Customer Reviews: Citizen Men's BL8000-54L Eco-Drive Calibre 8700 Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
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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!
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on December 17, 2004
This review can't be completely comprehensive since I've only had this watch for two weeks now, but it sure is attractive, comfortable and easy to use.

I typically shy away from quartz watches except as cheap work knock-abouts. My best watches are all automatics. I have several Omegas, 3 Rolex's, and 2 TAG's and a Breitling. All Automatics. I also have a Luminox as my "cheap" quartz knock-about. I feel that it is silly to have an expensive watch and it be reliant on using a battery. A good watch should be self-sufficient.

Citizen has performed an amazing technological breakthrough with the Eco-Drive movement. It is powered by light through a solar cell underneath the face. The cells are so efficient that they are invisible and it is impossible to tell it is there. They seem to have overcome any limitations of face design, and they now come in a multitude of colors and configurations.

The watches are claimed to never need a battery. The solar cell keeps a capacitor charged and the watch needs amazingly little light exposure. A few minutes a day is all that is needed. Not only that but the power reserve on some Citizen models is meaured in years. I'm not sure about this one but I think it is at least 6 months. AND, the watch can go into a power save mode where the movement is disabled and still keep time. Take the watch into the light for a minute or so and the movement resets and you're back in business.

This watch has a perpetual calendar that knows the month, date and leap year status so the date calendar is always right. This is a terrific touch. There is a little dial that tells you the day of the week, as well as 24 hour dial. Mine the two tone model, gold on a black face and looks terrific.

It has an alarm that while low in db is at a frequency that seems to be able to wake anyone from a deep sleep.

Did I mention that this watch is classically beautiful and can hold it's own quality-wise with any of the high dollar competition from Switzerland. Most people when they see it think it's a Breitling.

The bracelet is heavy and is in my opinion superior the the Rolex Submariner bracelet in terms of feel, comfort and heft. Plus, the clasp has these two little tabs on either side for a nice positive lock similar to the Omegas. Both watches make the normal Rolex Sub bracelet and clasp look cheap, flimsy and unworthy of the price.

I find almost nothing to fault about this watch, but I would have liked to have luminous markers, but the hands glow well and last all night. This watch gives up nothing to a $2000 Breitling.

I am not a watch chauvenist by any means, but I have always like the autos better knowing I am not reliant on an outside thing such as a battery without which my expensive watch is nothing better than a fancy paperweight. I am satisfied with the Eco-Drive concept.

Like most watch guys I value accuracy and this watch has it. I have all my autos tuned to be within a few seconds a month when worn. Wearing an automatic watch in the different arm positions throughout the day averages out the mechanical factors that lead to inaccuracies. In reality and normal use even the best quartz watches generally cannot keep time like a well-tuned automatic.

If a quartz movement is +3 seconds it will always gain no matter if worn or in the box so the time drifts. With an automatic, it may be +3 sec up, but -2 down and +1 sideways etc. When worn a lot the averages stay at near zero variation.

Maybe I got lucky with this one, but I set it to my atomic clock 2 weeks ago. As of this writing it is to the second with the atomic. Your results may vary but I suspect that Citizen has done their homework in the QC department.

This watch is inexpensive yet looks very expensive. The quality of the watch is what I have come to expect from a watch in the $1,000 - $2,500 range. Fool your friends. This watch is a bargain at $475. At the Amazon price of $235 it a steal. I may buy another of a different color. Yes folks this is that good.

Buy one and see for yourself.
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on June 8, 2005
Bought this watch at retail and paid $ 350. Should have come to Amazon first and saved $100.

Watch keeps time, never needs a battery change, is easy to read, has a calendar, an alarm, and looks cool...what more could one want?

This watch also has a "perpetual" calendar that is preset at the factory. Watch knows month length and leap year so you won't have to reset date for short months. It is a little complicated to set the date -- so it is a good thing it is preset at the factory. Best thing: I will never have to reset the date until February 28 2100 when there is no leap year! I should live so long!

