Having read a very teasing review over on a blog to read.com, (you can see in this review the various colours this watch will come in) i thought id give more information about the watch for potential future buyers as it seems this may well be a big seller for citizen in the western world.
I wonder how many people got into watch collecting because they were looking for the perfect do it all watch? not necessarily their grail but a watch that can be used everyday and in all possible scenarios.
My perfect watch is a collection of ideals, for example id want it to have sapphire crystal for a start, 200m water resistance or more (u can always trust 200m WR watches, id have less faith swimming with a 100m watch), a reliable, very accurate movement with a perpetual calendar that works under its own power but needs no real servicing, and a watch that looks good in a number of situations, it is adaptable to evening events as well as casual wear. As im not really a fan of chrono's, my ideal watch would a have a gmt complication or better; an independently adjustable hour hand for travel possibilities. Now try as i might, i have found this watch very hard to find. Watches with independently adjustable hour hands alone are hard to find but add in factors of good water resistance and a perpetual calandar and you are limited in your choices (mainly looking for second-hand japanese domestic models that are as rare as hens teeth). This Citizen then, may well be the answer:
The Watch measures 49mm tall by 45mm wide including the crown (i see no point in taking it out of the statistics it as its so small and makes little different to the looks or size of the watch), it is 10mm (ish) thick and it has 24mm lugs. Water resistance is 200m, it has sapphire crystal and a radio controlled (receiving from 2 stations in japan, colarado in usa, Germany and China....most stations send signals for 1500km, the usa station is double) Citizen eco drive, perpetual calandar movement with independently adjustable hour hand (movement is h144). I payed £280.00 for this watch (as a very new model it had only just been delivered to the shop and was out for 2 hours before i snapped it up . you may find it hard to attain at the moment but they are coming out around now)
Form (Design and build quality)
Case, Dial, Hands and Crystal
The design of the watch case is nice, having curved lugs that add to the look of the watch rather than just doing a job, the thinness of the case makes it light and comfortable and the black bezel is well printed and has a dull shine to it, all the cities line up with the hour indications on the chapter ring. The case back has the typical citizen etching that most european eco-drive models have but with 'world ' scribed in the middle, a sign this watch may be sticking around in a few different designs for a while perhaps. The caseback has no holes for a case tool and when the battery finally does run out the watch will probably have to be sent back to Citizen to replace it (as stated on caseback), a ball opener may have a chance of opeing it but im not so sure.
The crown is a little on the small side and unsigned. The crown does not screw in but does not affect the watches features when it is pushed in (unlike some of the citizen chronos released a couple of years ago) If you have thick fingers you may struggle with the crown.
The dial has good attention to detail, the radio controlled markers on the left of the dial are receesed slightly, giving a 3d quality under closer inspection and are in line with the date, both are ringed in chrome. The focal point of the dial is a nice guilloché-like pattern which can change colour in sunlight, offering an almost pearlescent appearance (i have found through collecting that i get bored easily with watches with plain dials so this is a great bonus, it gives it a 'how did they do that?' feel to the dial).
Thick 'aviator' like hands are very visible and the chrome outlined indices are applied, the combination of the two offers a sophisticated look thats wouldn't be out of place on a dress or sports watch.
Lume on the hands is acceptable (citizen blue colour) but the indices can appear 'fuzzy' at night and the glow is more restrained, the scond hand has no lume (it has a power saving function which at night makes lume redundant) but has additional detailing on the tail, further depicting its radio capabilites.
The sapphire crystal is a welcome addition at this price range and has one layer of anti reflection coating on the underside. It does a fair job of
reflecting sunlight but is not say comparable to say, my Tag Aquaracer or Ball Nightrain. It is good for the price though.
A possible downside of this watch is the bracelet, It is widely used in many citizen watches these days but this is the first time i have encountered it. It has very small links and two half links for adjustment. The links are brushed, thin but solid, with the middle links polished. Split pins are used for attachment . The Clasp is well made for the price of the watch but is not double locking, this is not really an issue as the presses are recessed into the clasp, offering better safety than they would have if they stuck out. The end links are solid, a good touch at this price.
The bracelet feels very light but balances the weight of the watch case well. I found it a little hard to get a truly perfect fit as it does not have micro adjustment of any kind, i finally settled on having one side of the bracelet with a half link and one without. The bracelet is comfortable but some may complain about its metallic rattle when moved, or that it may pull hairs on the hairier amongst us. I have no problems or concerns with it at all and think it suits the watch.
This watch uses the h144 movement. This movement is more commonly seen in the Japanese only market Attesa line and I'm fairly certain this is the first time this movement has been used on European/ American market citizens. The movement has a two year power reserve after a full charge. The second hand lines up perfectly with its markers and has an anti shock protection system involved so they never come out of sync.
The watch has a secondary button at 4 0'clock which can show power reserve with one push or manual radio receive with a hold (the second hand needle will rush to 'RX' on the dial and may take between 2 and 15 minutes to adjust to correct atomic time).
The best thing about this movement though, is the independently adjustable hour hand, a useful advantage when traveling from time zone to time zone. one pull of the crown is all you need to keep up with the time zone you are heading to next, the bezel and chapter ring can be conbined in addition to a little maths if you need to contact someone in another country.
Its great that the rest of the world is finally starting to see all the special watches the Japanese have kept to themselves all these years and this watch is a fantastic addition to the eco drive range. I think it will be very popular as it has a clean, elegant 3 hand design with useful attributes. It looks make it comfortable on your wrist on a night out or in the office and its water resistance means when your on holiday you dont have to worry about it in the sea either. Its light yet keeps up with modern times with its 45mm case (it does not wear big if you are worried though).
Its major rival is probably the Citizen Chronotime AT but if, like me, you feel the dial is too busy, then you have most of the advantages that watch could give with the added bonus of better readability.
Apart from the lume, (which isn't amazing but is acceptable)and the small crown, which can be hard to use if you have stubby fingers (i would recommend you try it in a shop first) there is nothing i can really knock this watch for. It does everything you could need if your not after a chrono. With models like the World Perpetual AT (or W-PATZ as i like to call it) Its no wonder Citizen sells so many watches.
Hope i havent missed anything out and you enjoyed the review.