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Citizen Eco-Drive Watch Review

By: Don Damiani
on January 8, 1999 12:00 am

Citizen has now gone high-tech with a new line of solar powered wristwatches. These new Eco-Drive watches will never need to have the battery replaced. And they come in a wide variety of styles for both men and women.

My brother first introduced me to these cool watches, and after researching them, I just had to have one! I chose the Solar-Tech 180 TITANIUM, (model AP0410-58H). It happens to be a divers watch, and is water-resistant to 200 meters. This quartz watch has a one-way rotating elapsed-time bezel, a screw-down crown, and date. (Although the only time that I have taken a dive is in a hockey game, I wanted a water-resistant watch.)

The main selling feature of these watches is the solar construction. It’s best described by this diagram that I downloaded from the Citizen web site. (See below)

Sunlight and any artificial light are absorbed through the
crystal and dial. CITIZEN uses special filters which allow a wide range of dial colors and
styles.

A solar cell beneath the dial converts any form of light into electrical energy to
power the watch. With regular exposure to light, ECO-Drive continuously recharges itself.

ECO-Drive’s revolutionary lithium-ion rechargeable battery stores enough energy to
power the watch up to sixteen months (depending on model)

Ok, so much for the canned science lesson, now let’s review the features. The lithium-ion battery will probably run this watch forever. My watch, a Solar-Tech 180 is designed to run on a full charge for 180 days, (or 6 months). It takes 3.5 hours to charge fully, in sunlight; and 1 minute to charge for one day’s worth of power.

Although I’m not fond of bracelet watches, this watch, being mostly titanium is extremely lightweight and very durable. The finish on the band is very comfortable. I also like the safety clasp they selected.

There is a fluorescent coating on the dial face for the tick marks and the hands. The marks are easy to see in the dark as well as in daylight. There are 27 different men’s styles and 9 different women’s styles. Out of those styles, there are 9 men’s/women’s matched sets.

I’m a bit surprised that it has taken this long for someone to develop a solar watch. I guess that the Lithium-ion battery has made it possible for them to run longer, and recharge to full capacity better. The older technology rechargeable batteries, (ni-cad), had kind of a “memory”, they needed to be almost fully drained to recharge fully. These lithium-ion batteries recharge better when not fully drained.

If you like gadgets and also like watches, you have to check out the ECO-Drive watches from Citizen. As for where to purchase it, you can check web sites like www.wristwatch.com for price comparisons, but be sure to go to a reputable watch dealer. You will need to have the band professionally adjusted, most people will not have the tools to do it themselves.

Price: $395 (retail)

Pros:
Never needs a battery replaced.
Titanium case and band is extremely lightweight.
Resists water to 200 meters.

Cons:
Need to have the band professionally adjusted.

 

Product Information

Price:395.0
Manufacturer:Citizen
Pros:
  • Never needs a battery replaced.
  • Titanium case and band is extremely lightweight.
  • Resists water to 200 meters.
Cons:
  • Need to have the band professionally adjusted.
  •  

Comments

  1. 1
    Tim King says:

    I need to Citizen Eco-Drive Watch Instructions #U706. Thank you

  2. 2
    Andrew says:

    I just bought a Citizen Eco watch myself. Its a Gold toned / diamond dress watch. The look of the watch is amazing and classy. what sold me on it was the fact that it doesnt need a battery, is lightweight , and very comfortable to wear. I highly recommend these watches because of the variety of watches for men and women.

  3. 3
    Don Damiani says:

    Hi Julie,

    I was trying to figure out how old this watch is, and I see I wrote this review in January of 1999. I still wear this watch every day, and believe it or not, I have never replaced the battery since I bought it! That’s 10 years without a battery change!

    Hope you are well.

    Don

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    Hi Don!
    Your review still gets viewed and commented on as you can see! :)

  5. 5
    Mike Farmer says:

    Hi Don.
    Your comment DOES still get commented on!
    Just came across this. Was looking for possibility of getting new battery for mine. It had stopped, but found watch was only discharged! I bought mine in 1994 !! So the technology was quite old when you bought yours!. Mine has worked continuously up until yesterday. Worn every day – except for the last week – and the second hand was `jumping` when I came to wear it, so I am now fully recharging it to see how it goes. I have a feeling it will last me a good few years yet.
    Mine is a full titanium, with original glass.Still looks ALMOST as good as new, and I am sure it is the best watch I will ever buy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Regards,
    Mike

  6. 6
    Tom says:

    I have an identical one, other than gold accents on the bracelet and a gold scheme on the dial and hands. Not the best combination for mixed low-light like in a movie theatre, but I love it. It’s worked flawlessly since 1997 and I’m rough on watches. I’ve surfed, dived (5-10 M) and snorkeled to 40 feet without a leak.

  7. 7
    Mike Hodge says:

    I have two ECO drive watches and the second hand was `jumping` so I took it to a jeweler to replace the battery (I was not aware my watch did not require a battery) the jeweler replaced the capacitor with a battery and now neither watch will keep time. Hope I did not completely ruin these watches .

  8. 8
    Jack says:

    These batteries are not forever. I need replacement. My wath is 9 years old.

  9. 9
    Bob Gibbs says:

    There is considerable difference in electrical source/flow in a standard watch battery and the Li-on sort of capacitor used in these watches. You can look the correct one up, using the Caliber (model) number, and quite likely install it yourself ($18-25 retail). (Only need good light, back opener, appropriate screw driver, tweezers & a little lubricant for the seal.) Since a standard battery may have ruined the circuitry, might consider a new jeweler as they should have known. P.S. I am not a jeweler but have replaced these and Seiko Kinetics without difficulty) As for the ‘jumping’ not sure about Citizen but a Seiko kinetic will do that when nearly run down or the “capacitor” is bad. Hope this helps.

