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on November 11, 2011
I completely do NOT understand the nay-sayers and their nagging critiques of this Citizen Eco-Drive.

"The band is too tight (or too short.)"
"The sweep second hand doesn't hit the marks within an atom's width."
"The flat crystal is too easily scratched."
"The luminosity isn't a neon sign like Indiglo!"
"It's too ugly to wear in the Boardroom."
"Why can't I set the day/date anytime I want?"
"The dial face is so small it makes me look gay."

I own a Hamilton Moon Watch, a Tudor Chronograph, and a Rolex Explorer II GMT. I bought the Rolex as a reward for myself in 1992 when I made Chief in the seagoing service and was still taking position star sights with a sextant. It has been my "daily driver" every day since ... except every three-to-four years when accuracy becomes erratic and I have to send it away to Rolex Dallas for a month for $750 service oiling, upkeep, and rehab maintenance. Now in the drawer waiting until I have funny funds for yet another service.

Once I received this Eco-Drive with two-day Amazon+ free delivery I put it on my wrist in direct sunlight for a few hours, set the time, and away we went. Set the day and date within seconds once I was outside the 9PM - 4AM window specified by the manual. Never take it off now. For a watch in this price range you can't engineer a set of switching gears for day/date change that can also handle an owner messing around with the settings by pulling out the crown at the same time. So wait until morning to do it. What's the big deal?

The luminous hands glow brightest just after you turn out the lights, which is perfect because at that time your eyes are still burnt out from staring at the LCD screen all night surfing Amazon reviews. When I wake up at 3:23:19 AM and my eyes have dark adapted again I can still see the hands including the sweep second hand. The Citizen canvas band is stiff until you wear it enough to break it in to the shape of your very own wrist, and then it sits very well when you wear it in Real Life® rolling your ulna and radius reaching for another beer. Just try to find the right-size jeweler's screwdriver to remove links from the Rolex diver's band to fit your wrist! (Even the damn band is multi-hundred$)

I am not NFL lineman big, but 6'1" @ 200 lbs. and nobody has made whimpering noises at me for wearing this watch. This is the kind of tough, no-nonsense, utilitarian looking time utensil that Abercrombie & Fitch made back in the day when Hemingway was finding leopards on Kilimanjaro or pulling in bluefin off the Finca before they sold out and began outfitting punkers and 1%ers on Wall Street. The Explorer II crystal hangs out enough MMs from the stainless case that it had a noticeable chip out of it before a year was out and I learned how it catches every steel rail or rock outcrop in sight. The 24-hour bezel paint flakes off EVERY YEAR wearing it in salt water or just your shower. The Citizen fits close, feels light, and catches nothing.

I am not sure of the press-fit crown and WR 100 meter rating, this is not an Oyster case and screw-down crown, but this is also not a $5,000 timepiece. I have not been swimming or diving with the Citizen. The quality of the rest of the watch is enough to give me confidence it will perform as advertised, and if it should not, I can buy another <$100.

This budget watch is thousands of miles and light years and many dollars ahead of any of its' true competition. I don't want a rubberbound button-filled busy ultramarathon Ironman digital display gizmo. I want a tough good-looking analogue watch that keeps excellent time, and I believe the promise that the Eco-Drive will keep it going, and going, and going ... while the rest of the stable appreciate in value on their way to or back from service.

I want a watch to tell me precise time, and maybe the day and date while it is at it. Not jewelry. Seriously, buy this watch.
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on February 28, 2017
initial impressions

- Light weight, doesn't feel bulky or huge on the wrist. I can hardly notice it's there at times when I’m wearing it.

- Classic utilitarian design with the olive green strap, has a clean minimalistic dial and straight to the point-day/date complication. There’s no extra fuss or unnecessary bling on this watch. Which I personally like, gives it a very classy understatement. Also makes it a very wearable watch with a-lot different outfits and situations.

-Lume is decent and legible but not exactly the best. For the price you really can’t complain. I usually shine it with my 300 lumen flashlight for a couple of seconds before going to bed and it seems to do the trick, gives off a nice shine in the dark!

-Strap is a bit stiff at first, but I can feel it breaking in and becoming more flexible after just the very first week of wearing it, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue in the long run.

-The Japanese Quartz movement is reliable and a practical enough for my time keeping needs. I’m not some NASA scientist at JPL who needs atomic timekeeping down to the very planck-time, I’m just your average joe.

-The fact that I don’t need to worry about changing batteries is what really sold me on the watch, second besides the design of course. This idea of having a perpetual running watch on my wrist powered by light is not only practical but also adds a very cool factor to the watch .

