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.