A pioneer in solar-powered watches, Citizen has hundreds of such models in its catalogue. But the brand’s latest solar-powered offering, the Eco-Drive 365, is different. Distinctly 1970s in style, the oversized and chunky case is modelled on the Quartz E.F.A. of 1973, one of the brand’s first quartz watches.
Named after its 365-day power reserve, the Eco-Drive 365 makes its debut in three variants: a pair of regular-production models in muted colours as well as a limited edition remake of the Quartz E.F.A. that celebrates the 1970s with its ruby-and-gilt dial.
Most Eco-Drive watches are either chunky sports watches or conservative and plain. The Eco-Drive 365, on the other hand, is bold and retro. In other words, it is a different solar-powered watch.
Almost over the top in style, the large case easily evokes the chunky forms typical of the 1970s. On its face the combination of 1970s design and a solar-powered movement might seem peculiar, but the styling makes this far more interesting than the typical Eco-Drive. Citizen would certainly do well to install the Eco-Drive movements in more watches like this.
I’ve yet to see the Eco-Drive 365 in the metal, but assuming the build quality is on par with similarly priced Citizen watches, it should have good tactile feel, particularly for the US$500-ish price tag.
And while it costs slightly more at over US$800, the limited edition is undoubtedly the coolest watch of the trio. It’s essentially a remake of the Quartz E.F.A. but bigger and bolder. The large size combined with the ruby hour markers and gold chapter ring are 1970s style almost to excess, but it is striking and original.
Citizen launched the Quartz E.F.A. – short for “Extra Fine Adjustment” – in October 1973, just a month after its first-ever quartz watch. While the Quartz E.F.A. was the brand’s second quartz watch, it was Citizen’s first top-of-the-line quartz watch, explaining its unusually elaborate design.
Priced at almost double the standard model with a similar but non-E.F.A. movement, the Quartz E.F.A. featured a gilt chapter ring with synthetic ruby hour markers – both of which have made it into the Eco-Drive 365 limited edition.
Sporting a sparkly dial finish, the dial of the Eco-Drive 365 is modelled on that in the vintage original, including the chapter ring with integral hour markers.
As with most Eco-Drive watches, the dial is translucent, allowing light to charge the solar cells below the dial. The dial itself is actually polycarbonate finished with “glittering accents”. Notably, the new watch does away with the date on the chapter ring, allowing for a symmetrical, unbroken hour track – an improvement for purists no doubt.
Also reproduced on the Eco-Drive 365 is the shell-like case of the Quartz E.F.A. But the design has been scaled up to 42.5 mm wide and 11.1 mm high (while the original was under 40 mm wide), giving the Eco-Drive 365 a modern-day size.
The Eco-Drive 365 limited edition is essentially a remake of the Quartz E.F.A. so its dial features four synthetic rubies set. Because the date has been repositioned closer to the dial centre, the chapter ring can accommodate four rubies at the quarters, unlike on the Quartz E.F.A. that had only three ruby markers due to the date at three.
The rubies are naturally products of Japanese technology: they are a type of synthetic gemstone known as Crescent Vert that was developed by Japanese materials giant Kyocera.
The regular production versions of the Eco-Drive 365 retain the same overall design, dimensions, and sparkling dial, but are rendered entirely in muted colours. Both feature a radially brushed case – a finish typical of the 1970s – along with a matching steel bracelet.
One version is entirely black thanks to an ion-plating process, while the other retains the natural steel finish with a black-coated bezel for contrast.
All three models are powered by the E365, a solar-powered movement that will run for 365 days on a full charge. The E365 is rated to within 15 seconds a month – half a second a day on average.
Key facts and price
Citizen Eco-Drive 365
Ref. BN1014-55E (steel case)
Ref. BN1015-52E (black case)
Ref. BN1010-05E (steel with lab-grown ruby indices)
Diameter: 42.5 mm
Height: 11.1 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Cal. E365
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Power reserve: One year
Strap: Matching steel bracelet for BN1014-55E and BN1015-52E; calfskin strap for BN1010-05E
Limited edition: 1200 pieces for the BN1010-05E, otherwise regular production
Availability: Starting last quarter of 2023 at Citizen boutiques and retailers
BN1014-55E – US$480
BN1015-52E – US$530
BN1010-05E – US$875
For more, visit Citizenwatch-global.com.
This was brought to you in partnership with Citizen.
Correction March 15, 2023: The dial of the Eco-Drive 365 is not a solar cell, rather it a translucent polycarbonate dial that allows light to charge the solar cell just below. Additionally, the Quartz E.F.A. was the second quartz watch launched by Citizen, rather than the first.Back to top.