on August 26, 2010
Where was I when they hyped Eco Drive? Not paying attention, that's for sure! I really thought it was something like Seiko's Kinetic or an automatic movement. Man was I stupid for not checking it out much sooner perhaps 20 years ago! My next dress watch will be Eco Drive too.
I investigated all the versions of the A-T models including titanium and the newer cheaper models using C650 calibre sold here and the much more expensive Atesa calibre versions only sold in the Orient as they also receive an Atomic Clock from China when your in the area. You can get them imported from dealers in the Orient. But this one uses the U600 calibre which is a bit more stuff on the dial and it was my choice. Almost went with the titanium version but decided against it in my quest and study about how owners liked them. They do but I didn't like the easier to scratch thing.
I have had this watch for a little over two weeks. I did download and study the manual for 2-3 days before it arrived. It is simple to use once you get the general idea of what happens when the crown is out one click or two clicks and you either press both buttons or one at a time. These commands are similar in each mode which is selected by rotating the crown in 1st position but it does stuff when rotating in the 2d click position too. With a little study you can remember how to stumble through it without a manual just thinking logically about what mode do I need and then setting it there and then using the buttons. You can do the simple stuff without much thinking. The operation is really almost brilliant in it's simplicity especially considering how they kept this very complex watch controlled with so few controls and redundant operation in each mode which seems instinctive once your on track in the process. If you set the right mode and it doesn't do exactly what you want when rotating the crown at the 1st click another pull to the 2d click of the crown and you will probably find it.
I am always amazed at the reviews that knock something they really don't understand simply because they refuse to read the manual much less study it.
That being said don't get confused thinking you have to do the Atomic updates. They are automatic unless you just want to do an on demand at anytime of the day. If you do that set aside 30 minutes or so to review the book. Do the hands reference position check to insure the hands are all aligned properly before you start. Then place it in the mode to receive an update. The manual states it can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 15 to complete the reception update. Took about 5 or 6 for mine when I did it just for funnies in it's initial pre-flight check.
You can easily use both time zones and still have your date pretty much on if you use a time zone for the date that changes while your sleeping. Seems all chronometers I have owned which had second time zones always have the date connected with the secondary zone such as UTC which was most common for me. But when I am home in the Central US I am using Chicago or HOM for my time zone and set HNL or Honolulu for the second. The date will change at 6 AM Central and I have no reason to know the date until sometime after that. However over the years using the UTC date was always okay with me and not inconvenient. The switching of the two time zones is painless 1 click on the crown and push both buttons at the same time close the crown. The hardest thing is just taking the time to run through the list of 44 time zones to select the ones you want to use.
I have actually hidden the watch in the worst places so the signal has to come through many walls overnight, turned the antenna away from the station all to see if I can prevent an automatic update with the Master Clock. Nope! Guess I'm too close to the source as the watch gets a strong signal every night at 2 AM even while wearing it. A simple push of the bottom button while the crown is in will cause the watch to report what happened at the last attempted automatic update. Only time it did not update was the night or two it was in transit freight.
As a pilot for me you can't do better than this series of watches including the regular Skyhawks. Truth is the simplest of watches will work for a pilot but chronometers make it so much nicer. None of my old chronometers had an E6B slide rule besides most were rectangular. I really do like the E6B even though I rarely fly any more. Figuring gas mileage and tips is a kick. Guess I don't know what cheap feels like that one reviewer mentioned since mine works and feels fine.
Since they did away with radium dials good night illumination was more of a wish unless you had a back light or bought one recently with tritium. But those go out in 10 years or so. This guy stays bright all night, hope it's not radium. I have not tried to use the back light for real. It "only" illuminates unevenly, at that, in the two windows. Have yet to have my glasses on while in a very dark condition to check it out so don't know if it is really legible or not.
I don't have a problem catching the crown but I usually have some fingernails and I do use them. I can see the problem if one did not have any help from the nails. If that is a problem for you get the regular Skyhawk with the knurled crown.
You can find heavier, but not by much. Lots are more expensive with more features, well maybe not. However it is certain many are much more expensive and have much less in the feature department. Fact is your not going to find better for what it is and does. You could not give me a Breit or Rolex. These are in fact just better mass produced instruments PERIOD.
on June 2, 2012
I purchased what must have been one of the first Blue Angles watchs; right after becoming a K9 Officer. A decade or so ago. I wanted a good looking reliable watch. This was the most expensive watch I had ever purchased at that time. Long story short I was buying cheap watches to wear while working as a K9 Police Officer, but the kept getting busted and were just plain black in color. So this Blue Angles watch really caught my eye (and I'm a Air Force Veteran) and the dealer assured me it was durable; so I bought it. Believe me, I have been extremely hard on this watch ( the dogs, the leash, the crooks, the woods, swamps, and other nasty places have yet to kill this watch. I still gets compliments on this watch.
