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If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly timepiece that’s reliable, accurate, and will last for a long time, then you’re in the right place.

Solar-powered watches come in a wide range of options and styles, including, specifically, the atomic solar watch style, available for both men and women.

man checking his atomic solar watch

But when it comes to solar power, I know a lot of people question how truly reliable they are. And how they work. And what the big deal is about them in the first place.

So before we look at some popular Casio solar watch reviews – and other reviews – we’ll look for some answers to your questions. These should help you decide if a solar atomic timekeeping watch is right for you or not.

Quick-Find Table of the Best Solar Atomic Watch

Image Product
  • Sleek and modern looking
  • Incredibly durable and able to handle just about anything
  • Great for either women or men
  • Sleek and modern looking
  • Incredibly durable and able to handle just about anything
  • Great for either women or men
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  • Exceptionally durable and designed for the true outdoorsman
  • Athletically fashionable
  • Tons of unique features and functions
  • Exceptionally durable and designed for the true outdoorsman
  • Athletically fashionable
  • Tons of unique features and functions
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  • Elegant, but durable
  • Three chronograph sub-dials
  • Gorgeous mother-of-pearl dial
  • Elegant, but durable
  • Three chronograph sub-dials
  • Gorgeous mother-of-pearl dial
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  • Extremely high-quality materials
  • Very attractive
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Extremely high-quality materials
  • Very attractive
  • Durable and lightweight
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  • Incredibly durable and tough
  • Vibrant color for easy location
  • Works automatically in 29 time zones
  • Incredibly durable and tough
  • Vibrant color for easy location
  • Works automatically in 29 time zones
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What is a Solar Watch and How Do They Work?

So, first off, what is a solar watch in the first place, and how do they work?

A solar-powered watch is a wristwatch that uses the power of energy from light that’s harnessed by solar cells. These solar cells are just like the ones you’d find in a solar farm, except a lot smaller. A wristwatch doesn’t require as much power as a house does, so the cells don’t need to be as high a wattage.

I could take you through the complicated steps – dipping into quantum mechanics – but that’s not really what you probably feel like you need. If you do, of course, there are resources online that go into the incredible depths of this technology.

For the rest of us, let’s look at this way:

A solar atomic watch has a solar cell powerful enough to run said watch. That solar cell is exposed to light – sunlight or man-made light – and absorbs the heat energy. This energy is then translated into electricity. This electricity runs the watch battery, which, in turn, powers the watch.

Solar watches have been in mass production – both for men and women – since the 1970s and have only improved with time.

What Is an Atomic Watch?

The next question then is, what is an atomic watch? Well, that’s both simple and complicated.

The simple definition is an atomic watch is a radio-controlled watch that links to the nearest solar powered atomic clock to set and reset the time to keep your watch consistent.

Going further into this, that radio-control happens via a signal distributed once per day by the atomic clock. In most cases, this will happen during the middle of the night or early morning.

The Fort Collins atomic clock, for example, is the U.S.A. clock that keeps American atomic watches up to date. The Fort Collins clock itself has a broadcast radius of 1,864 miles, meaning the signal is available to nearly all of the United States – save Hawaii and Alaska.

These radio signals are low-frequency and perfectly synchronize watches with the atomic clock, giving the owner the most accurate time and date possible. The signals compensate for time changes – like Daylight Savings – and leap year dates and leap seconds as they occur.

An atomic watch can either be solar or battery powered. They do not typically have a stem for manual setting, however, so after a battery change, they won’t display the proper time until they receive the next atomic clock radio signal.

Some people try to force a reset, but this may fail, and would prevent the watch from correcting for up to a few days. It’s probably best to let the watch rest until the signal the first night you possess the watch instead.

berlin atomic clock

Reviews of the Best Solar Atomic Watches

When choosing a watch, it can be a little challenging to determine which will be the best solar atomic watch for your needs. So, we’ve looked through just about every option we could find. From our research, knowledge of solar energy and quality watches, we’ve created this list of the best solar atomic watches to buy.

We looked for these qualities in each watch:

  • High-quality make and manufacture
  • Excellent reputation of companies
  • Excellent reputation for customer service and care
  • High quality materials
  • Highly rated by real-life users and professional reviewers alike
  • Measured accuracy
  • Attractiveness and appeal
  • Multifunctionality and usefulness
g shock unisex tough solar watch

One of the most trusted brands in the business is Casio. This company has been around for decades creating digital and solar watches of moderate to high quality, depending on the models you choose from.

The G-Shock Unisex Tough Solar is no exception to this brand’s excellent reputation.

  • Battery: Solar, rechargeable
  • Water-resistant: 200M
  • Made of: Black IP stainless steel, with resin composite band
  • Color: Black

What We Loved

Apart from the obvious – that this is a solar atomic watch – we love that the materials are high-quality. Stainless steel and tough, durable resin are perfect for anyone who lives an active life – or, heck, has kids or pets or is clumsy.

