In the world of wristwatches, there’s a breakthrough that got a lot of accessory enthusiasts excited. This cutting-edge trending technology is the Eco Drive product by Citizen, a popular brand known for producing sophisticated watches.
Citizen’s Eco Drive product line is a variety of watches engineered with a modern technology that harnesses energy from both artificial and natural light sources. The watch then stores this energy to a rechargeable lithium-ion power cell that they claim to last for a lifetime. This claim raised a lot of questions!
Do Citizen Eco Drive watches need new batteries? This is a tricky question to answer, but according to some reports about Citizen watches. The experiments done with the Eco-Drive product line revealed that the solar power cells and the secondary battery, an Eco Drive timepiece, can last up to ten years.
In this context, the answer to the question will be YES! However, Citizen claims that this sophisticated timepiece does not need a regular cell replacement. This is why it is a tricky question to answer, but if we are to take Citizen’s explanation.
You may have a false assumption that these watches don’t use a battery, since they don’t refer to the component the converted light energy is stored as a power cell.
This is because the company claims that its exclusive patented technology used in masterfully crafting the timepieces under this product line does not use the traditional silver-oxide button-type cells.
Even so, the watches still has an lithium-based energy storage which they refer as a solar cell or capacitor. So, a more acceptable answer is yes, Eco Drive watches need new cells, but they will take ten years for that situation to happen.
Finding your way here suggests that you are planning to get one of the most trending timepieces today, Citizen’s Eco-Drive. If not, you are already an owner of one, and you are trying to understand if the watches under this product line need new batteries.
In this article, I will try to shed light on this issue and try to help you with some of the other questions you may have about these watches.
Understanding the Technology Beyond an Eco Drive Watch
Earlier, I mentioned that to be able to have a better and more reliable answer on the question, do Eco Drive timepieces need new cells? It is best to understand how these watches are made and the technology beyond them.
So, in this part of the article, we are going to take a deeper look at the Eco Drive timepiece and try to understand its cutting-edge technology.
How an Eco-Drive Timepiece Works and How It Harnesses Light Energy
Citizen is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to watches. One reason behind this is that they are the company that pioneered the first timepiece powered by light, along with their elegant craftsmanship.
Now, their latest breakthrough is Eco-Drive technology, a remarkable and cutting-edge innovation that harnesses natural and artificial light to power watches.
An Eco Drive watch works by absorbing natural and artificial light energy and then converting it to power. The timepiece makes this possible through the use of an amorphous silicone disc that is microns thin to carry out the photovoltaic process.
With the Eco-Drive technology, the watch utilizes the light energy to power the watch and then store the excess energy into a power cell. A fully charged timepiece has the ability to run for several months, even in complete darkness, even without a regular cell replacement.
The technology integrated within the timepiece allows it to take advantage of any kind of light energy, whether it is artificial or natural. An Eco Drive watch is engineered to draw power from the sun, indoor fluorescent lights, or desk lights.
Equipped with this sophisticated technology, the watches under the Eco Drive product line are a step closer to eliminating the need to watch battery replacements.
For a better, picture of how an Eco Drive watch works, it can be easily displayed on three simple steps:
Step1: Eco Drive Technology Absorbs Light Energy
With Citizen’s patented Eco-Drive innovation, the watch absorbs light energy from natural and artificial sources. Once illumination hits the dial of the timepiece, it then picks up the energy generated by the light. Then passing it through the next vital component for the energy conversion.
Step2: The Watch Converts the Light Energy to Power
As the watch picks up light energy, the sophisticated technology converts it to power. Due to the cutting-edge technology, the timepiece has a micron-thin nebulous silicone disc under its dial that carries out the photovoltaic process.
Through this process, light energy is then converted to electrical energy. and use it to operate the timepiece and its components.
Step3: Stores the Excess Light Energy to a Solar Cell or a Power Cell
As the watch smoothly operates like a well-oiled machine, it then stores the surplus energy to a rechargeable solar cell. The energy stored will then power the timepiece in the dark.
Citizen’s Eco-Drive innovation is like a car system with an alternator that delivers current to the car and at the same time charges the power cell. This process is almost the same with the watch as it allocates the electrical energy it converted to power the components of the timepiece and then store its excess like charging the solar cell.
Average Life Expectancy of the Solar Cell of an Eco Drive Watch
According to Citizen Watch, an Eco Drive watch’s solar cell or secondary power cell can last up to ten years. This is because the lubricants used to craft a timepiece masterfully are designed to boost longevity.
The company added that the oil used for crafting an Eco Drive watch would not solidify or harden, and it will not even evaporate for twenty years or more.
Best Thing to Do When an Eco Drive Watch is Not Working
In case your Eco Drive timepiece is operating erratically or if it stops working, don’t panic. In most cases, an Eco Drive watch stops working or starts to have an erratic behavior because it needs to be fully recharged.
Although, all the timepieces under the Eco Drive product line have special features like power-saving mode, low charge notification, quick start, etc. Each watch model will have varying charging rates and runtimes. However, all of them will have the same behavior when they need a full recharge.
Guide on How to Properly Charge an Eco Drive Watch
Regularly using or wearing your Eco Drive watch will make its recharging process almost automatic. This is because it will be regularly and consistently exposed to light, which will keep the watch fully charged and in top shape.
However, the charging operation of a watch will still depend on its model and the source of light it will be exposed to. To have a better understanding of this, here’s a guide that you can refer to.
General Guide for Charging Eco Drive Watches
The sun is the most efficient source of light for charging an Eco Drive watch. This natural light source can fully recharge a watch compared to the artificial sources of light out there.
