Tired of batteries? Who isn’t! It’s hard to argue that solar watches are the best nowadays, but we can show you with proof the value you get from using these eco-friendly devices.
In addition to its clean and renewable power source, a solar timepiece is a unique, sophisticated addition that you’d like to have in your collection. And the good news is it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
Are you ready for the best solar watches under $100?! Let’s get right into it!
|1. Casio Men’s Solar Sport Combination Watch
|2. Casio Men’s G-Shock GW6900-1
|3. Seiko SUT116 Two-Tone Watch
|4. Casio G-Shock GWM530A-1
|5. Timex Men’s Expedition Acadia
|6. Nautica N83
|7. Lead Weather Combat
Table of Contents
Reviews of Solar Watches Under $100
In this section, we’ll review 7 outstanding yet affordable solar watches, so keep on reading to find your best pick.
1. Casio Men’s Solar Sport Combination Watch – Editor’s Choice
The Casio Men’s Solar Sport Combination has a powerful rechargeable battery with a power-saving operation for times when you’re not using the watch. This ensures the longest battery life possible that can exceed 10 months when the watch is fully charged, even if you don’t expose it to any light during this period.
Additionally, there’s a battery power indicator so that you can recharge the battery whenever needed without wasting your time on constant unnecessary recharges.
The watch features both analog and digital readings. Therefore, as implied by its name, it’s a combination watch. The digital screen is exceptionally useful to provide other functions, including a 1/100 second digital stopwatch, full auto calendar, and 2 countdown timers.
Furthermore, it supports both 12 and 24-hour formats with 5 daily alarms and hourly time signals as per the user’s preference.
Consequently, this watch is suitable for sports, including swimming and other water activities, as it’s 100-meter water-resistant. And best of all, the LED light makes the readings clear in bright sunlight as well as underwater.
Last but not least, the watch doesn’t only support the English language, but it also supports Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese when displaying the day of the week. Let alone the World Time feature, which instantly sets the time according to the country you choose.
- Long battery life
- Water-resistant for up to 100 meters
- Features both analog and digital displays
- Supports multiple languages
- Made of plastic
The Casio Men’s Solar Sport Combination offers a lot of value for its price. Although it’s made of plastic, it’s tough and sturdy, and unlike metal watches, it doesn’t heat up too much when you leave it in sunlight to recharge.
2. Casio Men’s G-Shock GW6900-1 – Best Construction
The Casio Men’s G-Shock GW6900 is a robust watch with a stainless steel case and a mineral dial window. Thanks to its shock-resistant body, you don’t have to worry about impact while practicing or when doing vigorous exercise. Another great bonus is the matt finish that makes it look far more expensive than it actually is.
The screen features an LED backlight for clear readings, even if there’s no light in the room. Moreover, the included battery lasts for 10 months after each full charge, so you don’t have to step out of your way to recharge it all the time.
This G-Shock GW6900 also supports World Time, including 48 different cities, so you don’t have to struggle with adjusting the time yourself.
Jumping off to the many convenient features the model offers to its users, the main screen displays the date, day, and time, and you can choose between the 12 and 24-hour format. Also, there’s a built-in calendar that you can use to plan your schedule. The stopwatch is another feature that you’ll need from time to time, contrary to the alarm that most users rely on daily.
It’s odd that the watch provides moon and tide data, and quite frankly, we barely even used it. However, it’s such a great feature for fishermen, especially that the watch is water-resistant for around 200 meters, so it’s not only suitable for taking showers, but also for fishing, surfing, snorkeling, swimming, jet-skiing, and other water activities.
- Reliable battery life
- Features World Time
- Provides information about the tide
- No analog display
The G-Shock GW6900-1 is an amazing option for all sorts of sports, including vigorous and water sports. Even though there’s no analog display, the digital screen is more practical, particularly in situations where there isn’t enough light around, like camping in a campsite with no electricity.
3. Seiko SUT116 Two-Tone Watch – Best for Women
The Seiko SUT116 is quite an elegant watch that will compliment your outfit. It’s a two-tone watch with silver and gold blocks, so it’ll go with everything you wear.
Although it’s an analog watch with no digital time display, it does feature a day and date calendar, but it doesn’t tell you which month it is. However, the month is relevantly unnecessary when compared to the exact date and day, as you mostly already know it without checking your watch or phone.
Regardless, the real issue is that you’ll have to re-adjust the date every couple of months because it’s set to 31 days. On the good side, though, re-adjusting the month takes a few seconds.
Another thing that we’d like to draw your attention to is that the watch is water-resistant for up to 30 meters only. Accordingly, it isn’t suitable for showers, swimming, or any activity that includes submersion. Nonetheless, it can withstand rain and occasional water splashes.
Also, the glass used is Hardlex crystal glass, which is way stronger than the mineral glass used for making most analog watches.
