Got time on your hands?


From Citizen’s website:


What is Eco-Drive?

Citizen Eco-Drive watches use the simplest, yet most technically advanced power generating and storage system in the Watch Manufacturing Industry. A Solar conversion panel and energy cell are the power provider for these Quartz Watches. Eco-Drive’s ability to use light from any source to generate electrical power means that the supply is limitless and free. The absence of any added complex power generating machinery that would require additional upkeep is another big advantage.

What is a solar panel?

The Eco-Drive watch uses a microns thin disc of amorphous Silicon under the dial to convert light energy into electrical energy through the photovoltaic process. The electrical energy is then stored in a special energy storage cell . The charging is done in a more efficient manner than was ever before thought possible. Because of this newly developed technology, it is now practical to use a wide variety of attractive dials.

Why does my instruction booklet refer to a “Secondary Battery” if my Eco-Drive doesn’t have a battery?

The Energy Cell is referred to as a “secondary battery” since the primary power is from light that is converted to electricity. There is really only one energy storage cell in your Eco-Drive watch. Unlike Eco-Drive watches, most quartz watches use a silver oxide battery technically referred to as a primary power source or battery which is used until depleted and then discarded.

How long will the energy storage cell last in my watch?

The Eco-Drive Energy Cell will last a lifetime of use.

What does it mean when the second hand on my watch jumps two seconds at a time?

It means that the reserve power is getting low and the energy cell needs to be fully recharged by exposing it to light for a period of time outlined in your owner’s manual. This may also occur after fully recharging your watch after a complete discharge of the energy cell. If you have fully charged your watch and the second hand continues to move in two second intervals, you need to do an all reset of the watch. For simple analog models, pull the crown out to the time setting position for 30 seconds, then return the crown to the closed position next to the case, then set the time. For multi-function models, please refer to your owners manual.

How can I tell if the watch is getting enough light?

In normal use, the watch displays the time and the sweep-second hand moves in one second intervals. A very important feature of Eco-Drive is the Low Charge Warning Mode which as a result of low energy cell voltage causes the second hand to jump two seconds at a time (while still keeping correct time). When this signal is seen, the watch should be exposed to bright light following the recharging guidelines shown in its instruction manual. There are two exceptions to this signal: the Eco-Drive two hand models and the Chronograph models.

What does it mean when my second hand jumps alternately in one then two-second intervals?

It means that your watch has stopped and it needs to be charged up and set to the correct time.

Why does my watch appear to have lost time, even though it is still running?

A second important feature, Time Reset Advisory, warns that the watch has stopped completely and then been exposed to enough light to start running again. The time shown would likely be incorrect and need to be reset after recharging the watch sufficiently. To indicate this warning, the sweep second hand movement alternates between two, one second jumps and a two second jump (hitch movement) with the following two exceptions: the Eco-Drive two hand models and the Eco-Drive Chronograph.

How do I get my watch to return to normal operation?

After the watch has stopped and been restarted by exposure to bright light, it will remain in the Time Reset Warning (hitch movement) mode until one or the other of two things happen:
First, if the watch is set to the correct time after partial recharging, the hitch movement will change to a two step movement indicating that more charging is needed. While charging is continued, the watch will keep correct time and after sufficient charging, will go back to the regular one second step by itself.

Second, if the watch is not set until after it is charged up to a sufficient level where the circuit signals the watch to start the one second step again, it will stay in the Time Reset Advisory (hitch) mode. However, after it has reached the above charge level, and the time on the watch is set, it will go back to the normal one second step movement.

The amount of charging time, under varying light conditions, to go from a stopped watch to a one second step is shown in each instruction book.

When the watch has received the charging time recommended in its instruction book, the all reset has been performed and the time has been set, the irregular movement of the hands will stop The sweep second hand on the Three Hand models and on the Chronograph will then return to the one second step and the minute hand on the Two Hand models will return to the normal 1/3 minute stepping operation. Reminder: the recharging time, shown in each instruction book will differ depending on the caliber number.

The ALL RESET procedure varies by model. For simple analog models, pull the crown out to the time setting position, leave for 30 seconds, then return to the closed position next to the case. For multifunction and perpetual calendar models, refer to your owners manual for appropriate procedures.

What is the quick start feature?