  10. 10

    Where is this eco made!
    Mack

  11. 11
    Paul says:

    To those of you have had your Eco Drive watches stop working, did you store it for a long time (weeks/months) in a drawer with no light?

    I’ve had my Eco Drive watch since 2001 and so far it still works perfectly. I work from home and don’t wear it out in the sun most days, but it does sit on the hutch above my desk soaking in the light from the ceiling fan.

    P.S. If you use a Sonicare electric toothbrush, save the old brush heads to clean & polish the crystal & band. Mine really shines after I spend a few minutes polishing it with whitening toothpaste and the Sonicare. (The toothpaste rinses away with no problem.)

  12. 12
    Amy says:

    I just purchased myself an Eco Drive watch online and I cannot WAIT to receive it in the mail. Glad to hear the glowing reviews and I hope it’s as beautiful as it looks online!

  13. 13
    Robert Johnson says:

    I have an ecodrive watch puchased mid 2005, it now fails to run unless in brightlight. Watch was sent to Citizen for repair and was quoted $250 for the repair…I think in future I will have the normal battery model

  14. 14
    Mark says:

    I have almost the exact same model that was reviewed. My watch has the gold tone in the links and has a light gold finish in the face, otherwise its the same watch. I have had mine since around late 1997. Over the years this watch has teken quit a bit of abuse, I definately don’t baby it, and the gold plating is starting to wear off the rotating bazel and band links but the watch still runs like the day I bought it. I have bought 2 other watches since but the titanium construction of this watch is very light weight and the matching band makes the watch the most comfortable I have ever ownede, I still wear this one the most.

  15. 15
    michelle says:

    hey guys n girls,
    if you want to charge your eco if they are not working probably, put it under a lamp for a good couple of hours, make sure it sits pretty close to it. a good lamp like a student desk lamp, not a laundroom one, you want the focus to be on the watch. if this doesnt get it kicking, it will need the capacitor changed, make sure its done probably and not changed with an regular battery, this should cost about $70 and most places have to send it away. if this still does not work then it will be the movement, this is quiet expensive to replace ranging around $300. hope this clears up any unanswered questions. p.s the links are easy. jewelers are there to sell you jewellery most of the time they dont even know how to set your watch, take it to an actual watch place and make sure the person knows what there talkin about ie me. cheers

  16. 16
    Don Damiani says:

    Interestingly, I just got a new EcoDrive watch. The old one still works great, (and I still have not changed the battery.) But I wanted one with gold tones. My brother, who buys old and unique watches and repairs them, told me he had a Citizen Model BL5182-51P sitting in the sun on his windowsill for the past year, and he said I could have it if I wanted it. This is the watch: http://www.princetonwatches.com/shop/BL5182-51P.asp

    It’s an amazing watch, with all sorts of functions. But there are a few things I do not like about it, both related to the band. For one, the gold tone finish on the band is already starting to wear off. (Interestingly, the watch is made in Japan, but the band is made in China.) The other thing about the band I don’t like is that the band tends to pinch the hairs on my wrist a lot. I think it is a design flaw because my other watch has a titanium band, and it is also made in China, but it doesn’t pinch at all.

    Anyway, these are great watches!

    Don

  17. 17
    robert worden says:

    I have an Eco Drive watch that sat at home for a year while i was gone and now i cant get it to charge. any ideas would be greatly appreciated. thanks

  18. 18
    Brian says:

    I recently purchased an eco-drive and love it so far. It is bracelet style, which I generally don’t like, but this is so light I hardly notice it when wearing it. I tried on a Bulova that looked almost identical and it felt like a lead weight around my wrist.

    Glad to hear from others that their’s has run for 10-12 years.

    Thanks

  19. 19
    happyjay75 says:

    just an info for those who did not know..

    guys.. the jumping on the hand is normal for the eco drive.In case no power is generated, an Eco-Drive Thermo movement will save power by moving the second hand in ten second increments until the production of thermo electricity is resumed. so there is no need to go to a watch repair shop… even if you stock it in a box for years… the battery will still keep the time in the background even if the dial is not moving… and when you started wearing it again… the watch will automatically adjust the time.

  20. 20
    mw says:

    Had the watch for a year now, so far so good. Only complaint is the bezel is quite loose – turns too easily if it rubs against pretty much anything (like when i stick my hand in my pockets).

  21. 21
    gerry says:

    have owned a ecodrive for ten years now wr200 ,its certainly a far superier watch compared to my tudor automatic made by the rolex co.no more sevicing cleaning etc. like japanese cars the reliability is hard to beat

  22. 22

    Eco-Drives are great watches, and Citizen’s five-year warranty is one of the best in the business. Our company specializes in replacing capacitors and doing movement repairs on out of warranty Eco-Drives. The double clicking (two second intervals) is characteristic of low charge, but is also characteristic of a failing capacitor if the watch has had plenty of time to charge. Our capacitor service starts at $59 and movement replacements at $109 with free shipping. We have repaired many Eco-Drives that have had regular silver oxide batteries installed where the capacitor should have been. If you are not like Don and don’t want to do it yourself, give us a try http://www.stewarttime.com.

  23. 23
    Jeff says:

    The new Eco drive Citizen watches are pieces of garbage. I’ve had 3 this year that just stopped working. The reason they have the 5 year warranty is because they know they are garbage. Don’t buy this over priced luxury item. There are not enough features to justify the price gap.

  24. 24
    Justin says:

    I’ve owned mine since 2003, and have had zero problems. Certainly not a “piece of garbage”. It has even been stored in no light situations for long periods of time and always recharged and come back to life.

