Customer Reviews: Citizen Eco-Drive Men's CB0020-50E World Perpetual A-T Stainless Steel Watch
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on December 15, 2010
I bought this Watch at Mississauga, Ontario, Canada for CDN$368 plus 13% tax. I noticed this on sale at another store for the lesser amount of CDN$338.00 - unfortunately only after I had made my purchase.

UPDATES: Please see updates towards the end of the review (Most Recent: Dec 23, 2015 - 5 Year Update).

- Keeps highly accurate time to the seconds. I have compared it with computers that are freshly synchronized with time servers using NTP (Network Time Protocol) and it was found to keep exact time. I also compared it with CBC Radio time signal transmitted at 1:00pm. It was just amazing how the seconds hand points exactly at 12 O' clock position when the beginning of the long beep is heard from the radio. This accuracy, of course, depends on being in one of the 5 regions where it can receive a Time Calibration Signal.

- Synchronizes automatically with Atomic Time almost every night (I noticed it missed one night with a snowstorm) at Burlington, Ontario. Attempts to manually synchronize during the DAY never worked. Attempts at manual synchronization at NIGHT worked fine most of the time. Burlington, ON receives the time signal from the NIST transmitter at Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The Distance from Burlington,ON to Fort Collins,CO is 2109 kilometers or 1311 miles or 1139 nautical miles according to [....].

- Perpetual Calendar feature is quite useful. For anyone unfamiliar with this feature: This feature helps show the correct date through out the year. It knows which months have 31 days, whether February will have 28 days or 29 days etc. Most watches will need their date to be adjusted manually a few times per year -- typically when the date transitions from a month with 30 days to the next or from February to March. With Perpetual Calendar feature the pain of resetting the date is eliminated.
(Be aware that if you are in a region without Time Signal reception, the Perpetual Calendar feature needs to be manually set. This is a one time procedure -- and this procedure tells the watch whether the current year is a leap year, if it is not, how many years have past since the last leap year, what is the current month etc. Once this is done, it will keep the correct date.(read the manual on how to do this.)

Things worth mentioning:
- The "World Time" claim does not mean it is DUAL TIME capable. The watch can only display the time at a single timezone at any given time. It just means IF your home time is set correctly, you can then follow a multi-step process to choose another city, after which the watch will display that new City's time. If you are about to get off from an airplane at another timezone, it will help you set the new time without asking strangers. (There is NO single push switching from this new timezone back to your home timezone. To get the original timezone back, you will have to repeat the city selection process and choose your home city).

If the new city you are in is in one of the 5 regions that is covered by an Atomic Time transmitter, the watch will self-adjust daily at 2:00AM and keep accurate time. Please note that it is the choice of the City that tells the watch which wavelength it should tune-in, in order to receive the local time signal. For example, if you travel from New York in the US to Tokyo,Japan, the watch will not receive the Japanese time signal until you manually set the city to Tokyo. Until then it will continue to try unsuccessfully to receive the US time signal.

To check which city's time is currently showing, you should pull the crown out and the "seconds" hand will move and point to the city name and remain frozen at that position. Pushing the crown back in will cause the seconds hand to resume showing the time with regular ticks. The lost time it spent pointing at the City Name is remembered and the seconds hand does a fast movement to catch up and reposition at the correct second.

It is also worth mentioning that the UTC offsets for each supported timezone is printed on its face. If you are inclined to do some mental arithmetic, you can quickly tell the time at any of those cities. You will need some geography and timezone offset (and DST) knowledge to derive times of cities that are not printed on the watch. (For example, Kathmandu, Nepal is not in the list and has an offset of UTC+5:45 and does not observe DST (as of 2010). New Delhi is in the list, which is UTC+5:30. New Delhi and Nepal are not too far apart geographically)

- When I got the watch from the store, it was showing the approximate local time, but its 'city' was incorrectly set to Buenos Aires, Argentina (UTC-3:00).The correct City setting for my location should have been 'New York'(UTC-5:00), whose timezone we share in Ontario, Canada. With the help of the manual and the salesperson, it was corrected while in the store itself. I can see how that might have come about: Someone set the City to Buenos Aires while fiddling with the watch,and then also set the time manually to our local time. When the watch is told that it is in Buenos Aires, it stops listening to the US NIST time signal, and therefore failed to correct itself to show exact local time. The watch resumed listening for Atomic Time Signal when I set the city back to 'New York'.

