on September 23, 2013
This is a great watch - technologically, materials, craftsmanship, and super looks - at a great price.
I actually purchased this model, the AT8010-58e, and the Victorinox Swiss Army Ceramic Bezel Classic watch for a week before making a final decision. I also looked at many other watches.
Why did I choose this AT8020-54L?
- EcoDrive. Never needs to be opened up or a battery.
- Sapphire Crystal. Keeps it looking new.
- Atomic Clock Radio controlled. The time and date are ALWAYS right. Always.
- Easy time change when I travel
- Looks expensive and classy
After having it for almost two months, here's my feedback.
- Atomic Radio updates. Works like a charm - and generally best late at night (automatically). This is due to the fact that the transmission signal transmits further at night. I live in Chicago and it updates nightly throughout most of my house. I've also been to Frankfurt Germany (updated no problem), Budapest Hungary (for a week, updated every night), and Wash DC (updated).
- Readability. This was one potential issue - and why I did not buy the AT8010. In certain lighting, I initially had to take a second to read the time. I have a military watch and this is never an issue. But what has happened within a month (which another reviewer noted) is that you "learn" the look of the hands. It's not that you couldn't see them, it's just they're the same color as the hour markers. Readability is not an issue.
- Weight. At 178 grams, the watch feels solid but not heavy. I have small hands and wrists.
- Adjusting Time. This is very easy. If you receive the atomic signal, all you have to do is pull out the center knob (crown) and turn it until the second hand is on your "City". Everything else will be set for you once it reads the signal. To manually receive the signal, push and hold the bottom right button until the small dial points to "RX" for "receive". Place the watch outside or next to a window to help ensure you get a reading. It can take up to 15 mins to set - but mine usually takes < 5 mins. It's easy.
-Adjusting Day Light Savings (DLS). The watch also handles DLS automatically for you. The DLS toggle is sent as part of the Atomic Transmission - no need to do anything. When DLS ends, the watch adjusts for you - very nice. Just make sure the feature is "on". The reason why there is an ON/OFF feature for DLS is that some states / countries don't follow DLS - so if you live in one of those places - leave it off. To turn it ON/OFF - Just pull out the center knob (one position), and press the top button to toggle the on/off for DLS. You'll see the indicator on the top small dial, labeled "Off" "SMT" "ON. Toggle to what you want (On or Off), then press the middle button (crown) back in. Done.
- Manually adjust. The reason you buy the watch is to not have to do this. But if you must then this is how you do it.
Pull out the crown one click (first position). Press and hold the top button for 2+ seconds. Pull crown out one more click (2nd position). You are now in manual mode.
Now each press of the top button will toggle you through "time", "date", "Day of week", "Year/month" and then back thru again. Stop on what item you want to change. Then turn the crown to adjust. Press top button to move on to next item. Once done, press crown back in.
You can also manually adjust other items like Daylight Savings and even the alignment of the hands - those are much less common. The instruction manual can be found here: [...]
- Turn OFF Automatic Updates. Some peopled dinged these Atomic Watches in reviews for not being able to disengage the automatic updates. To prevent updates, set the watch "city" to any any city that uses a different atomic signal than the one you're currently on. For example, if you live in the U.S or Europe, set the watch to "Tokyo" and then manually update the time and date. The watch will NOT update as long as you're not in range of the Japanese atomic signals. This workaround works because each atomic transmitter has a different signal profile (wavelength) and the watch only looks for the signal profile for the area that it's set to.
-Status Check. By briefly pressing the bottom button, the watch will give you the charge status, time zone being used, and whether the last Atomic Radio sync was successful (found the signal).
I've had this watch for a couple of months (bought it outside of Amazon on a super sale) and am very happy with it.
For what you get (technology, precision, 200m water resistant, sapphire, great looking, etc), the watch is a underpriced.
on January 1, 2014
I received this watch as a Christmas gift from my wife. I had been looking at the older A-T blue angels watch (JR3060-51L), but after I got this one I felt that it better served my needs. My wife didn't get me what I had wanted, but she did get me something I think I like more than what I wanted.
The AT8020-54L is, IMHO, a very cool looking watch, and the "Atomic" feature (actually, radio link with the US atomic clock radio station) is very nice. Hint: make sure the antenna (the 9 o'clock position) is pointed at Ft. Collins, Co (West, in my case), and make sure you don't move the watch when it is synching. Synching occurs automaticially at 2am, or you can manually synch. But take the watch off, lay it down, and don't move it while it is communicating.
