Citizen and Eco Drive – what a strong combination! For more than 40 years, Japanese watch manufacturer Citizen has had its focus on the development of resource efficient power sources in quartz movements. In this Citizen Eco Drive Review, we shine a light on the unique characteristic of modern Citizen watches: the Citizen Eco Drive technology. We clarify what Eco Drive is and how it works and focus on the series’ technology and quality materials. Photograph Credits: Eric Kilby / License: CC2.0

Citizen Eco Drive Review – Sustainable Technology

Citizen stands for elegance and timeless design. Founded in 1918, the Japanese watch company has been remaining on the world market for nearly 100 years now.

But the world market is highly competitive, pressuring manufacturers to constantly innovate and improve. Therefore, new technologies are constantly introduced and competitive pricing is a boon to customer’s wallets.

In 1995, Citizen introduced such an innovation – Eco Drive. In the following paragraphs of our Citizen Eco Drive review, we will show you what Eco Drive actually is, how it works and who should seek out these highly unique watches.

Development of the Eco Drive Technology

The foundation of Eco Drive technology was already built about 40 years ago. In 1976 Citizen dared a quantum leap – the world’s first analog quartz watch, drawing energy from any kind of light source, was introduced. Being powered by light – and it’s worth mentioning that even weak light sources were enough to charge the accumulators – a change of batteries became obsolete. Beyond that, the development of this technology lead to a conscious perception of eco-friendly energy sources in analog watches and quickly delighted hosts of watch-enthusiasts. The annoying need to change the battery of quartz watches could certainly be forgotten with the more efficient Citizen models.

In the following years, Citizen’s design concept was further developed and has become known as the Eco Drive Technology since the mid 1990s. Today, Citizen Eco Drive watches are offered as technical sophisticated watches with an enormous range of functions.


What is Eco Drive?

The built-in technology of most Citizen watches can charge the watch while it’s in use.

This is accomplished by generating electricity either with light with the help of a solar cell, or by movement or heat. The different models are called Eco Drive Solar, Eco Drive Duo and Eco-Drive Thermo respectively. We will further present these in the following paragraphs of the Citizen Eco Drive Review.

All variations focus on eco-friendly energy. Thanks to an integrated accumulator, providing the clockwork with electricity, the watch-wearer doesn’t have to change batteries.

Editorial recommendation

668 Customer Reviews: 4.4 of 5 stars

Citizen Men's BL5250-02L Titanium Eco-Drive Watch with Leather Band
Retail price: n/s

0 used & 1 new available from $299.00*

Order now risk-free at the world's largest online retail Amazon.com!

How does Eco Drive work?

Since the 1970s, Citizen watch models use the light’s energy to produce electricity. The technology was constantly improved over the years, in order to generate energy even with heat or movement. Each watch model in the Citizen Eco Drive collection has ist own unique power source – light, heat or movement.

Eco Drive Solar

In most cases, the energy production takes place with the help of solar cells. The light’s energy is absorbed by a solar module and converted into electric energy (see also photovoltaics). The electric energy will be stored in a lithium-ion battery and used as drive energy for the quartz movement.
Originally Citizen displayed the solar module well visibly on the watch’s face which disturbed the overall visual impression. Eversince 2002 they use solar vcells which simultaneously serve as a watch face. Addtionally, there are also models that hide the solar modules below a translucent watch face.

Eco Drive Duo

At the end of the 1990s, Citizen developed a watch with an automatic quartz movement. The model with the so-called EcoDrive Duo technology produced electric energy with a solar cell, but also with kinetic energy from its wearer, similar to automated clockworks.

With this technology, Citizen ventured to breach the high-price segments of the watch market. But the models starting at 1000 USD flopped on the market. Due to the fact that the energy generated from solar cells and the storage capacity of the accumulators became respectively bigger, the Eco Drive Duo technology is barely used nowadays.

Eco Drive Thermo

Another innovation by Citizen hit the market in the early 21st century: Eco Drive Thermo watches were able to be powered by energy generated from body heat. The difference in temperature between the wrist and environment was liseraged to generate energy.