Here are the problems I have had. About 5 or 6 years ago, my jeweler (a Citizen Dealer) noticed a small chip in the crystal. I knew it was there but it was really small. Got chiped fighting with a suspect. My jeweler suggested letting him send the watch back to Citizen for repair. I agreed and the watch was returned in about 10 days with a new crystal and a pressure check. NO CHARGE. Although Im sure it was past the warranty period.
Just two months ago the watch completly died. Took it to the same jeweler and he sent the watch in. Got it back about 10 days later with new brains and a new pressure check. COST $12 for shipping. If every company treated customers this way the world would be a greater place. Needless to say I love this watch. I think you will be happy with it too.
on February 5, 2013
I have had this watch for a week. I have studied the manual. I would say it does take some time to get familiar with all the features and you need good memory to memorize all.
What I like:
1) Automatic calibration using the atomic clock.
2) No need to replace the battery.
3) Scale rule for performing multiplication, division, square root, speed-distance-time, nautical/statute/km conversion, gallon/liter conversion when no calculator or a smart phone is available. This situation is rare nowadays though.
What I don't like:
1) Have to pull crown out to switch from time to calendar mode and other modes.
2) Hard to pull the crown out without taking the watch off.
3) No calendar display for home city. Have to set the second city to be the same as the home city to use the calendar. Would be nice to make the home city window a slightly larger to display the calendar of the home city.
4) The LED lights are only good for reading the digital window displays. One can hardly see the hands with the LED lights.
5) The markings on the bezel should be engraved not printed. Don't know how long they last.
on September 20, 2013
I received the watch as a present (after some hinting). I have mostly worn plastic digital watches. I own a Rolex Oyster and the Rolex looks nice, but just estimates time--just jewelry, really. The digital watches were fine because I'm a scientist and people just seem to expect it. This watch has a rugged, stylish, analog design with the E6-B pilot function nicely displayed that I like. What attracts me is
-Never having to change a battery,
-Always the exact time to the second (Really! an atomic, analog watch)
-A second time display for time zones while traveling
-GMT/UTC dial for navigating
-Two separate alarms
-Calendar (that doesn't have to be set each and every **** month, like the $$$ Rolex!)
-Waterproof to deeper in the ocean than I'll ever dive.
-Nighttime iridium dial that is easy to read in the dark.
-There's also a 24-hr dial for those who don't know if it's night or day.
These features I've mentioned far exceed the minor concerns I had at first: like the size and weight (I have a small wrist), the tiny digital display, the stem design where I have to unlatch the watchband to manipulate the stem, the tiny numbers on the E6-B, and the complicated operations manual that I downloaded into my iPad so that I could fully utilize all the functions on the watch.
Now I just need to get an airplane that complements this watch. Oh, did I mention, I'm also a pilot.
on October 30, 2011
The Citizen Eco-Drive Blue Angels Skyhawk A-T stainless steel watch is everything the company claims it is. It meets or exceeds all the expectations I had based upon what I read about it. The manual is complete and allows the customer to read and understand how to set up the watch and to handle its many functions. With the additional use of the interactive web-based manual, the instructions are clear and effective.
There have been several negatives about this watch brought up by a few previous reviewers at Amazon.com. Only one of these negatives are validated in my personal experience. Citizen should adopt the same knurled function knob as on the normal Skyhawk watches. This would help with pulling the set knob without having to remove the watch. I am having the same problem as previously reported. There is absolutely no way to pull that function knob with the watch on my wrist and I do think knurling the knob would help.
However, the other negatives simply are not validated in my experience.
The luminescent hands and hour marks are very easy to read in the dark and the luminescence lasts throughout the night. This was a major reason I decided to purchase this Blue Angels model because, as a pilot, I frequently need to reference the time on my watch at night without having to take my right hand away from the aircraft's controls. So, when I read the review here that claimed the luminescence only lasted "two hours" I was concerned, and it almost influenced against my purchase decision. Then, I read the disagreements posted in reply, and fortunately I chose to discount the complaint. In truth, there is no difficulty whatsoever reading the watch hands and marks at night. My only desire is for Citizen to mark the second hand with luminescent material as when flying, the second hand is often important for immediate reference.
The other big reason I wanted this watch was to get the extreme accuracy of the automatic radio receiver update function. One small concern with the manual is that it fails to emphasize that the radio update will take two to three minutes after the second hand moves to the 12 O'Clock position to indicate reception of the radio signal. I aborted my first manual radio update because I did not expect it to take that long. But, re-reading the manual confirmed that the watch would automatically resume normal function after the manual update was complete. So, second time I waited the required time. A brief mention in the manual that it takes two to three minutes would have avoided that initial misunderstanding.
