Most helpful positive review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Solid dive watch and fun gadget
on January 8, 2010
This is the second Citizen Eco-Drive watch I have purchased, having been very pleased with my Caliber 2100. I was looking for a nice dive watch with an analogue dial, a rotating bezel, and good luminosity. I have a fondness for mechanical watches, but for sport diving I wanted a cool gadget with a depth guage to use as a back-up, and those only come in electronic watches. Since I already trusted Citizen's workmanship and design, I picked this one out.
The watch has a tough stainless steel case which is large enough to be a good dive watch but not as ridiculously large as some of the ugly watches on the market. The case is not very thin, but because of the design with its beveled case back and bezel ring, it feels thin and it's not a problem putting my hand in my pocket. The two-tone rotating bezel has a solid, snappy feel to it, but is not too tight to turn with dive gloves on. The function buttons should not be pushed under water, but there is no reason to as the depth guage activates automatically when wet and the bezel is external. The brass crown is a strong screw-down device which sticks out a bit far, which is good for grasping but bad for catching on things.
The dial is a bit busy, but the minute and hour hands are not too hard to find at a glance, and the luminious hands and markers are very bright and highly visible. Unlike the Caliber 2100, however, the luminous paint is a green color rather than blue, and while it is very bright, it does not stay bright as long. In deep water it's still easy to see and shining a flashlight on it for a few seconds brightens it back up.
The date is easy to read, and so is the red multi-function hand, which serves as the depth guage needle when submerged, when dry as a battery charge indicator, and in chrono mode as a stopwatch second hand. The bottom subdial is the small seconds indicator for normal time-telling, and the left-hand subdial is a 24-hr hand. The top subdial is the chronograph minutes dial, which runs to a maximum of 50 minutes.
The chronograph function is odd since it's not very useful. To activate the chrono mode you have to hold down the lower function button for a few seconds and then wait for the multifunction hand to wind around to the zero position, and only then can you start the chrono by pushing the upper function button. The chrono only runs for 50 minutes. If you don't start it after a few minutes it unwinds and goes back to normal mode. This means you can't start it quickly and you can't keep it at the ready for very long. Fortunately, this function is not needed for diving but is only an extra feature.
The rubber strap is long enough to fit around the wrist of most wet suit arms, although a thick wet suit and gloves together make it difficult. There is a no-decompression limits table on the strap, a sturdy stainless buckle and two stainless keepers.
I've found the watch to be very accurate, as expected for an Eco Drive. It's comfortable and fairly good-looking, and the anti-reflective mineral crystal is effective. I put it to the test in deep, murky, ice-cold quarry lake water where I took it to a maximum depth of 75 feet and repeated shallower dives thereafter for 2 days. The depth guage worked as advertised, matching my dive rig guage, and the last dive recorded feature also worked great. The dial was acceptably readable even in the deep murkiness. I've worn it in swimming pool and once I took it into a hot spa before I realized what I was doing, but it didn't seem to harm it, although I don't recommend that kind of abuse for any watch.
I am very pleased with this watch. It's not as upscale or fashionable as a Tag Huer or an Omega Seamaster, but it's got a quality high-accuracy Citizen quartz movement, it's light-powered so you don't have to open the watertight case for a battery change, and it's got the depth guage, which is one of the most useful and cool complications a dive watch can have. Even if you already have one of the Swiss luxury divers, this might make a good solid back-up watch for the next dive trip, and it's not bad-looking in the office, either.