- Crown is not screw-down. I do not see any functionality being affected by the crown being so.

- It has no light and despite the luminous markings, night visibility is poor.

I was evaluating wrist watches with the assumption that I will use my iPhone for most other time functions such as stop watches, alarms and so on.
- Accurate Time + Atomic Time Reception (Every wrist watch drifts -- and only self adjusting atomic watches keep correct time because they correct themselves)
- Perpetual Calendar (to avoid manually changing date after those months without 31 days)
- Without need to replace battery (afraid that once opened Waterproofing will be affected)
- Must be Waterproof at least 200M to avoid fear of rain or other water contact
- Good Visibility at Night (I compromised here - this watch is not great in this aspect)
- Sapphire Crystal (with the belief that it resists scratches)
- Stainless steel (with the belief that stainless resists scratches better than titanium)
- No useless flight/fuel calculation nonsense on the dials
- No Altimeter/Thermometer/GPS and other sensors. If I need any of them I will buy them separately.
- Do I like the looks of it? I did not want a watch that screams "LOOK AT ME", but something that whispers it. ;-)

-- Dec 23, 2015: Watch still going strong. No complaints.
-- Nov 2, 2014: DST end picked up successfully this year (last year it did not).
-- Dec 11, 2013: Watch still going strong. No complaints.
-- Nov 4, 2012: Watch DID NOT update the DST ending today automatically, despite it receiving the time signal. Likely reason: Watch received the time signal moments before the revised time is broadcast (May be the watch was a second fast? I will keep monitoring for evidence). The Watch is expected to do its first self-setting attempt at 2:00 AM (DST switches at 2:00AM too), once it succeeds it won't retry self-setting until the next day. It appears that it succeeded the first time, and missed DST. I manually retried and it corrected itself - everything looks Ok.
-- Dec 16, 2011: Everything working great after 1 year+ of 8-16 hours per day of "normal" use/No Scratches/No water issues/Keeps Perfect Time.
-- 4 Month update: Sunday March 13, 2011: The watch automatically advanced 1 hour this morning to start DST!)
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on November 11, 2010
I bought this watch a few days ago at an authorized dealer at 40% off the suggested retail price of $650.00. The band and case is titanium which enhances the feel on your wrist. I own an Omega SeaMaster (James Bond version) which weighs five times as much as this titanium lightweight, and its price is ten times the amount paid for this watch. The quality of the Citizen is outstanding, and over time will prove much more reliable than the Omega.

The cell is powered by natural and artificial light and contains a six month reserve. Thus, if the watch were left in total darkness, it would still run for a long time. The cell has a life time guarantee and the watch comes with a five year Citizen warranty.

The stationary bezel of the watch displays the major cities in all 24 time zones. It takes only a few seconds to set the watch while traveling around the world. Additionally, the accuracy of the watch is paramount as it is an atomic watch with automatic daily adjustments syncronized with atomic clocks located in the United States, Europe and Japan. As the name implies, the date feature is perpetual. Thus, I will never, ever have to set the date or time on this watch. The only adjustment will occur when I change time zones.

However, even given the beauty, craftsmanship and accuracy of this timepiece, the most oustanding feature, as far as value is concerned, is that the watch comes with a sapphire crystal. This renders the timepiece almost scratchproof. This watch has the look, accuracy and quality materials of watches costing much, much more. I challenge anyone to find a titanium watch with a sapphire crystal and all of the above features with a five year warranty at anywhere near the suggested retail price of $650.00.
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on December 18, 2011
I purchased this watch BRAND NEW through an authorized dealer on Ebay for $263 with free shipping (wholesale price). About half off the regular retail price. I took it out of the box, and it was already the correct time for Santiago, so a few turns of the crown and it was at PST (Los Angles on the bezel).

I love the clean look of the watch over the Skyhawk and Skyhawk AT, both of which are also perpetual atomic synced watches. The carbon fiber print and slight irridesence on the face make for an extremely modern and sophistcated look. The bezel seems small compared to a diving style watch, and it does not rotate, which all my previous watched had. The bracelet is high quality although made in China. it squeaks a bit off your wrist, but you would have to ask the question: "Why aren't you wearing it 24/7?" It locks down tight and it's not coming off your wrist any time soon. Three half links allow for precise sizing.

