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Solar vs Quartz Watches: The Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Solar vs Quartz Watches: The Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Solar and quartz watches are both the leaders in accuracy but which one is better? Find their main differences here!
Apr 09, 2024

Choosing a quartz watch has always been about accuracy as it is a battery-driven movement. Compared to mechanical watches, they win the heart of watch enthusiasts to offer preciseness. Yet, a battery will always need a replacement for a regular interval. Not to mention, the harm of throwing away a battery to the environment. This is where a solar watch is introduced to reduce the hassle of battery replacement.

Solar watches are timepieces that use light energy to power the battery of a watch. They also use a battery but the rechargeable one which means it can be used for a longer time, such as Seiko’s that can live for 10 years without a new battery. Nevertheless, each solar watches and quartz watches have pros and cons that one could be better than the other. 

In this article, I’m going to discuss both solar watches and quartz in several aspects. Let’s get into the discussion!

Quartz Watches

 What is a quartz watch? It is a timepiece driven by a battery to keep the watch running. Technically, the whole process is regulated through the vibration of quartz crystals at a certain frequency. Quartz was introduced in 1969 by a leading Japanese watch brand, Seiko. Its coming was very much welcomed as it offers something the world of horology doesn’t have. A high level of accuracy that mechanical watches do not own.

No one has predicted that quartz would make a huge change. At that time, quartz was considered a cutting-edge technology that nearly ended the whole industry of watchmaking or known as the Quartz Crisis. Many years come, and most watch enthusiasts come to realize that quartz doesn’t truly hold the level of craftsmanship as mechanical watches do. 

However, the fact that we can still enjoy quartz-driven watches means that they are still highly favored in this industry. It comes at a more affordable price and, definitely, a high-quality performance. If you observe a little deeper, you’ll find the ticking sound on the quartz dial utterly fascinating. So, they’re not that bad after all.

Solar Watches

There isn’t quite much difference between quartz watches and solar watches. They both use a battery to drive the watch yet different energy sources. While quartz is fully battery-driven, solar watches apply a solar mechanism to make the watch runs.

In solar watches, the battery is rechargeable using the energy of light. That way, the user doesn’t need to regularly change the battery as in quartz. A solar watch battery can last for up to 10 years without any replacement as long as it is cared for properly and follow the guidelines for charging.

Technically, the technology converts any kind of light — mostly sunlight — into energy to drive the watch. Under the watch dial, there is a solar cell that will receive the solar energy and store it in the rechargeable battery. 

Read also: Seiko Solar Watches: A Brief Talk on Mechanism and Collection

The Pros of Quartz Watches

The definite answer to why quartz watches are favorable might be on their accuracy offered at a modest range price. Yet, there are other things to be reasons for purchasing quartz watches.


The idea of quartz watches has always stuck to the accuracy it offers. There are different levels of accuracy the consumers can enjoy. The rate of ±15-20 seconds per month is the performance level for the most minimum while the most high-end quartz watches can offer accuracy within ±1-2 seconds per month.


Offered at a low-cost price is the advancements of quartz watches compared to mechanical timepieces. Battery-driven watches consist of fewer components and every part of them is made in mass production. Therefore, the budget to make quartz is lower than mechanical watches that need to be assembled thoroughly for each part.

While mechanical could only be made in a limited number, quartz watches can be produced in a hundred within a short time. No wonder the watch brand could provide a watch at a modest price. However, performance is still the utmost priority to give while making a timepiece. 

Low Maintenance Cost

The money you need to repair a quartz watch is low compared to giving service for a mechanical timepiece. They don’t have thousands of intricate elements inside the watch and, thus, make them much cheaper to get a service or replacement.

Slim Watch Profile

Fewer parts to power the watch, making quartz watches easier to be produced in a thinner profile. This is just another charm of having quartz watches as you can have a slim timepiece on your wrist.

The Cons of Quartz Watches

There is always the other side of the story and so does the idea of having quartz watches. Below is the list you should know about owning a quartz watch.

Difficult to Repair

Despite the fact of low-cost maintenance for the service, there are also times when some components of the watch are difficult to be repaired. Severe damage to a certain part of the watch could lead to a total failure of the movement. Thus, you’ll need a change for the whole, or even worse is a dead end.

Quartz movement consists of many electronic parts. Moisture or water can easily give fatal damage to the movement if not cared for properly. Therefore, pay attention to the level of water-resistance of the watch.

Quartz doesn’t Last Forever

This is such a bummer that quartz watches cannot last for a lifetime. They consist of electronic elements that are meant for replacement and will wear out for long-term use. Therefore, you can’t expect quartz watches to last beyond a lifetime.

Regular Battery Change

It might just be a mere thing to change a battery but for some people that could be a hassle to frequently do that. They typically take 1 to 3 years for a battery replacement. In some types of watches, the number of changes might be more frequent, such as in chronograph that needs more power to run. 

The Pros of Solar Watches

Solar watches were introduced not so far since the first quartz was released. It basically offers the advancements from quartz watches, such as reducing the hassle of battery replacement and decreasing the waste of batteries for the environment. Below are some other advantages of solar watches.

Eco-Friendly Timepiece

Increasing the awareness of environmental change is one of the focuses of solar watches. Using a rechargeable battery would lessen the battery waste. A single solar watch can remain for 10 years without battery change — you could imagine how significant it is to reduce battery replacement. 

Besides, solar watches do not need much cutting of precious metals compared to mechanical timepieces. Thus, it also reduces the use of precious metals.


Similar to their quartz counterparts, solar watches are also the god of accuracy and can even be way better than quartz. In a solar watch, you can typically find GPS, atomic clocks, and other elements to better provide accuracy for the watch down to milliseconds. The mechanism to receive solar energy can also lead solar watches to draw more energy compared to regular quartz watches.

Long-life Battery

As it is rechargeable, solar watch’s battery can be considered a long-life one as it can last to 10 years. Compared to quartz which could take 1 to 3 years for a replacement, solar watches are the advancement of the technology in horology. 

Charging to Any Light

I personally think this is the coolest part about having a solar watch. It can be recharged under any kind of light, either sunlight or room light. Yet, exposing the watch to sunlight would take a shorter charging time rather than under the lamp.

The Cons of Solar Watches

While solar watches offer a list of advantages for the wearer, they also have downsides that should be paid attention to. Here is the list.

More Expensive

Solar watches offer a new and advanced technology that definitely would cost higher rather than regular quartz watches. As many said that high-quality performance also comes with a high cost. The added value along with the high accuracy is the reason why it costs higher. 

Difficult to Repair 

The difficulties to repair are also the cons of solar watches. Even the added elements for the solar mechanism are another part that needs service. Some electronic parts come in assembly and can’t be parted. Therefore, damage in one part could lead to a bigger replacement. 

In the end, it can be said that either solar watches or quartz watches have their own advantages in certain aspects. Solar watches might lead in terms of battery life but they cost more when it comes to reparation. Quartz tends to be more affordable be it the watches or its watch service. So, whether you choose a solar watch or quartz, both of them have charm on their own.

You might also like: Watch Movement Types Explained: How Do They Work?

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