  25. 25
    Mark says:

    I just received an Eco-drive as a gift. I haven’t had it resized yet.
    Is it necessary to have the same number of links removed from both sides of the bracelet in order for it to fit properly?

    Also, I’m a stickler when it comes to accurate time. Is there a way to stop the second hand so that I can synchronize it to my radio-controlled clock?

  26. 26
    Gabby says:

    Mark-

    I just got an Eco-drive as a gift too and had links removed today. I had 2 taken off one side and 1 from the other. Looks & fits great!

  27. 27
    Jim says:

    I have one an eco drive as well. The one with the blue face and silver band. My wife, who was a gf at the time she bought it, got it as a gift for me at xmas time. Pardon the pun, but as time passed on, we go married and now have a kid and the watch is still worn to this day. The only watch I have owned that actually still works, and is older than my marriage and first born, LOL. The styling is great and I actually have an alarm tone! I want another watch soon, but with this watch still ticking, I find it difficult to find one that is “better” function wise and appearance wise.

  28. 28
    Don Damiani says:

    Regarding the links, since they move around on the wrist, I don’t think it matters to remove the same number from both sides. But if you need to remove an uneven number of links, don’t remove them all from the same side.

    Regarding the battery life, I don’t know what to do to get a dead watch to come back to life- other than replacing the battery. When my brother and I bought our watches, (a few months apart), he told me that eventually the battery would need to be replaced. I don’t believe he has replaced his battery either.

    Regarding the energy saving features, my old Citizen watch, (the one in this review) moves the second hand at two second intervals when the battery is low. My new watch will actually not move the second hand at all when the watch is in the dark, then when the watch is exposed to light, the second hand will swing to the position where it would have been if it kept moving. You can see this is you have a long sleeve shirt covering it and then lift up the sleeve to look at the watch.

    Regarding setting the time, I pull the stem out all the way and the second hand stops. Then I use either my cell phone clock, or my computer clock to set the time. I find it interesting that we care so much about how accurate it is. When I was growing up, if you asked me for the time, I would say, “half past”, or “quarter of”. When digitals came out, we gave the exact time, (“It’s 2:13”.) I don’t remember my first watches even having a second hand. :-)

    Finally, for those of you with gold tone watches, have you seen any wear on the finish? Both of my watches have wear in the same places, (probably due to where my wrist is while typing). I notice the finish has completely worn off on the gold tone watch in certain places under my wrist. It’s the same with the titanium watch, but the wear is not noticeable because of the color of the band.

  29. 29
    Ron Damiani says:

    I thought I bought my watch in 1997 but Don’s review makes me think we got them in 1999. This is the model I bought:

    http://www.bluedial.com/bn0000-04h.htm

    The case is one piece. I don’t know how to access the inside to change the battery or capacitor, I guess it comes out through the front if you remove the bezel and crystal. The only problem I had was that after a year, I tore the strap. Instead of paying $25 for a new band rubber strap, I opted to pay $50 for a stainless steel band made specifically for that watch. After 10 years, I probably would have gone through 5-6 rubber straps by now.

    I’m not sure if the new ones are not as well buildt as the older ones. Mine is a tank! Very rugged. I have worked on a few and when I took the backs off of some of them I saw too many plastic gears. They seemed kind of cheap, but I also see plastic gears in some expensive Seikos. I think I just like the idea of a watch needing virtually no maintenance for 10 years. :) I still recommend them to anyone wanting a new watch. There are hundreds of styles and the $300 model I bought 10 years ago can be reasonablly purchased today for half that price.

    BTW, a few years ago, my watch stopped keeping the proper reserve, and now as long as it is in the light, it works, but put it in the dark and it will stop in a day or so.

    Ron

  30. 30
    bavel says:

    my Eco Drive just arrived and it looks stunning, I cant wait to get it charge and use it..

  31. 31
    Derek says:

    I’m just now looking at getting my new Citizen BN0055-53E in the next day or two. I’ve been impressed with my reading of the “Eco-drive”, which I’ve had similarly in some G-shocks I’ve kept. It’s called “Tough Solar” in G-shocks. I’ve had Seikos which I’ve loved, and I keep three of them. From what I’ve noticed Citizens are compareable in quality and range to Seikos. I shall follow this up after a little time of use with the new one.

    It does seem odd to have such contrasting impressions of the Citizen watch. From what I’ve gathered, it’s the rare exception to the rule to have one crap out with the charging or anything else. Personally I like to stick to the older brands. I think you take fewer chances that way. Seiko and Citizen have been around for a long time, years before WWII. Lots of inovation and precison developed over that time. To me there’s more of a weight on the basic timepiece and less on fashion trends. A good design is supposed to be above that in my opinion. I also appreciate how these brands are reasonably priced. To me it makes more sense to have several really decent looking watches to wear than just one being massively expensive, and still be spending much less. Less pretense is a good thing too.

  32. 32
    tempo dulu says:

    I’d rather go for a Seiko kinetic. More class.

  33. 33
    Marty says:

    Bought a Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre BL9000-59F. Beautiful watch but I can’t get the damn thing to hold a proper charge. I’ve set it out in a window on a hot summer day and wake up the next morning to find it dead. This was a brand new watch that cost me $400. It’s about two years old and I got lots of compliments on it when I wore it. I just wish the damn thing would work so I don’t have to rock this Seiko quartz.

  34. 34
    mack says:

    I have this exact watch and I love it. I picked it up in late ’98. stored it for a year or more and it discharged. I remember the manual saying not to put it under direct light to speed up charging; ambient light only. the bezel broke about 7 yrs ago and had it replaced- might have been done under warranty. I used to spin it all the time when I couldn’t smoke so I think that wear is reasonable. the rivet on the clasp broke about 4 years ago which was $60 to replace. right now its in the shop getting all the pins replaced because a few are stretched and theirs big gaps and the conecting ‘U’s at the case rotate around the pin freely. I think a lot of my wear and tear is from wearing it around the clock. I really like the dark tone of this watch. Most ti watches now are brighter. When it was new it looked sandblasted or matte which I miss. I think citizen’s quality may have declined just like everything else. I never had an issue with the watch itself.