I don't know why you would even not want to wear it. I wear it to get groceries, I wear it kayaking, I wear it swimming, I wear it hiking, I wear it at fancy retraunts. It's perfect for everything.

The weight is similar to a Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster, and if you are used to those types of watches, you won't even remember you're wearing it. Not even close to the brick of a Rolex Seadweller I was wearing before this one. No, this can't boast that it functions at 12,400ft underwater, but neither can you. 200M of resistance is PLENTY for even small SCUBA dives.

The lume is quite bright especially after being exposed to bright daylight (hard to find here in the Seattle area) And my only complaint about it is that the second hand doesn't light up so you can say it is exactly 12:01 AM and 6 seconds in complete darkness. Not even close to being a problem though.

The watch auto-syncs to the Fort Collins NIST transmitter every night at 2:00 AM and it will only work if the watch is off your wrist sitting on the windowsill with the 9 O'Clock side pointed toward the general direction of Colorado. (SE for me) You can of course manually sync the watch (very easy to do) but signal strength is better at night and the hills and less than perfect weather here in Washington make it more difficult. This is really my only true complaint. I wish it was easier to sync. My guess is that in 20 years, WiFi will be a worldwide occourance with no need for a router. Power will be transmitted wirelessly, and everyone who wears a watch will be wearing radio-controlled quartz watches. And the transmitters will be in more than just Colorado. And with a gurateed expiration date of 2100, this watch will set the standard for all other radio-controlled watches of the future.

The one feature that really sold it to me was that the second hand is in the shape of a rapier (thin fighting sword) and comes out to a needle's point. It gives it that extra flare that makes it more than just a handsome watch. It says: "I'm precise to a point" just like the sword it resembles. And it hits the maker on every second, exactly on the line. I've never seen that with any other quartz watch. It's nice to be able to say: "It is EXACTLY 9:04PM and 55 seconds." Something I could not say with a mechanical watch, as I had to set it to the computer, which is only accurate to 2 seconds. And then when I'm not flailing my wrist around enoght to wind the movement, it slows down and loses time. What's the point of a watch that can't even keep the time for more than 3 days? This one keeps the EXACT time for up to 2 full years in the dark!!! Not that I'm going to be without it for 2 hours let alone 2 years.

This is quite simply the best watch I've ever owned. It trumps my high-end mechanical watches that start with an "R" and end in "X" (that I have since sold). No need to wind, change a battery, or take it in for $800 services every 2 years. This watch cost me under $300!!!! Less than half of the maintnence cost for my less accurate watch. No maitnence at all. Just needs new seals every 3 years if you regularly wear it in the water.

This is the kind of watch James Bond should be wearing, and leave that $7000 Rolex to people that just want to wear the name. If you want an amazing watch, whether you travel worldwide or not, the Citizen World Perpetual AT is the watch for you. It is easily worth the $495 retail price, but it wouldn't hurt to search for a bargain like mine.

Please ask any questions. I'd love to tell you about it.
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on November 10, 2010
This Citizen has every feature I wanted in a watch and it is the best one I have ever purchased. I had been looking for a "maintenance free" watch for some time, as I was tired of dealing with the issues of the 2 Seiko watches I owned. While they both kept pretty good time, neither had a perpetual calendar, and I would find myself forgetting to correct them for some of the short months. I also was tired of replacing batteries on one, and constantly having to create enough movement to activate the "Kinetic" action on the other.

This watch solves all of my problems and more. It should never need setting (mine has received the atomic signal each day - even when I wear it to bed at night), and the perpetual calendar keeps the date correct until the year 2100. The Eco-Drive feature means it will never need a battery or winding. It also has the best "lume" of any watch I have owned - even better than the Seiko diving watch it replaced. This allows for easy reading of the time at night. The sapphire crystal is also a very desirable feature for its extreme scratch resistance, and also for it's increased clarity. In addition, this watch is waterproof to 666 feet, twice the depth of most other watches in this price range. Finally, this watch looks great and is very easy to read. All in all I am very happy with my purchase.
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on June 18, 2014
I have owned a Citizens watch for over 10 years. It performed beautifully. Alas, my eyes are no longer good enough to use its many features nor are my fingers flexible enough to take advantage of them. While extremely accurate, I had to set it about twice a year and manually switch DST on and off. Furthermore, my smart phone replaced the need for things like timers, etc.

