Citizen Eco-Drive Watch Review


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

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 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)

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

Need to have the band professionally adjusted.


Product Information

  • Never needs a battery replaced.
  • Titanium case and band is extremely lightweight.
  • Resists water to 200 meters.
  • Need to have the band professionally adjusted.
Posted in: Watches and Clocks

{ 129 comments… add one }

  • watchfreak January 30, 2015, 7:16 pm

    Ive worn my eco drive nesr daily 3yrs ,been knocked bumped shallow water and my work watch (im in building industry) ,never failed me ,its the bm6400 e111 tough model 200m wr. Im buying another ,everythig is good about this watch model the band the case the dial ,dates a bit small tho . Seems like theres more working citizen watches than duds ,im buying more eco drive models in the future ,even5 yrs on te wrist good to me .

    • Vanessa Wright January 31, 2015, 4:06 am

      Glad to know you do not own a dud! My watch cost £415 in 1999. I was told it would never need batteries, it would never need winding, it was going places and was un-stoppable. No mention that you will need new charge capacitors eventually and then if like me you are really un-lucky, after one change, it cannot be done again when it stops once more because…………. Citizen have changed the caliber of the watch.

      No comeback to the original capacitor changer because, get this. They do not offer a guarantee even though you were told to go to someone not belonging to Citizen, by Citizen because they did not recognize this failure at that time.

      In fact, if you ring up their service centre in the UK, you can speak to a snotty technician who seems to think the whole thing is made-up, which flies in the face of reality.

    • Vanessa Wright January 31, 2015, 9:29 am

      Why don’t you buy two watchers at a time and then you could have twice the satisfaction.

      Manufacturer sells dud watches but they are ‘outnumbered’ by ‘good’ watches????

      Good job Citizen don’t make pacemakers then innit?

      • watchfreak May 26, 2015, 2:31 am

        You obviously received a dud ,take it back to where you purchased it. Every comment ive read about eco drive has been positive ,maybe your problem isnt the watch .

        • vanessa wright May 26, 2015, 4:39 am

          No, it was not a dud. It functioned fine for four years.

          Then it stopped. Shortly after, we contacted Citizen who said that it was beyond warranty.

          Some research online mentioned the growing problem of failed charge capacitors. Also, there were some service centres that offered to replace the charge capacitor.

          At that time, there were few in existence as the eco drive watches were only then begining to fail en mass.

          We found one in Hockley Birmingham.

          The charge capacitor was replaced and the watch funtioned for 6 months and then stopped again.

          We contacted Citizen again. A nice man at the service centre seemed to be in complete denial of this fault and in fact lied about the need for ‘some’ watches needing this repair. He said that the usual cause for the watches failing were other reasons. Despite the now burgoning industry of centres offering capacitor replacement’s and even online guides and supplies. Nope, he insisted that the service centres were all just ripping people off. Oh, OK………..

          So, how about changing the movement we thought.. No can do, the calibre of the watch has changed even though the new version of the watch looks the same.

          So, that’s it. a watch that cost £440.00 pounds in 2000, has worked for five and a half years, is now useless.

          Against the hype and puffery and claims made for this watch, all of this is a joke. It is the watch know as the ‘Ray Mears Watch’, since he sported one for some time. (probarly until it failed).

          At the time, the claims were that it would never need winding, it was un-stoppable, it would last forever, the claims went on and on.

          Thank you for your observation, that the problem might not be with the watch. What does that mean?

          On the other hand, I do have a nice lemania 5100 calibre watch No1 designed by Jerry Porsche with PVD coating.

          Unlike citizen, Orfina, the makers of this timepeice, do support the maintainence and service of this watch, even though it dates to 1974.

          Unlike the mickey mouse service of citizens consumer branded toy watches, this watch truely can last forever and will be handed on to one of my children.

  • mur-phy January 31, 2015, 1:15 am

    Having posted before about my original Citizen ECO which I love and worked for the past dozen plus years, while I still have it and it functions just fine I bought another one which is a bit more dressy with a blue face and the other sits where it can keep itself charged but I also bought another one which is again different for one of my adult sons for XMAS so this family has a few ECO drive watches working and being enjoyed by members of our family.