  35. 35
    Neil Morris says:

    I’ve had an eco-drive for (?) years and now it stops if I take it off!!! It keeps running fine if I’m wearing it, but as soon as I take it off it stops after an hour or two.
    Any advice?

  36. 36
    chris says:

    Got a watch just like the one at the top of this page from a freind the other day and the knob that is used to set the watch pushes in and I don’t. Know what its for can some one please help

  37. 37
    Nilesh says:

    Guys…

    Could you please help to know where i wil get the best deal for any Eco drive wrist watch in paris. and wat would be the cost around?

  38. 38
    EAN says:

    Mine was stored in a box for a few months and stopped working. I put it in sunlight all day for two days. It’s back to keeping great time today
    after sitting all night. Don’t give up on it. Just keep charging until it keeps time.

  39. 39
    mike says:

    citizen is a sleazy company. i bought the titanium eco-drive and after about a year noticed fogging on inside of crystal–sent it in and they supposedly repaired it. a year later moisture was back–deepest dive had been 3 feet in swimming pool. sent it back (still under warranty ) and they claimed someone had unscrewed crown and damaged it–they were the only ones who had ever serviced the watch but they wanted approx $200.00 to repair it. i threw it in a drawer and make it a practice to alert everyone i can to their outstanding customer non-support. i previously had a citizen dive watch that cost close to $600.00 and when it quit working after about 5 years ,i sent it to the company–they said they no longer serviced that model ??? but would give me a discount on the eco-drive—so i foolishly bought it.

  40. 40
    Jeff says:

    I recently purchased a Citizen Eco-drive watch. I would never have been able to figure it out without good directions. It is absolutely accurate regarding how well it keeps time. I synchronized it with the atomic clock online and it has been perfect for the 2 weeks I have had it.
    My Eco-drive watch is a chronograph which allows me to use it as a stop-watch. It also keeps track of a second time zone and keeps leap-year information stored.
    After using the chronograph to time an event, when I switch it back to regular time function, it automatically adjusts back to the correct time without any further setting.
    This is an amazing watch by any measure. Considering it will run forever just on the light in an average office, it is even more amazing! I am definitely a fan of this technology.

  41. 41
    Craig Winnerman says:

    I just sent this to Citizen customer support. Waiting to see their response.

    Subject:Once a loyal Citizen Customer

    I have had 3 Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive watches over the past 10 years and am very disappointed. While I love the styling, accuracy, perpetual calendar, and water resistance quality, the bands are horrid and you should be ashamed of the quality.
    The first one broke while I was in the car and fell out the window. Lost forever. Bought another one and after 3 years the band broke as well and not on an adjustable link. E710-H26188 TA 060418 Japan GN-4-S. Went to Sears as they are an authorized dealer. They said the band is repairable and new band is over $150. Bought another E760-H30211 TA 240073 Japan GN-4-S. Within 3 years the band has broken in an repairable location.
    I cannot afford to be replacing a watch every 3 years. I am limited to a stock band with the way the casing is made as an aftermarket band will not fit. Watch might be made in Japan, but noticed on both bands that I have that have broken were made in China. A Timex would hold up better than this.
    Just wanted to advise you on the low quality of your bands produced in China that makes your good watches useless.

  42. 42
    F Martin Cassino says:

    Bad support after sales

    I sent to repair the EcoDriver of my wife, it has moisture inside (Even if it is water resistant), not only they charge us to clean and replace gaskets, now after another splash it has moisture again.
    I am really deceived.

  43. 43
    mytmanfred says:

    Amen to the problem with the lousy bands on these nice watches.

    China makes crap………………..period. Citizen, using bands made in China, makes me wonder about the future of the Japanese watch market.

    I never expected to buy a Citizen watch and end up with a cheap, piece-of-crap Chinese watch band.

  44. 44
    KeepsOnTicking says:

    I have the same model as the main article which I bought in 1998 and the thing just wont give up. I swear this thing is bulletproof. Gotta love that it’s titanium and weighs close to nothing …

  45. 45
    Jack says:

    Can ANYONE Help me here?
    I bought one of the Eco-Drive Citizen Watches last year sometime – But the stupid Crown KEeps MOVING on me – I never know if the ‘time’ is really the Time, or if the Crown has moved a hair and It’s now showing me The Alarm Time, or the L-TM (different time zone time) – - It’s been like this since The First Day.
    mw September 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm – - Said the ‘bevel’ was moving, and if that’s the samething as The Crown, – and I’m betting it is since I am NOT the first person with this problem.
    And Citixen MUST know about this issue since:
    1.) the date MW posted was around the same time I got mine… and I did see other reviews Before I bought it (I know, I know) but I was “hoping” mine would be Different! (ya, right)
    2.) AND the review I left of MY Watch has been added to Another Eco-Drive Citizen Watch – The one “I” reviewed by name they no longer are selling or showing – I JUST NOW saw that after someone posted a reply and I noticed the picture had changed.
    odd, right??

    So if Citizen KNOWS they have a problem with their turny-things, i.e. the Crowns or Bevels on some of their eco-drive perpetual calander watches (mines got the alarm, T-LM, etc on the bottom round circle at the 6 – Between 12-3 is a White-Circle 2,4,6,8,0 to set the leap year for the perpetual stuff – and at the 9 circle is military time. All Good features! Plus great blue face And Chronographed. With solid clicks even, goes just the one way. All Good – In fact I LOVE This Thing!!

