I have been working on writing a comparison between my Seiko Tuna, Orient Star 300m, and Citizen 1000m, but I have lost a little motivation to finish it. Until I do, I thought I could post some highly subjective musings (without the constraints of facts and figures) and share some pictures I took of the Citizen. By way of background, I purchased the Citizen to be my third "heirloom dive watch". My plan is to pass on a Japanese dive watch to each of my three sons some day - and it just so happened that each of the Big Three companies had something that I have always wanted.
Mason, Tyson, and Deacon
Without further ado, the NH6930-09FB:
Width: 55 mm.
Length: 48 mm.
Thickness: 19 mm.
Weight: 135 g.
I’d been watching this one for a long time and even though I always found it intriguing, I had some doubts about whether or not it would make the cut as my Third. While I waited for it to arrive in the mail, I had almost made up my mind to flip it. Luckily the ‘Zilla arrived and straightened me out. Today I would not part with this watch.
Before I start, need to give the nod to “Walt” – the fellow Canadian who’s strap adaptors are so popular that you can’t talk about a ‘Zilla without his name popping up. I am not usually a fan of modification; from watches to vintage sohc motorcycles, my motto has always been, “stock’est is hottest”. However, Walt’s strap adaptors absolutely make this watch! I believe this is an example of - he got it right, when Citizen’s designers got it wrong. The stock band is stiff and uncomfortable, and gives the watch a rounder, softer look that conflicts with the other more hard-core design elements. The addition of lugs not only makes the watch more wearable (and allows for some jaw-dropping strap options), it also gives it a leaner and meaner look.
Highlights? 1000m rating – I have nothing more to say about that. Duratect titanium case – initial impressions are that it is extremely durable. 6mm sapphire crystal – I’m sure there are examples of thicker sapphires out there, but I can’t think of any. This crystal is also domed, just not as much the Tuna’s. The shallow dome does not extend above the bezel or interfere with legibility, but when viewed from the side, it looks like a slippery sheen of water, bulging slightly in the middle. The contrasting hands, particularly the grab-you by-the-collar minute hand, look like something that a talented and courageous modder would have done, not a giant conservative corporation. Bezel – now that you mention it, yes it does look like an ash tray (but I can no longer picture the ‘Zilla without it). Bezel release lever – a machine, attached to the outside of the machine, the contrasting texture and colour is awesome. The case of this timepiece is so darned “mechanical” that you can’t help but admire its angles, its knurling, its HRV, etc. The activity of removing the straps and bezel offers a level of interaction that I haven’t experienced before, and reveals multiple layers of unique, quality construction. This watch looks and feels like a kind of tool… particularly the weapon kind. So enjoy these photos of a “field stripped” Autozilla:
The big ‘Zilla derives its nicknamed from its automatic myota movement. I have read some criticism regarding Citizen’s decision to use a cheap, ‘nothing special’ movement in a high-end model like this. I agree and disagree. My first choice would have been to equip this watch with an Eco Drive movement like the 300m has. I would love to see a factory option for this, and even pondered the feasibility of swapping movements with an Ecozilla (after swapping the hands as well). I’m not sure if it would have been possible, but I abandoned the thought because I still prefer the AutoZ’s dial, and would have missed the “day” feature. Having said that, my second choice would be: to use Citizen’s ‘nothing special’ Myota engine! This watch’s movement really is a virtue in my books and I’m so glad the designers chose it. Not only is it a well-proven work horse that basically any shop can service, but it is so common and affordable that my son, or someday grandson, should never have a problem sourcing parts or replacements. The nature of this movement lends itself perfectly to the job of an heirloom. A fancy, return-to-Japan-for-service, horological wonder would have been farther down my list of desired movements - and ultimately may have caused me to pass it over.
I have been wondering something about this watch - and the question itself may say a lot about it: Does anyone know if a different designer or design team was responsible for its creation? I ask because Citizen divers seem to have similar styles, and none of the current ones really appeal to me - nothing wrong with them, people just have different tastes. Yet somehow, from an entire lineup that doesn’t really speak to me, this model leaps out and strikes a chord. It seems like such a departure from the others, that I can’t help but imagine a brilliant (or insane) designer who somehow managed to get this model to market before getting himself sacked. Or maybe they contracted the retired team who styled the old 300, 800, and 1300m titanium professional divers – a trio of Citizens that also really resonates with me. Whatever individuals or company philosophy contributed to the birth of this watch, I think it is truly a unique timepiece, and not just for Citizen, but among watches in general.
Final note: this is a watch that people will notice. I’ve never had anyone comment on my Tuna, but this one drew attention the first day I took it out in public.
Thanks for reading,