Customer Reviews: Citizen Men's BL5250-02L Titanium Eco-Drive Watch with Leather Band
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on June 11, 2008
I am what many would call a watch nut and own over 30 ranging from Timex to Rolex. For me to buy a watch there has to be "something there" for me to get excited about. At $240, this is one of the very best buys on a fantastic watch that you can find! I was so impressed with this watch I purchased a second one as a gift for my father in law who by the way, was very impressed with the watch himself.

Before getting into all the things I like about this watch I want to point out one of the other reviewers posted a problem with the buckle on his watch having some "points" on it that dug into his wrist and made the watch uncomfortable to wear. This must be a factory defect as this is not the case with either of the two that I purchased. While the watch strap is not usually covered by warranty I know from 1st hand experience that Citizen has a dedicated and friendly customer service department and I believe if he contacts them he will find a new strap coming to him rather quickly. Also as to the strap, I have been disappointed somewhat in the past when purchasing a watch and the strap that comes with it is not substantial in length. I have a 7.25 inch wrist and this has not caused me a problem but I would readily notice if someone had a larger wrist they would have to go out and purchase a new and larger strap to be able to wear their new watch. The strap that comes with this citizen will allow someone with a larger wrist than mine to be able to wear this watch with the strap that comes on it. This is very good as I believe the supplied strap is very handsome on this watch.

The BL5250-02L is a marvelous little piece of technology at a very good price! At a suggested retail of $400 I have routinely found the watch at local authorized dealers at around $300. My watch was purchased on line for $240 with free shipping and for an additional $5 you could have "next day" shipping.

This watch comes to you very user friendly right out of the box. Along with the user manual also comes a mini disk that when played will have you understanding all the features, time settings and adjustments. You will have your watch set and on your wrist in about 10 minutes. Also, if you lose this information you may go to Citizen's web page and pull up the same info on an interactive video.

The Echo Drive models have a power cell in them that is charged by available light so there is no battery change ever! The perpetual calendar allows you to set the watch once and then it recognizes short months along with leap years so there is no further adjustment for that. Also, there is a duel time zone feature. I use this for setting the second time zone to address the yearly time change of one hour. Doing this with the simple turn of the dial my watch snaps into Daylight savings time mode and then back with another turn when the time comes to go back. It just does not get easier than that.

The rotating bezel certainly may be used for more than just looks. One of the ways I use mine is when I plug a parking meter. I just rotate the bezel so my minute hand moving toward the marker allows me to quickly see when I need to be back at my car. The alarm function works but it is not very noticeable. I have two Seiko's that have a very audible and piercing sound. In this area I have to say Citizen could improve the watch. However, I do notice it if I am awake. I just don't know if it would wake me from a deep sleep.

The finish of the watch is very nice and the strap is very comfortable to wear. The watch while feeling very solid is not as heavy as you may would expect and it wears very nicely on the wrist. The watch is advertised as a "deep blue" face and that is an understatement. For all purposes except in direct sunlight it is black. This does not bother me at all because it looks great and again, in direct sunlight it does have a blue hew that looks good also. Besides great function and price another strong point on this watch is the luminosity of the hands and markers. With over 30 watches my Seiko's seem to have a lock on that area but this citizen comes in a very, very close second. After being outside all day I can read my watch all night long from my darkened bedroom.

Last but not least, this watch comes with a five year warranty and as I stated before, Citizen has great customer service.

I have just touched on the many features of this finely made watch and for you that do not like straps and would prefer a bracelet, Citizen offers the same watch on a bracelet as model number, BL5250-53L. It retails for $500, local price around $400, web price $300.

I rate this watch a solid 4 out of a possible 5 stars. I would have given it 4.5 if the alarm were more noticeable. I am very picky and I did not even rate my Rolex 5 stars. I highly recommend this watch and would but purchase it again. In fact, I did when I purchased one for my father in law. If this watch appeals to your eye buy it! Price, functions, ease of use, warranty, and customer service is just icing on the cake!
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on March 1, 2010
First off, I got the watch a couple days ago. The look, feel, and accuracy are all spot on.

However, it appears that Citizen has changed a few things about the setting of the watch, and NOT changed the documentation. I had to experiment in order to figure out how to set the date, it was nothing like the instructions. In order to change the MODE (time, chrono, alarm, local time) you now have to pull the crown out to the first position, then rotate it. This means that the first position can no longer be used to set the date! (like the instructions say) Now, in TIME mode, with the crown pulled out to position two (where the time is set) the "A" button toggles between all of the time AND date settings (the selected hand does a little dance to let you know it's selected), and twisting the crown adjusts it.

