificial light and never need a battery.
Without getting technical about this proprietary technology, the Eco-Drive converts any source of light (natural and artificial) into usable energy. The harnessed energy is then stored in a special power reserve to keep the timepiece charged and running properly. When fully charged, a watch with Eco-Drive will continue running – even in total darkness- for at least six (6) months. Properly maintained, it will never need another battery. If you have more than one watch, you know how frustrating it is to take your dress watch out of your jewelry box and find that it’s dead, and you can’t wear it. Or worse, your watch battery dies, and you find that your fancy watch features a battery that costs more than dinner with wine and tip! And, of course, batteries are hard to recycle, so using the power of light to power your watch, is “green” as well.
So how does Eco-Drive work? Since the watch is powered by light, you might be tempted to sit out in the sun for a while as you would with a solar lamp, but that’s not necessary! If you wear a Citizen Eco-Drive timepiece on a regular basis, recharging is virtually automatic. Any exposure to light on a regular basis keeps the power going. However, depending upon the watch, and the type of light it is exposed to, the amount of time it might take to recharge it could vary. So the idea is to wear it often, I guess. Direct sunlight is the fastest, most efficient light source for recharging, and most watch wearers spend some time out of doors in natural light. *If you plan to store your Citizen Eco-Drive in the dark, you should do this for no more than six (6) months. If it’s been more than six months of the watch sitting in darkness,you will want to expose it to bright light for whatever the recommended recharge period is (consult the material that comes with your watch). However, unlike camera and phone batteries, the Eco-Drive can’t be over-charged, because Eco Drive watches have an overcharge prevention system. When the rechargeable cell is fully charged, special circuits engage to prevent it from becoming overcharged. While you probably shouldn’t bake in the sun because it is bad for your skin, your watch will not mind it, one bit.
Thsi columnist tested the Citizen Eco-Drive Silhouette Crystal Jewelry Watch Model: EG2760-56A (Srp. $325.00). This feminine, slim, and lovely dress watch comes in silvertone, goldtone, or rosegold tone, accented with tiny, Swarovski crystals (I was sent the silver tone version). The watch looks delicate and elegant, but it not a toy. It’s got a rugged, stainless steel shaped case (the gold tone cases are gold-plated stainless). The links on this watch are nicely crafted and won’t bend, twist or fall apart. There is also a reliable Japanese quartz movement that keeps accurate time (because in the end, that’s why most people wear a watch).
In the photos, the watches look quite large, but they’re dress watches that are really fairly slim and sleek. In fact, the face is a lean rectangular 23 x 14mm (that’s about an inch long). One of each of the three links on either side are accented with crystals, and the rest of the band is a smooth band of links with some that are remove-able, to make a perfect fit to just about any wrist. The watch from end to end is about 7 1/2 inches long, as I measured it.
Another nice feature is the push button clasp that is not just secure, but eliminates the bulkiness of most clasps, making this watch band more like a bracelet. This particular watch doesn’t have day/date or other functions, so it’s not a complicated watch to operate. It has a traditional pull-out stem to set the time. A second hand might have been nice, but perhaps that would be too much clutter for the slim face. The silver tone watch I received has a silver face, as does the rose gold, but the gold-tone watch has a mother of pearl face. I’m not quite sure why this one is different. The watch is also water-resistant (splash resistant–don’t immerse it in water).
The Citizen Eco-Drive watches come in all sorts of different styles for men and for women. They’d make a great Mother Day or Father’s Day gift, or a wedding or graduation gift, or just something nice for yourself.
You can find Citizen Watches in many places both in retail stores and online. To learn more, visit the Citizen Watch web site at www.citizenwatch.com