We love that this is water-resistant up to 200 meters – that’s nearly 600 feet. That means you can participate in a wide range of water sports and explore without having to remove the watch.

The price on this is pretty decent, too, which is always a big plus for us. Many of the other watches on are list just aren’t as reasonably priced, so this is a lot of why it ranks so high on our list. Most people can afford this one.

We also love that this Casio G shock solar atomic watch is both an analog and digital watch – so anyone can use it easily.

The size of the face and the band is perfect, too, for the average adult. Men and women alike can wear it comfortably without feeling like its too small or too large.

And the modes and features are great:

  • Elapsed time
  • Split time
  • Countdown timer
  • Auto-calendar
  • 12 or 24-hour formats
  • Battery indicator
  • Power-saving function

What We Didn’t Love

As we studied the online reviews in comparison to our own thoughts, we discovered that there are several people who had difficulty reading the LCD displays on this watch.

This is probably due to the fact that the digital readouts are fairly small on a dark background and the number points on the analog face are in black on a solid black background.

So, unfortunately, if you struggle with subtle differences in your eyesight like these, you may need to look at a different option.

Our Verdict

All-in-all, the G-Shock Unisex Tough Solar is an excellent watch for men or women.

It’s durable, reasonably priced, and attractive. It’s tough enough for an outdoor life and sharp enough for everyday casual and business casual.

Its only flaw may be that some folks have difficulty seeing the digital displays. If you have poor eyesight, you probably should look at other models for best results.

Otherwise, it’s our easy top choice.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Casio Mens GW9400Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch

For another incredibly durable, athletic option, this Casio atomic solar watch – the G-Shock GW9400 Rangeman – is a modestly priced, highly-functional choice for an athletic or outdoorsy fellow.

The watch comes in two different colors – either gray with yellow and black or black with red and gray – has an extremely easy to read display, and seriously requires no maintenance except the battery change every decade or so.

  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Water-resistant: 200M
  • Made of: Resin, stainless steel
  • Color: Gray with yellow and black accents or black with red and gray accents

What We Loved

First off, we love the looks of this watch. Whether you prefer a sporty, mellow look or a bold, vibrant look, the watch does it.

We also love how easy the LCD display is to read. Some digital watches can be tricky, but this one is solidly read in bright or low lights.

This is an incredibly durable watch, specifically designed with the outdoorsman in mind. The great, and unique, features include:

  • Anti-scratch protective crystal mineral dial
  • Digital compass
  • Sunrise and sunset times
  • Auto LED
  • Thermometer
  • Barometer
  • Altimeter
  • 5 daily alarms
  • Mb6 timekeeping
  • 1/10 second stopwatch
  • Countdown timer
  • Day/date/month

The watch is suitable for any outdoor activity, including scuba diving – down to 660 feet or 200 meters – hiking, mountain biking, aviation, and more.

Finally, and ultimately, we love how absolutely tough this watch is. It was designed specifically to be a “watch that never breaks.” It’s used by law enforcement, military personnel, surfers, outdoor enthusiasts, and many others who’ve really tested and found the watch to be tough as nails.

What We Didn’t Love

There’s really only one negative on this, and that the LED light, though automatic, isn’t the best. The main issue is that it should have more than two durations.

Our Verdict

Ultimately, the G-Shock GW9400 Rangeman is the best solar atomic watch for men who live an active life. It can handle scrapes, bumps, drops, impacts, scuba diving to 200 meters, and just about anything else you can throw at it.

Plus, it’s reasonably priced, modestly attractive, and easy to use in a variety of handy functions.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Citizen Eco-Drive Womens FC0002-53A World Time A-T Watch

Citizen has been making high-quality watches for a number of years. Their Eco-Drive series has been a leader in modern, atomic solar watches, clearing a path for much more eco-friendly timekeeping pieces in the world.

Their beautiful, elegant designs are well-worth the extra investment for the quality of watch you get that you know will last practically a lifetime. The “World Time A-T” Eco-Drive is an especially stunning timekeeper.

  • Battery: None needed
  • Water resistant: 100M
  • Made of: Stainless steel, quartz
  • Color: Silver with rose and blue accents

What We Loved

The first thing that really stands out is the simple elegance and beauty of this watch. Honestly, it’s stunning. The bright silver band, the delicate rose and blue touches – all culminate into a stunning, beautiful watch that can be worn just about anywhere. The beautiful mother-of-pearl dial with luminous hands doesn’t hurt the looks, either.

The watch has a lot of great functions and features we love, as well, including:

  • Three chronographs
  • A power-reserve indicator
  • Automatic atomic syncing in 26 time zones
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Dual time – showing two time zones
  • 12/24 hour time settings
  • Alarm
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal for easier reading
  • Day & date

Plus, this Citizen watch never needs a battery, so you don’t have to replace it next decade. Instead, its solely powered by light and keeps going and going.