Personally I LOVE this change (once I figured out how to set it). Other reviewers had complained about inadvertently changing the mode when pulling their hand out of a pocket, etc. Now, clicking the crown in the zero position does NOTHING. Which is how it should be. It looks like Citizen listened to user feedback, which speaks miles about them. They now need to update their documentation to match.

Great watch, we'll see how it does with more time on the wrist, but I wanted to let everyone know about my findings ASAP!
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on April 8, 2009
As others have said, this is a wonderful watch for many reasons. Made of Titanium and steel, it is a proper large size man's watch, but not heavy to wear. The leather band attached to it is heavy duty and will last, and the watch is beautifully designed and eye catching. The bezel (outer ring) is a little loose but easy to turn, and the dial is surprisingly clear and easy to read due to the strong design of the sword hands. The luminosity is brilliant too, as these things go, and will last a decent period. (You will be able to read the watch for the first few hours at night after you switch the lights off. No watch, from any company, luxury brands included, really lasts very long.) It has a perpetual calendar, so once set, you never have to think about it again, as long as it gets enough light.

The watch does have some quirks. You require patience to set it. As others have pointed out, changing the settings requires you often to wait until the hands travel back or forth from whatever time they're currently set at, to the new function you're changing to. Be careful of date setting. Depending on the setting, you have to wait for a few revolutions of the smaller hands before the date window moves, one date. If you're changing the date from the 2nd to the 29th, you'll be there a while. This watch requires commitment! The alarm is not only soft, but SHORT! About 15 seconds at best. The watch is a not really a chronograph. Those extra sub-dials you see don't really function in that way. Yes, there is a limited chronograph function but it is so poorly designed so as to render the watch useless for that function. The second time zone is handy but the alarm is not sychronized to it.

On the plus side, the watch is accurate, never needs to be fiddled with once it's set AND as long as it gets regular light, is very comfortable to wear and gorgeous on the wrist. I changed out my stitching for a Hirsh carbon black strap with white stitching, and it looks fantastic. The lesson is, buy this watch if you'll wear it regularly and don't really care too much about the fiddly details. If you're likely to forget it in closets or cupboards for long periods, beware!
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on January 7, 2011
I purchased this watch in December of 2010 as a dress watch for my travels within and outside the US. I am a watch lover and do own a very nice, fine, expensive watch, but due to the places I travel and also the current economic conditions, I prefer to wear a watch that will not catch too much attention.

Not sure if I will not catch attention as this watch has quickly become one of my favorites. I have gotten so many positive comments and I've only been wearing it for one month. I agree with those who have stated that for all intents and purposes this watch has a black face and not blue. It takes quite a bit of sunlight at the perfect angle to make the blue tone make its appearance.

From a functionality standpoint, this watch is not meant to be either a chronograph or an alarm. The chronograph is way too complicated and cumbersome to set and activate. By the time you pull out the crown and move the bottom indicator to CHRONO mode, the event you want to time may be over. As for the alarm function, it's not loud enough--at least for me. The rotating bezel is a very useful tool for measuring approximate time spans. I use the bezel quite a bit when I'm taking meds every few hours.

If you plan on using this watch for time and date only, it really is a magnificent tool. I love the fact that it is an analog watch, and my favorite part is that is has a perpetual calendar. When you set the date and time, you actually use the "second" hand to set the current month. Then you use the "chronograph" hand to set the year in relation to the last leap year--1 year after, 2 years after etc.... This means that if you keep the watch powered up, it will keep the correct date on display until the year 2100! I love having an analog watch that doesn't make me check if it's the 31 or 1 of every month.

I also use the "L-TM" feature to set it to daylight savings time or to other time zones. I keep my "Time" setting to my local non-daylight savings time. This way when I travel, I simply go to the local time function and set the watch to that zone. When I come home, I simply set it back to "Time" setting and it automatically adjusts back. If it's daylight savings season, I simply use the "L-TM" setting for local and adjust the watch backward or forward when I travel. The beauty of the "L-TM" function is that all adjustments are in hourly increment, not minute by minute. Meaning when you arrive at a new time zone, you don't have to look around to make sure you have the minutes accurately set.

Well, I tried giving you some of the pluses and minuses of this watch. One thing I will say is that to get going, you will need to review the instruction manual. I found that the one on the CD included with the watch is the simplest and most straight forward. Once you get this watch going, I think you are going to love it. Did I mention it really looks good on my wrist?

