Watch Woes: Good-bye Batteries, Hello Solar

I glanced at my left wrist and panicked.  My watch! The lone elastic hair-tie wouldn’t tell me the time. In my haste to change pocketbooks for my day in New York City during the power outage, I’d left my watch in the other handbag. I’d taken it off earlier in the morning before my yoga class, storing it safely in the zippered inside pocket of my everyday brown bag. I’d switched to a larger tote-like bag for the day, roomier to carry magazines, camera, and other items I don’t need daily.

I’m old-school. I wear a watch instead of using my phone to know the time and prefer wind-up fashion watches to digital.

 My inexpensive digital sports watch, which I wear running and cycling, seems to have a mind of its own, beeping in the middle of the night. Forget about changing it for Daylight Savings Time. The instructions alone are too tiny for me to read, let alone decipher.

My first watch was a Timex, bought by my parents as a present. My mother still wears Timex. During a recent visit, she needed to go to the Timex Outlet store to have batteries replaced in two watches. For $6 a year, she buys a contract that replaces the watch batteries on all the watches. I think she has two. Seems like a real deal.

Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of watches, many gifts from my sister, art finds from museum gift stores, and one she beaded herself.  I selected watches to match outfits, like bracelets, earrings and shoes, and pay about $7 to replace batteries in each. 

That was then.

I’ve gone solar.   I have a Citizen Eco-Drive watch that doesn’t need batteries replaced.  Environmentally –friendly, it uses the sun for power, converting light into electrical energy, which is stored in a rechargeable cell. 

I’ll wear the others until their batteries expire. Then they’ll sit in the drawer until I can part with them- either donate to a thrift shop or sell on eBay.

My father uses solar too. Never a watch –wearer, he really tells time the old-fashioned way, by looking at the position of the sun. 

I wonder, how many people can do that?


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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9 Responses to Watch Woes: Good-bye Batteries, Hello Solar

  1. Never thought about my watch and time keeping before. I have a second hand on my watch so I can get my patient’s heart rate. It is not easy to use a cell phone for that. So I have to take time to find a watch with a second hand. The last time I had to purchase a watch it was hard. i have a Citizen. I do not not need a battery. Makes life easier.


  2. Madeline Taylor says:

    Great blog! I especcially liked the comment about dad being solar – so true and so amazing! I’ll never forget once when my colleague commented one day at lunch that she liked my ‘bracelet’ – the watch face was turned inward, i turned it to her and said “Actually, it’s a watch!”
    “20 to 8 when it’s almost noon? I assure you, my dear, THAT is a bracelet!” she replied.
    It was red, it matched my outfit, telling time was irrelevant – yeah, it’s a bracelet!


  3. Leah says:

    I like your father’s way of telling time. I still find myself wearing a watch. I’m an old-fashioned wind-up type as well.


  4. I’m a confirmed Citizen Eco-Drive user. Second watch now, First one got badly damaged after about 8 years of use, one I’m using now is about 4 years old and keeps excellent time.


  5. I think that would be very cool to be able to truly track time using the sun. : )


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