The Citizen Sapphire Eco-Drive Watch Review: Geek Cred in a Not So “Dumb Watch”

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The Citizen Sapphire Eco-Drive Watch Review: Geek Cred in a Not So "Dumb Watch" Listen to this article

I’ve worn quartz and self-winding (or automatic) watches in the past; both have their positives and negatives; for instance, quartz watches keep great time, but you usually have to replace their battery after a year or two. Automatic watches also keep great time, but if you don’t wear them for a couple of days they wind down; it’s always best to keep a self-winding watch on an automatic watch winder when you aren’t wearing it, so you don’t have to keep resetting it.

Eco-Drive, however, is an interesting mix of light power and a battery. Citizen invented the first light-powered analog quartz watch in 1976; “this technology, now known as “Eco-Drive,” can generate power from any light source, artificial, natural and even dim light to keep watches running without ever replacing batteries.”


I find it fascinating that any light source can power the watch; it doesn’t have to be solar. The light source doesn’t even have to be that good!

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Eco-Drive is designed so that any light source, no matter how dim, will generate the energy needed to power the watch.

When I first received the watch, I posted a picture of it on my social media networks. Interestingly enough, several friends let me know that they also own and enjoy their Eco-Drives. Here’s my friend David’s Eco-Drive collection; he has one watch (not shown) that has been running for over 10 years.



After I mentioned on Facebook that “the box for this [watch] says that the watch will keep working for 6 months even if stored in the dark,” my friend Drew said, “Yes that is what’s great, I’ve left mine in a box for a month at a time and picked up right where I left off. I usually leave them on the window sill to get a good charge. It’s really low maintenance, I’ve had every kind of watch and this one is the simplest and easiest to have.”


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.