Founded in 1918 Citizen is a true ‘manufacture d’horlogerie’ integrating comprehensive manufacturing processes that extend from creating a watch’s individual components to its final assembly. In its relatively short 99-year history Citizen has been the first to innovate and release technologies such as radio-controlled and satellite-synchronised timekeeping.
One of the biggest leaps forward was the development of a revolutionary light-powered technology called Eco-Drive in 1976 way ahead of their competitors. Electrical power could now be converted from virtually any light source to make batteries a thing on the past, and increased the availability and usability of Citizen watches, in areas where batteries were difficult to find.
How Does Eco Drive Work
The long story short, Eco-Drive technology allows the harnessing of any light source, natural or artificial, converting it into energy and storing it in a rechargeable solar cell.
That Solar cell utilizes a micron-thin disc of amorphous silicon fitted beneath the dial to convert light energy into electrical energy, which is in turn stored in a rechargeable battery. So if you were wondering if the Eco-Drive needed a battery, well, yes, it has a titanium lithium ion battery but unlike other silver oxide batteries the Eco-Drive battery will never need to be replaced as it continually recharges, and with none of the caustic chemicals the Eco-Drive watch batteries are better for our environmental too.
Charging The Battery
Eco-Drive watches are designed to run continuously and will continue to do so if exposed to bright light regularly, and as the technology uses very little energy, it’s easily recharged during normal use. This eliminates the need to replace batteries and any associated toxic elements.
The batteries are recharged by exposing the watch dial to ambient light on a daily basis, which is normally sufficient to keep it charged. The amount of charge can vary depending on model and light conditions, but if your watch gives you an insufficient charge warning (second hand will jump in 2-second intervals) turn the dial to face a light source.
Amazingly, when your watch is fully charged and not exposed to a light source the power should remain available on standby for up to 7 years depending on the model, so storing your watch should not drain the battery. Not only that, but the projected battery life is very long with engineers expecting the battery to retain up to 80% of its ability to recharge after 20 years.
If you use a powerful artificial light like halogen to charge, please be careful to place the watch 50cm away from the source to prevent heat damage from the high temp light source.
For faster recharging simply pull out the crown while charging to complete charging in one-third of the time under normal conditions.
How It Works: Courtesy Of Citizen
There’s a long list of Citizen innovations and some of them are noted below, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list.
1931: Citizen’s first men’s wristwatch.
1958: The first domestic watch with alarm
1959: The first domestic waterproof watch,”Parawater”.
1960: The first domestic watch for the visually impaired.
1962: The world’s thinnest men watch at that time, the movement as thin as 2.75mm.
1966: The first domestic electronic watch, “X-8”.
1967: World’s first transistorized electronic quartz clock, “Crystron”.
1974: Analog quartz watch ” Citizen Quartz Crystron”.
1976: The world’s first quartz watch accurate within 3seconds per year.
1976: In the birth of Solar-powered watches, “Citizen Quartz Crystron Solar Cell”.
1978: The first domestic combination analog and digital quartz watch.
1982: The world’s first quartz divers watch with water resistance to 1300m.
1987: The world’s first digital quartz with voice recognition.
1993: World’s first multi-zone ” Radio-Controlled Watch”.
1995: The world’s first analog solar watch with alarm chronograph and “The Citizen”
1996: Light-energy powered ” Eco-Drive” Watch obtained ” Eco Mark”.
1998: “Promaster Eco-Drive Duo”, world’s first hybrid power system watch.
2000: Eco-Drive with a transparent solar cell.
2009: In 2009 BASELWORLD, Eco-Drive Dome, the concept model released.
2011: In 2011 BASELWORLD, the world’s first satellite synchronized watch, Eco-Drive SATELLITE WAVE was released.
2013: In 2012 BASELWORLD flagship model Eco-Drive SATELLITE WAVE -AIR was released.
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