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Customer Review

166 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding every-day-wear do-it-all watch!, February 6, 2012
This review is from: Citizen Eco-Drive Men's AT4008-51E Perpetual Chrono A-T Stainless Steel Watch (Watch)
This is a review of the watch (Citizen AT Men's Perpetual Chronograph AT4008-51E), not the seller...

I looked for a new watch for over two years before settling on this one. To cut right to the point: I'm thrilled with it. It is an outstanding watch for every-day-wear, from formal to business to casual, and it has lots of functions to suit a variety of needs.

Here's a detailed list of the features that sold me on this watch:
- anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass: an extremely scratch resistant face, which is important if you're active like me
- eco-drive solar powered: no more batteries to change, and fully charged, it can run about 6 months in the dark
- water resistant 200 rating: its approved for wear while swimming and snorkeling, which is important if you're around water often like me
- chronograph/tachymeter: it functions as a stop watch, with tachymeter markings on the bezel for estimating speed, etc.
- traditional second hand: the time-keeping second hand is large and in the center where it belongs, not relegated to a sub-dial
- perpetual calendar: it displays the day (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and the numeric date, and self-adjusts for leap year, etc.
- radio controlled: it automatically searches for a radio signal each morning (2 a.m.) to update itself to atomic time (very accurate)
- luminescent hands and index marks: glows so you can read the time in the dark
- alarm with 24-hour setting: the alarm time can be set for a.m. or p.m., so it alarms in morning or evening as desired, not every 12 hours
- black-coated bezel: the bezel has a durable black finish, so less prone to show scratches/wear than a polished metal bezel
- stainless steel bracelet: mostly brushed metal with polished accents--again, less prone to scratches/wear than a more polished bracelet
- half-links in the bracelet: the band has half-links as well as whole-links for better fit adjustment (fits my slender wrist very well)

Here's a review of my early impressions after a few days of use and wear:

First, although larger than any of my previous watches, it looks tasteful, not outrageously oversized. It is also not too "chunky" (not quite as thick or blockish as other watches with similar functions). The sapphire crystal is very clear and accents the "richness" of the well-executed dial and subdials. The large index marks make the time very easy to read, unlike many other watches that look too "busy" with all these functions. It's easy to read the time at a glance. Citizen planned out the aesthetics very nicely. It looks "rich" enough to wear with formal attire, yet not so flashy as to look totally ridiculous when wearing a t-shirt and shorts (the styling should also help to conceal wear and tear). If you wear polo-style shirts for casual attire, but also wear suits at the office, this watch will be perfectly at home on your wrist.

Second, this watch is very user-friendly. Although many special functions require you to manipulate the crown, the time sets and updates automatically (Even way over here in Georgia, it is able to receive the time signal from the tower in Denver, CO to keep itself set accurately.) Since there is a traditional second hand (in the center, not on a sub-dial), it is also easy to use it to time a short event without needing to switch over to chronograph mode. Also, the name of the day and the numeric date are conveniently displayed where you can read them at a glance. If you want to check whether the watch has recently updated itself by radio signal, or to determine the present charge level of the solar capacitor, you just press the lower button. If you press and hold that button, you can also manually force a radio-signal update to the time.

For other functions, including the chronograph and alarm, you need to manipulate the crown. Other reviewers describe this as a big chore, but I disagree. For example, to activate the chronograph, you pull the crown out one click, rotate it until the lower sub-dial points to CHR, then press it back in. Now, the upper button will start or stop the chronograph (measuring time to the nearest 1 second, for up to 60 minutes), and the lower button will reset it to 0. It's quick, easy switch-over procedure that doesn't involve removing the watch from my wrist or fumbling awkwardly with the buttons. Since Citizen cut a nice large notch into the crown, it is easy to grab with your fingernails to pull it out and change modes. Also, the watch will continue to keep normal time in this mode (minus the second hand movement, which is re-purposed for the chronograph) so you can leave it in CHR mode as long as you like; however, the time will not update automatically by radio signal unless you return it to one of the standard time zone settings (LON, NYC, CHI, DEN, LAX, or the A-TM alternate time setting for anyone who doesn't live in one of those other zones).

Third, I love the apparent durability--though time will ultimately confirm or disprove this. The sapphire crystal face is very scratch resistant (based on my experience with other sapphire crystal watches) and the water resistant "WR200" rating is outstanding for someone who spends a lot of time around boats and water like I do. Now, if I ever fall overboard while wearing my watch, I don't have to worry about ruining it. According to Citizen's own literature, the WR200 rating means this watch is even safe to swim and snorkel with (but I'd rather not press my luck).

