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Men's solar watches capture sufficient energy

Makers are introducing oversized timepieces that have room for numerous PV cells.

Hong Kong watch manufacturers are targeting the men’s market for their latest solar models.

Diving watch

Quality Products Fabrication offers the model G-10004 diving watch, which is accurate to ±30s per month and operates between -5 and 50 C.

Companies offer mostly digital and analog-digital sports designs that have multiple functions such as lap timing and monitoring the user’s heart rate. Large dials are utilized to keep products legible. A broad face also helps support the power requirement by accommodating more PV cells. This is important for styles that consume a greater amount of energy to perform several tasks.

Since an oversized look is appealing to males, recent releases are specifically promoted for this user segment.

Hong Kong-made solar watches are priced from $3 to $23 depending on the materials and components employed.

Low-end models top out at $9 and have a digital module, plastic case and silicone straps. Only two thin-film solar cells are incorporated. The basic timekeepers are popular as premiums.

Midrange designs are fitted with up to four cells for charging. They boast calendar and alarm functions, backlight and water resistance.

RC analog-digital watches start at $15 and are considered high-end. The movement and module are housed in stainless steel. The same metal or genuine leather can be used for the band. The whole dial is covered with PV cells. More features are added as well.

Solar cells are sourced from mainland China and Taiwan. Movements are almost exclusively purchased from Japan, but the March earthquake and tsunami have disrupted supply. Erratic stocks are also causing rates to soar 20 percent. As a result, watchmakers first verify availability before confirming orders, prices and delivery dates with buyers. Although clockwork of comparable quality is obtainable elsewhere, rates are much higher. Inventory is likewise uncertain. Citizen and Seiko, two of the largest providers of movements from Japan, said it will take up to three months for regular distribution to resume.

There are about 15 suppliers of solar watches in Hong Kong. Most offer various types of timepieces, while others specialize in PV products. A few mainland factories employ export agents in the area as well.

The majority of businesses focus on OEM orders. Many can convert existing mechanical, kinetic and battery-operated models into sunlight-powered devices. Several companies boast more than a hundred solar designs in their catalog, indicating a longer history in the category.

Among the suppliers interviewed for this report, Hankey Asia (H.K.) Ltd has been manufacturing solar timepieces for nine years. The experience helps it calculate each style’s energy requirement accurately.

JSG Electronics Co. offers both dual-power watches and those dependent completely on light. QA solar designs make up 10 percent of sales at Quality Products Fabrication (QPF) Ltd.

Product gallery

Solar sports watch

Product gallery

Hankey Asia (H.K.) Ltd

Model: 003
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Solar sports watch; alarm, calendar, stopwatch, light functions; 3ATM water resistance; with rechargeable battery

Digital solar watch

JSG Electronics Co.

Model: JS-224RC
MOQ: 500 pieces
Delivery: 75 days
Description: Digital solar watch; plastic case, strap; RC; 3ATM water resistance

Solar diving watch

Quality Products Fabrication QPF Ltd

Model: G-10004
MOQ: 500 pieces
Delivery: 90 days
Description: Solar diving watch; stainless steel or metal alloy case; 3D superluminous indexes; amorphous silicon solar cell; +/-30s per month accuracy; -5 to 50 C operating temperature

Note: This article "Men's solar watches capture sufficient energy" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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