Solar vs Automatic Watch


There are a variety of watches in the market, like solar, quartz, and automatic watches. All of them have the common function of displaying time but they do have major differences in terms of their price, efficiency & longevity.

Even if you’re not a watch enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about solar and Automatic watches. And the intriguing conflict between solar vs automatic watch/watches as well. The reason is that firms love to market them on television and the Internet. Despite the widespread use of this technology, a substantial proportion of individuals are unaware of its precise operation.

Automatic watches wind themselves automatically. Obviously, this is not understood literally, as energy must originate from somewhere. Automatic timepieces are powered by the motion of the user. Despite the fact that the first automatic watches arrived in the 18th century, they remained a niche product until the wristwatch’s ascent in the early 20th century. This novel method of wearing a watch transferred it from the tranquillity of a pocket to the continual motion of the wrist. Automatic-winding technology had now reached a point of advancement. This confusion will be resolved in the parts that follow. Along with some differences between Automatic vs Solar Watches and Automatic vs. Solar vs. Quartz watches etc.

Solar vs Automatic Watch or Automatic vs Solar Watches: What’s the Difference?

JAN23solar vs automatic watchThe major difference between a solar vs automatic watch is that solar watches derive power from the sun whereas automatic wristwatches include a self-winding mechanical movement. Apart from this difference, the table below will teach you about all the major differences between automatic vs solar watches.

Solar WatchAutomatic Watch
A solar watch is one that derives its power from the sun or another light source. The light generated an electrical current that charges the battery, which in turn powers the quartz movement that powers the watch.

Therefore, this is considerably less mechanical than an automatic movement, as there is neither a spring nor a large number of gears inside the watch to power the mechanism.

Even if you don’t wear your solar watch for a considerable amount of time, it will still be operational when you decide to put it on again.

Automatic wristwatches include a self-winding mechanical movement. This means that a spring that drives the gears is wound by the wearer’s arm swinging motion.

Contrast this with an older mechanical watch in which the spring is wound by turning the crown. This is why it is called an “automatic” watch.

Hence, if you wear it constantly, it will wind itself.

Are Solar Watches Good?

The only difference between a solar watch and a quartz watch is that solar watches are recharged by light. However, solar watches are the most dependable timepieces available. Once the dial is exposed to natural or artificial light, they begin to charge, and the excess energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries. These batteries enable the watch to function in the dark or in the absence of a reliable light source. This means that solar watches are operational 24/7.

  • Additionally, lithium-ion batteries may store energy for up to ten years before replacement is required. This provides up to ten years of accurate timekeeping, a feature not seen in standard quartz watches. Unlike conventional watches, which lose accuracy when their power supply is insufficient, solar watches prevent this shift or drop in time by utilizing a stable light source and charging while in use. Therefore, they rarely operate at almost empty capacity.
  • In addition, the majority of solar-powered watches include a backup battery so that even if the lithium-ion batteries aren’t exposed to sunlight for a long, they can still provide enough power to run for several months.

Manufacturers always recommend regular care and maintenance to extend the life of a solar watch. The quality of the watch also impacts its dependability. This means that cheaper solar watches manufactured by less renowned businesses may not perform as well as their more expensive counterparts. This should have answered are solar watches good or not. Now, let’s also learn about solar vs kinetic watch.

Also See: How Long Do Casio Solar Watch Batteries Last?

Solar vs Kinetic Watch: What’s the Difference?

A Solar Watch is a wristwatch that keeps time by harnessing the power of the sun. A solar cell placed under the dial converts the energy of sunlight into electrical current. In order to power the watch, the energy is stored in a rechargeable battery.

On the other hand, kinetic watches are one-of-a-kind devices in that they employ the wearer’s motion of the wrist to power an internal electrical generator. Power is stored in a rechargeable battery that lasts longer than a standard cell battery found in a quartz watch.

Automatic vs. Solar vs. Quartz: What’s the Difference?

After learning about solar vs kinetic watch, you must also be eager to find out the differences between automatic, solar, and quartz watch. There are different types of watches available in the market like the automatic watch, quartz watch, and solar watch. Often people think of them as just simple time-showing devices. But these watches aren’t exactly the same. They have different histories, structures, mechanisms, and functioning principles. Let’s learn about the difference between automatic vs. solar vs. quartz watches.

Solar watches, as explained in earlier sections, need solar energy to recharge & then, can run accurately for years on end. You can also read our guide How Does Solar Watch Work? for a more elaborate understanding of the same.

In Automatic or mechanical watches, it is unnecessary to replace the batteries because neither employs electrical circuits. To tell time, instead, these timepieces rely on a complicated system of gears and springs, much like traditional clockwork systems. The user, must provide the energy for these actions rather than a battery. When doing so, the user “winds” a long, coiled spring called the “mainspring.” Once wound, the spring gradually releases energy, which is used to power the mechanism.

Quartz watches can be powered by either a battery or a solar cell. The hands and the rest of the watch receive their power from a microprocessor that receives it from the battery or a solar-powered cell via a circuit board and a “quartz oscillator”. These have their timekeeping controlled by the vibrations of a quartz crystal at a predetermined frequency. They stand distinct from mechanical timepieces in that they maintain their accuracy for a period of a year or more without winding or battery replacement.

Also Read: How to Reset Citizen Eco Drive

Solar vs. Automatic Watch Movements : What’s the Difference?

After learning about solar vs automatic watch you should be aware that these two types of timepieces have certain differences and the difference in their watch movements is pretty noticeable. Let’s learn about solar vs. automatic watch movements through this table.

Automatic Watch MovementsSolar Watch Movements
  • Automatic watches have a mainspring and their watch movements are powered by winding this mainspring. It stores energy and releases it moderately, powering the watch. Automatic watches are sometimes also called self-winding watches. This is because they wind themselves when you move your arm. 
  • The automatic watch movements are less accurate that quartz movements. However, these watches don’t require battery changes.
  • It is more expensive to manufacture automatic watch movements.
  • Light powers solar watch movements. Behind every solar watch dial, there are solar cells. These cells are miniature solar panels that convert artificial light or sunlight into electrical energy. This energy is then used to power the watch. 
  • Solar watch movements are pretty accurate but they do demand little maintenance.
  • It is less expensive to manufacture solar watch movements.

Different watches suit different people for different reasons. Learning the difference between solar vs automatic watch or automatic vs. solar vs. quartz watch helps you pick the best watch for you. After all, before investing in any timepiece you must know about its market, types, and competitors. Watches are companions for life, choose one diligently.

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