We often look at Seiko as a watchmaker that produces high-quality and excellent-value mechanical watches. In the last few decades, they’ve stepped up their offerings to include solar watches, many of which have become as competitive and reliable as Citizen’s Eco Drives.
If you’re looking for a review of the best Seiko Solar watches that you can buy, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve carefully curated a list of durable and quality watches that you can buy with confidence.
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For your convenience, here is a list of the watches recommended in this review guide:
- Best Affordable Everyday: Seiko Solar SNE039
- Best Field Watch Under 100: Seiko Solar Field SNE329
- Best Sports Diver: Seiko Solar Prospex PADI SNE435P1
- Best Solar Chronograph: Seiko Solar Recraft Blue Chronograph
- Best GPS Radio-Sync: Seiko Solar COUTURA Radio Sync
- Best Dress Watch: Seiko Solar Premier SNE455
- Best Women’s Solar Watch: Seiko Solar Women’s Diamond SUT340
What is Seiko Solar?
Seiko Solar refers to the technology powering some types of Seiko watches. Basically it runs on the same solar cells that you find in solar panels. Here’s how it works: light enters that hits the dial of the watch gets absorbed by a solar cell under the dial.
The solar cell converts the solar light into usable energy that recharges a rechargeable battery – similar to one you’d find in a regular quartz watch. The battery then powers the movement that makes the watch work. Check out the FAQ at the bottom of the page for more technical information.
Criteria for choosing the Best Seiko Solar watch for Review
As usual, we only curate the best choices in any category for review, and we have have some concrete standards to help us do so. This is in order to ensure that any purchase you make from our site will leave you impressed and satisfied, and with the reality far surpassing your expectations.
Our criteria for selecting the best watches in this list are:
- Affordability – Seiko Solar watches are already some of Seiko’s lowest-priced offerings, so chances are you’re not looking to break the bank.
- Best Bang for your Buck – Affordability is one thing, but having the highest value (in construction, design, and function) is another. Our recommendations are meant to be affordable and best value. Generally as prices increase, value per dollar goes down. There’s still amazing expensive watches (of course), so we generally place these towards the end of the list.
- Reliability and Durability– Seiko is famous for their quality and reliability on most watches, but we want to make sure that all of our recommendations will keep ticking day in and day out
- Best-looking – there’s a lot of ugly watches out there, and you don’t need our help to find them. However, for timeless designs that you can pass on to future generations, and that will remain in style for decades, the watches in this list have you covered
- Attention-getting – similar to the last point, we always like when our watches receive compliments. It’s an opportunity for onlookers to demonstrate their good taste, and create a conversation and human connection out of something as ephemeral as time and beauty.
- Design that matches utility – having a dive bezel on a dress watch makes no sense. Conversely, neither does having Roman Numerals on a pilot’s watch. One is meant to be extremely legible, and the other is meant to slide under your shirt cuff. We don’t recommend watches that are made up of nonsense.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations and reviews for the best Seiko Solar watches in 2020:
1. Best Everyday Seiko Solar Watch
So you want one of the best-value watches that will reliably tell the time, have a simple-yet-versatile appearance that goes with anything, and doesn’t break the bank? You’ve probably got your eye on this everyday-wear Seiko Solar Classic watch.
Styled in a classic 37mm, this Seiko will go with nearly anything you wear – jeans, suit, and even rollerblades. As a word of warning, 37mm is on the smaller-end of a man’s wristwatch, so only go for it if you care for terms like “subtle” and “unobtrusive.”
While it can be rare to find a reliable long-term watch under $200, this one is guaranteed to keep on ticking for years. That reflective black sunburst dial is going to be a hit, especially when you see it in the sunlight. You can wear this watch with confidence, proud of that famous Seiko quality that makes watches last for generations.
2. Best Under 100 Seiko Solar Field Watch
For something a little more substantial and masculine on the same theme, check out the Seiko Solar Field watch. At a more modern 43mm, this watch commands some serious respect in the field. It’s got a similar reflective black sunburst dial that makes it versatile with most outfits while also giving it a touch of “war watch.”
That’s why it’s an excellent field watch – the classic styling of the numerals is reminiscent of the Rolex Explorer and World War II-era pilots watches. For a more formal look, you can swap out the canvas strap with a leather strap and be set for that family dinner or PhD dissertation. The one downside is that the bezel doesn’t turn, even though it looks like it should.
Above and beyond a normal field watch, this one is quite a steal; the way the light hits the “SEIKO” logo and numerals give them the appearance of being suspended in space.
3. Best Seiko Solar Sports Diver
Nobody knows what the future holds: rain? water? high altitude? outer space? This Seiko Prospex Solar Diver is built to withstand any and all conditions. Offering 200m of water resistance, this Prospex diver is a true professional tool – with a stunning appearance to boot.
Seiko’s Prospex line of watches stands for “professional specification;” they’re built to very high standards for use by professionals – in land, air, and sea. With this dive watch, you get an aesthetic that’s very universal and popular, along with the reliable Seiko Caliber V157 movement.
While Prospex is Seiko’s designation for high standards, they also adhere to PADI specifications, which is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. As you can see, these Propsex/PADI/ISO-Certified watches are serious business; you want them to work deep underwater 100% of the time.
Put it on and go anywhere – that could be the motto of all of Seiko’s Prospex Divers. This Seiko Solar watch, however, goes above and beyond: for a very affordable price, it’s performance and durability will outshine it’s blue sunburst dial in any environmental conditions.