The Amazon description fails to mention that this watch also has two time zones. "Time" and "Local Time". Unfortunately, you can only display one time-zone at a time. To switch time zones, you need to pull the crown out, turn it slightly...and then wait. The hands will spin around to the new time, the day hand will spin around to the new day, and then the calendar will flip. This is really cool to look at and handy when you are flying from one time-zone to another. To go 15 hours from PDT to China time This whole process takes more than a minute. So it is not useful for quick lookups. This is perhaps the watch's greatest drawback. If you need a watch to simultaneously display multiple time zones, Seiko alarm chronographs or else the Bulova Millenia with 4 time zones are good alternatives.

The alarm is easy to set and works for local time as well. If you set it for 7am while in the main time zone and then switch to Local time, the alarm rings at 7am in the local time.

Citizen's "Eco-Drive" solar powered system is pre-charged at the factory. Power reserve is 180 days!!! It only takes about a Norwegian summer day of sunlight to bring the watch from empty to fully charged. The watch will also charge from normal indoor light. Citizen ships the watches fully charged from their factory. If the watch is on display at your local jeweler, it should be fully charged when you buy it. I guess that full charge is what I paid $ 100 extra for by buing at retail.


Update after about one-year of ownership:

There are a few things that bug me a little about this watch.

1) The knob does not lock in place and can pop out easily. This happens to me about once a month. Usually, I discover it when I look at my watch and discover the hands spinning around wildy resetting the time.

One time the calendar got set. Resetting the perpetual calendar is really complicated. Fortunately, Citizen has a fantastic on-line audio-video tutorial that walks you through the process. Takes about 20 minutes to reset.

2) The clasp on the band can pop open. This usually happens when my hands are full of hot coffee cups.

3) The watch is pretty heavy.

I think I would rate this watch 4 stars after one year. But Amazon doesn't let you change the stars when you edit.
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on March 27, 2006
The other reviewers pretty much have all the bases covered, so for the most part all I can do is confirm what everyone else has said. One correction: a reviewer said you can't identify the month unless you're adjusting the watch. Not so. Pull the pin out to first click, adjust dial to calendar, and the second hand winds over to the current month and will stay there. Unless you have to see the seconds all the time, this is a great feature and conserves energy. Not that you really need to with as much energy reserve as this watch has.

I only regret I didn't pick this watch to begin with. After several tries with junk designer label watches, Citizen gets it right. Goes for around $330 at many jewelers and department stores right now if you feel better about buying something in person instead of online.

There is a black/gold tone version as well but doesn't seem to very available at many places.

Update: 1 month later and I'm still satisfied I made the best choice for a watch. The main problem I have now is that this watch is almost too nice to wear everyday. I feel like I need to buy a "day at the office watch". One tip, you can do yourself a favor and use a jewlery polish cloth (such as Connoisseurs) to keep the band and case in mint condition.

Edit 10/2012: Over 6 years later, still satisfied! Great watch that works like the day I bought it with a few hairline scratches on the case & bracelet. No desire to buy another watch anytime soon.
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on July 21, 2006
I've had this watch for about a month now. I'd tried it on locally and then saved $100 by buying it here instead. In general, I agree with most of the positive comments listed here so I'll just list some of the negatives:

1) Only the hour and minute hands have any glow-in-the-dark indicators. I wonder why Citizen didn't see fit to add some sort of indicators for the hour markers (even if only a dot at 12, 3, 6 and 9)? Not a biggie but seems like an oversight.

2) A more serious objection is how long the hands glow in the dark. In short, not very long. The hands glow brightly for about 10 minutes but quickly dim. After 2-3 hours, the hands are basically invisible even to my dark-adjusted eyes. Since there is no backlight, this makes the watch basically useless for use at night (ie. when stargazing with a telescope).

I would much rather Citizen have picked a better glow-in-the-dark material or included a backlight with its own dedicated capacitor hooked to the eco-drive solar cell (that way when that capacitor is drained, the backlight won't work but the watch continues to work otherwise).