Many Eco-Drive watches are equipped with a Quick Start Feature. This feature activates after your watch has become completely discharged then exposed to light sufficient for charging. It takes only several seconds of exposure to bright light to start it running. The instant the watch starts running, it enters into the Time Reset Advisory mode. This is indicated by the irregular movement of the second or minute hand (described previously under the Time Reset Advisory section). Be sure to fully charge your watch as outlined in your instruction booklet otherwise your watch may stop once removed from the light. Once your watch has been completely charged, be sure to perform the ‘all reset’ and set the time (and other features your watch may have) to restore regular operation.

How long will my watch run after it is fully charged?

Your watch is designed to run continuously and will do so if it is regularly exposed to bright light. Your watch uses very little energy and that is easily replenished during normal use. If your watch is put away where no light is available to it while in a fully charged state, depending on the model, it will run for from 45 days to 5 years (for models with power save feature). Most models have a 180 day power reserve.

Why doesn’t my watch seem to be charging?

The predominant reason for failure to charge is that the watch is not getting sufficient light. Influencing this are the short cloudy days and long nights of winter. It is advisable that the watch be used normally, but exposed to bright light on a regular basis in order to enjoy its carefree use.

How can I be sure that the watch is not faulty?

Follow the guidelines in the instruction manual that came with your watch to fully recharge, perform the “all reset” and set the correct time on your watch. After that is done, if the watch still does not operate normally, you should send your watch to your nearest Authorized Service Center for review.
NOTE: The vast majority of the Eco-Drive watches returned to us for service only need recharging to restore proper operation. Be sure to try fully charging your watch and perform the all reset before sending for service.

What should I do if I had the energy cell replaced after my watch stopped, but it still doesn’t run?

An occasional repair request received by our Repair Department is due to Eco-Drive watches that have had ordinary silver oxide batteries substituted for the original Eco-Drive energy cell. In some instances, the movements have been damaged as the special cells which feature soldered contacts have been pried out of the movement causing physical damage. In almost every case, all that was needed was a full recharge of the watch.

A warning label, placed on the inside caseback of each Eco-Drive model, states, “do not put other than the energy cell designated” and the part number for the rechargeable energy cell, 295-XX, appears prominently on the movement cover.
Additionally, the correct energy cell may feature a spotwelded gold colored connecting strap which is necessary to make contact with the circuit of the watch. There is no such connector on a silver oxide substitute so no connection can be made to the circuit, consequently the watch will not run. In some watches, the original energy cell has been pried out, damaging the circuit and displacing parts, which may result in the need to replace the entire movement.
As replacement of the original energy cell is not the result of a manufacturing defect, correction is not covered by the warranty. We recommend that you send your timepiece to your nearest Authorized Service Center for review and estimation for the cost of correcting this issue.

Is it possible to damage my Eco-Drive watch with excessive heat during charging?

Although not a frequently occurring problem, the Repair Department receives Eco-Drive watches which are damaged due to excessive heat during recharging. Warning is given in the instruction books not to subject the watch to conditions where the temperature may exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples given are: charging the watch on the dashboard of a car, using an incandescent lamp (regular light bulb) closer than 20″ or using a Halogen lamp.

How can I recharge my Eco-Drive in a safe manner?

Once your watch has been fully charged, exposing it daily to ambient light is sufficient to keep it charged. If you find your watch needs supplemental charging, it can be safely charged with a fluorescent desk lamp by placing the watch with the dial (face) up and within about 8 inches or an incandescent lamp (regular light bulb) no closer than 20 inches. Be sure to refer to your owners manual for recharge times for your model. Never use a halogen lamp since the heat generated by it can cause damage to your watch. If your watch has become fully discharged, the most efficient and the quickest is in direct bright sunlight (not a window sill as glass windows filter light frequencies and never on the dashboard of a car.)

How can we keep the Eco-Drive watches in our display case properly charged?

Eco Drive timepieces thrive on and need light. The most important thing is to always make sure that the watches are dial (face) up in bright light. The best position in the display case for your Eco Drive watches is in the middle of the top shelf. It is equally important that they not be displayed on the second or third shelf down or in a wall case where there is insufficient light to keep them charged.

How can you help me recharge my Eco-Drive?

Eco-Drive timepieces feature a variety of functions and specifications. For optimal performance, we recommend the watch be exposed to light each and every day. In most instances, your watch has stopped or appears to operate erratically it is simply in need of full recharging. Charge rates and run times vary by model.

