An occasional repair request received by our Repair Department is due to Eco-Drive watches that have had ordinary silver oxide batteries substituted for the original Eco-Drive energy cell. In some instances, the movements have been damaged as the special cells which feature soldered contacts have been pried out of the movement causing physical damage. In almost every case, all that was needed was a full recharge of the watch.
A warning label, placed on the inside caseback of each Eco-Drive model, states, “do not put other than the energy cell designated” and the part number for the rechargeable energy cell, 295-XX, appears prominently on the movement cover.
Additionally, the correct energy cell may feature a spot welded gold coloured connecting strap which is necessary to make contact with the circuit of the watch. There is no such connector on a silver oxide substitute so no connection can be made to the circuit, consequently the watch will not run. In some watches, the original energy cell has been pried out, damaging the circuit and displacing parts, which may result in the need to replace the entire movement.
As replacement of the original energy cell is not the result of a manufacturing defect, correction is not covered by the warranty. We recommend that you send your timepiece to your nearest Authorized Service Centre for review and estimation for the cost of correcting this issue.
Although not a frequently occurring problem, the Repair Department receives Eco-Drive watches which are damaged due to excessive heat during recharging. Warning is given in the instruction books not to subject the watch to conditions where the temperature may exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples given are: charging the watch on the dashboard of a car, using an incandescent lamp (regular light bulb) closer than 20″ or using a Halogen lamp.
Once your watch has been fully charged, exposing it daily to ambient light is sufficient to keep it charged. If you find your watch needs supplemental charging, it can be safely charged with a fluorescent desk lamp by placing the watch with the dial (face) up and within about 8 inches or an incandescent lamp (regular light bulb) no closer than 20 inches. Be sure to refer to your owners manual for recharge times for your model.
Never use a halogen lamp since the heat generated by it can cause damage to your watch. If your watch has become fully discharged, the most efficient and the quickest is in direct bright sunlight (not a window sill as glass windows filter light frequencies and never on the dashboard of a car.)
Eco Drive timepieces thrive on and need light. The most important thing is to always make sure that the watches are dial (face) up in bright light. The best position in the display case for your Eco Drive watches is in the middle of the top shelf. It is equally important that they not be displayed on the second or third shelf down or in a wall case where there is insufficient light to keep them charged.
Citizen Eco-Drive watches use the simplest, yet most technically advanced power generating and storage system in the Watch Manufacturing Industry. A Solar conversion panel and energy cell are the power provider for these Quartz Watches. Eco-Drive’s ability to use light from any source to generate electrical power means that the supply is limitless and free. The absence of any added complex power generating machinery that would require additional upkeep is another big advantage.
View the Eco-Drive movie.
The Eco-Drive watch uses a microns thin disc of amorphous Silicon under the dial to convert light energy into electrical energy through the photovoltaic process. The electrical energy is then stored in a special energy storage cell . The charging is done in a more efficient manner than was ever before thought possible. Because of this newly developed technology, it is now practical to use a wide variety of attractive dials.
A special Eco-Drive energy storage cell is used to store the electricity from the converted light energy. The high quality of the cell precludes it from being affected from the regular charge/discharge cycle as with an ordinary battery. With normal care and exposure to light, the owner can be assured of a lifetime of reliable and trouble free power. As an added benefit to the environment, the energy cell contains none of the chemicals used in ordinary watch batteries.
The rechargeable cell featured in Eco-Drive watches is a highly specialized unit that will last a lifetime of use. Many times, it is incorrectly referred to as a “capacitor”. It is highly unusual for these cells to fail. Most commonly, if an Eco-Drive is stopping it is more indicative of a low charge. If it is running slow, it may indicate it is time to have the movement serviced. In the unusual event the Eco-Drive energy cell fails, is not damaged or tampered with, and you purchased your watch in Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom from an Authorized Retailer, the cell will be replaced for the life of the watch.
The Energy Cell is referred to as a “secondary battery” since the primary power is from light that is converted to electricity. There is really only one energy storage cell in your Eco-Drive watch. Unlike Eco-Drive watches, most quartz watches use a silver oxide battery technically referred to as a primary power source or battery which is used until depleted and then discarded.