    If it could Only TELL The TIME when I look at it, it’d be the best watch ever! I explained it’s details since I’ve forgotten now what it’s Citizen number/name is.

    So The Question if it got lost or too long:
    Sincre I bought it online someplace – I’m screwed, right?
    OR.. Since Citizen MUST know about these bad batches of Crowns, turning when your hands in your pocket.. watch just ‘touches’ the wrist – put a jacket on it moves 2 functions over! It might turn if I blew on it hard enough it’s a real Problem! Is there a Place I can go – Like when a Car has a Recall – Anything like that with watches – or over 300$ Citizen watches??

    Appreciate ANY Help here, Please.
    I have a picture of it, but hard to find them for sale Now, 10 momnths later Someone has gotten the point – so That Should mean THEY know, yes? But are ‘They’ the right theys that will fix it for free – or am I looking at a 100$ out of pocket crown -work?

    I tried glueing the crown once, losing every Extra function just so I could use it as a Watch! – But the clear glue came off in the water.. plus when I would look at it i still didnt know for sure if it was The Time or if the glue rubbed off. This Sucks. I have an expensive (to me its a huge amount!) watch with lots of Great Features but I never know if the time on it is even close. Ridiculous. My first ‘non walmartish’ watch too. First try at something worth while.
    Anyone Know What I Should or Could Do Here?
    and thanks in advance.

    But it LOOKS Great!
    I saw

  46. 46
    Reynard Foxe says:

    I have had my ecodrive for about 15 years and I love it but now the capacitor needs to be replaced and it costs $89. New ecodrive? $107 . Ok there is no battery, but the capacitor that replaces it does and it’s expensive. And a new crystal is $70.
    If anyone knows of a less expensive repair, please let me know as I am sentimental about this excellent watch.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    I took my generic watch to the local pawnshop today to replace the battery and band (decent pawnshops are good for this). The nice lady said it would take a couple of days, would I like a loaner in the meantime? Sure. She led me to their $20 case. A nice watch in the case seemed to fit, so I took it back to the office. For fun I googled it and found it is a 10 year old Ecodrive that originally retailed for $375. Walked back down the street to the pawnshop and told the nice lady that it seemed to fit real well, I’d like to buy it for the $20. She was happy she made a sale! So am I!

  48. 48
    Roy says:

    Reynard, I’m in the same boat. I bought this back in 2007: http://www.princetonwatches.com/shop/AP0250-52A.asp and the watch was beginning to run slow recently, so I sent it in for repair. Citizen just quoted me $80 plus shipping to overhaul the movement; nothing about a bad capacitor.

    I have a 27 year old Seiko Speedmaster that still runs like a champ, so I’m very disappointed with the longevity of the Citizen. While I never believed that the Citizen would be maintenance free for life, I expected the movement to at least last a bit longer.

    So do I toss the Citizen and buy a Seiko Black Monster for an extra $120, or pay for the repair cost? Since the repair cost only amounts to less than $7 for each of the last 14 years I’ve used the Citizen, maybe it’s not such a bad tradeoff.

  49. 49
    Hanging Judge says:

    Just purchased a new Citizen Eco-drive ladies for my wife EW9010-54A. I wanted to give her something that would be trouble and maintenance free, and look great. Well, it was keeping perfect time when I opened the box, but overnight it quit and it won’t start again. This after exposing it to hours of daylight, mostly cool, direct sun. (It’s winter here.) So on top of all the complaints written here about the cheap bands, I have to say the watch is pretty cheap too, having quit after less than a day!! Glad she didn’t have a chance to re-size it yet.

  50. 50
    Guy says:

    Ive had the solar tech 180 blue dial TT since they came out ! It got lost in a drawer here for iam not kidding 12 yrs I stuck it under a light for a few days and the thing is back running just fine ! I own 2 Citizen Eco Drives and have never had either one not charge back up but I guess it could happen !

    I have the 180 and the new Calibre 2100 that they claim is hand assembled !

  51. 51
    Guy says:

    I would also like to add one more thing the 20 yr old soloar tech bracelet is made in Japan and the new Calibre 2100 bracelet is made in China but both are very well made high quality and I doubt I have a problem with them in my life time . Thats just my 2 cents ymmv of course . I always have my watch dude check any new watch I buy for bracelet problems and he told me the new Calibre 2100 bracelet was solid as a rock and there was no need for him to do anything . I have on other watches had him put in bigger pins and things but the Citzens are rock solid .

  52. 52
    Guy says:

    I know another post :O) but I have a ? I bought my Echo Drive solar tech 180 close to the day they were first released and it does not say Titanium on the dial BUT it is TT I can tell by the weight ! Anyone ever see one like that and does anyone know what yr these came on the market I would kina like to know . I bought it to replace an expencive Omega Seamaster someone stole out of my wife purse she was taking it in for a cleaning for me . My 180 is a tank of a watch . For that matter so is the new one a Calibre 2100 Echo Drive I bought a couple yrs ago .B U T ful watch IMHO . I love the power meter on the new one . I also recomend having any watch you buy at any price taken to a watch dude and have him ck the bracelet pins even some $10.000 watches can and do have bracelet problem now and then even new ones . Just have him or her make sure the pins are secure and clasp and you should never have a problem he can put wider stronger pins in if needed fairly cheap osmetimes it only requires him to use a punch set to secure them better and that way you will never have one fall of your arm from a lose pin .

  53. 53
    Jesse says:

    Nice watches, company doesn’t stand behind product! I wouldn’t recommend!

  54. 54
    ME says:

    I have 2 eco drives and had them stored for 6 months after my house flooded…there is a reset function that I had to preform on one of them because it was “jumping” also. Go to the Citizen website for details…perpetual calender models are model specific and all others are quite simple…just pull crown out to time adjustment for 30 seconds and reset time. Worked on mine…hope this saves some of you some time and money.

