light-powered, saving landfills & lives: a review of the trendy, new Q&Q Smile Solar Watch
Want to up your cool factor a bunch of notches? Try a solar watch! Yep, watches powered by the sun? Not science fiction, science fact!
The Advice Sisters have sung the praises of CITIZEN eco-drive watches for a while, with solar-powered technology that drives a lot of their watches to run without batteries and work flawlessly, as long as they are exposed to natural (or even artificial) light for periods of time. But there’s a new kid in town, not exactly solar powered watches for kids per se, but definitely a hipper version of solar, called Q&A Smile Solar Watches. And guess what? They’re not just a cool looking, eco-friendly Japanese watch brand, they are actually a subsidiary of CITIZEN Watch Co. And while CITIZEN watches are also available in reasonable price points, the price tag on Q&Q Smile Solar Watches? They’re a hipster-friendly $40.00 each!
The Q&Q stand for “quest & quality.”
My first impression of the Q&A Smile Solar watch that I was sent for review was that it is meant to make a statement, to be fun, and perhaps not be taken too seriously. But these watches are reliable time-pieces, not toys. It is obvious that the company is focusing not on the luxury market for watches (which CITIZEN can easily compete in) but on the millennial audience, who prefer experiences to acquisition, and want something very trendy, affordable and it also has to appeal to their “eco-chic” side. The Q&Q Smile Solar Watches are so powered by an advanced solar technology system that the company says will operate for over three months with one single charge. CITIZEN calls their solar-powered technology “eco-drive” but while these are eco-frinedly and solar-driven, and they too change light into energy, they aren’t eco-drives. No matter, each of the watches are still battery free, which means virtually maintenance free as well.
For those who care about the environment, another benefit to both the CITIZEN eco-drive watches and these Q&A Smile Solar Watches is that since there is no battery replacement, you aren’t adding additional waste (and potentially toxic chemicals) back into landfills. And the Q&A Smile Solar Watches are not made from metal, they’re made from virgin and recycled materials and finished with an impermeable encasing, making them sweat-proof and water-resistant. The bright colors and designsmake them fun to wear, and lightweight, which means comfort in the heat or when you’re active. You won’t find light up dials,
There are three styles, the Solar Series, Spice (limited Edition) and mini . The first two are 5 bar waterproof which means you can wear it in the rain, but I wouldn’t swim with them. The Minis are 10 bar waterproof which means it is designed to withstand accidental splashing, exposure to rain, showering, swimming in a pool, etc but by no means are these dive watches. And all of the models give a portion of the profits back to charity (see below),
I was sent the RP00J015Y from the Solar Series. The watch has a black fabric band rimmed in hot pink on one side, and a black and white herringbone print on the other side. The backing is all hot pink and the buckle is pure shite. The face of the watch is a chic plum with embossed Q&Q logo and divots for the hours.
While the eco drive watches are elegant and made from stainless steel , some with diamond embelishments, these Q&Q watches almost look disposable, made of virgin and recycled materials and finished with an impermeable encasing, making them sweat-proof and water-resistant. Q&Q SmileSolar can be found here. is full of color that will appeal to hipsters who are looking to make a fashion statement. Hipstiers and crunchies will also be happy to know that since there is no battery, the watch is not only extremely reliable and maintenance free, hey’re not contributing more to those nasty landfills.
And there’s more to appeal to the best in all of us: When you purchase a Q&Q SmileSolar watch, a portion of the proceeds is donated to a portion of the proceeds is donated to Table for Two to deliver school meals to hungry children in Africa and Asia.