Good luck selecting a watch you enjoy. For me it's a hobby to get good watches at decent prices. I feel I got a steal with this one.

Edit 11/21/11:

Still loving this watch. Haven't had to adjust at all--other than for daylight savings. I did replace the watch band with a black rubber one. Looks even more awesome now. BTW, the correct size is 22mm NOT 20mm as stated on the spec list on Amazon.
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on February 11, 2015
I was hesitant about this watch since it pushes the boundary of being too big for my small wrists (~6 1/2 inches) and was torn between this one and the slightly smaller Citizen Men's AT0200-05E Eco-Drive. I went with this one because I dig the sunken inner dials and just like how it looks, and I am pretty pleased so far. It's a very nice looking watch, love the strap (not too big or too small), and it doesn't feel heavy. And though the 42mm case doesn't feel too big on my wrist, sometimes I think it's a bit too big (see pic). So far it's kept great time. I tried to sync its time down to the second against my cellphone and it's stayed within a few seconds since I did that a week or so ago -- I'm guessing when I left it in the sun for a few hours, the sudden charge of energy sped it up a tiny bit. Totally unscientific reasoning... The watch came with the date already set, so I haven't had to monkey with that, but setting that time was relatively easy after reading the directions, though it is not as simple as pulling out the crown and adjusting the time; there's a couple of steps one has to pay attention to. Nothing mind bending, though. I'm torn on the chronograph feature since it requires pulling out the crown, changing the "mode", and then pushing in the crown before the chronograph can be used. It's not as simple as just pressing the buttons. Then again, I've never owned an analog watch with a chronograph so I have no clue if that's just how they work. Long story short, it's been a couple of weeks and I still like the watch with zero buyers remorse.
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on July 6, 2007
I have many watches that I really like, but I hate to wear them to work for fear that the crystal or case will get scratched. I decided I needed a watch with no sentimental value to worry about. In looking for a watch the criteria I was looking for included solar power movement, perpetual calendar, and a bezel. I also wanted something that would be comfortable to wear. The fact that the case is titanium (and therefore quite light for its size) s just a bonus.

This has been just a terriffic watch, and I'm extremely satisfied. It has exceeded my expectations in all particulars!
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on September 26, 2013
I have owned this watch for about 3 months and I've come to like it very much. While I don't consider myself a "watch guy" I do own 8 watches and this one is now my favorite. I even like it better than my Swiss made Tag Heuer and Traser. Having said that it's not perfect and because of that I only gave it 4 stars. Very hard for anything to get 5 stars from me.

Here are my observations:

Pros (in order of importance to me):
* It's very accurate. In 3 months it has gotten 10 seconds fast compared to the atomic clock I set it to. That makes it the most accurate watch I own
* Perpetual Calendar. This is a very cool feature
* Eco-Drive power so I'll never have to replace a battery or put it on a watch winder. It has a 2 year power reserve after a full charge so you should never have to worry about this watch stopping.
* It looks cool and I love the high contrast white hands on black face. Some have commented that the face is navy but all I can see is black black black
* The chronograph functions are easy to use. I wear all my watches fairly loose on the wrist so operating the crown is no problem for me. I can see if you wear it snug that it may be necessary to remove the watch to switch functions.
* The minute and second hands are all very precise in their alignment. With every tick the second hand precisely lines up with the second markers on the watch face. Every 15 seconds the minute hand moves 1/4 of the distance to the next minute marker. This definitely appeals to the engineer in me and this is the only watch I own that has this level of precision in the hand movements.
* It's relatively light weight for it's size

* The 24 hour chronograph dial is nearly useless to me. I know if it's AM or PM & don't need a 24 hour dial to tell me that. The watch has a second time zone function and I think it would be much more useful for the 24 hour dial to show the 2nd time zone when the main dial is in "time" function. When the main watch dial is set to show the 2nd (local) time the small 24 hour chronograph dial could show the main (ie home) time zone. Then this dial would truly be useful.
* While I think the band is of reasonable quality I'm not sure it's the best style for the watch. It's not so bad that I'm going to swap it out but when it's time for a replacement I'll go a different way. Purely a personal thing.
* I would prefer the watch have a sapphire crystal instead of a mineral crystal. Mineral is generally fine but if this one should become scratched I'll replace it with sapphire. Hard to fault Citizen for this as mineral crystal is clearly spelled out in the specs.
* No screw down crown. It's probably just me but I wouldn't completely trust a watch to be waterproof without a screw down crown. I'm sure it's fine for splashing around in a pool or snorkeling. I wouldn't take it deeper than about 30 feet myself. This isn't a big deal for me because I have a dedicated watch for water activities. Plus, I just don't think salt or chlorine is good for the watch finish or band so with the exception of my "water watch" I generally take my watches off when I hit the water.
* Alarm is really pretty faint. I can hear it when working in my quiet office or in my bedroom. Everywhere else it's inaudible to me.

