Of course there’s nothing like a finely tuned auto and the sense that your watch is powered purely from the motion you provide. Well, stop romanticizing watches for a moment. You need at least one watch in your collection that is purely fun and functional. Many of the best solar or kinetic quartz watches today can be had for under $500 and can provide around 20 years or more of service-free watch enjoyment.
If I’m going to have a true “beater” watch then I’m going to grab a solar or kinetic watch.
To simplify, solar (or what Citizen brands as Eco-Drive) uses natural or artificial light to charge the battery. Just don’t stick it in your drawer and leave it there. That’s all.
Kinetic watches (invented by Seiko) contain a large rotor that charges the battery with the movement of the wearer. Note: It’s well documented that early Seiko kinetics contained a capacitor/battery that had issues. Modern kinetic owners are reporting solid performance, but I must warn readers that kinetic batteries are weakened when they are completely drained. That said, kinetic watches generally have a six-month power reserve, so simply wearing your watch is the simplest solution.
Of course there are some folks who will want to debate the merits of these alternatively powered watches, but this article is meant for those who want an inexpensive, accurate grab-and-go that can take on rugged activities. Planning on bodysurfing Waimea or motorcycling through Vietnam or maybe taking the kids to the local playground? Then read on for some superb solar or kinetic beater suggestions. Besides who doesn’t need an excuse to buy a new watch to experience?