CRITICISMS:

There are a few imperfections on this nearly perfect watch. My first and only real gripe is that the chronograph sub-dial for keeping track of the elapsed minutes is EXTREMELY small. It is very easy to time something for 60 seconds or less using the sweeping second hand; however, if you time something for several minutes, you'll really have to squint to tell whether the minutes sub-dial is pointing at the index mark for 6 or 7 minutes, 12 or 13 minutes, etc. Basically, it's very difficult to read the minutes indicator whenever the elapsed time is NOT a multiple of 5... That's because the 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-minute, etc. positions all have a slightly bolder index mark that makes it is easier to confirm when they are aligned with the minute needle on that subdial. Any number of minutes that is not a multiple of five has a much thinner index mark, and they're so close together that it's difficult to tell if the needle is pointing at a particular mark or the mark right next to it. Certainly, it would be better if the index marks on the minutes dial were significantly larger, though I'm guessing Citizen chose not to for aesthetic reasons.

Second, the alarm is anemic (though perfectly average by quartz watch standards). In my case, I won't trust it to replace my cell phone as my nightstand alarm clock because it's quiet enough that I might sleep right through it (especially if my wrist ends up under the blankets or pillow to muffle the alarm further). However, if you take it off and set the watch on a nightstand that is very close to your head/ear, the alarm volume isn't terrible and it may wake you up (as long as you're not a heavy sleeper). But I much prefer to keep using my (considerably louder) cellphone alarm.

Finally (an extremely small quibble, and possibly unique to my particular watch): The seconds hand does not perfectly align with the index marks (for seconds) that are printed around the edge of the dial. Instead, the hand tends to point just a hair to the left (counter-clockwise) of each tick mark as it makes its way around. In practice, this is not even noticeable and it makes no difference to the readability of the time. It just struck me as slightly odd on this otherwise meticulously engineered watch. It does not really bother me, but I mention it because some folks may find it irritating if they are watch-aficionados who demand that every detail be absolutely perfect.

Note that another reviewer complained about the limited adjustment of the metal band as well as sharp spots on the band links. Not true in my experience. My band adjusts very well (even for me, with very slender wrists). It is also the first metal watch band I've worn that NEVER snags my arm hair or pinch or scratch my wrist (out of the 6 watches I've owned with metal bands). All the link edges are very nicely rounded and spaced smartly to avoid pinching. It sounds like the other reviewer received a real lemon, possibly with a non-original band.

CONCLUSION:

Truly, I'm thrilled with this watch. I've never spent so much on a watch, but I'm glad I did. Mine was $370 ($395 after tax, bought from a store offering 20% off, plus another 20% off for opening a store credit card). I would not have paid $575 for it, but at $370 it is an excellent deal: much, much finer than the $90 - $130 watches I'm accustomed to (previous watches were from Citizen, Timex, Guess, Armitron, Seiko, and several Kenneth Coles). In comparison, this watch is better looking, more feature-packed, more versatile for varying attire, less likely to show wear and tear, and more accurate (due to its perpetual calendar and automatic time updates). Also, no more need to change batteries every 1.5 to 2 years! I am confident that this watch will be with me for a very, very long time.

[UPDATE 3/13/2012: I've now had my watch through leap year and the daylight savings time switchover. On both events, the watch adjusted its own date and time exactly as it should. And after a month of constant daily wear (even while sleeping), there are also no visible signs of wear on the watch dial and only some tiny, nearly invisible scratches on the watch band where my wrist has bumped hard against door frames or furniture. This watch is amazing!]

[UPDATE 9/9/2012: After seven months, I still love this watch as much as the day I bought it. There is no additional wear on the watch except for more superficial scratches on the wristband. The face of the watch is still scratch free, despite daily wear and a lot of hard knocks against door frames, sailboat masts, tools, etc. The time is always accurate. In terms of the automatic radio signal that updates the time each night, I get a low power signal about 65% of the time, a high power signal about 30% of the time, and no signal about 5% of the time. So it basically recalibrates its accuracy every evening, keeping it precisely aligned with atomic time. Also, I've had my watch take a lot of dunkings in the water, whether from reaching over the side of my sailboat, paddling my sea kayak, or swimming with my daughter in the creek. It has had no problems maintaining watertight integrity. I've never tried scuba diving with it to 200m or anything like that, but I certainly trust the waterproofing for casual wear around the water. This is a phenomenal watch.]