  55. 55
    Roy says:

    Citizen couldn’t guarantee their servicing would fix my problem because they no longer have a replacement movement. They were going to try to refurbish using cannibalized parts from other watches. I decided against the repair, and instead invested the money in a new Seiko automatic mechanical watch. No more issues with batteries, capacitors or any other electronic components. I won’t buy another solar-powered watch ever again.

  56. 56
    Jose says:

    “Never needs a battery replaced” is not true. My Titanuim eco drive is 9 years old and now it do not retain charge. I should replace secondary battery and the distributor charge me more than one hundred dollars for repair it.

  57. 57
    mur_phy says:

    Mine is the Titanium Solar Tech 180 and I obtained it from a friend 10 years ago and it had been used I believe a couple years. Never had an issue with it. Time is not dead on but few watches are and if it is a minute or so fast, all well and good. Before I obtained this watch, I had been unable to wear a watch for a few years as the “gold” on most watches — straps/frames– would cause a rash and itching. Titanium being inert does not cause any issue so hopefully this watch will last many years still. I wear the watch daily and am generally indoors and the watch is off my arm when sleeping and no issues with charging at all. Would search out a replacement if I ever need to but hopefully that will not be necessary.

  58. 58
    Bill says:

    I’m one of those people you may have heard about who seem to generate an unusually strong electromagnetic field. Over the years I have killed countless spring-driven and battery-powered wristwatches within months just by wearing them, and had almost given up on watches altogether when I bought an Eco-Drive to celebrate my son’s birth. He’s almost 14 now and the watch has performed perfectly until just a couple of weeks ago when I saw the “jumping hand” for the first time. If I leave the watch lying around in a cool room overnight it seems to affect the capacitor and the watch sometimes stops (it’s only happened 3 times so far), but starts again as soon as I put the watch on and it absorbs my body heat. My watch is stainless steel, yet still lightweight and completely comfortable. I had 2 links removed from the band when I bought the watch, and have had no problems whatsoever with it. In fact I love the locking mechanism the band uses. I have worn this watch almost constantly for nearly 14 years in all situations, including outdoors doing yard work and on camping trips. My Eco-Drive is one of the best purchases I have ever made and I wouldn’t give it up for any other watch. If I ever lose it, I will immediately buy another.

  59. 59
    JV says:

    Thank you, ME. Resetting the watch by adjusting the date and time got the watch working properly again. Since I left it in the light and the second hand still kept skipping, I thought it was the capacitor.

  60. 60
    my says:

    Can anybody tell me what is battery life of ECO drive watches.

    Because Citizen eco drive website claims that that battery will go fo 22 years.

  61. 61
    forest sanborn says:

    I just got a eco drive for my b-day i love the watch but the second hand stops at 12 every few hrs or so..the time stays correct ..how do i fix.

  62. 62
    jlk says:

    I also purchased this watch 9 years ago and have never changed anything but the time ,,Great watch…….

  63. 63
    balut says:

    the hubby has this exact same watch, bought in 1997. he has been wearing it everyday since then and thanks to the sapphire glass which makes it scratch-proof, it still looks like new to this day. battery has never been replaced!

    love these watches; i own 3 ladies eco-drives. the one i bought in 2002 stopped recharging in 2010 but its working like new again after a capacitor replacement. great watches!

  64. 64
    Daniel says:

    Can’t believe this article is still viewed.

    I have 2 Citizen Eco-Drive watches. The one I chose for my 21st in 2007 (it’s also titanium, similar to the one in the article…just a “newer model” you can say; it’s an e100-s011922). And I just had to get another so that I could choose which I’d like to wear for the day. So I got the BT0001-55L just 4 days ago, which has a perpetual calender and just has a different look to my other.
    I’ve never experienced low charge or anything, and hope for many many years still. Lovely, quality watches.

  65. 65
    Naiomi Shimmin says:

    Me and my husband received a Citizen eco drive each as wedding presents nearly ten years ago and both are still going strong!
    I wear mine more for special occasions and just make sure it as some light when not being worn and it as worked fine and kept fantastic time. My husband as worn his almost everyday, as a result some of the gold finish as worn off, so have just ordered this new one for him
    http://www.goldandtimes.co.uk/mens-citizen-ar1124-59e-eco-drive-two-tone-black-dial-stainless-steel-watch-1381-p.asp
    Hopefully he will get as much use out of it as his old one

  66. 66
    Phil says:

    Great until you have to change the time/date then completely impossible to set. How difficult can it be. Rubbish.

  67. 67
    Olga says:

    Hi! I just bought a Citizen CA0080-03E, it is a gift so I am not taking it out of box (transparent). The long, thin second arm is not moving though, while the two others are, same case with the little arrow on the bottom of the watch. is it just due to empty battery, or should I get it replaced? Thanks!

  68. 68
    Pharcyde says:

    I have a Men’s Blue Angel Skyhawk that I purchased about 9 yrs ago… This watch was a favorite as it was great for both diving and travel. unfortunately It’s been in for repair ($150) and gradually was not keeping acurate time and finally about a year ago stopped working all together (I tried charging in sunlight, lamplight & flashlight) LOL… I really like the watch but don’t want to spend another $150+ getting it repaired… For me replacing a battery (I have another nice watch that has lasted longer and the battery has been replaced 1 time @ a watch repair shop for $30)… I think I’ll stick to the more traditional watched that need batteries… :^(

  69. 69
    Lucky says:

    Got Citizen eco as gift 2 years ago, has laid in drawer and not worn much. Now after sitting in the sunlight and lamp light it won’t stay running for any length of time. The second hand jumps 2 minutes at a time, odd? How long is the warranty? It still looks like new but won’t stay running. What a shame. What to do?