I had been thinking about an "Atomic Watch" for some time. I finally gave myself a Father's Day present, this watch. Like the previous watch, it charges the battery with light. Even better, it sets the time automatically using Atomic Clocks in various locations. It also switches DST automatically.

It arrived with a good charge. I set the time zone, which is easy to do, turned on "manual" signal detection, and placed it in a west facing window. Within about 20 minutes, it had synched with the atomic clock and the time was correct.

I find the dial VERY readable. I don't miss the bells and whistles. If you want them, Citizens makes similar watches with them. I highly recommend this watch.
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on June 9, 2013
I'm an automatic/mechanical watch guy - Seiko, Orient, fun cheap Chinese mushroom brands, refurbed/serviced retros from yesteryear. Yeah - I'm a watch guy - to a point. I avoid Swiss watches - they're simply too expensive, and if there's anything the world has plenty of -- it's watches. There are hundreds if not thousands of solidly crafted aesthetically pleasing choices from dozens of watch-makers in the "everyman" price-range on the market to bother with the likes of Braguet, Zenith, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, Breitling, IWC, etc. in my humble opinion, and as much as I absolutely admire many of their offerings. Also - up until now, I have eschewed battery-powered quartz watches of any kind. However, this Citizen won me over. It's simply beautiful. Beautiful, with its tasteful modern flourishes yet respect for tradition. It sports a neat katana sword second hand, gorgeous light-blue lume at night, stainless steel case and bracelet (also comes in titanium), and clean readable dark blue dial with signal indicator and DST switch to add interest. It is a virtually maintenance free watch, its modern high-tech reliable solar-powered H144 Eco-drive movement should last a decade or two without need of any kind of servicing including battery replacement. Its classic simple styling exudes unpretentious elegance. Set it up properly (an admitted chore but worth the time), and that's it. It will do something no automatic - including the ridiculously expensive tourbillons can do -- keep perfectly accurate time each and every day, by virtue of a miniature radio receiver that overnight sets itself to the world-wide atomic time from a transmitter in Colorado. (I'm on the east coast -- a couple hours drive inland from the Atlantic and far away from the transmitter in Colorado. No worries, it has received the signal nightly like clockwork, if you'll pardon the pun. The watch provides a verification setting for successfully receiving the signal.) I like knowing that when I look at my watch, and its hands display 11:23am and 23 seconds that this is the exact world-wide time down to the second. But that's not all - it can quickly and easily be reset for any time zone in the world. And its perpetual calendar means it automatically adjusts for leap years, DST, and 30-day months until the year 2100. Even /that's/ not all! It's water resistant to 660 feet (showers, baths, pools, ocean swimming, snorkeling - fine, though not scuba diving. For that you'll need a true dive watch. I'd recommend an Orient or a Seiko automatic dive watch.) It also has a sapphire crystal - generally only found on true luxury watches. Wow. For the money, this is just an incredible watch and watch line. About the only thing it lacks over my automatic watches is the smooth rotation of its seconds hand. Like all quarts movements, it moves in one second incremental "ticks". Not my preference, but a concession I can easily live with. Wonderful watch -- recommended it without reservation. I'm delighted with it. I see this Citizen getting lots of wrist time for many, many years to come.
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on April 5, 2011
We buy and wear watches for different reasons: status symbols, jewelry, fashion & style, etc. Many collectors have different watches to satisfy their varying moods and changing requirements.

I'm kind of a "nuts and bolts" guy. I love precision, and have an abiding respect for the designers and builders of all things that are engineered and screwed together to be a cut above. I wear a watch because I want to know - EXACTLY - what time it is; and I want to acquire that information from an instrument of uncompromising quality.

And that is why I love this watch.

Its not dripping with a royal cache or rich heritage; its not glam, stunning, or full of jewels and mechanical bits forged in volcanoes and assembled by genius elves in the Alps. It doesn't even have an awesome name; just an odd jumble of numbers and letters to identify it. It costs considerably less than a Chevy subcompact. But think about what you're getting here: a watch with a 200 meter water resistance rating, a very tough and scratch resistant sapphire crystal, an atomic movement with hair-splitting accuracy nearly everywhere on the planet, and a solar charging system that negates the necessity of ever buying a battery. Its all really beyond brilliant.

