The Top 5 Solar Atomic Watches Reviewed
Wrist watches are almost timeless. They feel like they’ve been around since the year dot, but they’ve come on leaps and bounds in recent decades. But when you’ve got so many different apps on your various gadgets it’s nice to have a watch that’s just a watch.
But that said, it’s also nice for the said watch to be super environmentally friendly, super low maintenance and highly accurate to boot. That’s where solar atomic watches really hold their own.
Powered by light, there’s no batteries required whatsoever, no need to ever change the batteries or buy new and have the old batteries dumped somewhere polluting a landfill.
And with a solar atomic watch, you get the best possible accuracy, automatically reset for you every single night.
We’ve been reviewing some of the best solar atomic watches that are out on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our Top 5 to show you.
And then after that we’ve got a handy buying guide for you which comes complete with answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Best Solar Atomic Watches
It features a digital display rather than an analog one, which in mind at least, makes it quicker and easier to read. You can tweak the time as you please to have it in either 12 hour or 24 hour format.
At the same time, it also displays the day and the date. This is quite the handy little feature. When you’re on vacation for example you can lose track of the days without a calendar.
In addition to its regular resetting of the time for absolute accuracy, it also has 4 daily alarms including a snooze alarm. To be honest I think it’s really handy to have more than one alarm per day, I use mine to remind me to take my medication.
It also has a 1/100 second stopwatch, and countdown timer. The latter is particularly handy if like me you haven’t got a timer on your stove.
And talking about handy functions, there’s also a backlight, so you can read it in the dark or in low light. And a battery power indicator and battery saving function. And talking about battery life, if it’s packed away for 9 months without being powered by light, it should still work when you take it out of the box.
It’s stainless steel construction means that not only will it not rust, but it’s actually shock resistant to boot. So rugged and durable. It’s even water resistant up to a whopping 200m, meaning you could even wear it swimming and it won’t get damaged.
It’s worth noting at this point that Amazon sometimes has really good deals on this particular watch, so if you’re not in a rush for it, it’s well worth periodically checking the site for a good deal.
As for customer feedback, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. On the Amazon page for example, over 80% of customers (out of well over 1000) rated at an impressive 5 full stars out of 5.
- Good, wear-anywear look
- Great broad functionality
- Rugged & durable
- Often on offer at Amazon
- Great customer feedback
- Some people prefer analog dials
- Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping, Tough Solar Power, Shock Resistant
- 200M Water Resistant, Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow, World Time
- 4 Daily alarms and 1 Snooze Alarm, Hourly time signal, 1/100 second stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Full auto-calendar, 12/24 hour formats, Button operation tone on/off
- Battery power indicator, Power saving function, Storage battery: Solar rechargeable battery, Approx. battery life: 9 months on full charge (without further exposure to light)
It comes from Casio and comes with a range of different features that make it so much more than just a timepiece. It has the full ABC of outdoor watches, altimeter, barometer and compass. The digital compass even features bearing memory. So it’s great for taking hiking with you.
You may never even use half the functions, but knowing they’re there really adds to your sense of security, and is reassuring.
It has all the other usual good qualities of a Casio watch, such as stopwatch, countdown timer, power-saving function, and backlight.
The digital display is easy to read, and can be displayed in 12 or 24 hour format. And it can bring up world time, which is handy if you need to check in with someone in another corner of the globe.
As for the look, it sports a very large rotating bezel which really stands out against the digital dial and black resin band. It’s a watch that demands to be noticed and rightly so.
It’s water resistant up to an impressive 200m, meaning you can safely take it fishing or for water sports without worry of it getting damaged at all.
If you like the sound of this watch, it’s worth keeping an eye out for deals, as sometimes Amazon has $100 knocked off the list price.
Speaking of Amazon, we noticed again that over 80% of Amazon customers who bought this watch have rated it a full 5 stars out of 5. And that’s after well over 400 individual customer ratings.