  70. 70
    ckyjohn says:

    I have had three now in the past 6 years (last two were presents). The first was only worn for special occasions and lasted about a year and then the adjustment pin came off when I adjusted the time. It still worked for about 6 months after that (with the wrong time) and then quit completely. The second lasted about a year and quit. The third stopped last week after about 2 years of fairly steady usage. I would not buy another and wanted to let others know they are nice to look at but are problematic. Bulova Precisionist will be my next watch.

  71. 71
    Jason says:

    I bought an eco-drive for my wife for Christmas. I can’t say how dissapointed I am. It does NOT work. We have had it under my piano light for several hours and it does NOT work. The hands will not move. I have changed the time several times, pulling the setting button in an out several tmes. It simply will not go. I buy cheap watches from WalMart because I migt damage them at work. I have never had one that didn’t work. The first time I buy an eco-drive, it doesn’t work, right out the box. WHAT a Huge dissapointment, especially for Christmas.

  72. 72
    Donna says:

    I’ve had a ladies titanium Eco drive for probably close to 10 years, perhaps more. It’s NEVER quit working. I used to go through batteries every couple months in regular watches no matter where I got the batteries. Got fed up and my mom bought me a Cititzen for my birthday. Best watch ever! Cleans up with soap and water and I’ve never had to actually put mine in the light, it must charge enough with daily wear.

  73. 73
    barry conn says:

    I bought my Solartech 180 back in 1996 and it recently began to stop if left in the dark.
    A quick hunt around the Internet may have found the answer – you have to charge the watch fully, then unscrew the crown and pull the adjuster out to the last position. Leave it like this for at least 30 seconds to perform a full reset (this is important), then use normally.
    It’s working for me – I’ve left it in absolute blackness several nights to see if it dies, but it seems to be completely back to normal.

    Worth a try…

  74. 74
    JG says:

    DO NOT BUY Citizen Eco-Drive junk! With a battery watch, you replace the battery every five years, with Eco-Junk, you replace the capacitor every 5 years. $10 versus $150, your choice. There should be a class action suit due to the way these watches were promoted. True automatic watches do not store energy in a battery- batteries do not last forever. The downside is that a true automatic must be worn at least every other day or it will stop.

  75. 75
    Ron says:

    My ECO drive Citizin solar-tech divers watch died on me, after almost 13 years. Can not find any dealer in the netherlands with the right type of MT-920 Li-Ion cel to replace (special conector on the bottom side of the cell) . And shipping from overseas is not cheap (for somthing that almost ways nothing)

  76. 76
    Jianerix Ilo says:

    I still have my Solartech 180 and working perfectly. I have it since 1998! Very durable watch!

  77. 77
    Jianerix Ilo says:

    Err typo error, it was 1997, my wedding year ^_^

  78. 78
    Pata Negra says:

    I have the same exact watch reviewed. I’ve had it since 1997/1998 (can’t remember) and it’s been really reliable. I’ve had the capacitator changed in 2009 but other than that, it’s been great.

  79. 79
    gordon says:

    like most comments I read in this forum I agree. I spent 380.00 for this beautiful watch, and had the battery replaced once! 150.00 to replace. What a waist of money! This new batter lasted about 1/3 the time the new one did! If anyone knows of a good resource to purchase a new battery, I’ll fix it myself the next time.

  80. 80
    Ed says:

    Hi
    I just bought the AT 4010 50e.
    I want to charge it fully. The watch has an indicator that should show if watch is fully charged. I have had the watch under a light or sitting on dash for five days and the charge indicator has not moved.

    My question is do I have a problem

  81. 81
    del says:

    I have purchased 2 of woman citizen watches, first one worked for 5 years no problem until batteries had to be replaced , we have sent it to its own Citizen centre but they could not fix and my husband bought me another new one also eco-drive which i was happy until again the battery problem after 5 years and needed to send to them again and have no news after 2 months. So i would assume there is not need to buy any of citizen watches for me.So disappointed on my well spent money…

  82. 82
    vanessa j wright says:

    I bought a citizen pro-master ‘tough’ (ray Mears) £400 for my husband in 2002. It worked OK for 7 years and then stopped. We had a hectic few years and then one day we thought we would get it fixed. Big problem. Although the advertising claimed. “this watch is unstoppable” and is “going places” and “will never need winding or a battery” the fault was with the charge capacitor. We got bounced around all over the place to find a repairer for a watch that looked in new condition, without a scratch. Citizen UK didn’t want to know at all and just suggested that we sort things out for ourselves.

    £400 (in 2002) is not a kings ransom for a time piece but it is not cheap either and it would not be unreasonable to expect it to last a little bit longer without being written off. We eventually found somebody to take it on. It cost £80 to get going again and lasted all of two weeks before stopping.

    Watches should be expected to last a lifetime with care and maintenance unless they are sold as disposable or throw away. This watch and all the citizen watches of their ilk are sold on the basis of longevity.

    I have looked at the wording of their advertisements and often wonder how they are getting away with it.

    If your sentimental like me and you think of buying your hero a similar watch, forget it, pay a bit more and get a jeweled movement item than can be maintained for a lifetime. Don’t get attached to something that claims to get something it is not and has all the real credibility of a broken of a toaster.

  83. 83
    jody says:

    just bought a couple citizen gold watches for my wife and myself..i know about the gold color finish wearing off with time from guitars i have owned,and they were not cheap ones. they are gibsons. the gold wears off from touching the tuner machines or whatever hardware is plated on my guitars from the acids in the skin.. nothing can be done about it except to wipe off the piece after touching it..