But, the update itself is very robust. My first update was done beside a window facing north to Fort Collins, Colorado where the US-based clock signal is located. I live in eastern New Mexico so I expected a strong signal and I got the "high" indication for signal strength. No surprise there being beside a window. But, at night, I put the watch on my bedside table facing north and noted that even far removed from any window, and going through most of my house, plus having a cell phone, radio controlled clock, and cordless phone on the same table, the watch still performed a successful automatic update with a high signal strength indication. That was a fair test and the watch's receiver antenna did the best possible job.
The confidence that I have the time to the exact second is very important in my line of work as an instructor pilot. So, this watch perfectly met both of my primary purchase decision points. I highly recommend this watch as the optimal balance of function and price on the market today. It seems fairly priced for the quality of construction and the scope of its functionality. I highly recommend it to anyone, but find the price and function particularly valuable for a pilot.
on December 15, 2008
I compared this Blue Angels version with the Black/Orange version of this Skyhawk model and liked the blue/yellow tones much better. So I bought it.
However, Citizen decided to make a change in one of the more important controls between the two variations, the Crown. On the other version, the crown is knurled. Therefore, it's easier to get a grip on it to pull it out as needed. You need to pull the crown out one stop to change to any of the other modes. If you spend good money for something with all these features, you will figure on using them.
The crown on the Blue Angels version, albeit nice and sleek, is smooth around it's circumference. When it's on your wrist, you either need a very long (and curved) fingernail to pull the crown from underneath, or you need to remove it from your wrist first. The only point where you can "catch" the crown to pull it is underneath and at the base of the crown. The top side of the case covers the bevel at the base of the crown.
Sure, you can leave extra links in the band and "maybe" be able to get underneath the crown to use it while wearing it, but the watch will be spinning all around your wrists during the day.
Now, I don't know if frail fingers would do better operating this. Just roughly gauging the human physique, and proportions of the extremities, only someone with large enough arms/wrists would even feel comfortable wearing a watch this size and weight for any period of time. Therefore, I would expect those who can wear it to have larger diameter fingers compared to the rest of the populace. Those larger fingers just cannot get under the crown very easily to activate it.
I like the watch's features, but I'm afraid I might have to return it. I will be using the alarms and chronograph quite frequently and having to remove the watch each time I want to do something with it simply will not do. Especially for the price it sells for.
I might like the black/orange version if I give it a chance. That has the knurled knob. Or, I might just trade it in for a Citizen Promaster SST instead.
I have purchased every single Blue Angels watch that Citizen has made (including this one) and enjoy the watch's quality, functionality, and US Navy Blue Angels connection. This was the first watch in the line to be radio controlled. It is easy to adjust for international travel and never requires the battery be changed. I find the watch's bracelet to be very well made, comfortable, easy to adjust, but a little bit heavy. Citizen sells this watch with a lighter titanium bracelet: Citizen Men's JY0050-55L Blue Angels Skyhawk A-T Titanium Eco-Drive Watch. I recommend you download a PDF copy of this watch's manual and read it before your purchase. Since my purchase, I bought and mainly wear the newer Citizen Men's AT8020-54L Blue Angels Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Dress Watch. I recommend the newer watch over this one, since it is similarly (or even lower) priced and the movement is more advanced.
For some reason, I could never get the radio control function of my watch to work until I tried it in Denver, Colorado (where the US Atomic Clock is located). Since then, it has been working perfectly regardless of location. I had previously tried to make it work in Washington, DC, Boston, San Diego, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand without success. I even mailed it to the Citizen Service Center. They tested it, said it was fine, and sent it back to me with a free antenna to use with the watch to amplify the radio controlled signal reception. Since it now works, I don't use the antenna.
on October 7, 2013
I wanted a watch with automatic "atomic clock" updates daily, solar power, and a big easily read analog dial for local time plus a smaller digital display for 24-hour UTC (GMT). (There's even a small 24h analog dial dedicated to GMT, so I could use the digital display for yet another time zone if I wanted.) I've had the JY0040-59L Skyhawk for a almost a year now, and it is *everything* I wanted in a watch, and then some. This is the best watch I've ever owned, and I love it. (UPDATE: Over 2 years now and I love it more than ever! Still looks new after 2 years of 24/7 wear. Perfect time all the time, great functions. This is a GREAT watch!)
The Skyhawk always dead accurate when compared to WWV, even when I deliberately kept it from receiving WWVB overnight. :-) Even here on the east coast, the watch has no trouble receiving the US atomic clock signals. Taking one link from the band was easy and uncomplicated. Before I ordered it, I was concerned the Skyhawk might be too big or heavy, but I find it perfectly comfortable (I'm a big guy; small folk might possibly find it too big.) There are a BUNCH of functions and adjustments, but the manual is very clear and it's easy to set options the way you like them. The alarm is perfect for traveling--I've had smartphones mess up the alarm time when traveling across time zones, but not the Skyhawk.