Unfortunately, these models have become very rare today. One of the reasons is the high efficiency of solar technology and the high storage capacity of modern lithium-ion batteries.

Solar module visibly displayed in the center of the watch face of the Citizen CB0011-00E. Photograph Credits: Ahrend / Lizenz: CC2.0

Powered by body heat, the Citizen Thermo watch is a true rarity today. Photograph Credits: Max Grabert / Lizenz: CC2.0

Citizen Eco Drive Review Models and Buy Recommendations for Men

The following list will give you an overview of the different Citizen Eco Drive models. Several displayed watches have the Eco Drive feature and generate energy with solar modules. Of course we can’t present all models in Citizen’s extensive product portfolio. That’s why we only feature suggestions and selected models, which are great luxury watches due to their high quality and unique characteristics.

  • Citizen Eco-Drive Men's BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Watch With Blue PU Band
  • Citizen Men's AT8020-03L Blue Angels World A-T Eco-Drive Watch
  • - 65%Citizen Men's BM6560-54H Eco-Drive Titanium Watch
  • Citizen Men's AT8020-54L Blue Angels Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Dress Watch
  • Citizen Eco-Drive Men's AW1361-10H Sport Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band
  • Citizen Eco-Drive Men's BM8475-26E Stainless Steel Watch with Leather Strap
  • Citizen Eco-Drive Men's BM7170-53L Titanium Watch
  • - 50%Citizen Men's CA0295-58E Eco-Drive Nighthawk Stainless Steel Watch

(* = Affiliate-Link / Image source: Amazon-Associates)

Citizen Eco Drive Review Buy Recommendations for Women

The Eco Drive technology is not just found in men’s watches. During the last years, Citizen also introduced several watches for women into the collection. Here is a little overview.


Citizen Eco Drive: Dark Power Reserve

Dark Power Reserve is the term for the time span a Citizen Eco Drive watch can perform on the charge of its battery. Depending on the model, Citizen Eco Drive watches have varying dark power reserves. On average it’s 150 to 240 days. This means, that a fully charged battery can power the watch’s quartz movement between 150 and 240 days. Theoretically, the battery would need to be charged again after this time. Citizen itself advertises, that 1 minute of charge with light is enough to start the clockwork, or Eco Drive engine.

On top of that, the Japanese watch manufacturer developed models with a dark power reserve of up to 8,7 years. These watches stop the watch hands, as soon as the watch is in the dark for more than 24 hours. But don’t worry: the time measurement continues and is just not visibly shown. This will be displayed as soon as the watch sees the light of day again.

Comfortable? Fashionable? Who would wear these?

There’s one more aspect of the Citizen Eco Drive review we would like to follow up on: Look and feel of the watches. No matter if you are a fashion-conscious diver or banker with an eye for comfortable beauty – Citizen serves them all with different technologies and a high range of application. Many of these watches are waterproof for more than 100m and are well suited for swimmers and skin divers.

The manufacturer makes use of most different materials at the choice of materials. Stainless steel, leather, and titanium are part of the standard repertoire and provide the watches a special look due to skillful usage and mix of materials.

Those, who like it more classy, will also find watches with a more plain design with only a few accentuations. Citizen Eco Drive watches are visually diverse, offer a great technology and have an outstanding feel due to the use of high quality materials.

Conclusion: Citizen Eco Drive

And finally…

No matter if you’re wearing a suit, jeans or a wet suit – there’s nothing you can do wrong with the watches of Citizen. The intelligent Eco Drive technology generate electricity from sun light, artificial light, heat and movement. Also longer wearing-pauses are no problem thanks to “dark power reserves”. This way, the watch will even show the correct time up to 8 years(!) after last usage. In terms of price, the watches are rather in the lower to medium segment, but they convince with high-class comfort and innovation. They are definitely worth a look!

Watchlodge says: The Citizen Eco Drive collection is unique in that they generate energy from sustainable sources: No more annoying and pricey changing of batteries. That is not only fashion-conscious but also thinking green! Finally, the high quality materials of the Eco Drive watches contribute to their incredible life span.


Can’t get enough of Citizen?

Here are even more selected watches!*

Photograph Credits: Eric Kilby / License: CC2.0

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)