- Strong build
- Elegant and goes with many outfits
- Made of high-quality material
- Resistant to water splashes and rain
- Displays day and date
- Relatively expensive
- The date needs to be re-adjusted every month
The Seiko SUT116 is a classy watch. Although it isn’t designed for sports or anything extreme, it’s a durable watch that looks fancy enough to catch the eyes, and with a solar battery, it’s quite a durable option, at least compared to standard watches.
4. Casio G-Shock GWM530A-1 – Best Value for Money
The G-Shock GWM530A-1 is an excellent alternative to the GW6900-1 we reviewed earlier. It’s more pocket-friendly, so it’s a better pick for those on a tight budget but still want to get a Casio G-Shock series watch.
As expected, the watch shares a lot with other models from the series. However, it’s a bit smaller and more lightweight, so it’s suitable for wearers with smaller wrists and anyone who usually wears long, tight sleeves that demand a less bulky watch.
The display is another big difference between the two watches, with the GWM530A-1 featuring the bigger display. As a result, the time and date are much easier to read, made even better with the full auto EL backlight screen with afterglow.
Although this watch has a slightly shorter battery life that extends for only 9 months, we didn’t notice such a difference because the battery constantly recharges, so it never died on us anyways.
As for the World Time feature, we noticed that the GWM530A-1 features 31 time zones only instead of the previous Casio solar watch’s 48 different time zones. Perhaps it’s not the best thing ever, but it’s still a minor compromise considering the price difference.
Other than that, the multiband atomic timekeeping, shock-resistance, and countdown timer remain unchanged and function with the same efficiency in both watches. Also, the GWM530A-1 is water-resistant with a maximum of 200 meters.
- Features bigger digits and a clearer display
- Shock and water-resistant
- Slightly reduced battery life
- Features 31 time zones only
As you can tell, the difference between the G-shock GWM530A-1 and other G-Shock solar watch models is close to nothing. The entire line is under $100, yet, this model saves you more money while delivering a similar user experience on many levels.
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5. Timex Men’s Expedition Acadia – Best for Classic Outfits
The Expedition solar line is the best to go with a tuxedo, including Acadia, Scout, Ranger, and Gallatin watches. We’ll only review Acadia, but with the exception of the color and slight design differences, the four watches are almost identical, so feel free to pick whichever you like.
Timex Acadia comes in a sturdy 40mm resin case with acrylic crystal and a 20mm fabric strap that fits wrist circumferences up to 8 inches. The numerals are big and clear to make up for the absence of a digital window display. Nonetheless, there’s a date display at 3 o’clock. Also, the analog features 24-hour military time, again, as compensation for not featuring a digital window.
Because this watch isn’t made for exercising or anything rough, Timex didn’t invest in maximizing water resistance to cut down the price.
Accordingly, the watch is only water-resistant for up to 50 meters only; therefore, it withstands rain, splashes, and perhaps recreational swimming. On the other hand, showering, diving, snorkeling, and other similar activities can ruin the interior of the watch.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the battery life reaches 4 months at max. This is quite a long time considering it’s a solar watch that recharges using a clean and cheap energy source. However, it’d have been a bit more convenient if we didn’t have to recharge it three times per year, but being such an affordable pick balances it out.
- Made of quality material
- Looks fancy and elegant
- Features a dedicated window for the date
- Straps are easily replaced
- Low water resistance
- Relatively low battery life
The Timex Expedition Solar watch collection is the best for men who like to dress nicely. The Acadia, specifically, is for the minimalists who don’t want to take it too far when it comes to the design, the color, the performance, and of course, the cost.
6. Nautica N83 – Best for Casual Looks
The Nautica N83 is a stylish solar-powered watch designed to run, hit the gym, and just go about your day. The watch’s design is quite unique, with a hint of a sporty touch that you instantly notice in the slip-thru strap style, with the log drawn all through.
The case itself is made of brass and is about 43mm, so it’s not so big but rugged to withstand roughness.
We wish we could say that the watch is suitable for swimming or diving, but the water resistance is only for 50 meters, so it can’t handle anything extreme. Still, this watch is ideal for occasional water splashes and heavy, sweaty exercise. It can also hold up to a short period of recreational swimming every now and then.
Just like the previous model, the Nautica N83 features a date window at 3 o’clock, but that’s about it when it comes to extra features.
Although some users might expect more, having gone through our list, this watch is no less than any other traditional analog watch. On the contrary, with such premium quality and sufficient water resistance, it’s safe to say that it’s as worthy as any standard high-end watch with solar power and affordability on top.
- Excellent construction
- Innovative design
- Features a date window
- Water-resistance could be enhanced
The Nautica N83 targets younger men who aren’t concerned about formality as much. If you’re looking for an affordable watch with a long battery life that relies on a clean source of energy, the Nautica N83 is the watch to go for.
