Time Signal Watches

What is a time signal watch?

Time signal watches (or radio controlled watches) are watches which regularly synchronize with a radio time signal, such as the UK<"e;s MSF signal broadcast from Anthorn by the national physics laboratory. To save power, the radio reception generally only happens a few times a day, and thereafter time is kept by a regular crystal mechanism. As such, while they keep very accurate time - usually accurate to the second - time signal watches do deviate very slightly from actuaal time. Nevertheless, you are unlikely to find a way to keep more accurate time than a time signal receiving watch, and accuracy to the second is generally enough for most people. Other benefits of time signal watches include automatically resetting to daylight saving time and often having features which allow you to reset them globally using city names rather than manually moving the watches hands.

Choosing the ideal time signal watch

The first question when choosing a time signal watch is 'Male' or 'Female'. The constraints of fashion mean watches designed for men and women have differing characteristics. Watches for Men tend to have larger faces, thicker straps and may have more technical or sporty features. Watches for women tend towards elegance. They are smaller and often available in a wider range of colours.

Watches For Men





Watches For Women


Leather Strap

Metal Strap

Unisex Watches


Time Signal Watch Battery Life

While I loved my first radio controlled time signal watch, I found the battery life dissapointingly low - and this despite the fact that radio signals were only actually received two or three times a day. While researching my watches replacement I discovered a new category of solar powered time signal watches. I was initially dubious, but I have spent time experimenting with one and this is what I"e;ve found:
  • The battery will charge while on your arm. While the watche"e;s instruction manual suggested that charging the watch would require placing it under a light source for several hours, I"e;ve found it just charging on my arm
  • A single charge would last several months anyway - so don't worry about being unable to top it up
  • There remains a battery life estimate of 10 years - but this is likely a minimum and far better than battery powered watches
Overall, I would say there is no reason not to consider buying a solar powered time signal watch.

Solar Powered Radio Controlled Time Signal Watches

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