Most helpful positive review
179 of 182 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant technology + elegant design = near perfection
on August 24, 2005
I've had Citizen watches for a long time. My first Citizen was an Aqualand Eco-Drive with built-in depth gauge. Been on many scuba diving excursions much traveling and still works like a champ. Citizen watches in general are rugged, reliable, accurate, and with the Eco-Drive and Perpetual calendar, completely self-sufficient.
The Calibre 8700 is the ultimate blend of form and function in a watch. This thing is packed full of technology with an Eco-Drive system and Citizen's Perpetual Calendar which is guaranteed accurate until Feb. of 2100. The face is absolutely gorgeous and comes in a variety of colors (white, steel blue, and black). You'd never know it was a solar cell except for the tiny words "Eco-Drive" at the 12 position. The steel blue and black versions have a subtle two-tone face with a more highly polished look around the edge where the numbers are located. On my black and sliver model, the numbers are elegant silver Roman numerals that give the watch a much more classic appearance. The outside edge also has tick marks for the seconds, and numbering ever 5 seconds. Further out on the ring are each of the 12 months of the year, with January at the 1 o'clock position and sweeping clockwise to December at 12. The font used for the months is very legible, but small enough that they aren't obtrusive or distracting.
The inner face has three smaller dials in a triangular configuration. The top left dial is the 24-hour clock that stays in sync with the normal 12-hour hand. The outer edge of the 24-hour dial is done in a similar polished steel that contrasts wonderfully with the background and main outer numbers. There are tick marks for each hour, and standard numbering every 4 hours, with the 12 and 24 being slightly larger.
The top right dial is a multi-function display and is divided into three sections. The largest is in the semi-circle that depicts the day of the week, starting with Sunday at the top and sweeping clockwise to Saturday at the bottom. A small silver hand points to the current day. The days are labeled with the standard 3-letter abbreviations. On the bottom left side of the dial, which is black with sliver lettering, are the words ON and OFF, which will tell you the status of the alarm when the lower button is pressed. The upper part of the dial (also black and silver), tells you how many years past the last leap-year the watch is set to (currently +1 because 2004 was the last leap-year).
The final dial at the bottom tells you what mode you are in: Time, Calendar, Alarm, and Local Time. This dial is done in the same style as the 24-hour dial, but is only semi-circular. An interesting feature is the hand that points to the current mode is double-ended, meaning you can change the mode (using the knob on the side) by rotating it either clockwise or counter-clock wise to point the correct mode, in only 2 turns to any mode, even modes that are on the opposite end of the dial. Great feature and makes changing modes much faster.
The last feature of the face is the standard date display, which will automatically adjust to the correct date depending on the month and leap year.
Time mode is the standard watch mode showing you the current time in hours, min. and seconds, the day of the week and the date. Day of the week dial will also tell you the status of the alarm if the lower button is held. Setting the time automatically sweeps the second hand to 12-o'clock, so you can sync your watch with the atomic clock very easily and quickly. Switch to Calendar mode, and the second hand now points to the current month, while the watch maintains the time uninterrupted. Change it back and the second hand sweeps around to the current time and begins ticking as if nothing happened. Holding the upper button in this mode will tell you the year past the last leap year (L.Y, +1, +2, +3). Switch to alarm mode and the hands will move to the time you have the alarm set for. Note that the watch is still maintaining the correct time, just not moving the hands. Finally, move the watch to Local Time, and you now have a completely separate time display. So if you are traveling and you normally are on Eastern Time, you can set the Local Time mode to the local time and it will keep track of both automatically. Setting it is so easy! Each turn of the knob advances or backs up the time by exactly one hour, so you'll always be synced. And here's the best part: Your alarm will always go off at the correct time, regardless if you are in Local Time or normal Time mode. If your normal alarm goes off at 7 am Eastern and now you are 3 hours behind in California, setting your local time will make your alarm go off at 7 am California time! Sweet.
The watch band is a tasteful steel-link design that blends perfectly with the watch body. The clasp is very secure and easy to detach; just squeeze the sides and it pops right off. The band is also very smooth and rounded, so the steel never irritates your arm. The joints are so precisely engineered that they never catch your arm hair and cause that painful hair-tugging that so many cheap metal bands do.
There is only one real negative to this watch and one minor feature I'd like, though neither are anything that most other, more expensive watch don't suffer from. First, only the minute and hour hands glow in the dark (not the 24-hour hand). And it is only the normal glow-in-the-dark paint variety. I would have liked to see tritium gas illumination for the hands and maybe for the 12, 3, 6, and 9 positions, as well as for the 24-hour hand and some of the numbers on that dial. But the paint is very high quality, glows very brightly for several hours, and maintains a low level of luminescence throughout the night. The second is that there is no mode to indicate the current charge level of the reserve battery. It does have a low power warning mode that causes the second hand to only move every 2 seconds (yes it moves two ticks :P ) to indicate the charge is low. But the face is so perfectly laid out I don't know where they would place such an indicator and the Citizen engineers probably decided it was unnecessary, and they are quite right: If your watch is ticking normally, it has sufficient charge and that's all you need to worry about.
This watch is absolutely the best watch I have ever owned. It's beautiful, functional, accurate, self-sustaining, comfortable and rugged. Once set, you'll most likely never have to set it again for as long as you own the watch. The battery never needs to be replaced and the date always rolls over to the correct day. And should you take it off and leave it somewhere dark, it will keep the correct time for up to 6 months on a full charge. It is also water resistant to 100 meters, though this really means that normal activities such as washing your hands, showering or swimming will not pose a problem, just don't use the controls under water. Don't scuba dive with this watch! ;) This has everything you need unless you're a gadget freak. And even at the MSRP of this watch, it's an absolutely terrific deal!