    I did learn of another company doing similar watches but I did not find any with Titanium which is what I require so stuck with Citizen and so far happy with the choice.

    • Vanessa Wright January 31, 2015, 9:26 am

      It’s Mur-phy again. Glad is all well with you still and your wonderful titanium watch is still ticking like you!

      Are you paid by Citizen for your brand loyalty, or are you so moved to celebrate your watch you canott resist telling people over and over again?

  • Brian L March 26, 2015, 2:17 pm

    This Citizen Eco-Drive was a gift to myself. This was my first venture into an echo-drive watch, It was awesome watch back then and still is to this day. No need of batteries at all was the WOW factor.

  • vanessa wright March 26, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Like so may thousands of people Brian, your watch is OK until it needs a new charge capacitor, then you might be singing another tune. Do you work for Citizen?

  • Felix April 6, 2015, 11:58 am

    I have a Citizen eco drive 920202 H500. I had it as a gift for my 40 birthday. i have used it occasionaly. Maybe 5 weeks a year. now im 45 and the watch works when im on the sun. if i leave it in the closet by night next morning it has a 30 minutes delay.

    • vanessa wright April 6, 2015, 12:49 pm

      “Your watch will never need a battery” and all of the other puffery in the stupid adverts.

      However, what the liars at citizen never tell you is that you will have to replace the charge capacitor. Hope they still make the one for your model. Otherwise, it’s the scrapheap. See my previous posts.

      You should have bought a classic sports 100 or suchlike that you CAN maintain for life.

    • mur_phy April 6, 2015, 1:23 pm

      Felix — unfortunately, by not leaving the watch with access to daylight for many months you have created the problem you now have. The problem is not necessarily with the watch but with the user. As mentioned earlier, my watch has run and is running for 14 years of my usage and a couple of other years by the original owner. Because I saw another one I liked I bought it — because I can! The original now sits on my physical desk and thus has access to daylight and runs perfectly in tune with the one on my wrist and likely will do so for as long as I am alive. Try leaving the watch with access to daylight for some time and see if it will improve. Hopefully you will have some good luck and enjoy your watch for many more years.

      • vanessa wright April 6, 2015, 1:35 pm

        Same thing happened to mine and many other peoples watches. As for lasting for as ,long as you are alive!!!!

        Would you like to stake your life on that prediction.

        The fact is that all of Citizens ‘claims; are just advertising puffery and are not ilegal, though they should be. This is why, if you ring up their service centre in the UK, they will deny that a problem exists. Even though there is an army of repair centres offering a ‘fix’ for this problem.

        They have to deny it, because if they for a moment acknowleged the problem somebody might win a test case and people like me might have to be compensated, or they would have to make the issue of the failing capacitor public at the time of sale.

        Don’t take my word for it, ring up the service centre and ask if they are aware of this fault and the aftermarket repair services and centres.

        If its the same liar I spoke to, he will sniffily tell you that there is ‘not’ a problem and that the watch owners are being told, or lied to about the fault and theere are other problems probarly.

        I couldn’t believe the absolute cheek of the guy. In complete denial and for possessing such a brass neck.

  • Felix April 6, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Well I agree with you both, Murphy and Vanessa: Mechanical things should be maintained and running to be kept in shape. If they are going to be strored, should be a process to store them. But on the other hand Citizen does not tell you that when you buy it. Either you figured it, out or someone told you or maybe you were lucky enough that you found it out before you created the problem. As I am researching for information after the problem happened.

  • Bob G April 25, 2015, 9:12 am

    I have a Citizen Eco Drive 7875-HO4945 It needs to have a replacement Battery/Capacitor installed. I am mechanically proficient but this is a one piece body. I can only presume the Bezel has to come off and need to access from the top down since the back does not come off. I do not want to destroy this beautiful watch trying to fix it. Can someone provide advice or youtube reference for doing this?

    • vanessa wright April 25, 2015, 10:16 am

      A new Capacitor, how do you know it needs a new capacitor? I was told by the kind man at the UK service centre that the watches did not have this fault. I asked him why were there so many after service centres supplying this service then. His reply (and I wish I had recorded this bit) was that people were being taken for mugs and there probarly were other faults with the watches like water ingress.