4. Best Seiko Solar Chronograph
You’re cornering that turn like you’ve got nothing to lose – except your precious time, which is the most valuable resource. You glance at your wrist: strapped by a blue-black-orange NATO strap is your Seiko Solar Chronograph with its brilliant blue dial that makes you gasp. You don’t always make good choices, but this time you nailed it.
A word of warning – that baby blue dial color that you see will only appear in very particular light – this chronograph is actually a darker, more mature blue. You can see the particular details in the customer photos in the Amazon Reviews.
This watch revives the 1970’s Gulf Wyer Porsche team’s famous livery colors, matched perfectly to the blue dial of the racing-style Seiko chronograph. It’s a sporty racing watch through-and-through, giving you a full dose of your solar-powered need for speed.
5. Best GPS Radio-Sync Seiko Solar Watch
You’re a world-traveler who only wants the most reliable of technologies on your adventures. You have a world to conquer – and you need every advantage you can get while remaining fashionably stylish, sophisticated, and wise; that’s why you’re wearing the Seiko Coutura Solar Chronograph. As your flight taxis into the Hong Kong airport, you’ve already adjusted to the local timezone with two presses of the pushers while everyone else is confusedly checking their no-signal phones.
That’s the benefit of this radio-sync watch: the Seiko Caliber 8B92 automatically receives radio signals to precisely adjust the time and calendar. You can enjoy a world-time function which shows 25 world time zones so you can avoid mental calculations and focus on the important things at hand. And, of course, it comes with a chronograph.
The Seiko Coutura gives you the best of many worlds – a modern stylish dress watch, impeccable accuracy and auto-sync, and a statement piece that’s going to draw a lot of attention and compliments. Strap one to your wrist and conquer your goals today!
6. Best Seiko Solar Dress Watch for Men
You’re the next high-level executive at your company, and you need a professional and respectable-looking dress watch to match your suit. Your performance review is coming up, and you want to accentuate your pedigree and class without outshining the boss – you’re wearing the Seiko Premier Solar dress watch.
Instantly recognizable as both elegant and classic, the Roman numerals give this watch an inescapably-dress watch heritage without succumbing into a boring cliche. The vertical guilloche texturing across the center dial almost grazing those numerals will make you catch your breath every time you see it.
Seiko’s Premier line is an impressive part of their collection, offering refined elegance with modern and classic design themes. They combine these original elements with their innovative technology to achieve timepieces that are both stunning and subtle.
So buckle that black leather strap around your wrist and let the thinness of this solar dress watch slide under your shirt cuffs. When you check the time of your next appointment, anyone who catches a glimpse of you doing so will become entranced and feel a flood of respect towards you without even knowing why.
7. Best Seiko Solar Ladies’ Watch
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but how about a useful instrument to accurately measure the time in any light? This one’s both.
With this Ladies’ Seiko Solar dress watch, you know you’re getting one of the best solar watches you can buy. All of Seiko’s attention to detail comes to the fore in a subtle yet elegant ladies’-sized wristwatch:
That unassuming crystal-clear dial. The cute circle in the seconds-hand. The faded writing on the rotating bezel that lets you measure elapsed time; they all add up to a stunning and functional bracelet and watch.
You can already hear it from your friends: “Oh my God! Where did you get that gorgeous watch?” It’s got diamond-studded indices without being overbearing. It’s made of rose-gold and silver without being tacky. And it’s dialed in with mother-of-pearl for an aura that’s all at once fantastical, nostalgic, and aspirational. Don’t wait – get yours now.
Seiko Solar FAQ
Which part of the watch contains the solar cell?
The solar cell is usually found directly behind the dial, and it’s usually the actual dial itself. If the watch has subdials (like the chronograph), the light is probably charging the cell through those.
How much light is required to get it to start working?
In most calibers, all you need is one minute of sunlight to get an hour of charge.
How long does it take to get a full charge?
Generally, Seiko Solar watches are rated to become fully-charged within 5 hours of direct sunlight, or 110 hours of room light.
Seiko Solar watches are designed to charge while they’re running, as long as there’s light present. Just by wearing it day-to-day, you’ll get to full power in less than a week or two, even if you’re always indoors.
Room light (from light-bulbs) is much weaker than light from the sun, so generally sunlight is the preferable method of charging.
How long does a full charge last?
Depending on the caliber, you can expect 6-12 months of life per full charge. However, keep in mind that you don’t need a “full charge” for the watch to work, just a “minimal charge.” As such, the watch will pretty much run forever right away.
“Full Charge” just answers the question “if I were to theoretically get a full charge then lock the watch away in a drawer, how long before it stops?” Hopefully you’re wearing it regularly, and therefore you’ll never have to worry about it. However, to answer the questions, 6 months guaranteed.
What’s the difference between Seiko Solar and Citizen Eco-Drive?
Fundamentally, there is not much difference. However, you can read more about it in our comparison of Citizen Eco Drive vs Seiko Solar.
I just got my watch, it’s been under sunlight, and it’s not running. Help!
Relax and be patient. You have a brand new watch, so give it some time to start. Either place it on a sunny window for an hour (another hour if your must), or under a lamp for an hour if it’s cloudy. Once the watch receives it’s first charge, you can start to use it according to the specifications in this article and in your manual.
I’ve been in this situation, and you can save yourself a headache by being patient.