If the watch has lost complete power, be sure to perform the ALL RESET and 0-POSITION PROCEDURE (if applicable) as outlined in your instruction manual before setting the time.

What is the Low Charge Warning?

Low charge warnings are visible clues that your timepiece is in need of a full recharge. These warnings include irregular movement of the second or minute hand and special positioning of indicator hands on some of the more complicated pieces. Your instruction manual will outline the specific low charge warning for your timepiece.

What is the Power Save Feature?

Some Eco Drive models incorporate a special power save function to conserve power when the watch is not exposed to light sufficient for charging. This enables the watch to have extended run times from a single full charge.
Power Save features activate automatically when the watch has sufficient power stored for normal operation but is not receiving light sufficient for charging. Although certain functions “shut down”, the correct time is kept internally.

How does the Power Save feature work on the Skyhawk and Sailhawk?

When the watch is not receiving light sufficient for charging, such as under a shirt sleeve, the digital display will dim from view and the second hand stops at the 12:00 position. When the watch receives light sufficient for charging, the second hand will “catch up” to the correct seconds and the digital display will reactivate with the correct time.
After 60-72 hours of light insufficient for charging, all visible functions of the watch will stop. Once the watch receives light sufficient for charging, the digital display will reactivate and all hands will “catch up” to display the correct time.

How does the Power Save feature work on the Men’s Perpetual Calendar?

The second hand will stop after 30-60 seconds of darkness or light insufficient for charging (such as under a shirt sleeve). Once the watch is exposed to light sufficient for charging, the second hand will “catch up” to the correct seconds and resume normal operation.
After 48-60 hours of darkness or light insufficient for charging, the hour, minute, second and any special function hands will stop. Once the watch is exposed to light sufficient for charging, all hands will “catch up” to the correct time and resume normal operation.

How does the Power Save feature work on the Ladies’ Perpetual Calendar?

After 2 hours of darkness or light that is insufficient for charging, the minute and hour hands will stop. Once the watch is exposed to light that is sufficient for charging, all hands will “catch up” to the correct time and resume normal operation.


10 Responses to “Eco-Drive”

  1. angelo said

    I have a problem with my H500 eco drive citizen. I bought it new and then I followed the instruction from the manual to recharge it by light mostly sunlightsince it will be first time to use.But, the second hand is frequently stop after an hour and minute still working and the time is ok. However, why such second hand always stop and only moves when I press the button A to start. Is it normal? I always press button A everytime the second hand stop at 12 number. I always recharge the watch everyday but it is still the same problem. Any help!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If potential, as you achieve expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra data? This can be very useful for me.

  3. The chronograph second hand will stop after 60-minutes – all according to the manual. The tiny second hand should be moving though.

  4. gangareddy said

    It is mis-information to say …
    “The Eco-Drive Energy Cell will last a lifetime of use.”
    My watch energy cell doesn’t hold enough power to run whole day even after fully charged! I bought this watch 10 years ago. It costs about £125 to get this battery replaced – as much as buying a new watch itself!
    What is lifetime of use? 100 years? How long citizen describe a watche’s lifetime is?
    It is a shame that nowadays nobody bothers about reputation and reliabilty. Everything is commercialised!

  5. Ramos Silverio Ibo said

    I bought one eco drive citzen and i have no worries. The watch is perfect and it really gives me good time. I am glad i bought this watch.

  6. Chaz said

    My wife bought me an Eco drive H500 last Christmas that I rarely wear. Unbeknownst to me she had put it in my nightstand drawer where it stayed for a couple of months. It’s totally dead and I can’t get it to recharge. I sat it in the sun, on the deck one day from sun up to sun down and still nothing! It’s been in a few windows as well. Nothing ;( Presently I just leave it on a glass shelf in a lighted GF clock with hopes it’ll twitch or something…nothing. Is this normal to have such a difficult time recharging from a totally dead state?

    • Jacqueline said

      Having the exact same issue, opting for email notification. Hoping someone has an answer for this one..

  7. ed lenzi said

    My watch is 3/4 charged and brand new. The second hand is stopped. It starts up for a min and stops again after I shake it.

  8. craig hill said

    after one year my eco drive watch stopped.this watch was £350 to buy and should last a life time or so citizen say.can anyone help ?

  9. Fjbarrett III said

    Very helpful. Thank you for taking the time sharing. This goes to all owners, contributing people whom took the time sharing your knowledge.

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