      Give the service center a ring and let me know what they tell you.

  • Gary Fleming May 8, 2015, 7:25 pm

    I have had Citizen WR200 Titanium Solar-Tech 180, since Christmas 1998, it has worked flawlessly for 16 1/2 years, no service other than band pin failure required. I guess my capacitor is holding up. Hope to get another 5 to 10 to ? years. I have worn it everyday since often in rough sports conditions. I just bought another EcoDrive watch of a different style hoping for the same quality as this one.

    • mkduffer November 18, 2015, 3:02 pm

      I have a solar-tech dual tone from around the same time (More like September of 1998). Like you, it’s operated pretty much flawlessly and like you, I’ve also had issues with pins in the band. The band has never broken, but I’ve lost some pins, which had to be replaced. Even with the missing pins, the band still functioned fine. About 7 years ago, I received a eco-drive chrono w/ day/date, so the dual tone was relegated to party use (it’s more dressy). A few years back, my wife moved it into the dresser drawer. From time to time, I’d take it out, charge it, wear it, then put it back in the drawer, which has now apparently damaged the battery (my fault). I think I paid less than $400 for the watch originally. Considering that it lasted over 14 years and kept fantastic time, I consider it well worth the price. The only time I ever had to reset the time was when I let the battery run dry. In all the time that I’ve own the second watch, it’s always been charged and I’ve never had to adjust the time. Best time pieces I’ve ever owned. That being said, I’ve been looking at some Casio solar watches which I might buy for work. I’ve been wearing the eco-drives everywhere I go, and they have been holding up, but through my carelessness, I’ve scratched the bezels and crystals on both. I’m hoping to use the Casio as a beater. Both Citizens are WR200 and have been worn at the beach, in the water, free diving and while golfing. Fabulous watchs, IMHO. I’m very happy with my purchase. BTW, I’m getting the battery replace on the Solar-Tech. I’ll be more careful with it, once I get it back.

      • mkduffer November 18, 2015, 3:06 pm

        Oh, in 2002, bought my wife an eco-drive, which she has been using and wearing without incident ever since. The owner’s manual does have specific care instructions and it was only after I had damaged my battery that I bothered to check. Actually the Solar-Tech 180 still functions, but battery life has been shortened to about a day, so I need to be sure that it gets enough sun-light on a daily basis.

  • Tim August 5, 2015, 7:26 pm

    I have been wearing my ecodrive since 2007. I did have to get the band adjusted, but other than that it is an excellent timepiece. Running solid for over 8 years. Much better than any watch I have owned.

  • John August 20, 2015, 3:34 pm

    Bought a Citizen Solar Tech 180 in August of 1998, have worn it almost everyday since and has been running perfectly for the last 17 years. Only one little scratch on the face after all this time.

    • Julie Strietelmeier August 20, 2015, 3:41 pm

      Built to last!

      • vanessa wright August 20, 2015, 5:15 pm

        Built to last, oh c’mon, just like a Rolex? The advertising says one thing, the reality is another.

        My watch advertising said….

        “This watch will never need winding” ……..True

        “This watch will never need a battery” ……………..True, but it did need a charge capacitor after four years!

        “This watch will go on forever”………………..Yes, as long as your replacement charge capacitor lasts!

        “This watch is unstoppable”………………….Yes until your replacement charge capacitor, installed by a third party, at Citizens direction fails!

        “Powered by the sun, it will last forever”……………Until you are told that a replacment calibre, to rectify the watch that has spent more time not working, than working is not available because the original calibre is obsolete?

        Check ouit the advertising for the Ray Mears Titanium Eco Drive and tell me this is fair????

  • RaineA October 17, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Vanessa Wright stop, just stop! We get that you are unhappy with your watch and the service from Citizens. How many times are you going to post the same complaints! Move on with your life and enjoy your watches that do work. Time waits for no man or woman.

    • vanessa Wright October 18, 2015, 10:26 am

      You obviously do not understand how open forums work.

      I am just as entitled to berate Citizen, anywhere I wish and however I want to as, you are to make your comment’s…Thank you.

      It it was not for a watch that was sold as unstoppable, etc,etc,etc..Blah, blah, blah that only lasted for four years and cost me £320 I would not be here.