Comments on the time/date setting procedure:

Other reviewers noted and/or complained about the time setting process. It's really not that complicated. First it's important to note that the owners manual comes with instructions for two different but similar models. It's important to follow the instructions for your model. The watch also came with a CD that had step by step instructions that all but holds your hand thru the process. I put the CD in my laptop and within a few minutes I had the watch calibrated and set. If you can follow simple step by step instructions you'll have no problem. If you still have a VCR blinking "12:00" the process might take you 5 minutes instead of 3.

Great watch and a solid 4 star rating from me.
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on June 7, 2012
It was July of 2010. I had just finished work, and it was a hot summer day as I rode my bike home from the grocery store. Having just graduated high school, I was working as many hours as I possibly could to line my pockets for college in the coming fall. Needless to say, after a long day of helping customers and pushing carriages, I just could not WAIT to get home...

...and break into the box my mom told me had arrived.

I knew what it was - it was something I had been promised as a graduation gift, and waited for anxiously for the whole five days it shipped. I came into the house, sat down at the table, tore open the box, and looked inside. There, sitting right in front of me, was a watch that I had only seen in pictures, but knew it by heart: a Citizen BL-5250!

That was almost two whole years ago, and I have since worn that watch five or six days a week, even though I have many others. It's the best one I have in a couple of ways:

1) QUALITY. Citizen has unparalleled features and longevity for a watch at this price point. I've worn this watch through everything from a 3-hour long gig I played at a club to an 8-hour day stocking shelves at a grocery store. (Yes, the same one!)

2) VALUE. You will not find a better watch for $240 anywhere.

3) APPEARANCE. This watch, while being plenty sturdy and rugged (large case, rotating bezel), it is still quite refined, and can be worn with a shirt and tie/a suit if you're James Bond.

To sum it up, ceteris paribus, this is the best watch I've ever owned, hands down. If you're looking for a phenomenal Father's Day gift, birthday or graduation present, or something awesome for yourself just because, congratulations: you have arrived!
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on February 4, 2016
This is a military style watch from Citizen. The movement is a high quality Eco-Drive with perpetual calendar. That means you'll only need to set it once and it the date will be correct until the battery dies. That is important because these movements are more complicated to set than most other movements, however there are YouTube videos that will walk you through it step by step if needed. Even though this watch is solar-powered, it does have a rechargeable battery and these can die eventually. However, they'll last much longer than the 3-4 years that a standard quartz watch battery lasts.

The strengths of this watch are the fact that it has a Eco-Drive movement, titanium case, easy to read military style dial, and 200 meters water resistance. It has a very nice look and is of a size that will look good on a large range of wrists. I feel it wears slightly larger than the 42mm size.

The weaknesses are related to the bezel and the band. The bezel is stainless steel, not titanium. It is a uni-rotational divers style. However, Citizen does not make many watches with rotating bezels and it shows. The bezel has some "play" in it, and the rotational clicks are somewhat loose and cheap feeling. Also it is only 60 clicks. The other thing I did not like about the bezel is that it is finished in a high polish, which is not in keeping with the overall military style of the watch. A brushed or bead-blasted finish would have been preferable. The 22mm band is thin leather with a reptile print. It is ok, but a bit short and probably will fit only up to an 8" wrist (mine is 7-1/4"). I felt it was too dressy and chose to replace it with a canvas one.(Hadley Roma MS850 22mm Green Genuine Cordura Fabric Stitched Watch Band)

Overall a nice watch that has some minor flaws. I got this on Amazon on sale for about two bills which I feel was fair.
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on October 13, 2009
I've had this watch since July 2006, and have cherished it since. However, just one thing to beware of, this watch cannot be retrofitted with a Citizen metal wrist strap. Ironically it's sibling that comes with the metal (titanium) strap has a different case back i.e. it has deeper scalloping to allow the metal strap to connect to the watch. The leather band watch does not have this deeper scalloping and so will not allow attachment of a Citizen metal strap. In conclusion if you think you will one day switch from one strap material to the next, then it may pay to get the metal strap variant, allowing retrofitting of a leather strap at a later date.
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