A WATCH THAT Never Needs a Battery.

It started 40 years ago with a simple, yet revolutionary concept: a watch that never needs a battery. Citizen Eco-Drive technology harnesses the power of light — from any natural or artificial light source — and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium-ion cell. It recharges continuously in any kind of light to run forever.

How It Works

The watch that never stops, wherever you are.

Inventing a technology to ensure watch that never stops anywhere in the world was one of the challenges for CITIZEN.

In 1976, we invented the world's first light-powered analog quartz watch that runs using 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 and other countries 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 earn a Gold Prize in the JEA's Eco Mark Awards.


Watches Powered by 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.

Easy to charge even in Dim Light

Eco-Drive is designed so that any light source, no matter how dim, will generate the energy needed to power the watch.

Light itself is the only energy source required to tell the time with an Eco-Drive watch.


Darkness Is not a Concern

One of the factors that distinguishes CITIZEN's Eco-Drive from other methods of keeping watches running at all times is its "power life."

Eco-Drive watches continue running for more than six months* on a full charge, even in total darkness.

Thanks to our power saving function, CITIZEN makes it possible to develop watches that can operate for up to seven years without light.

*There are exceptions which runs less than six months without light.

Light-Powered Generation

Eco-Drive efficiently converts any light, including artificial, natural and even dim light, into energy without compromises on watch design. CITIZEN has focused its development efforts on two different types of solar cells.

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.

Standard Solar


This is the most commonly used solar cell in CITIZEN's watches today. It converts light into energy with high efficiency because it sits under the dial.

Saving Energy

CITIZEN has dedicated itself to improving its technologies for energy saving 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.

Power Saving Function

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.

CITIZEN continues to work on the further enhancement of semiconductor chips, circuits and motors in its watches to even further reduce the power consumption of watch movements.

Light-Level Indicator

CITIZEN invented the world's first* Light-Level Indicator for analog 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 data from CITIZEN WATCH CO., LTD.



Energy for the Future

The Energy Crisis of the mid-1970s was one of the triggers that started CITIZEN on the quest for viable alternative energy sources. The social backdrop of the time led us to develop a "light-powered watch" that could run on the power of sunlight.

By the 1970s, battery-powered quartz watches had established the dominant market position in the Japanese watch market and became the most popular watches available. At the same time, CITIZEN noted several potential issues with quartz watches, such as a limited battery life, which would require periodic battery replacement, and the environmental impact of disposable batteries.

First Light-Powered Analog Watch

Early solar cells were too bulky and easy to break for wristwatches. However, reducing their size was thought impossible by CITIZEN's R&D department.

In 1974, CITIZEN completed its first prototype of a light-powered analog watch with a round solar cell embedded in the dial. Two years later, in 1976, the Crystron Solar Cell, the world's first light-powered analog watch, was launched.






Crystron Solar Cell, the world's first light-powered analog watch

The Watch that Never Stops



Watch that could operate for 200 hours on a full battery charge

When the Crystron Solar Cell was brought into the market, solar cells and secondary batteries to store the surplus energy they generated were limited in terms of generation capacity. The product life was shorter than that of battery-powered watches, which continue ticking away regardless of the time of day.The increasing demands for secondary batteries and the growth of light-powered products among many industries during the 1980s drove CITIZEN's engineers to advance their technologies and pursue further improvements in light-powered watches. After strenuous development efforts, CITIZEN introduced the world's first industrial watch that could run up to 200 hours on a full battery charge.The development of thinner solar cells that could utilize room lighting, as well as sunlight, and more resilient electric double-layer capacitors inspired CITIZEN's engineers to continue improving light-powered watches.

Then, in 1995, CITIZEN added a secondary lithium-ion cell for power storage, resulting in a light-powered analog watch that runs for six months or more on a full charge.


CITIZEN's proprietary light-powered technology, was called "Eco-Drive ". A name that, not only represent our exceptional technological achievements, but one that reflect our concern for the natural environment. Most importantly, the name and the logo mark shows our continued dedication to be a brand for people all over the world.

Never-Ending Challenge

CITIZEN's brand statement—Better Starts Now—was the motivation behind the many world's firsts recorded by our company. It continues today with our pursuit to develop even more exquisite light-powered watches designed with diverse functions and materials all with the goal of improving the pleasure of wearing a watch.


The world's first light-powered Eco-Drive divers watch


The world's thinnest * light-powered Eco-Drive Radio Controlled watch* 4.9mm thick at the time of release in 2010


The world's smallest* light-powered Eco-Drive Radio Controlled watch * 24.5mm radius at the time of release in 2010


Light-powered Eco-Drive watch, which takes in light from the side of its case


The world's first Bluetooth light-powered Eco-Drive watch

Note : There are models which are no longer in production or not available in some markets.