Citizen Eco-Drive Watches: How It Works, Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Do you know how your Citizen watch works? Do you have a problem with your Citizen Eco-Drive watch? It does not work? What maintenance should be given? Is it completely downloaded? Not precise enough? You do not receive the radio signal by radio frequency to set the time? Do you know how to reset a Citizen Eco-drive watch?

You just bought your Citizen Eco-Drive watch, and you have a couple of questions. Let’s solve them.

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How does a Citizen Eco-Drive watch work?

As you may already know, Eco-Drive technology was invented by citizens, it allows your watch to receive energy through sunlight or any light or fluorescent. On the dial, it has a solar panel that converts light into energy to start the watch, and inside it has an accumulator to store that energy. It can last you a lifetime.

Many models are also used to dive or go into the water and others have radio control to adjust the time automatically using radio frequencies or GPS satellites.

  • This technology can generate power from any light source (artificial light, natural light, and even dim light) to keep watches running without the need to replace the battery.

The good thing about these watches is that they are very reliable and easy to use. You start them up and they can last you perfectly for more than 15 years without having to do anything with them.

How long does it take to charge your Eco-Drive watch? 

Approximately the times indicated in this table:

AroundLuminance (Lx)Charging time for one day of operationCharging time to start normal operation when the rechargeable battery is discharged
In direct sunlight or on a cloudy day10,000 to 100,0004 to 12 minutes40 minutes to 1 hour
20 cm from a fluorescent lamp (30 W)300040 minutes2.5 hours
Interior lighting5004 hours14 hours

Main problems that may arise in your Citizen Eco-Drive watch

There are some problems that you may face with your Citizen eco drive watch. We have answered and solved some of the most important questions regarding Citizen eco drive watches below.

Why does my citizen eco drive watch keep stopping?

There are quite a few problems that your citizen watch may be facing and keep stopping. Let me discuss them below in detail.

The clock does not work

The first thing you have to think about is that you don’t have enough energy to get going. It is possible that you have spent a long time in the dark and that you have no energy accumulated.

In this case, one of the most common, all you have to do is put it in the sunlight. And this is important: put the watch in direct sunlight. No artificial lights: they will take much longer to provide the necessary energy for your watch to start.

How long? Well, it depends a lot on how downloaded it is and on the model, but it is possible that at least one full day.

Insufficient charge?

Citizen Eco-Drive Watches

In another very common case, Your Citizen watch will start to do a very strange thing: the second hand will move at 2-second intervals. It is telling you that it does not have enough energy and that you have to put it in the sun. 

Many models also have a specific dial that indicates the charge of the watch.

For example, this is what can happen in the Citizen Pilot Super Titanium CB0230-81L model.

The watch does not work even after charging a lot

If you have made sure that the watch has been charging for a few days in bright sunlight and it still does not work properly, you may need to go to an authorized Citizen center to have it checked out and repaired.

It is likely that the accumulator in the clock has failed and will need to be replaced to get it working again.

Can you overcharge a Citizen Eco-Drive?

The answer is no, you can’t overcharge a Citizen Eco-Drive. The battery has built-in protection that stops it from being charged past 100%.

The Citizen Eco-Drive series watches are made in such a way that you don’t have to worry about overcharging. The Eco-Drive uses light from natural or artificial light sources and stores it in a solar cell, so you never have to worry about running out of power. This means that your watch will never stop ticking!

How long does it take to charge an eco-drive watch?

Eco-drive watches are watches that never need a battery change. They are powered by light, so they can be recharged in any light conditions.

The time it takes to charge an eco-drive watch depends on the type of watch and its current battery life. A typical eco-drive watch will take 12 minutes to charge for 1 day of use, while a full charge requires 40 hours in direct sunlight.

The hands or the digital displays do not work as they should: how to reset a Citizen Eco-drive watch

It may have been hit hard or affected by static electricity or a magnet. You have to reset the clock. You can consult the instruction manual where they usually tell you how to do it.

For example, in the Citizen Eco-Drive JY8085-14H Super Pilot watch that has the u680 module, a crown and two buttons are made as follows:

  1. Pull the crown out to position 1 and turn it to align the mode hand with the chronograph mode.
  2. Pull the crown out to position 2: the hands will rotate rapidly.
  3. After the hands stop, you have to press buttons (A) and (B) at the same time: all-digital displays and lights will be activated when released and a confirmation tone will sound and the hands will move left and right.

On regular Citizen analog watches with a crown, you just pull the crown out to the time shift position and leave it there for more than 30 seconds.

After performing the operation you will have to set your Citizen’s time. The process will vary depending on the watch model:

  • You will have to pull the crown out to one of its positions to change the time and date. Please refer to the user manual.
  • You can manually activate the reception of the time signal by radiofrequency or Satellite if the watch has this option.