  84. 84
    vanessa j wright says:

    What in the name of all that is holy was the last comment about????

  85. 85
    vanessa j wright says:

    These watches are bollocks

  86. 86
    Eddie says:

    Vanessa j Wright, you are right on the button. I too brought a Ray Mears Tough new, replaced the capacitor in 2009, four years later, same problem. Citizen, hang your head in shame. I am getting the run around now with the advice they no longer have parts to support this model yet there are identical but alternate branded versions ones currently available (less the single molded case and sapphire glass) – for Gods sake, it’s a time piece and not an overly complicated one at that. No Citizen, I do not want a discount over 25 – 30% on a new piece – I want my “tough” watch supported and fixed as it should be for the money and features you advertised. My alternative Oris auto is proving a lot more dependable so far… Not happy.

  87. 87
    Vanessa j wright says:

    Well said Eddie. I tried calling up Citizens service centre in the UK. I got through to some snotty bloke who had no sympathy whatsoever. He was adamant that the charge capacitors were never at fault. He claimed that other service companies were falsley claiming the charge caqpacitors were faulty to make a quick buck. I wish I had recorded the conversation it was absurd at best.

    Then he said what do you expect from a watch of this age. I pointed out the advertising claims which I considered went beyond ‘puffery’ or exageration. I said what is the point of having a 100 perpetual calender if the watch has to be thrown away after ten years and anyway, the watch had spent most of its time not working.

    You can buy vintage sieko divers watches from the early 80′s that you can have serviced for life and they still look cool and are appreciating in value. I wish I had gone down that route and would advise anybody considering buying a watch as a gift to go down that route.

    This Eco drive is the same as yours, a watch that Citizen claimed was the strongest that they had ever manufactured. The only replacement is a watch that has royal marine commando plastered all over it.

    We still have the watch, it looks as good as new, it is such a shame. Perhaps we could get another movement or caliber put into it.

    Cheers

    Vanessa

  88. 88
    mur_phy says:

    I posted a number of years ago at how good the Echo Drive solar tech 180 was and now 12 1/2 years after buying it used it is still working like a charm. Best watch I have ever owned. Nice part is that it is Titanium so does not affect my skin. Hope it lasts until I no longer need a watch. Not a fancy watch but serviceable and non-allergenic — perfect!!!

  89. 89
    Vanessa j wright says:

    Lucky you, but judging by how many companies offer after warranty replacements for the charge capacitor amongst other parts, there are a significant number of people who do not share your experience!

    Put it this way, if you had mine or eddie’s experience what would your post look like here?

    Advertising claims are just that I know. ‘puffery’ and are seperate from a warranty. But Citizen have stretched what is reasonably acceptable I think.

    This watch will never need a battery or need winding but it will need charge capacitors

    This watch is unstoppable Ho, hum

    This watch is going places repairers

    It will last forever powered by solar energy, etc, etc, etc again, Ho, hum

    And for their staff to be in denial of the capacitor fault is at best negligent. You call their UK service dept and see what they say..

  90. 90
    BJ says:

    I’m going to vent my great unease with Citizen every chance I get. First — Always “forever” for the battery is crap. Leave the watch out of the sun for 6 months and you get a serious repair bill. Citizen Customer Support is arrogant — couldn’t care less. Note***** I would not ever wear one of these watches, even if it were given to me. I hate this product, period. Their customer support just stinks.

  91. 91
    vanessa wright says:

    Quite right BJ, when I called up the UK service centre, their attitude stunk!

    If we sold watches with the claims they make and then let people down in the way they do, we would be heavily penalised.

    I’m thinking of starting a facebook page so that people have SOMWHERE to post their experiences. What do you think?

    Vanessa

  92. 92
    Jim D. says:

    I have a Citizen watch that is about 13 years old. It has sat on my dresser for quite a while and hadn’t worked for a bit. I put it by a lamp in my bathroom and it started working, only to have the second hand stop by morning once it was dark again. I wore it to work, very sunny day today, and in the car with the sun shining on it, everything worked fine. Once I got into my office, second hand worked for an hour then stopped but the watch hour and minute hands kept time. I have it sitting under a desk lamp again as I think because it sat for so long, it needs to fully charge up before working normally. If it needs a new capacitor, in the trash it goes.

  93. 93
    vanessa wright says:

    Does your watch have a misleading 100yr perpetual calender. Did it cost over 400 GBP in 2000. Was it sold with the slogan (puffery apparently) “This watch is un-stoppable” etc… Has your watch worked less than it has functioned in that time. Was it bought for someboby and has, or did have tremendous sentimental value. Did somebody by the watch for you thinking they had made a considered and clever purchase that refelcted the care they had for the person they where buying it for on the basis of gross ‘puffery’….

    Yeah, just chuck it away…

  94. 94
    Jack says:

    I bought my qife a Citizens Eco-Drive of which it quit last year adn I carried it to t repair place to get it fixed. He told me it was fixed but now if I take it out from under a lamp light it will quit in a little while. I’ve had it under this light now for about 3 days now the watch STINKS! Who leaves their watches in a light all te time????? Not a good watch I would not recomend it to anyyone

  95. 95
    Mike says:

    I purchased a stainless model in 1999 and it has worked non-stop for 15 years. I replaced the crystal a couple of years ago because I hardly ever take it off.

    My wife wants me to get a new watch but I’m proud of my old watch and is one of the few things that I spent good money on that I haven’t had to throw away because it was junk.

    A very good watch. I would buy another Citizen in a heart beat.

  96. 96
    vanessa wright says:

    Lucky you mike, your watch is doing what citizen claimed it should do, Have a thought for all the customers who feel cheated and have the opposite experience.

    You never know, your next Citizen eco drive might be a lemon and so you can join me here!

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