3) The watch brand's links are kind of large so it's a difficult to get a good fit. For my wrist, I had 2 links removed at a local jewelry repair shop. This resulted in a fit that's looser than I would have preferred. Removing any more links would have been too tight.

For the price, though, it's a pretty nice watch.
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on February 7, 2006
I only buy a new watch, oh, once a decade (I'm not a watch geek) so when I bought this, I understood I'd be wearing it for awhile. It has to get me from 35 to 45, look good in kahki shorts and a teeshirt on the weekends and in a suit during the week.

The band is bright-that is the silver quite polished (as opposed to brushed metal). Looks classy. The face is beautiful. I was worried about the names of the months looking silly, but the typeface is small and unobtrusive. Some other models of this watch had the names of the months more pronounced.

The blue face is very classy.

The alarm could be louder. It won't wake you up, but it would remind you to do something if you are already awake.

When switching modes (alarm, time, cal.), the hands take forever to move around, which is a drawback. However, I don't see that I'll be switching modes that often, so it is a minor annoyance, nothing major.

Adjusting the band sucks. In fact, Citizen does not include instructions on how to do it. Their web site says they do not include instruction on purpose because you should take it to a pro to do this. I did (cost me $10 at JCPenney).


Perpetual calendar.

Eco-drive (no new batteries!!!)

Classy, elegant look (looks good in a suit or for casual wear).

Great price here on Amazon.


No timer.

Alarms too soft.

Hands take too long to move switching modes.

Adjusting band a pain.


For the price and the features, I think the watch is a great deal. It looks great-very sharp. I really like it.
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on December 27, 2009
There's no point in repeating what's already been said; the watch really is a uniquely beautiful timepiece and the eco-drive has absolutely lived up to it's name. I've uploaded a few close-up pictures that help back me up ;) This is my favorite (sub $1,000) watch, ever. Period.

The reason for this review is to provide a couple of my own measurements:

Weight = 4.5oz
Diameter = 39.2mm
Diameter with crown = 42.25mm

Amazon says "40mm" - the 0.8mm difference might not be a big deal to some, but with my small wrists it visibly less clunky than other 40mm watches.
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on July 24, 2005
I work in the jewelery business and I have been looking to get a new watch for a couple of weeks. After looking at Wittnauer, Movado, Tissot, and Bulova I couldn't get over the looks and style of this particular watch. The other review goes into great detail about the watch which are all strong buying points, but the bottom line is that the watch is beautiful. It retails for $450 and to get it for $230 bucks it's a absolute steal. Great movement, great stainless steel bracelet, great price = Perfect watch. Thanks Amazon.
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on July 13, 2006
I'd been looking for a watch for some time. Based upon the reviews I decided to give it a shot. Previously, I'd gone to Macy's and thought it might be too large. However, after a couple of days I got used to the size, and now after a month I hardly consider the size to be much of a factor. The previous comments are spot on. The alarm function is worthless. And, while I've had this for only a month, comments about the crown being pulled out unexpectedly hasn't been a problem for me. Nor, has the bracelet become unexpectedly deployed. I'm very satisfied.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 15, 2006
This is a standard-sized (40mm; it will not overwhelm your wrist like larger designs, although I did think the watch would be a bit bigger), visually awesome watch that you can wear daily, and the 'Eco Drive' technology means you never have to wind it, move or shake it (like an automatic), or change batteries. What a concept! The typical wearer will wear it enough (several times a week) such that it keeps a good charge by being exposed to everyday indoor light and outdoor sunlight. It looks and feels expensive as well, with a good amount of weight to it. The only drawback (if you want to call this one) is that you will hear the phrase 'nice watch!' on a frequent basis! Incidentally, this exact model watch was featured in an excellent article on Citizen Watches in the April 2006 issue of 'Watch Time' Magazine!

UPDATE 11/2014: This is STILL my main, daily watch after all these years, and it still works flawlessly! INCREDIBLE! This is one well-made product!
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