Keeping Track of Time with Self Winding, Solar or Battery Watches

Keeping Track of Time with Self Winding, Solar or Battery Watches

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

On a recent trip to Switzerland, we were reminded of how important timeliness is to this little country.  When a tour participant asked the tour guide to wait a few minutes for her friends to join us, the tour guide reminded her that we were in Switzerland and everything starts right on time.  That goes for tours and trains. Every train station has a large white faced clock with easy to read bold, black numbers and a red second hand.   Mondaine, the company that makes the official Swiss Railways clocks and now watches, are known for their easy to see and read watch faces that are simple and uncomplicated by other dials or numbers. As a daily reminder of our trip, thanks to my Mondaine watch, I can now easily see what time it is without having to put on my glasses.


When it comes to low vision watches there are several options to help you keep track of time.  Two things to consider are how the watch is powered and how the watch communicates the time of day.  The different ways to power your low vision watch include:


  1. Battery Powered

How long does a quartz battery last?  It depends on the quality, the number of functions it provides and the age of the watch.  The factory installed battery can last up to 4 years on some watches while the replaced battery will last 1-2 years.  Some new watches can have failed batteries after a few months. The more functions the watch has the quicker the battery is depleted.  People with low vision usually need to take the watch to their local jewelers to have the battery replaced, which can be an added burden in finding transportation. I have a drawerful of inexpensive watches whose batteries have died so perhaps like me you’d like to know about other ways to power your watch.


  1. Self Winding or Automatic Watch

These watches stay powered by the wearer’s movements rather than by a battery. There is no need to go to a jeweler to have a battery replaced.  It winds itself with your arm movements.  You do need to wear the watch consistently for about 8-12 hours a day to keep it powered.  When fully powered most of these watches have a reserve of 30-50 hours so you don’t have to wear it everyday but you do need to wear it regularly.  If there is no movement there is no charging.  Many people who have an automatic watch have a watch winder. A winder will not overwind a watch like the old manual winders, but will be an additional expense.


  1. Solar Powered

A solar powered watch requires exposure to light.  The watch doesn’t have to be in direct sunlight, indoor lighting can energize it as well, it just takes longer to charge.  If you don’t get outside often, just place it by a window so that the watch dial is exposed to sunlight for a couple of hours.  With a solar powered watch there is no battery to replace.


Keep track of time and don’t get caught with a depleted battery powered watch with these other low vision watch options.


Low Vision Watch Options



Leslie Degner, RN, BSN