So it looks good, and keeps good time. The day/date feature is set up to get the days and dates right for much longer than I'll live. The Eco-drive means no batteries. So this is a very, very low maintenance watch, once it's set up. Setup is straightforward.
The dial is 43mm, which is a bit smaller than the older style, but I can read the time easily. Reading the chronograph minutes and tenths of seconds dial is harder. My fifty-something eyes would need bright light and a magnifying class if I was routinely measuring 3 to 60 minute durations. For measuing seconds and tenths, it's pretty easily read. Very easy to operate.
This crystal is sapphire, not mineral crystal as in previous BA watches. So the AT8020-54L is more scratch resistant than older models, and this is more in line with the price point of the watch.
The smaller dial allows the crystal to cover the circular slide rule functions around the outside. The slide rule ring is rotated by a knob (no, it's not a pushbutton) at the 8 oclock location. Even though the slide rule is pretty small and probably isn't practically useful (certainly not for a Blue Angels pilot with gloved hands!), it does bring up one quibble: the moving ring has poor (loose) tolerances. So I can line up one side of the stator and rotator parts (say at the 12 oclock posiition, with 60 aligned with 60), and the bottom of the dial shows an offset due to poor fit. So the bottom has 19 aligned with 19.1. Not a big functional deal, but if you're gonna put a slide rule on the thing, it should work better. The gradations on the slide rule dials being protect them from wear, but all for nought: the sloppy tolerances mean you won't be doing time-distance calcs with this thing.
This brings me to the other minor quibble. The second and the minute hands did not line up exactly with the minute witness marks. So the second hand would traverse "12", and the minute hand would click from 1/6 minute past the minute, to 2/6 (the hand advances in 1/6 minute increments). The minute had can be adjusted (see "reference position" in the manual) by -1/6 minute, and this worked and now gives perfect alignment. But the second hand is still a little bit off and the reference position is only adjustable in 1 second increments. Not a big problem.
Going from time zone to time zone is easy: Pull out the crown one click, turn the crown to point the second hand at the city representing your time zone (I live in Philly, my city was NYC), and push the crown in. The clock then magically advances or retreates to the correct time.
For its price point and feature set, I think this is a terrific watch. I'm extremely happy with it.
on December 23, 2014
The world of watches is obviously subjective -- highly subjective, in fact -- and many will argue brands and features and prices to no end, when really much of it amounts to mere personal opinion, versus true knowledge or industry expertise.
The fact of the matter is asking yourself what you want your watch to do, what you want it to look like while accomplishing those functions, and how much you are willing to pay, to get what you want.
I was looking for a watch specifically for travel that can instantly change to different time zones. I wanted good water resistance, solid lume for display in the dark, a chronograph and at least a date feature, if not date with day as well. A bonus would be a sapphire crystal. I wanted it to look stylish, have some distinction to it, and not cost an arm and a leg.
That may all seem a tall order, but not for this Citizen.
Widely regarded as a "best choice" selection, and with appearances on more than a few "top watch" lists, this World Time Chronograph is nothing short of brilliant. Not only did it give me all, and even, more than what I wanted, but has the added bonus of being an Eco-Drive watch, one of those with the proprietary Citizen tech of being powered by light. So, no battery to worry about, but not the hassle of an automatic that needs a watch winder when not in use.
Photos do not do this watch justice, and it wasn't until seeing some YT videos of it, and reading/watching various reviews, that I was really sold as this being the one that I wanted. I was hesitant at first only because, shortly before they really went big with the Eco-Drive technology, I did own a Blue Angels Navihawk, battery powered, that died after not much use, so I was a bit put off of the brand, but it seems things have improved (or maybe I just got a lemon back in those days) since general feedback on Citizen is very good. Like Seiko, they offer some truly world leading features.
It's not a Swiss time piece, obviously, so it doesn't come with bragging rights for those who care about such things, relative to what matters to them, but, as I say, I was looking for specific functions, and world time that changes on the fly (or at the push of a button) is not something a lot of Swiss or even luxe brands care much about, outside of having a GMT (sometimes UTC, especially on a German piece) feature. You can spend half a million dollars on a watch, literally, and still not have the convenience this watch provides (as do other models from Citizen, and as do other watch makers, such as Seiko) where you just twist an indicator over to a city, push a button and, presto, new time is displayed.