The only reason I didn't give it a "perfect" 5-stars is because - in stainless - it is a big and heavy watch, (although some consider that an asset - I do not).

However, if you are a fan of intelligent design, practicality, precision and excellent build quality at a realistic price, this watch should - no - MUST be on your very short list.
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on March 8, 2012
I will not belabor all the positives others have covered here. It's a superlative watch with only one design flaw. For most of you, it will be a don't care situation.

You will note the SMT complication at the 4-5 clock position. I have been told this may refer to "summer time" as the Brits call it. For those of us in the states, it would be more correctly referred to as DST (daylight savings time ).

Anyway, the instructions state that one can specify whether SMT (DST) is on or off at their particular location by using this function. This would be great for me, as I live in Arizona where we do not go into and out of DST as most of the country does. I thought, fantastic, and went ahead and specified SMT = off. The next day, my watch is off by one hour. Heh ????

Reading the fine print in the owners manual, I find that the nightly time signal update OVERRIDES what is set via the SMT function for the movement in this watch. In other words, the SMT complication is useless.

An easy enough fix is to change my home city at the beginning and end of DST. Living in Arizona, my home city is Denver for the winter months. However, I must change my home city to Los Angeles during DST.
Letters and Phone calls to Citizen have yet to answer why they would provide an SMT complication that is then ignored by the movement.

As I said, most of you will not even notice, as you live where DST is a fact of life. But for those of you that live in non DST areas, be advised.
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on March 20, 2012
I wanted an accurate watch which didn't require batteries or setting. My high level requirements were 200M, good lume, solar powered, radio set. This watch meets my expectations.

Some notes for those researching it:

Lume: Not adequate. On a $400 watch Citizen really could have spent an extra dollar on good lume. Watch is not readable after an hour in the dark. I suppose I'm spoiled by Seiko dive watches and my old Seamaster (which could not keep adequate time but had great lume).

200M: The crown does NOT screw down. I doubt the 200M rating has any meaning at all in the real world. I realize 200M does not refer to absolute depth, but in fact the manual specifically states NOT for diving at ALL (not even to ONE Meter I suppose!?) What's the difference then with a watch with 100M rating? Nothing? I don't get that..

Solar powered: Works great so far. I like the fact that if it discharges it will re-charge then set ITSELF when light returns.

Atomic clock radio synchronization: Works most nights. Attempts to synchronize in day never worked; and I'm in the only region of the world aprox equidistant and a few hundred miles from TWO timing broadcasting towers.
I really like the fact that the second hands click EXACTLY on the second markers, and the minute hand tracks the fraction of a minute correctly. Same for the hour hand. I didn't even see that on my two Omega Seamasters! Good job Citizen.

Bracelet: NO adjustment holes in the clasp. Not even one. The ONLY way to adjust the bracelet is to add or remove links. So minor adjustments for temperature, season, etc. are a pain. C'mon Citizen, you could have incorporated one adjustment hole. I'll switch to a 23MM NATO band asap.

So, overall, it does charge itself and keep accurate time. Minus two stars total for the poor bracelet, poor lume, and what I consider false advertising on the depth rating because they don't warrant even 1 meter depth.

UPDATE: One of the two spring pins failed on about day 10. I didn't lose the watch because it was on a NATO band (a double band design where loss of one pin will not result in the loss of the watch). If it was still on the original metal band the watch might have been lost. I'm going to order replacement 23mm spring bars because the original ones are thin and weak. Again, like the lume, Citizen should have spent an extra buck on thicker quality pins.
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on April 6, 2015
I had been searching for months for a radio controlled solar watch. I had been annoyed with my Fossil and the hassle with continually replacing batteries and manually adjusting the time and date. I had searched both online and stores for the right watch and purchased the Citizen CB0020-50E from Amazon. I absolutely love it!

This model has a simple, yet handsome look in comparison to other timepieces in the same category. The time is very easy to read and the radio controlled, Atomic timekeeping has been extremely accurate and works as advertised. The only issue I've experienced was the time had not adjusted for daylight savings. Admittedly this was my error as I didn't have the SMT turned on. I reread through the instructions and made the necessary adjustments. I should not have any issues.

If you are considering a new timepiece, I highly recommend this model! You will not be sorry!!!
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