Overall I’m pleased that I made the decision to purchase the watch. Probably one of the best field watches you can buy for the money at this price point. I’m planning on using it as my daily driver for the long haul and I’m sure it will hold up to whatever I throw at it. Lets see how she does!
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on April 28, 2015
After almost three years of daily use, this watch is still in pretty impressive shape and I have thoroughly enjoyed wearing it as my first ever daily watch. The color scheme of the military green band, black face, and steel/silver colored case and metal give it a classic yet rugged look that can be worn with almost any outfit. I don't have the huge wrists/forearms of a major league ballplayer, and prefer my watch to be small and fit comfortably under the sleeve of a sweater or shirt if need be, so the 38mm face works well for me (if you want a monster watch face, move along). I like that the time is easy to read as they didn't muddy the face up with a ton of pointless text and numerics, and the white type on black makes everything stand out. Only bummer is winding the date/day feature once in a while, but I'm rarely trying to figure out the day or date, so when I miss a period and need to adjust it, I labor for 10 seconds and life is back to normal again.

I've gotten it wet (though never swam) and the band dries quickly and the watch is still perfect. I could see some people finding the band fitting slots annoying if you happen to fall between two spacings, but that should be a very small group of folks (i'm unsure if the slots on this band are spaced any differently than a standard leather band).

I bought it for $87 back in June 2012, and when I wrote this the price was $108. Not a huge price jump, but surprised it's over $100.

Added two pics to show:
-Scratches on face (though all very minor), but that's expected after nearly 3 years of daily use and not being careful on how I set it on the counter and what not (I tried to get the lighting to hit it just right to amplify the scratches)
-One of the two straps that holds the extra end of the band down is half frayed through (the second one, so the one nearest the end of the band)
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on May 24, 2017
Wonderful watch, & suitable for years of use. I live a VERY active life: hiking trails through states, climbing, snorkeling & diving, working with knives & cutlery, mechanic bays, etc. Quite varied & this watch has taken all of the abuse. Excellent craftsmanship by Citizen. With all of the abuse I gave this watch in my 20's, only some scratches on the Quartz face tell the story. The band is just about disintegrated (after 4 years of full use). Overall, this is definitely a watch I would wear in the field, & in casual environments. I additionally like the option of Spanish days for the day calendar. A sound Timekeeper.
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on February 15, 2017
Overall this is a great watch. It keeps time nearly perfectly with less than a second deviation from the atomic time online over a period of a week. With it being winter, I do have to charge it for about a minute once a week with a flashlight since my long sleeves prevent it from solar charging from ambient light. It lets you know when it's low by ticking only once for every two seconds.

Like many other reviewers. I'm not crazy about the band. I tried it out, but I didn't care for the riveted holes. The steel hardware on the band also doesn't quite seem to match the steel case of the watch, with slightly heavier brushing on the band clasp. I knew that this may be the case when buying though, and planned on getting a NATO strap which I did.

Some of the other user pictures shown here also had me thinking that this watch was a little bigger than it is. It looks smaller on my wrist. This is okay since I would rather have a watch be slightly too small, than it being a little too big. A lot of big modern watches make guys look like kids wearing their dad's watch. For reference, I'm posting pictures of what this watch looks like on my wrist, which is exactly 7". If I had a 7 1/2" wrist or larger, I would be looking for a bigger watch.
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on January 1, 2015
After three weeks this watch had held up nicely. I took the advise of other reviewers and ordered multiple watches in order to be sure I got the best possible watch. This extra process was worth it. I added a different 18 mm band which makes this watch perfect for my use. The function of this watch had been spot on thus far. It has kept time +/- 2 seconds a day. It is light on the wrist and perfect for an everyday watch. Due to the inconsistency watch to watch I can't give 5 stars. I will update later if my opinion changes. However, I hope that it does not because my experience with Eco has been good in the past and I am excited to enjoy this watch for years to come.
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on March 8, 2018
The Casio watch I’d purchased from Kmart some 15 years ago was really starting to show its age. It had always been accurate, but the battery seemed to run down at the worst possible times. The metal band was never comfortable. It was hot in the summer and either too loose or too tight, no matter how I adjusted it. As a result, I wore the watch only when I had to.

I wanted something better. I was looking for a good, basic watch, one that wasn’t gaudy or expensive, one that kept reasonably accurate time and was reliable, rugged and required little maintenance. The reviews I read led me to the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E. After several weeks of wearing this watch, I can report that it meets my needs and satisfies all my requirements.

I’m in my 60s and the watch is similar in size to the watches I’ve worn most of my life. I don’t find it too small. I wouldn’t mind the band being a bit wider, but that’s a minor quibble. Being a history buff, I like the fact that the watch resembles the famous watches made by Hamilton for the military. It’s attractive, yet functional, without being ostentatious.

With this Citizen watch, I did something I never would have done with my old Casio: I wore it to bed an entire night just to judge its comfort. Not only was I pleasantly surprised that the watch was never uncomfortable, I also found that in the dark early morning hours, I had no trouble telling time because the lume was perfectly readable. Having seen reviews complaining about the lack of lume on this watch, I’d made no effort to charge it before going to bed. And yet, even with my bad eyesight, the dial was easy to read -- the exact opposite of what I’d expected.

The only part of the watch I don’t like is the strap, mostly because of its color. I knew when I ordered this watch that I wouldn’t be wearing the strap for long. I’ve replaced it with a canvas khaki NATO strap from Autun US ordered through Amazon. It maintains the military look and feel of the original strap, but with a color I prefer and a high level of quality and comfort. I'm now wearing this watch with a Speidel Twist-O-Flex metal band (pictured), which I really like.