To give you a better picture of the charging process of an Eco Drive timepiece, here are some points to keep in mind.
● Exposing the watch on a sunny day allows it to absorb 100,000 lux or illuminance, which will give the watch eleven hours to be fully charged if the exposure is at least two minutes a day.
● During a cloudy day, exposing the watch outdoors will allow it to absorb 10,000 lux or illuminance. This will give the timepiece forty hours to be fully recharged with an exposure of at least twelve minutes for a day.
● Charging through an artificial light source, a fluorescent lamp with a thirty-watt rating yields 3,000 lux or illuminance. Exposing the watch to such a light source with a distance eight inches will give the watch 140 hours to be fully recharged by exposing it forty minutes a day.
A fully recharged Eco Drive watch will have the ability to run up at a minimum of six months, even in the dark. If you are planning to store the timepiece in a place with the total absence of light, you have to make sure that the watch is fully charged.
After storing the watch for a long time, you also have to make sure to expose the watch in bright light and fully recharge it.
Recharging Guide for Specific Eco-Drive Watch Models
If you are unsure on how to recharge your Eco Drive timepiece fully, you can get full instruction and guide by going to the Citizen Watch website. All you have to do is to go to their recharging guide page and get the instructions.
To make it easier for you, here’s what you have to do!
Step1: Go to the Citizen Watch Website’s Recharging Guide Page
To get the full recharging instructions for a specific timepiece model, got to the Citizen Watch website and look for the recharging guide page.
Or you can go to this link: https://www.citizenwatch.com/us/en/recharging-guide.html
Step2: Locate the Caliber Number of the Eco Drive Watch
Once you are on the page, the next thing you have to do is locate the watch model’s caliber number.
For a watch with an edge engraved back casing, the serial number of the watch will be directly below the logo. The “movement caliber” will be the first four digits before the case number, which usually located between the “case material” and the “serial number.”
For watches with a back casing that has the engraving at the center. The movement calibre will usually be at the fourth line, next to the case material information. The serial number will be below the calibre number of the watch.
Step3: Supplying the Calibre Number and Getting the Instructions
After locating the calibre number of the Eco Drive timepiece, locate the entry field on the page, and enter the information. After ensuring that you entered the correct information, then all you have to do now is to click the button that says, “Get Instructions,” and you are done.
Replacing the Battery or Solar Cell of an Eco Drive Timepiece
Although, an Eco Drive timepiece has a rechargeable solar cell or capacitor where the it stores the converted electrical energy. There will come a time that this rechargeable cell will no longer have the ability to store or hold energy due to gradual detrioration.
And due to its remarkable life expectancy, when the time it dies, it will be practical to replace the solar cell than buying a new watch. Here are the steps to properly replace the solar cell of an Eco Drive watch.
Before deciding to follow this guide, you have to keep in mind that this operation will require specialized tools and a bit of expertise.
However, just to show you the process, here are the steps you will have to take.
1. Making the Solar Cell Accessible or Gaining Easier Access
If you plan to replace the battery of an Eco Drive timepiece, the first thing you have to do is make it accessible.
To do this, you have to unlink the watch band to allow you to have a better to its back casing. You will have to use a specialized tool to remove the pin that links the band.
2. Removing the Back Casing or Cover of the Watch
Now that you’ve made the back of the watch accessible, you have to take the next step to remove its cover.
To do this, you will have to use an adjustable wrench designed for watches. Use this tool to unscrew the back cover of the watch and reveal its interior components.
3. Locating the Solar Cell and Removing It from the Timepiece
After uncovering the watch’s interior components, the next thing you have to do is locate the solar cell. Once you have located the solar cell of the timepiece, you have to pry it off using a specialized removing tool carefully.
You can also use an alternative tool for this step, which is a sim card eject tool commonly used in smartphones.
4. Replace the Solar Cell with the New Replacement Lithium Cell
Once you carefully removed the solar cell or lithium cell from the watch, carefully place the new replacement. You have to keep in mind that it has to be placed with the correct polarity, and the positive side of the cell is facing upward.
You also have to make sure that the replacement cell’s brass connector should be inserted into the tiny inlet found in the battery slot.
5. Replacing the Back Cover and Putting the Watch to Reset Mode
Now that you have successfully replaced the solar cell of the timepiece, the next thing to do is to cover its back. Reinstall the back casing of the watch and use the adjustable wrench to firmly and securely hold it into its position.
Once the watch is reassembled, activate the “all reset” mode of the watch by pulling its adjustment knob out for at least thirty seconds.
Congratulations! You have successfully replaced the rechargeable solar cell of an Eco Drive watch. The steps I listed above are based on the process of how experts carry out the operation, so it is considered to be the proper way to do it.
However, the steps listed above require specialized tools, and without those specified tools, carrying out this operation will be impossible.
Now that we have successfully broken down how an Eco Drive timepiece works and we understand the technology beyond it. We can now go back to the question earlier.
Do Citizen Eco Drive watches need new batteries? Basing on the information we’ve gone through and our understanding of how these watches work.
The best answer to the question is YES if the watch is still working after ten or more years. As we’ve learned that these watches still use a rechargeable cell, even though it is not referred to as a battery, technically it is still a power cell.
Eco Drive watches don’t need a regular replacement power cell. However, it only means that they don’t need the frequent replacement of watch batteries because they use a lithium-based power cell that can last up to ten years.
If the watch survives ten years, and the cell dies, it will definitely need a new one as a replacement.