Many Eco-Drive watches are equipped with a Quick Start feature. This feature activates after your watch has become completely discharged then exposed to light sufficient for charging. It only takes several seconds of exposure to bright light to start running. The instant the watch starts running, it enters into the Time Reset Advisory mode. This is indicated by the irregular movement of the second or minute hand (described previously under the Time Reset Advisory section). Be sure to fully charge your watch as outlined in your instruction booklet otherwise your watch may stop once removed from the light. Once your watch has been completely charged, be sure to perform the ‘all reset’ and set the time (and other features your watch may have) to restore regular operation.
It means that the reserve power is getting low and the energy cell needs to be fully recharged by exposing it to light for a period of time outlined in your owner’s manual. This may also occur after fully recharging your watch after a complete discharge of the energy cell. If you have fully charged your watch and the second hand continues to move in two second intervals, you need to do an all reset of the watch. For simple analogue models, pull the crown out to the time setting position for 30 seconds, then return the crown to the closed position next to the case, then set the time. For multifunction models, please refer to your owner’s manual.
In normal use, the watch displays the time and the second hand moves in 1-second intervals. For models that do not feature a second hand, the minute hand will move 1/3 of a minute every 20-seconds. A very important feature of Eco-Drive is the Low Charge Warning Mode which as a result of low energy cell voltage causes the second hand to jump two seconds at a time or the minute hand will move in 1-minute increments (while still keeping correct time). Additionally on models that have enhanced features such as a Chronograph, these features may not operate while in a low charge state.
When the low charge feature is activated, your watch should be fully charged by exposing it to bright light as outlined in recharging guidelines in your instruction manual and in the technical support section of our website.
It means that your watch has stopped and it needs to be charged up and set to the correct time. See Time Reset Advisory following.
A second important feature, Time Reset Advisory, warns that the watch has stopped completely and then been exposed to enough light to start running again. The time shown would likely be incorrect and need to be reset after recharging the watch sufficiently. To indicate this warning, the sweep second hand movement alternates between two, one second jumps and a two second jump (hitch movement) with the following two exceptions: the Eco-Drive two hand models and the Eco-Drive Chronograph.
After the watch has stopped and been restarted by exposure to bright light, it will remain in the Time Reset Warning (hitch movement) mode until one or the other of two things happen: First, if the watch is set to the correct time after partial recharging, the hitch movement will change to a two step movement indicating that more charging is needed. While charging is continued, the watch will keep correct time and after sufficient charging, will go back to the regular one second step by itself.
Second, if the watch is not set until after it is charged up to a sufficient level where the circuit signals the watch to start the one second step again, it will stay in the Time Reset Advisory (hitch) mode. However, after it has reached the above charge level, and the time on the watch is set, it will go back to the normal one second step movement.
The amount of charging time, under varying light conditions, to go from a stopped watch to a one second step is shown in each instruction book.
When the watch has received the charging time recommended in its instruction book, the all reset has been performed and the time has been set, the irregular movement of the hands will stop The sweep second hand on the Three Hand models and on the Chronograph will then return to the one second step and the minute hand on the Two Hand models will return to the normal 1/3 minute stepping operation. Reminder: the recharging time, shown in each instruction book will differ depending on the calibre number.
The ALL RESET procedure varies by model. For simple analogue models, pull the crown out to the time setting position, leave for 30 seconds, then return to the closed position next to the case. For multifunction and perpetual calendar models, refer to your owner’s manual for appropriate procedures.
Click here to go to our instruction book viewing and download page.
Your watch is designed to run continuously and will do so if it is regularly exposed to bright light. Your watch uses very little energy and that is easily replenished during normal use. If your watch is put away where no light is available to it while in a fully charged state, depending on the model, it will run for from 45 days to 5 years (for models with power save feature). Most models have a 180 day power reserve. Click here to see the Eco-Drive Recharging Guides.
The predominant reason for failure to charge is that the watch is not getting sufficient light. Influencing this are the short cloudy days and long nights of winter. It is advisable that the watch be used normally, but exposed to bright light on a regular basis in order to enjoy its carefree use.
If your watch is an Eco-Drive model, ensure it is fully charged. Follow the guidelines in the instruction manual that came with your watch to fully recharge, perform the “all reset” and set the correct time on your watch. After that is done, if the watch still does not operate normally, you should send your watch to your nearest Authorized Service centre for review.
NOTE: The vast majority of Eco-Drive watches returned to us for service only need recharging to restore proper operation. Be sure to try fully charging your watch and perform the all reset before sending for service.