If you're like me and prefer an inexpensive watch that tells the time accurately, looks good and doesn't require much maintenance or babying, the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E is definitely for you.
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on January 15, 2016
I was going to get a dive watch but after wearing my Dad's old Omega I got used to a smaller lighter watch so decided to go with a non bezel. Once I saw this one I knew it was the ticket. Small, only 37mm (Omega was 35) and easy to read and of course I liked the looks of it. I wear it in the pool to time my swims and the second hand is very easy to see. I needed a waterproof watch and this fits the requirement well although I probably won't take it freediving. Love that I do not have to change a battery, ever! I ended up trying a couple bands but did not like having a clasp or buckle so I got a Speidel twist o flex. Put the band on myself and adjusted the length by removing links using the instructions from Speidel. Very easy. Really like the look now, and feel. For me an analog watch works much better. Date and Day is a nice bonus. Keeping time and have not had to reset it yet. Thumbs up all the way.
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on January 20, 2018
I’ve worn my 8180 most days for a year now, and as a simple, reliable chronograph-style watch it has been great value for money. It’s perhaps the cheapest Eco-Drive watch, yet Citizen’s solar technology has worked just as advertised. The thing runs happily on ambient indoor light and doesn’t stop if you take it off and chuck it in a drawer for a week.

This is a small watch - small enough not to look outsized on a small-medium wrist. (Note: I only began wearing a watch again three years ago after 15 years of not bothering, so I missed the whole huge-face trend.) At 37mm this seems nicely sized for my wrist, and at 9.5mm it’s not ridiculously thick. It’s also light, yet it feels very solid.

The face style strikes a nice balance: casual enough not to seem fussy, formal enough to wear in any business context. It has overtones of a pilot’s watch, notably with the triangle marker at 12 o’clock (inverted, compared to most such watches). But the skeleton hands give it a lightness lacking in some aviator designs. The face characters are clear and modern, and the elaboration of the outer 0-60 markers keeps it from seeming too plain. I would happily wear a normal pilot’s watch with a suit, but the 8180 seems particularly right for business wear.

… That is, as long as you change out the strap. The supplied military-style strap is short, ugly and widely detested. I can’t tell you whether it’s comfortable, as I replaced it immediately with a band better matched to the watch’s appearance. The 8180 looks classy with any leather band, but my daughter gave me a wonderfully comfortable tan Fluco Vigo riveted cuff which shows off the watch at its best.

The solar cell in the face powers a quartz movement which for me runs a second or so a week fast - not enough to care. I don’t swim in it. The movement is effectively silent.

Quibbles echoed in other reviews:
- The luminous glow-in-the-dark coating on hands and numbers is weak and fades quickly. Does this matter? These days phones sort out the middle-of-the-night problem.
- The flat mineral crystal window hasn’t yet attracted obvious scratches, but it has a few micro-scratches which I noticed when I looked at my own close-up watch photography. Over time this problem could worsen. Would anyone really expect sapphire glass at this price?
- The date is unreadable in many lighting conditions, mostly because it is unusually deeply recessed. Apparently the solar photovoltaic layer on the watch face makes this hard to avoid. The broad hands regularly obscure the date too.

My idiosyncratic quibbles:
- At a quick glance the white day-date window can very occasionally resemble an extra hand, forcing you to look again.
- Citizen’s typeface choice is a magazine-style face similar to Franklin Gothic, and not quite to my taste on a watch. Most people won’t care or even notice, and the numbers are very readable.
- BM8180-03E? Citizen, who names these things?

If you want something similar to the 8180 but chunkier, Citizen’s equally poetically-named AT0200-05E may fit the bill and has chronograph functions for a little more money. Should you want a little more elegance in a still affordable watch, Seiko’s Kinetic SRN051P1 is much thicker (14.5mm) than this Citizen but also runs on sunlight, is not that much more expensive and comes with a nice leather strap. And if the Citizen brand is too downmarket for you, IWC will sell you its Mark XVIII Pilot’s Watch for $5000 or so - but that watch will stop if you take it off for a couple of days.

The 8180 has almost everything I want in a watch and almost nothing I don’t, for very little money. A colleague’s Eco-Drive was still going strong well past the 15-year mark. I’ll be very happy to have mine do the same.
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on January 7, 2018
This was a gift for my Dad. He LOVES it. The watch itself is solid and you can tell it's well made. The solar charging works great. The band is incredibly well made and even had metal rivets around the holes. This is seriously a perfect timepiece for someone who wants quality, but prefers something that can take a beating and keep going, and understated instead of flashy. When I bought this, I was actually looking for a solar powered casio forester (my dad's normal go-to after his last one had worn out)... and this was as close as I could find. I am SO glad I found it too! This is a MUCH better watch than what I thought I was going to get, and the price is great.
There was much oooooing and aaaaaahhhhing from family who knew good quality watches. My Dad, bless his soul, was not one of those... but he was quickly educated by my mom and siblings.
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