best solar watches

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SOLAR WATCHES command a special space in the watch world. In many ways, they’re the proverbial middle child between a mechanical watch and a quartz-run watch. These sun-powered tickets are usually a bit more expensive than a quartz watch, but also cheaper than a well-made mechanical watch. Although solar timepieces have been around for decades now, they’ve only recently picked up steam among watch collectors.

So who is solar watch for? In many ways the best solar watches cater to all types of use. They can appeal to those looking for an everyday watch that won’t ever break down—quality solar watches can last for years, if not decades—and they can appeal to those who frequent the outdoors and need a reliable watch that can handle bumps and bruises. What you get with a solar watch is consistency, and in a world where products aren’t “made like they used to”, the one thing you can guarantee with a quality solar watch is it’s capability of telling time until the cows come home.




  • Best Tested

    Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Sea Dive Watch
    Citizen

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  • Best for Marathon Training

    Forerunner® 955 Solar
    Garmin

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  • Best Solar Watch for First Time Buyers

    Expedition North Field Post Solar 41mm
    Timex

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  • Best Rugged Solar Smartwatch

    Garmin Instinct 2 Solar, Tactical-Edition
    Garmin

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  • Best Eco-Friendly Solar Watch

    Light-Wave
    Nixon

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Ahead, we pulled together the 11 best solar watches to know about right now. Some of our picks are more style forward, while other are built for recreation and training. Many of these watches are good ol’ fashioned analog watches, while others are smartwatches that—if ever needed—can be given a little juice via a charger in the event your watch has been in the dark too long. Ready to get to the good stuff?

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Best Tested

Citizen

Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Sea Dive Watch

Case Size 44mm
Water Resistance 200m

Best for Marathon Training

Garmin

Forerunner® 955 Solar

Case Size 46.5mm
Water Resistance 50m

Best Solar Watch for First Time Buyers

Timex

Expedition North Field Post Solar 41mm

Case Size 41mm
Water Resistance 100m

Best Rugged Solar Smartwatch

Garmin

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar, Tactical-Edition

Case Size 45mm
Water Resistance 100m

Best Eco-Friendly Solar Watch

Nixon

Light-Wave

Case Size 37mm
Water Resistance 100m

Strongest Solar Watch

Seiko

Prospex “Arnie” Watch

Case Size 47.8mm
Water Resistance 200m

Longest Reserve Battery Life

G-Shock

GMB2100D-1A Watch

Case Size 44.4mm
Water Resistance 200m

Most Stylish Solar Watch

MVMT

Blacktop II Solar, Terra Sand

Case Size 47mm
Water Resistance 50m

Best Solar Dive Watch

Vaer

D4 Atlantic – USA Solar 38mm

Case Size 38mm
Water Resistance 200m

Best Solar Chronograph Watch

Seiko

Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph Watch

Case Size 39mm
Water Resistance 100m

Best Solar Hybrid Smartwatch

Tissot

Unisex T-Touch Connect Solar

Case Size 47.50mm
Water Resistance 100m

Are Solar Watches Any Good?

Although some might be hesitant to pay a little more for a solar watch—as opposed to a battery-powered watch—the reality is solar watches are probably the most reliable timepieces you can buy. That’s why many of the best rugged watches and dive watches are outfitted with solar movement. With a solar watch, you don’t have to worry about a battery going low, so long as you keep it in sunlight, and you don’t have to worry about any inside gears getting snagged or pushed out of place.

Can a Solar Watch Stop Working?

The only downside to a solar watch when it comes to battery is, of course, not getting enough direct sunlight to the watch. It’s entirely possible for a solar watch to stop working, but this is only if you keep it in places where it cannot be exposed to light. If you store your solar watch in a drawer or case for a long time, or if you wear your solar watch under a shirt or jacket sleeve, the watch can start slowing down and eventually stop running.

However, most quality solar watches are built with reserve batteries and special features to continue running in the dark much longer than one might expect. As long as you wear your watch on a regular basis—or keep it sitting in a spot where sunlight can get to it—then you’ll greatly limit the risk of your solar watch stopping in its tracks.

How We Selected

For the past year, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s editors and writers on the best solar watches for men. Experts, including our gear and commerce editor, John Thompson, tried several solar watches and evaluated their cost, durability, ease-of-use, and design. We also considered top-reviewed solar watches that have high customer ratings on e-commerce websites that we trust.


Gear and Commerce Editor
John Thompson is the Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology.

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