How To Charge a Dead Eco-Drive watch?

There’s nothing as irritating as going about your daily business only to check your eco-drive watch and find it’s a couple of hours off. Over time the solar capability of the watch diminishes so much so that the sun can no longer fully power it. In this article we discuss how you can charge your eco-drive watch if it is completely dead, and what sources you can use.

Eco-Drive watches are charged by light, so if your eco-drive watch’s battery is completely dead, you can revive it by leaving it in the sunlight for between five and six hours.

Sunlight is said to be best for charging an eco-drive watch, but can you use artificial light? How do they work anyway? We’ll discuss the details of the eco-drive watch below.

Can I Use Artificial Light to Charge My Eco-Drive Watch?

They recommend sunlight to charge your watch as sunlight is much stronger, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot charge it with artificial light. Usually, they would recommend that you use artificial light, like a lamp, as a boost for the battery rather than to charge it completely. but there is a rule of thumb for charging times for batteries.

For a day’s charge on the watch, here is a general guideline:

Illuminance (lux)Charging timeStandby Time
5003 Hours1 Day
1,00090 Minutes1 Day
3,00030 Minutes1 Day
10,0009 Minutes1 Day
100,0003 Minutes1 Day

What Lux Are The Average Lights?

It’s all as well us telling you how much lux on an artificial light is, but what does that mean in reality? Were would you find these lights in reality?

Well, again, as a general guideline:

  • 500 lux lights are the strengths of lights inside an ordinary office
  • 1,000 lux lights are the strength of a common 30 watts when holding your watch about 24-28 inches (or 60-70 cm) under it.
  • 3,000 lux lights are the strength of a common 30 watts when holding your watch about 8 inches (20 cm) under it.
  • 10,000 lux lights are the strength of the sun outdoors on a cloudy day
  • 100,000 lux lights are the strength of the sun outdoors under direct sunlight

Looking for a high powered light to charge your watch?

Can I Store My Eco-Drive Watch In The Dark?

Wearing your Eco-Drive watch outside on a casual basis will have it working away happily almost indefinitely, but if you plan to store it in the dark, then it will continue to run for about six months.

If you do plan to store your Eco-Drive watch in the dark, then you should not do it for more than half a year. If you do store it in the dark for that long, than you should expose your watch to bright light and charge it fully.

How Does An Eco-Drive Watch Charge By Sunlight?

In short, the Eco-Drive watch works by using a solar panel which is integrated into the dial of the watch. This means it will collect light when in any kind of illuminance and uses the light it stores to keep working in the dark.

The way it manages to do this is by containing crystals which absorb light and convert it into energy inside a solar conversion cell. This is why it doesn’t need a battery and can function for months, even in darkness.

How Will I Know When It Needs Charging?

The watch itself should have an indicator of charge left on it, but you will also know that it needs charging when it starts doing some of these behaviors:

  • Losing time
  • Skipping time
  • The second-hand stopping

Can You Overcharge an Eco-Drive Watch?

No, the watch has a clever sensor which senses when it is about to be overcharged and shuts itself off so that it doesn’t get damaged.

This same sensor is also the reason why it continues to work after being kept in the dark for so long; when it senses darkness, it shuts itself off to not waste energy.

How Long Does An Eco-Drive Watch Last?

In theory, it could potentially last a lifetime. The batteries in these watches are thought to last around ten years, but it has been shown that solar powered watch batteries can keep up to 80% of its power reserve capabilities as long as double that time.

However, even when the batteries do run out, replaceable parts on the watch such as:

  • Capacitor
  • Battery
  • Straps

Means that even if you may eventually replace every element of the watch, but it will also potentially last a lifetime.

Is An Eco-Drive Watch Waterproof?

You will not be able to wear this watch whilst in the pool or at the seaside, but odd splashes shouldn’t do it any harm. So, not waterproof as much as splashproof.

How Do I Reset a Citizen Eco-Drive Watch?

If you ever need to reset it, what you need to do is unscrew the crown of the watch until you feel it pop free (if you have a screw-down crown model). You shouldn’t need to force it.

Pull it out, again, no force should be needed, to the time setting position. Leave it for around half a minute, then push it back in. Then you can pull the watch crown to the date setting position. After that, it should be fully reset.

What Is The Quick Start Feature And How To Use It?

Many Eco-Drive watches have a Quick Start function, which restarts the watch after it has become completely discharged, then recharged after that.

It takes exposure to bright light, and direct sunlight is best, but as mentioned, you can:

  • Put it out into the outside even if it’s cloudy
  • Hold it close to a lamp
  • Shine a flash light on it

It will only a few seconds of sunlight before it will begin going. Once it begins running, it will go into what we call a Time Reset Advisory feature, which is shown by the irregular ticking of the second hand.

Make sure you fully charge the watch, or it may stop functioning when you take it out of the light again. It is recommended that you leave it in the sun to fully charge after it has been discharged, rather than charging it a short while and using it again. You can then reset the watch to the correct time.


The best way to charge an Eco-Drive watch is in direct sunlight, and for a day’s charge, it would only need three minutes of exposure to the sun. However, you can charge it in artificial light if you need to, although the weaker the light, the longer it will take to charge.

For a 30 watts lamp, for instance, if you hold the watch around 24 to 28 inches below it, it will take an hour and a half for a day’s charge, but if you hold it around 8 inches below it, it will only take around half an hour for a day’s charge. You know it will need charging when it begins odd behaviors like the second-hand skipping seconds, losing time and the indicator going off. Luckily, the watch cannot be overcharged, so if that happens, leave it in the light and allow it to charge without worry.

David Binion

Hi, I am David Binion, I am a technical assistant of a solar panel manufacturing company. I also have a solar panel selling and service providing shops beside my job. Because of my job & business, I have to face so many clients of the power tool users.

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