What We Didn’t Love

Unfortunately, we found that this is a bit too large a watch for anyone with a delicate wrist. The face is pretty large and the band a bit wide for anyone with smaller hands and wrists.

It’s also a bit heavier than some may like in a watch.

Finally, though the price tag isn’t that big of a deal, it is a bit pricier than some people may be inclined to spend on a watch. The quality, however, does make up for it, if you’re going for something that will last for decades.

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for an elegantly beautiful, shapely timekeeper, the Citizen World Time A-T Eco-Drive is a winner. This stunning timekeeper looks amazing, doesn’t need a battery, keeps time accurately and effectively in up to 26 time zones, and comes with a load of easy settings and features that make it an all-inclusive watch.

The only problems may be that it’s a little on the large size and bit heavy, so if you’ve got a small wrist, you’ll unfortunately probably have to look elsewhere.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Citizen Mens Eco-Drive Titanium Perpetual Chrono Atomic Timekeeping Watch with Date, AT4010-50E

From a well-trusted brand comes an attractive titanium option for men who need a durable, multi-function watch with chronographs. The Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium Perpetual Chrono AT4010-50E is perfect for the active man who wants a watch to transition from play to work smoothly.

  • Battery: None needed
  • Water-resistant: 200M
  • Made of: Titanium, quartz
  • Color: Silver with black and blue accents

What We Loved

This beautiful watch from Citizen lives up to the company’s standards of excellence, as you’d expect. The design is more than attractive and is lightweight and comfortable.

We love the many features and functions of the watch, including:

  • Tachymeter
  • 3 chronograph sub-dials
  • Anti-reflective sapphire dial window
  • Radio-controlled five time zones
  • Alarm
  • 12/24 hour time
  • Power reserve indicator
  • One-second chronograph measures up to 60 minutes
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Hidden double push-button closure
  • AM/PM indicator
  • Titanium, blue ion-plating

We also love the high-quality materials – that titanium is durable and attractive.

Finally, we simply love that this is a reliable, easy-to-use watch made by a high-quality brand at a reasonable price.

What We Didn’t Love

The main complaint we noticed when reading reviews on Amazon is that some folks wound up with used watches or knock-offs. Be sure to verify you’re purchasing a Citizen directly rather than from a third-party seller.

Our Verdict

Overall, this is a durable, easy-to-use, incredibly versatile watch. Take it from the sea to the office, from dinner parties to the poolside lounge.

It’s comfortable, exceptionally lightweight, and looks amazing.

It’s mid-range in price, so it’s affordable for most, and it accurately keeps the time for up to five time zones. The many features and functions also make it a cut above the rest while looking great.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST UNISEX SPORTS WATCH

#5. Casio G-Shock Unisex GWA1100

Casio G-Shock Unisex Atomic Solar GWA1100 Orange Watch

Another top choice comes from Casio’s G-Shock series. This one’s a sports unisex watch that’s great for any outdoors enthusiast looking for something bright, functional, and fun. The vibrant orange also kind of works as an identifier for added safety in the wilderness.

By many, this is considered the best solar watch of the G-Shocks, thanks to its durability, water resistance, and incredible capability to endure shock, all while keeping that coveted 6-month charge with reliable accuracy in-tact.

  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Water-resistant: 200M
  • Made of: Resin
  • Color: Vibrant orange

What We Loved

The G-Shock Unisex GWA1100 Orange is a powerful atomic solar watch that will keep going for six months straight with a single full charge. We love that it’s reliably built to keep a charge that long, with proven performance over years of testing and manufacturing.

We also love that it’s capable of working off 29 different time zones around the world – that’s the most of all the watches we reviewed.

It’s got a load of features and functions we love as well, including:

  • Works in 29 time zones
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face
  • Automatic calendar
  • Neo-bright luminous hands and markers
  • Full auto LED backlight
  • Triple-G resistant
  • Auto hand home position correction
  • Shock resistant
  • Hourly time signal
  • 1/100-second stopwatch
  • Countdown timer
  • 12/24 formats
  • Button operated tone on/off
  • Incredibly accurate, even without signal calibration
  • Battery power indicator
  • Power savings function

This is another watch that’s also accurate and charged fully by a single charge for up to six months. We love how low maintenance that makes this.

What We Didn’t Love

The only real complaint we’ve got for this one is that though it’s backlit, it doesn’t have additional light, which can make it difficult to read in certain specific circumstances – uber bright sun – since it’s an automatic light.

Our Verdict

The G-Shock GWA1100 Unisex atomic solar watch is the perfect option for anyone looking for higher-end, durable watch that will hold a charge for ages and keep incredibly accurate time throughout.