[UPDATE: 5/26/2013: Not much new to report, but wanted to say it's going strong. Keeps time perfectly--always accurate. Receives the nightly update signal about 95% of the time. Still not a single scratch on the sapphire crystal glass. Black coating on the bezel has not faded or chipped. Only superficial scratches on the stainless bracelet and, as expected, they blend well with the "brushed" look. Simply put, best money I ever spent on a watch, and best watch I've ever owned.]

[UPDATE 6/19/2015: After all these years, I still wear it daily and still love it. The time has never been incorrect and the charge has never been lower than full so I know the solar charging face still works very well also. This is probably the best gift anyone ever gave me. I love it.]
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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2012 6:56:21 PM PDT
Nice comprehensive review. One question: Do you see much reflection from the crystal? I ask because I own a sapphire crystal watch that's actually difficult to read due to reflected glare from the surface of the crystal. Wondering if this Citizen is like that. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 6:27:59 AM PDT
Mine is not bad. It's noticeably better than a previous sapphire crystal watch I had. The black bezel and trim around the face of the watch kind of breaks up the glare and pulls your eye in, if that makes sense. However, it will still reflect blindingly if you line it up just right with the sun (as any reflective surface will). I've noticed that when I'm outside, I usually raise my wrist to read it, then sometimes there's a blinding flash as it reflects the sunlight straight into my eyes, but I instinctively rotate my wrist a bit to diffuse the glare, and then I can read it fine. I think you'll always have some glare with this surface, but indoors I almost never notice any, and outdoors, it's still very readable apart from those times you happen to line it up perfectly with the sun (and then momentarily see red spots until your vision clears).

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 4:41:41 PM PDT
Thank you for the review, I actually purchased this after reading it. I had been looking at this for a couple of weeks, researching it on the web and looking at reviews before finally taking the leap. I've had it a month now and love it. Over this time I have recieved several favorable comments and still find myself admiring it frequently. I'm very happy with the watch and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on the product.

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2012 10:33:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2012 10:33:21 AM PDT
I'm glad to hear you're happy with it. I feel the same way. I've now had mine a little over three months now and it's still looking good. I put a slight scuff on the black bezel by accidentally dragging it across the surface of a cinder block when I was crawling around in the crawlspace under our house, but other than that, there is still virtually no wear and tear on mine and not even a tiny scratch on the sapphire crystal. And I've been wearing it while doing quite a bit of manual labor (planting trees, building bunk beds, insulating the crawlspace, laying decorative rocks around the house, etc.). It's a great watch.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 11:08:46 AM PDT
VT Guy says:
Great review! I've been looking at this watch for a while now and I'm wondering how much it weighs? I am torn between this one and the titanium version which I believe is 105g (3.7oz) but also about a $100 more. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 5:26:15 PM PDT
I don't have a way to measure the exact weight, but Google came up with 363 grams for my (steel) version, which sounds about right. That means the titanium version is only 1/3 the weight.

I did have an opportunity to try on the titanium version. To me, it felt too light, almost cheap. I have no doubt it is well made, but I actually prefer the more "substantial" heft of the steel version. I rarely notice the weight, but there have probably been about a half dozen times in the eight months I've owned it that I took the watch off at bedtime because it felt slightly heavy/uncomfortable. Each time, I think the real issue is that I had been so active that the band had begun to chafe a bit after bouncing around on my arm all day. For the rest of the past eight months, however, I've worn it every second of every day (except in the shower), and I've felt perfectly comfortable with it. If you don't want to feel the watch on your wrist at all, then maybe go with the titanium. But if, like me, you appreciate the "solid" feel of a well-made watch with just a little heft, I bet you'll be perfectly happy with the regular steel version.

And let me just say, even after all this time, I still look at the watch almost daily and think, "Man, I love this watch!" I've never been sorry I bought it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 8:41:25 AM PST
str8flush224 says:
I'm also considering this one and weight is a factor. Do you have the model number for the titanium version? I can't seem to find it

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 5:40:27 AM PST
TS Liotte says:
Citizen Eco-Drive Men's AT4010-50E Titanium Perpetual Chrono A-T Watch

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 5:46:27 AM PST
VT Guy says:
See Ting's post for the model number. I ended up going with the titanium and am really glad that I did. It's super light weight for what I consider to be a fairly large watch. Well worth the extra cash in my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 8:42:44 AM PST
TS Liotte says:
I'm looking at the Ti version too, but trying to determine if it's absolutely necessary to perform the 2-3 year periodic case servicing to test and reseal it for water tightness. Is that only needed to maintain the warranty terms as stated, or is there a deterioration of the seals causing need to service them so frequently, Eco system notwithstanding?
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