While the idea of a mechanical watch is romantic and beautiful, we cannot deny the cost associated with these movements. What’s more, they can be fragile and need to be wound to use. The solar-powered watch offers practicality like no other since your source of power is literally a giant ball of nuclear fusion – which I always found pretty cool. So, let’s combine practicality and luxury to create the watch version of an electric G-Wagon. Here are the 7 best Solar Powered Luxury Watches.
As opposed to their mechanical counterparts, solar watches function without the use of a rotor or manual-winding function. These function by simply charging their batteries through solar panels on the watch dial. This, in turn, powers a battery which will then run your time through the use of a quartz crystal.
Perhaps the most famous of these are the Eco-Drive and Seiko’s solar models but there are a couple of luxury options as well. You get ‘unlimited’ energy combined with a luxurious timepiece, what’s not to love?
Cartier SolarBeat Tank Must
Introduced at Watches & Wonders 2021, the SolarBeat Tank Must is the first solar-powered Cartier – ever. Two models were released, large (33mm x 25.5mm) and small (29.5 x 22mm), and both powered by the ‘SolarBeat’ caliber, which according to Cartier, would only need a service (or a battery replacement) every 16 years.
The Tank Must remains unchanged, however, with the recognizable case and elongated Roman numerals that Cartier is known for still present. In fact, if you peer closely at your Tank you’ll notice that said Roman numerals are the tiny solar panels needed for a solar movement to work. This is one of the best designs when it comes to solar movements, integrated perfectly without messing with a timeless design.
What’s more, these models come with straps made from scraps of apples grown for the food industry. Also, at less than $2,800 (when released), it’s extremely reasonably priced.
Junghans Max Bill MEGA Solar Titanium
Junghans came to life back in 1841 and has become a loved company for their use of minimalist, heavily Bauhaus-inspired designs. The ‘Max Bill’ line of watches has the perfect name since Max Bill was a Swiss architect and industrial designer who helped bring the Bauhaus design language to the popularity it is today.
This 38mm dress piece delivers wholeheartedly on a minimalist design, typical ‘form-follows-function’. Within the titanium case sits the solar J101.85 movement which can be controlled through the Junghans MEGA app.
Various models have been introduced in the last couple of years, each presented in a unique color and strap scheme. If the Cartier is just outside your price range (or wrist range) then this is a brilliant option.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph
Heuer is best known for producing some of the most loved automatic sports watches and chronographs the world has ever seen, so, the idea of a solar movement might not be your particular cup of tea. The Aquaracer Professionalrange has been a mainstay in the lineup for quite some time, and with the addition of a solar movement in such a core model comes a few benefits.
It is more cost-effective than the automatic counterpart but retains the same utility and style. Offered in titanium or steel, both 40mm with rotating dive bezels to help you time your diving endeavors. The black steel option’s bezel is made from carbon fused with luminous material which creates a striking and unique look.
Compared to the previous watches, this is a pure diver. The idea of a diver powered by the sun while you’re literally in the sun on the beach is just a classic idea and one that just makes sense. Combine that with the fact that this won’t step on the feet of any enthusiasts, and you have a winning formula.
Seiko SBXC003 Astron
Seiko is known for being innovative while remaining true to the philosophy of being affordable. While this isn’t necessarily in line with the idea of ‘luxury’, when you consider the fact that luxury means something different to all people (and that this Seiko clocks in at above $2,000), I think we can assume this is a luxurious piece.
The Astron line is filled with various complications and this 43mm titanium example features quite a few itself. Automatic time through the use of GPS, a chronograph function, a world-time function, and a power save function. Matched with a sporty three-link bracelet, it’s a nice stealth-wealth piece.
Of course, there are several other options of Astrons in the Seiko catalog, each with its own unique style, function, and design attributes. Plus, if a futuristic look isn’t your thing, there are about a dozen different solar divers on the catalog as well.
Citizen Attesa SUPER TITANIUM™
Again, Citizen is not known for luxurious timepieces, but this one fits the bill. The Eco-Drive movement is perhaps the most famous solar movement, and Citizen has put it into just about everything, including this Attesa SUPER TITANIUM.
A burgundy dialed with a vertical textured finish paired with rose gold tinted accents, frankly, this is a gorgeous design. The 44mm DLC-coated titanium case might be too much for some, however, the lug-to-lug measurement allows for better-wearing ergonomics. A host of complications are available as you would expect, including a perpetual calendar and a world time function.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSJ011J1
The second Seiko on the list, and well, they’re just that good. In stark contrast to the previous option, this is a simple time and date option, stunning nonetheless. A black dial paired with gold-tinded applied indices and hands all with plenty of luminova. Match this with a ceramic bezel and a stainless steel case and bracelet – count me in.
The 3X22 caliber is expected to have immense accuracy, +/-1 second every 100,000 years. As mentioned, a simple three-hand design is complimented by a reasonable 39mm case diameter means this is perhaps the most reasonable Seiko solar watch you can find.
Of course, there are other options available with the omission of the gold accents for a more neutral and under-the-radar look, however, if you’re spending way more than $1,000 on a watch, why not throw a little gold in there?
Casio G-Shock MRGB2000B1A4
We’re ending the list with an extremely expensive G-Shock for two reasons. One, I couldn’t find another Swiss solar watch, and two, luxury could also mean you have the luxury of going anywhere you want to – and what watch is better to go everywhere with? And boy, what a G-Shock this is.
This particular example is part of the ‘MR-G line’, the most upscale G-Shock one can get. As with any other G, you can a remarkably robust case made from DLC-coated titanium. Not only does this keep the weight of the G down but is also rust-resistant. Red and gold accents on the dial and crown make for a striking piece, in case the 49.8mm width wasn’t enough.
Finally, this G was actually inspired by the ‘all-crimson armor worn by elite samurai units in the Warring States period of old Japan’. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best-looking Gs to date
Didn’t see so many fancy names on this list as you thought you might? Well, to be honest, the solar movement was developed as a means to bring the cost down and increase utility, not really ideas we think of when being offered the term ‘luxury’. Regardless, the Cartier Tank is hands down the best on the list because of its heritage, design, and keen awareness of incorporating solar cells in an effortless way. That said, there’s a time and place for each of these in the sun (literally!)
Information sourced by the author for luxuryactivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.