7. Lead Weather Combat – Budget Pick
The Lead Weather Combat military watch is pretty basic and straightforward. Yet, it has everything you might need for outdoor activity and travel. Also, it’s the most affordable option on the list, as it costs less than $50 dollars, so it’s worth checking.
What dazzles the most when trying out this watch is the incredible battery capacity that reaches up to 791 days (around 26 months). It’s important to note, though, that the battery life depends on the power source, as it charges with any light source, not just direct sunlight.
That said, the watch supports all the basic functions provided by its rivals, including a stopwatch, split time, an alarm, a timer, and lap time. It’s also 100-meter water-resistant, so it can handle light water activities that don’t include submersion.
- Extremely affordable
- Long battery life
- Features a remaining battery indicator
- Comes in a strong stainless steel case
The Lead Weather Combat solar watch offers an unmatchable value. It might be a bit too thick for some people, but with the metal construction, it definitely looks more valuable than it actually is.
How to Pick a Solar Watch
Still not sure how to choose the best solar watch? We’ve got you covered! In this section, we’ll go through some essential features that guarantee an outstanding user experience.
Even though solar watches rely on the same idea, which is charging using solar energy, there are some major differences when it comes to how they operate. For instance, for someone who uses their solar watch regularly, the watch will always be charged, as it gets a glimpse of light all the time.
However, what if you don’t use the watch on a daily basis? Some watches feature a power-saving mode that keeps them running for the longest period possible. Also, your watch might include an automated timekeeper that allows it to adjust itself without having to be manually adjusted every time it’s recharged after the battery dies.
As you may have already noticed, solar watches come in a wide variety of designs. As a result, it’s crucial to pick one that goes with your style or the situations you use the watch in.
We’re sure most readers were surprised to see sleek and elegant solar watches on the list. These watches are great for formal attire; the question is, will you be wearing such watches to work, or do you prefer that style and wear it all the time?
On the other hand, some designs address casual wearers, other watches are designed for sports and outdoor activities, and so on. You also need to consider other aspects like the color, the dial’s design, and the display type (analog or digital).
The watch’s material determines its durability. Our favorite frames are metal ones because they’re tougher and can withstand heavy use. Moreover, they look more valuable and sophisticated than plastic or even rubber ones.
As for the bands, they could be made of the same material as the frame or a different material. Nonetheless, if the frame is metal and so is the band, you must consider the weight of the watch before making up your mind because such a watch could be extremely heavy. Leather or nylon bands, however, are more tolerable and relatively lightweight.
With that in mind, there’s no right or wrong here; we’re just putting it all in your head so you can choose what works for you best.
The fit is another important aspect to consider, whether it’s the size or the overall design. You should feel comfortable wearing the watch on your wrist without having to deal with excessive pressure. Meanwhile, the watch shouldn’t be too loose for you to wear.
The good news is, you don’t always have to pick your exact size. Instead, you can get a slightly bigger band with the appropriate width and make an extra hole for the buckle. Also, if you get a watch with a metal strap, you can take it to a jeweler to remove one or two pieces so that the watch fits you better.
Many solar watches are waterproof, but they’re not as water-resistant as each other. If you don’t engage in water sports, then splash proofing is more than enough for rainy days and unexpected spills.
However, if you’re more into swimming or diving, choosing a water-resistant watch is a must. In such a case, picking the level of resistance depends on the diving depth, but you should always leave room for more resistance than needed.
Some of the factors we mentioned earlier contribute to the watch’s quality and durability, like the material and waterproofing. Nonetheless, there are some other factors that add more value to the watch, like scratch resistance and the extra pieces in case any of its parts breaks. Warranty is another thing that’s worth thinking about before you invest in a new solar watch.
Lastly, one might need the additional features that come with the watch like reliable weather detection, alarms, stopwatches, timers, reminders, etc.
Some watches allow users to choose their time zone and automatically adjust the time accordingly. This is quite handy for businessmen and bloggers, as they travel a lot, and manually adjusting the watch isn’t per se convenient.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Solar Watches Last?
Solar watches are extremely durable, at least compared to traditional ones. The batteries inside solar watches don’t need replacement, and it was proven that they reserve up to 85-80% of their capacity after 20 years of constant use.
Can You Overcharge a Solar Watch?
No, you can’t overcharge a solar watch, as the battery stops absorbing solar energy when it’s fully charged. Such function guarantees the battery doesn’t degrade with regular charges to maximize longevity.
Can I Charge My Solar Watch Without the Sun?
Yes, you can charge a solar watch using regular room light. However, it takes a longer time compared to solar recharging.
It’s crystal clear that there are plenty of affordable solar watches on the market. Sure, this makes things a bit more challenging, yet it’s a guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.
From where we stand, the Casio Combination Watch and the Casio G-Shock GW6900-1 are the best solar watches under $100. Sadly, these two models are designed for men. So, we recommend the Seiko SUT116 Two-Tone Watch for women as it’s simple, compact, and classy.
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