      Citizens support and interest in this matter has been nothing more than risable.

      Would YOU be happy to be ripped off, or do you think it is acceptable to pedal such garbage?

  • Diver Dale November 14, 2015, 6:02 pm

    So, just to set the record straight, I am not a hater of Citizen! I bought my first Citizen in Japan in 1966 and it did three tours of duty (United States Marine Corps) with me in Vietnam and to borrow a Timex phrase, it took a licking but kept on ticking. I bought an Aqualand C023 around 1990-1991 as my new dive watch and have loved it forever. It is still working even though I can’t count how batteries I have put in. I used to send it in for the replacement batteries but at$65-$75 a pop I decided to do it my self… I still wear this as my every day watch… The problem I am having is with the “new” Eco-drive watch my wife got me for Christmas 5 years ago. I only use it once every few weeks but the last time I went to use it, and I leave it out on my dresser to pickup the ambient light and not go dead, it was dead… I put it in the direct sun for 6 hours but to no avail. I went on line today to see if there was a trick or something that I was missing to get it to charge and when I entered the caliber movement # of 1013 Citizen’s website with the charging guide does not return a find for that caliber. It has 1012 and 1015 but no 1013… What’s up with that? I hear the frustration of Vanessa Wright and the problems she has had. I am planning on sending my watch into Citizen with a please fix this request. We’ll see what the result of this is … and for all of you out there that make the “maybe it’s not the watch” comment, I don’t want to hear this… I understand the charging system used by Citizen. I designed and installed all types of Photovoltaic systems all around thw world starting in 1980…. and I lived off grid standalone for 25 years… Citizen is not standing behind their product for Vanessa… Simple customer service. Make it right…

    • vanessa wright November 15, 2015, 4:33 am

      Hey River, at last a voice of reason.

      Like you, I am not being unreasonable. The watch I purchased was for my husband and there was a great deal of sentimental attatchment to that purchase..

      On the basis of the broad and extensive advertising campaign, I purchased the ‘Ray Mears’ eco drive watch..

      Whilst my husband was wearily resigned to the shoddy and un-supportive service from Citizen, it has pained me that the watch I chose for him, has failed so and has spent the vast majority of it’s early life defunct and un-workable.

      I wont forget the advertising claims and I will not forget the imediate lack of support from Citizen UK.

      From the get-go, they were in denial of any problem for what appears to have been a turkey. As I have said before, Citizen UK tech, denied that there was a problem and said the industry of privateers fitting aftermarket charge capacitors, were charlatons and pretenders for watches that had suffered water ingress?

      I hear the smug sentiments of those who own eco drives that have not had a problem, my only comment is that if they had been in my position, their story would be very different and I’m sure thtat some would be as angry and dissapointed with what can only be described as a product sold on puffery, which was not fit for purpose, and an aftermarket support which was no-existent.


  • mur_phy November 14, 2015, 10:59 pm

    It is indeed unfortunate that some users are having difficulty with the Eco Drive 180. It was easy to read the model # on the back of this one but the new one I bought a year ago is impossible to read as the text is just too small and it is impossible to get a magnifying glass lined up right without creating shadows so I have no idea of its model but it is one a bit more dressy.

    Having read many of the comments related to the watch, I decided that when I took off the 180 which is still a perfectly running watch, I would place it on my desk where it gets lots of direct and often direct sunshine and so far is still keeping perfect time as long as I remember to change from standard to daylight time. Since a year, I have only worn the watch outdoors doing some yard work on one occasion.

    Maybe too late now and I have no idea at all about calibre but maybe for others, keeping the watch in a room with more than just ambient light might do the trick. My wife neglected to keep her first watch in more direct light and it did bite the dust so she is now keeping another one in more direct light while wearing another Citizen which she recently began to wear.

    I don’t know for sure now but I think there may be other producers of solar watches so that might be an option for others considering any change. So far the price and value of the Citizen as well as the looks of the watch, particularly the new one is suiting me fine.

    Actually, I have enjoyed all of the watches enough to not only have my wife wear a few but also now have my adult son wearing one version which he enjoys too.

    Hope that you have some luck with getting an Eco to work for you and success with your endeavors to obtain assistance from Citizen.

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