The bright orange color makes it easily identifiable and adds to safety function.

The many features and additional functions also make it an incredible value. The only potential issue is a lack of light in some circumstances. Overall, it’s one of the absolute best watches you’ll find anywhere.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Runners Up

There are many fantastic brands that provide men and women with beautiful, stylish, and functional atomic solar-powered watches. There are low-end options and high-end options, though most of the best fall within the $100 to $550 range for decent quality atomic solar watches.

We’ve listed our top choices above, but there are others worth considering as well if these five just aren’t quite you’re looking for.

More G-Shock Watches

Non-G-Shock Series Watch from Casio

Seiko and Citizen Brand Watches

Do Solar Watches Stop Working In the Dark?

So, if solar watches are powered by light, do they stop working after things have gone dark?

The answer is no. Solar watches work both day and night. The solar panel on the watch converts the light into electrical energy which is then stored in a rechargeable cell – or battery – which then powers the watch until the next charging.

What’s the Difference Between a Solar Atomic and a Normal Solar Watch?

So, then, what’s the difference between a solar atomic watch and solar “normal” watch?

Well, they’re both powered by solar cells. The difference is the radio signal from the atomic clock.

Standard solar watches must be reset and maintained by the owner. Atomic solar watches are reset and updated by the atomic clock in Fort Collins.

atomic solar watch at rest

Are Solar-Powered Watches Reliable?

Some people aren’t 100% on board with believing that solar-powered anything can be reliable. For many years, this was a valid concern. A lot of things would catch energy and then drain quickly.

A solar atomic watch, however, is actually more reliable than most watches of any kind, though, because not only do they work with that precise radio signal, but they charge whenever they’re exposed to light. This means they don’t lose battery charge, basically ever, unless they’re not worn and hidden away in a dark drawer somewhere.

How Long Do Solar Watches Take to Charge?

Typical recharging of a solar watch – meaning direct sunlight – will take about 20 hours for a full charge. This charge lasts for several months, depending on the watch.

For a full charge in cloudy conditions, the watch will need to be exposed for 60 hours. This will be the same battery power – i.e. months from a single charge.

If you need to quickly charge your watch for a day, you can place your watch in direct sunlight for about 10 minutes for a 24-hour charge. If you only have incandescent light available, 3.5 hours or so will charge it for about a day.

Do Solar Watches Have Backup Batteries?

In order to keep a solar watch powered and ready to go, they must use batteries or some form of storage to keep the electrical energy for use.

This means that most use backup batteries of some kind. Brands like Citizen don’t, but they implement other energy storage technology to keep the watch going for years.

How Long Do Solar Watch Batteries Last?

Solar battery life typically last at least ten years before they need replacing. Many have been proven and tested over the years to retain up to 80% of the power capacity for as long as 20 years or more.

This capacity is strongly determined by brand and manufacture quality.

Are Solar Atomic Watches Fashionable?

Solar atomic watches for men and women come in a wide range of styles and types. You’ll find more casual options for the sporty ranging to the luxury styles worn by businesspersons and executives.

These watches may incorporate any number of high-quality materials including leather, diamonds, and gold, as well as more casual elements like silicone or heavy-duty resin that’s more durable and suitable for outdoor living.

Benefits of Using a Solar Atomic Watch

There are loads of benefits to owning and using a solar atomic analog watch or digital watch.

  • Anyone can use them.
  • They charge for long periods of time and don’t need maintenance often.
  • They help to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • They don’t require batteries with any frequency.
  • Atomic watches are the most accurate for timekeeping.
  • These watches are highly reliable.
  • They hold a 6+ month energy reserve from a full charge.
  • They’re more sophisticated and interesting than your average quartz watch.
  • They come with the same features that non-solar watches use.

Drawbacks of Using a Solar Atomic Watch

Of course, with all things, there are some drawbacks, too. The upsides outweigh the downsides for most, but here they are.

  • Some people don’t find them quite as attractive as standard watches because of the prominent solar cells on the watch face. Many higher-end brands, however, have found innovative ways to incorporate the solar cells into the watch faces seamlessly so that most can’t even tell that they’re solar-powered.
  • They do require a minimum amount of light to stay charged, so no tucking them away into the back of a drawer or cupboard.
  • They’re a bit pricier than standard digital or analogue watches in many cases.

A Solar Atomic Watch is the Best Option for Just About Anyone

Ultimately, as you shop around, you’ll notice a wide disparage of high-quality to very low-quality solar atomic watches. If you aim for well-trusted brands like Seiko, Casio, and Citizen, you’ll find great options in just about any price range. Be sure to shop carefully, though, as many knockoffs are out there. Verify sellers on Amazon and other sites, read reviews carefully, and take time to consider multiple options before making your final decision on which watch is right for you.

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