This is also a radio controlled watch, meaning that it will seek, once per day, to connect to one of five worldwide "atomic" clock signals at a specific time (or on demand, if you prefer) in order to adjust itself for accuracy, in order to be dead on true as an incredibly accurate time keeper. It should be noted that such is not always so simply accomplished however -- for example, when in the city, it may not be able to establish any connection, due to interference -- so it's not a feature that "works" unless there is very clear and unobstructed access to the atomic clock signal being broadcast.
In other words, don't expect the automatic radio controlled accuracy feature to work from inside an apartment building in the middle of a metropolitan area. If that's where you live, it's a bit of a useless feature then, given that, in order to access the signal in the USA, for example, you'd need to leave your apartment and go outside to where you can find an unobstructed signal zone, determine how to face the watch receiver toward Fort Collins, and do so at a time when the signal is strongest, for best results, such as at two in the morning. Not exactly a convenience, in that instance, having to head out to a field somewhere in your jammies in the middle of the night, hoping not to be mistaken for a weirdo...
Even so, the watch is certainly more than accurate enough for use, even without lining itself up to the atomic clock once per day. Mine has yet to be adjusted to "true" time, but, in checking in on the atomic clock, mine is within a quarter second of accuracy, so that's not bad. I certainly won't be late to any appointments, with accuracy on that level.
The looks, as I've said, are far better in person. It has a beautiful sense of "depth" to it, and the aircraft instrument styling is completely impressive. The "Blue Angels" edition I have is gorgeously detailed, with yellow accenting that spices up the look just enough to be noticed. Check out YT vids, or blog reviews, to see the watch from all angles, and you'll see what I mean. You can stare at this thing for hours, just to admire it.
If you're not a fan of the Blue Angels version, keep in mind it comes in other variations.
While some may think the dial is a bit busy, for all that is happening in a 43mm size space, it presents itself as a very clean look, and possibly it's just the inner slide rule bezel (operated beautifully by rotating the button at lower left) that seems to make it cluttered, but in person it's a very crisp and easy to read design, overall.
Keep in mind too it's delivering a lot of facts in that small area -- date, day of the week, radio signal reception indicator, 24 hour indicator, power reserve indicator, DST indicator, chronograph and world time features, etc.
There are, of course, plenty of watches with less going on, but then you have to minus those features from what you're getting, plus be stuck with a much less interesting watch. For this model, the richness of detail is part of what makes it stand out -- very nice to glance down at your wrist and see what looks like the instrument panel of a fighter jet.
Although this watch is also sold with a leather band, I opted for the stainless steel bracelet, to dress it up a little, since the leather, when combined with the already sporty dial, makes it seem more suited to a weekender watch, rather than something you could also wear to the office (depending on your office, of course, ahaha). The bracelet itself, in brushed stainless, is well made, comfortable, and was easily adjusted for perfect fit. It is a lightweight watch, easy to wear.
In terms of the Eco-Drive feature, this is my first Eco-Drive watch, and I was worried a bit from some complaints I've read that, without regular, focused charging periods, these watches may start to lose their juice, so to speak, but, thus far, simple routine wearing, even in this darker wintery weather, has been more than sufficient to keep the charge up, so no complaints at all with the technology there, which, as ubiquitous as it is within the Citizen brand, is, I'm sure, something they've perfected by now.
Even so, the manual did come with a range of disclaimers, and did suggest that it should be specifically charged on occasion, in full sunlight, for optimum performance, so keep that in mind, since that's a bit more fussing than a battery powered watch that just keeps on keeping on, whether being worn, or on a shelf. Seems more than worth it though, at least IMHO.
Overall, I think this is a stunning time keeper, and well worth the rave reviews and kudos of acclaim it has received.
Do be aware that prices here on Amazon tend to run less than other places, and I learned that Amazon is an Authorized Dealer, according to Citizen, so you still get the full warranty from Citizen, when buying on Amazon. Go Amazon, go!!!
In summary, while it may be less watch than other options (depending on feature set) when listed up at the six hundred dollar range, priced far less, as it was on Amazon, it was an exceptional buy and a huge amount of "watch for the buck" compared to any other offering. At any price, there just aren't a lot of watches with this range of features and certainly Citizen, as well as Seiko and some others, are the masters of this realm, but, at the price provided here, the feature set is nearly impossible to rival, with not only accurate time keeping, chronograph and perpetual calendar all on board, but also the "on the fly" world time adjustment, atomic time keeping (when possible) and all packaged under a true sapphire crystal in a case with full 200m Water Resistance.
Citizen really hit this one out of the park.