- Great watch for the outdoors
- Best brand in the business
- Demands to be noticed
- Water resistant up to 200m
- Great deals available on Amazon
- Great customer feedback
- Perhaps not dainty enough for a women’s wrist
- Low temperature resistant(–10ºC/14°F) ;
- Solar-powered sport watch featuring stainless steel rotating bezel and digital dial with day/date display
- Features Tough Solar Power, Triple Sensor Version 3, multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping, low-temperature resistance, digital compass with bearing memory, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, world time, backlight with after-glow, four daily alarms with snooze, 1/10-second stopwatch, countdown timer, 12/24-hour formats, and power-saving function
- 56 mm resin case with mineral dial window ; Barometer Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg) Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg) Atmospheric pressure tendency graph Atmospheric pressure differential graphic Atmospheric pressure change indicator (arrow indicates significant change in pressure)
- Quartz movement with digital display and Buckle closure, Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft)
It has a very easy to read digital display, in 12 or 24 hour format, and the display also states the day and date.
As a solar atomic watch, it will charge when exposed to light and is automatically reset every night. But it has other stand out features besides.
The watch comes from Casio’s G-shock range, the line most frequently used by military personnel and outdoor enthusiasts. It is shock resistant and water resistant up to depths of 200m. It’s basically a watch you can take anywhere and will stand up to anything.
We also love it’s EL Backlight with afterglow. You simply press the EL backlight button when you want to read the time in the dark, and the light will stay on for a couple of seconds to give you a chance to read the time or check the date etc.
It also has those other great digital watch features such as alarms, world time, countdown timer, and stopwatch. And there’s a battery power indicator, and power saving function.
Customer feedback has been very positive on the whole, with over 50% of Amazon customers rating it at 5 stars out of a possible 5.
Amazon sometimes has great deals on this watch, so why not take a look now. It’s actually one of the more affordable solar atomic watches in our Top 5 picks anyway.
- Sleek white design
- Top well established brand
- Shock resistant
- Water resistant
- Positive customer feedback
- You can get a deal
- The strap, being white, can stain
- "Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping, Tough Solar Power (Approx. battery life: 7 months on full charge (without further exposure to light), Shock Resistant, 200M Water Resistant, Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow, World Time -31 times zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, daylight saving on/off , 4 Daily alarms and 1 Snooze Alarm , Hourly time signal, Flash alert
- Rally Mode, World Time- 29 times zones (48 cities + Universal Coordinated Time), city code display, daylight saving on/off, 1/100 second stopwatch -Measuring mode: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times, Countdown Timer -Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments), Auto-calendar, 12/24 hour formats, Button operation tone on/off, Battery power indicator, Power saving function
- When not using watch, position the face so it is pointed at the source of light.
This solar atomic watch from Casio is huge – this is the one to wear when you want everyone to ask you about your watch. In fact it’s so big and bulky, there are 4 very visible screws holding the bezel in place.
With it’s all-black masculine look, it’s quite a sporty and durable number, again taken from Casio’s tough and rugged G-shock range. It’s both shock and water resistant, suitable even for taking for water sports and fishing.
Again it has a digital display which can be set to 12 or 24 hour format. The time display is a very clear grey on black, and can even be read in the dark, thanks to its EL backlight.
It features the world time, covering 31 different time zones and times in 48 specific cities, so you always know when it is or isn’t appropriate to make a long distance call.
It also features day/date/month calendars, a stopwatch, a daily alarm with snooze, and a tide graph.
Customer feedback has been really positive. On the Amazon page for example, over two thirds of customers have rated it at 5 stars out of a possible 5.
And the price point seems to be fairly consistent whoever you buy it from.
- Top well established brand
- Tough masculine look
- Shock resistant
- Water resistant to 200m
- Easy to read display
- EL backlight
- Features world time
- All your usual features
- Positive customer feedback
- Very reasonable price point
- Possibly too bulky looking for a woman’s dainty wrist
- Solar-powered sport watch featuring atomic time keeping, world time in 48 cities, and EL backlight
- Features 1/100-second stopwatch, daily alarm with snooze, 12- and 24-hour formats, tide/moon graph, 31 time zones, and day/date/month calendars
- 50 mm resin case with mineral dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with digital display
- Resin band with buckle closure
Well, actually it’s both analog and digital so you get the best of both worlds, and you can simply read it whichever way you find easiest. It comes on an adjustable black resin band, and is quite easy to read with large accents appearing where the clock face’s numerals would be.
