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Citizen Eco-Drive Watch Not Charging | 3 Fixes

Having issues with your Citizen Eco Drive watch not charging? You’ve come to the right place. As an avid watch collector and repairer, I’ve seen my fair share of Eco Drive charging problems. The good news is – most of them can be fixed with some troubleshooting!

Eco Drive watches are solar-powered quartz watches that convert any light source into energy to eliminate the need for regular capacitor changes. This makes them extremely convenient, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly. However, there can be a few reasons why your Citizen Eco Drive is failing to charge.

Citizen Eco Drive Watch Not Charging

What are the Reasons that Preventing the Watch to Charge

There are three main culprits for an Eco Drive watch not charging properly:

Damaged Capacitor

At the heart of the Eco Drive technology is a rechargeable capacitor that stores energy converted from light. After years of use, this may become unable to hold a charge anymore and need replacing.

Signs of a damaged rechargeable cell are if your Eco Drive stops holding the charge for more than a day or so, or keeps resetting the time. Opening up the watch and having a watchmaker examine the cell is the best way forward.

Damaged Solar Cell

The solar cell is responsible for converting light into electrical energy to charge the capacitor. If this photovoltaic cell becomes cracked or disconnected from the circuit, your watch will fail to charge.

You can suspect a broken solar cell if your watch isn’t charging even after exposing it to direct sunlight for a whole day. It takes 6-8 hours of good daylight for an Eco Drive to gain a full charge. If that much light exposure doesn’t work, the solar cell likely needs replacing.

Insufficient Light Exposure

Before suspecting any damage, the most common reason behind an Eco Drive watches not charging is simply not providing enough light!

Eco Drive watches need either natural or artificial light to charge the built-in power cell. Keeping it constantly hidden under long sleeves or in darkness will drain the watch completely. Try giving 20 minutes of bright light exposure daily as routine maintenance.

Leaving your watch next to a window, going outdoors more often, and not hiding it under cuffs can help avoid charging issues. Also, some Eco Drive models have a power reserve that retains the charge for up to 6 months, so occasional light exposure is enough.

How to Fix?

Here are reliable solutions to attempt if your Citizen Eco Drive is not charging –

Fix 1: Provide Sufficient Light to Recharge the Capacitor

If the watch isn’t functioning as well as not charging then maybe the capacitor of the watch is fully drained. In that case, you will need to expose the watch under full sunlight for at least 3.5 hours, if the sky is cloudy, then 6.5 hours, if you are using fluorescent, then 15 hours, and if using a different lighting source, you will need to keep the watch to charge for at least 80 hours!

If it doesn’t help, then you may need to change the capacitor or check with the other parts of the watch. You can change the capacitor by yourself or send it to the Citizen service center to get top-notch service. 

Fix 2: Send the Watch for Replacing the Solar Cell

If exposing the watch to direct bright light for 1-2 days does not revive functionality, the solar cell that converts light to electrical energy may be damaged. In this case, seek out a specialized watch repairer or the Citizen service center nearest to you. Their expert technicians can open up the watch, examine the solar cell carefully, and replace it with a new genuine part that will restore normal photovoltaic charging.

Fix 3: Reset the Watch

As a last resort troubleshooting step, try resetting your Eco Drive watch with a hard reset:

Step 1 – Position the Crown

Gently pull the crown (the small knob on the side of the watch) out to the second position. This is the middle position, where the crown is extended but not fully pulled out.

Step 2 – Align the Second Hand

Rotate the crown until the second-hand points to the 15-second mark on the watch face. This will ensure that the time setting is precise.

Step 3 – Press and Hold Buttons

Simultaneously press and hold the two buttons located on the lower right side of the watch. The upper button is labeled B and the lower button is labeled A. Maintain pressure on both buttons for at least four seconds.

Step 4 – Release Buttons

After holding the buttons for the specified time, release both buttons simultaneously. The watch should enter the setting mode, indicated by a specific change on the watch face, such as the second hand moving or a blinking indicator.

This master reset clears any scrambled memory or erroneous charge level data that may be throwing off normal function.

Post reset, push the crown back into normal position. Follow the light recharging steps again from zero. Resetting flushes any system glitches and reboots your watch to resume charging and working.

Note – According to the manufacturer, it’s prohibited to reset the watch if it isn’t fully charged. However, some users out there have solved the issue by resetting the watch. So, if you are having the issue, then you can give it a try at your own risk! 


Why is my Eco Drive watch losing time?

If your Citizen Eco Drive watch is fully charged but still loses time consistently, the quartz crystal regulating timekeeping function may be damaged. Get the internal movement examined by a professional watch repairer.

How can I revive a dead Eco Drive watch?

A completely drained Eco Drive can be revived by continuous exposure to natural or artificial light for up to 48 hours. Place the dial face under a bright light source. If it still doesn’t work, the battery or solar cell may need replacement.

Is it normal for an Eco Drive to stop after 4 years?

No, a well-maintained Eco Drive watch should last over 20 years with normal use. If your 4-year-old Eco Drive stops working, it likely indicates an underlying fault like a dead capacitor or broken solar panel. Get it inspected for repairs.

How long does a Citizen Eco Drive battery last?

Eco Drive batteries/capacitors have an impressive lifespan of 10-25 years as they are continually recharged and don’t require replacements like conventional watch batteries. With regular light recharging, they outlast the solar cells that need replacement in 10 years or so.

Can Citizen service center revive a dead Eco Drive?

Yes, the Citizen service network has skilled technicians and access to manufacturer-approved parts to repair all models of Eco Drive watches. A dead watch can be disassembled, diagnosed, and have specific movement parts like capacitors or circuits fixed or replaced as good as new.


To recap, an unresponsive Citizen Eco Drive watch that’s not ticking despite light exposure likely has underlying issues like a drained capacitor or damaged solar cell. But some troubleshooting, light recharging and repairs can often restore functionality in affordable and eco-friendly ways compared to replacing the watch.

I hope this guide gives you clarity on resolving your Eco Drive’s charging difficulties without headaches! Let me know in the comments if the fixes worked or if you have any other queries on keeping these fantastic solar watches running forever.

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