Example? In the Citizen Pilot Super Titanium CB0230-81L we do it as follows:

  1. Pull the crown out to the outermost position
  2. Momentarily press the lower right button A.
  3. Turn the crown to set the minutes.
  4. Momentarily press the lower right button A.
  5. Rotate the crown to set the time.
  6. Momentarily press the lower right button
  7. Rotate the crown to set the date.
  8. Momentarily press the lower right button A.
  9. Rotate the crown to set the month and year
  10. Push the crown into the starting position

If your Citizen watch is radio-controlled: it does not receive the radio signal.

Another very common problem with Citizen Eco-Drive watches that have radio control to adjust the time automatically is that the signal from the antenna is not received. You are most likely out of range.

Surely you have already heard that you have to leave it near a window at night, do not move it, or put it near something metallic to increase the intensity of the signal reception.

Other solution? Citizen has the gadget to amplify the signal, the RCW/SU-3 antenna, which is often included with radio-controlled watches (I got it from the purchase of the Citizen Eco-Drive JY8085-14H Super Pilot). It usually costs around 30 euros.

This is the photo of the antenna along with its instructions to amplify the reception of the clock signal. The diagram is pretty self-explanatory:

  • You have to place the antenna at 6 or 9 o’clock depending on where the antenna that transmits the signal is located.
  • The RCW/SU-3 antenna has to lightly touch the watch.
  • You have to place them next to a window.
  • Activate the radio control manual reception on your watch and leave them for about 15 minutes

It is better to place them on a wooden or plastic area than on metal. It does not use any type of energy.

The good thing about this device is that it works with other watch brands, not just Citizen, so you can use it with your Casio G-Shock watches.

Citizen watch with Satellite Wave does not connect to GPS satellites

The other option to have your Citizen watch always on time is to buy a model that connects directly to GPS satellites.

For example, you may have trouble getting your Citizen Eco-Drive CC9025-51E Satellite Wave GPS Sky Premier watch to connect.

Is the signal always available to update the clock time? Well, some environments are better than others. GPS (Global Positioning System) reception is more likely to fail in a city if you are situated in the middle of large buildings. 

GPS reception works best in open spaces, in the middle of nature, and when the sky is clear. Signal reception can be achieved in about 3 seconds at the right site. Move around to get it.

Your watch is dirty

If your watch has a lot of dust on the crown or other parts, it may start to malfunction. Don’t let dust get inside, and don’t let the crown be dirty, it may malfunction.

If you want to clean the watch, do not use solvents. Use a soft cloth with a little water and clean it with care and lots of love.

Your watch does not tell the time correctly in certain situations

All watches have certain parameters of use that are indicated in the instructions. Surprised? Depending on the model, they can resist heat or cold better or worse and that can affect their accuracy.

  • Normal temperatures of use can be between 0º C and 50º C, but it would always be better to have it between 5º C and 35º C.
  • Diver watches have wider ranges, for example between -10º C and +60º C, but their accuracy can drop in low and high temperatures.

You should also not leave your watch near a magnet, household appliances with static electricity or leave the watch inside the car in the middle of summer.

Your watch and the water

If you have bought the watch you have to be very clear about its water resistance. If your watch has a crown, be very careful to have it screwed on correctly when you go into the water. Your watch may stop working if water gets inside it.

In this table you can check the different water resistances that Citizen watches have:

WaterproofExposure to water (washing face, rain)Swimming, cookingDiving without equipmentDiving with equipment (oxygen bottles)
Water Resist 100/200WR (10/20ATM)YESYESYESNOT
DIVER 200m (ISO6425 certificate)YESYESYESYES

How do I reset my eco drive watch? when you take it off

Normally, it is recommended to leave the watch in a horizontal position with the dial facing upwards, especially in automatic ones. If you have a box to store watches, all the better (less dust, fewer knocks).

As your watch is Eco-Drive, it is better than the case has a transparent glass that allows the passage of light so that the watch continues charging. Don’t keep it in the dark.

What If Citizen Eco-drive hands are not moving?

The citizen eco-drive hands will stop moving when the battery is at a low charge level. This can be due to low exposure to light or exposure to light for too long.

The citizen eco-drive hands will start moving again when the battery is charged.

Instruction manuals for your Citizen watch model

Reading your watch’s instruction manual may help you find the problem. At the end of each manual, there is a “Troubleshooting” section that may be interesting to note. You just have to know the model of your watch and look for its manual.

You just have to find the movement number of your watch on the back of the case and download the instruction manual of your watch at the Citizen website.

The move number is represented in the first four characters of the longest number (it has a hyphen in between, the first 4 numbers are the move number).

How much does it cost to replace a Citizen Eco-Drive battery?

To replace a citizen eco drive battery or capacitor you could be paying $75 and up for genuine parts.

More things you need to know about Citizen watches

We have written a few articles that can help you better understand watches in general and specifically these Citizen models:

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