The AT Skyhawk's build quality is excellent, and the watch looks great. Before I ordered the Skyhawk, I thought it was a bit more money than I wanted to pay, but after living with it for a while, I see it was a bargain at the price. And it's a tank, in terms of toughness. My last watch, a $200 "dive watch," started looking beat-up within a few months. I wear the Skyhawk pretty much 24/7/365, and it still looks almost new. I got a great price and fast shipping from Amazon on this watch, too.
I've had the Skyhawk AT for a almost a year now, and I like this watch more now than when I got it--comfortable, superb accuracy, all the features I need and a bunch more besides, and it looks great as well. If I lost this Skyhawk AT, I'd order another without a moment's thought--this is a great watch! If you care about quality and features in a watch, you can absolutely not go wrong with the Skyhawk AT.
on August 28, 2013
Update December 2013: I have replaced both bezels at a local watchmaker, and send it off to Citizen Holland to replace the mineral crystal for Sapphire crystal. simply Wow! I really love the Stainless steel version and the weight it has (and when the metals are watch bracelets sizes, there is hardly any difference in strength between SS and Ti.). I really love this watch and can't stop looking at it...incredible since my swiss automatics are on the watch winder because I'm only wearing the Blue Angels! Sapphire crystal for me is essential, and even tho it cost me some money to get the sapphire upgrade (100)...I'm really happy I did!)
There is so much to say about this watch that it is hard to start so I'll just take off..
It was pretty hard to find for a reasonable price in Holland, but finally I found a private seller that bought it second hand.
No worries since he was a pilot himself and had bought it from a pilot, I assumed the timepiece would be set right and work properly.
And so it does.. without reading the book and with only the knowledge that the dial on the bottom of the watch is the "main menu".
Pulling out the crown 1 or 2 times gives options, but I quite quickly got the hang of it and already it feels very simple to handle.
Actually it doesn't need much handling because it automatically sets itself to the nearest atomic clock signal.
Surprisingly this watch still looks great after several years of use and more than 2 owners. The glass (mineral) has a light scratch and I'm probably sending it to citizen to get sapphire replacement. I will ask them to change both bezels (if possible) because since they are printed they are beginning to fade.
Citizen seems to me like one of the most reliable watchmakers. I have owned about 3 (2 very old boot sales models), and they are the only ones that always start..maybe that's why Toyota also is Japanese.
I also own an Omega vintage automatic geneve tv screen watch but that needs service every 3 to 4 years and that's not cheap.
In the end I started looking for a new watch a few weeks ago and spend hours and hours online browsing around all the trustworthy watchmakers, when suddenly I decided to switch from swiss to Japanese for my next watch and put accuracy above mechanical complications. I had my eye on an orange G-shock Casio which was already rare and doing 150 dollars above retail price. After comparing it to this watch however, I couldn't be wrong going for a Blue Angels.
Be careful which one you buy tho, I nearly bought an almost identical looking one for 100 dollars less but that didn't have the atomic clock or the led back light. So keep the right series number in your pocket when shopping for a Blue Angels watch.
The most important thing in a watch for me are:
0: Waterproof - Check! (swimming)
1: Accuracy - Check! (Atomic Clock)
2: Primary Dial Clock - Check!
3: Chronograph - Check! (1/100sec.)
4: Night visibility - Check! (fluorescent and backlight)
5: Easy time setting - Check! (sets itself)
6: Great Looker - Check!
7: Gadgets - Check! (Bezels and digital stuff)
8: Big & Heavy but not pompous - Check! (Functional)
9: Something that can show a diamond Rolex owner that he needs to set his watch - ;-)
10:Never replace a battery - Check! (Light powered)
11:Day/Month/Date display - Check! (digital)
12:World cities - Check! (No AMS?)
There is probably much more I forgot but this is a buy I can take anywhere, anytime and rely on it.
Only downside was mineral crystal and wear on bezels, but for the price I bought it I can't complain since seemingly 2 pilots wore and used the functions on this watch daily before I got it.
Call me silly but knowing this, this particular watch makes it have even more soul for me since it has served in the air, and passed the tests these former owners threw at it.
on May 22, 2010
I really like the watch. It looks good, though a bit busy. its not too complicated to set, and in the day the watch is pretty easy to read. Not many compliments on it, but I feel comfortable wearing it out and to the office. A couple of things I find to be a minus is the back-lighting. Maybe its my eyes or the orange, but it doesnt seem to light up enough for me to see the numbers clearly. But it lights up enough to eventually illuminate the luminescent hands so you can see that. The other thing is that it should be easier to toggle from the calendar and the time zone display - its a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Also, some of the features on the display seem a bit redundant, like the display on the left just showing the name of the city your in although the display on the right already has that on it. They should use one of the displays to just show the date.
But overall I'm very happy with it and would recommend it wholeheartedly