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Citizen Eco-Drive Technology

40 years of Eco-Drive

In 1976, 40 years ago this year, CITIZEN created the world’s first analogue light-powered watch. We called the technology Eco-Drive. With Eco-Drive, our watches generate energy even from dim light and keep running for months even in the dark. We have created watches with multi-functions; watches that are smaller, thinner, and more beautiful; watches that everyone can relate to, even love. As a light-power pioneer, we continue to explore new possibilities for the future of the wristwatch and to craft timepieces that inspire people everywhere.

The watch that never stops, wherever you are.

Inventing technology to ensure that a watch never stops anywhere in the world was one of the challenges for CITIZEN. In 1976, we invented the world's first light-powered analogue quartz watch that uses only light as a power source. This technology, now known as “Eco-Drive,” can generate power from any light source, artificial, natural and even dim light to keep watches running without ever replacing batteries. As a pioneer of the field, we set new challenges for ourselves to bring forth the full potential of power generation using light.

CITIZEN's Eco-Drive technology has won acclaim in Japan for its contribution to environmental protection. In 1996, an Eco-Drive watch was nominated as the first watch to qualify for the Eco Mark, a label managed by the Japan Environment Association (JEA). In 2014, CITIZEN became the first watchmaker to receive a Gold Prize in the JEA's Eco Mark Awards.

What is Eco-Drive?

Eco-Drive is a core CITIZEN technology that generates power even from dim light, enabling watches to run for over six months* even in the dark.

  • No need to replace batteries
    Eco-Drive eliminates the trouble and expense of regularly replacing batteries.
  • Generates energy even in dim light
    Eco-Drive generates energy not just in sunlight but in indoor light too. You don’t need to worry about your watch ever stopping.
  • Runs for over six months in the dark
    One full charge is enough to keep most Eco-Drive models running for more than six months* in darkness. Some models can run for 10 years. *Some models run for less than six months.

Eco-Drive - All you need is light

Eco-Drive is designed to convert both natural and artificial light into energy to power watches. Watches with Eco-Drive do not require any battery replacement, charging or winding to maintain constant operation.
Eco-Drive will keep running wherever you are, as long as there is light. Inspired by its innovative technology, people all around world give their Eco-Drive watches a special place in their lives. Here are their stories.

Light-Powered Generation

Eco-Drive efficiently converts any light, including artificial, natural and even dim light, into energy. CITIZEN has focused its development efforts on two different types of solar cells.

  • Standard Solar
    This is the most commonly used solar cell in our watches today. It converts light into energy with high efficiency because it sits under the dial.
  • Ring Solar
    This ring-shaped solar cell wraps around the dial and also converts light into energy efficiently. It allows more design flexibility on the dial, as the dial surface does not need to be transparent to allow light to pass through.
  • Saving Energy
    CITIZEN has dedicated itself to improving its technologies to develop power efficient watch movements. Our pursuit of innovation has allowed us to bring to the market many light-powered watches with advanced functions and designs.
  • Insufficient Charge Warning
    When an Eco-Drive watch with this feature has an insufficient charge, the second hand jumps in 2-second intervals. Once the battery is fully charged, the second hand returns to normal operation.
  • Light-Level Indicator
    CITIZEN invented the world's first,∗ Light-Level Indicator for analogue watches. It detects the intensity of light striking the dial and displays the electricity generation level at the moment, allowing wearers to easily gauge the charge level in any given situation.
    ∗ According to research by CITIZEN WATCH CO., LTD.
  • Power-Save Feature
    When an Eco-Drive watch with this feature is left in the dark, the hands stop in order to save energy. Once light hits the watch, the hands move quickly and automatically to catch up to display the current correct time.

We continue to work on enhancing semiconductor chips, circuits and motors in our watches to even further reduce the power consumption of watch movements.

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