And to make it even easier to read, there’s Luminous Hands and Markers, or if needed a Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow.
Despite it’s much sleeker appearance, this watch offers all the toughness and durability that you see in the other watches across Casio’s G-shock range. Including the shock resistance and up to 200m water resistance, making it safe to take out in the rain or fishing, or for light water sports.
It offers great functionality, with up to 5 daily alarms, world time, stopwatch, countdown timer (so handy) battery power indicator, and power saving function.
Customer feedback, again is very positive, using the Amazon ratings as an example, over two thirds of customers have rated it at 5 full stars out of a possible 5.
This is also one of the more affordable versions among Casio’s solar atomic variety of watches, and even at list price it comes under $100.
- Top well established brand
- Both analog and digital
- Smart, sleek design
- Great functionality
- Luminous minute hand
- Full Auto EL Backlight
- Shock resistance
- Up to 200m water resistance
- Positive customer feedback
- Favorable price point
- When in low light, the red hour hand can fade into the background if you don’t put the backlight on
- Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping, Tough Solar Power (Approx. battery life: 6 months on full charge (without further exposure to light), Shock Resistant, 200M Water Resistant, Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow, Neo-brite Luminous Hands and Markers, World Time -31 times zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, daylight saving on/off , 5 Daily alarms, Hourly time signal
- 1/100 second stopwatch -Measuring mode: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times, Countdown Timer -Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments), Full Auto-calendar, 12/24 hour formats, Button operation tone on/off, Battery power indicator, Power saving function
- Accuracy: +/-15 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
Buying Guide with Answers to your Most FAQs
What’s the difference between a solar powered watch and a solar atomic watch?
Whilst both these types of watches are powered by small solar panels, a solar atomic watch is different in that it sets its time using a radio signal that’s broadcast from the nearest solar powered atomic clock in order to set and rest the time, keeping the watch time consistent.
In the US, this clock is at the Fort Collins building of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, based in Colorado.
How does a solar powered watch work?
The solar panel on a solar wristwatch converts light, from any available light source, into electrical energy, which is then stored in a rechargeable cell, which can then go on to power the watch.
Does a solar powered watch still work when it’s dark?
Once charged, the watch’s rechargeable cell will keep the watch powered and ticking over in the dark right through the night. In fact a solar watch’s power reserve is so long that you can keep it packed away for up to 6 months (sometimes longer), and when you get it out it should still work.
What to look for in a solar atomic watch
In terms of their ability to power up from light, and their ability to accurately present the correct time, solar atomic watches are pretty much the same, and the remaining factors to look for in the watch, are those that apply to any watch.
These are the appearance, the functionality, the brand, the price point and the toughness.
Now, appearance comes down to personal taste. And although the watches on our Top 5 picks are marketed as men’s watches, we think some of them may well appeal to women too. The ones with the resin bands look very sporty, but the one with a stainless steel band would even suit as a dress watch.
Brand is a significant factor. In choosing our Top 5 picks we didn’t deliberately intend to focus on Casio’s offering, but just picked out the best ones on the market. But to be honest Casio is a world class brand for a reason, having been in the business for so long and producing watches of such great performance. If you did want to look at another brand to compare, then you should check out Seiko.
When it comes to price, you can get a good solar atomic watch without having to break the bank, and several watches in our Top 5 picks come under the $100 mark. However if your watch is intended as a status symbol, then it’s down to you whether you want to pay accordingly. But no one’s really going to know how much your watch cost you unless you tell them.
A good solar atomic watch can offer far more in terms of functionality than merely giving you the time. This is where watches can really come into their own. Here are some features that we feel every good digital watch ought to have: the date, a timer, a stopwatch, and at least one alarm.
Some watches even feature world time, which can be handy for some people but perhaps not for everybody.
Where solar atomic watches can offer further functionality is in their battery power indicator, and their battery saving mode. These are features worth looking out for.
With regards to how tough and durable your watch needs to be, that comes down to how and where you intend to use it. Whilst dress watches need some level of durability, there some watches, such as the some of Casio’s watches from their G-Shock range that we have covered in our Top 5 picks, that offer superior toughness and are not only shock resistant, but are also sufficiently water resistant for use in water sports.