Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T
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  1. #1
    Member Dan-LAX's Avatar
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    Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Make: Citizen
    Model: Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T
    Model Number: CB0010-53L
    Movement: Japanese H144 quartz


    “Trust me, this won’t hurt...don’t worry about it, nothing’s going to happen...it’s not going to cost you a single penny, it’s free...you don’t have to do anything, it’s does everything by itself.”


    Yeah, right. How many times have you heard those kinds of statements in life? I know I’ve heard them dozens of times and I never believe them. In fact, more often than not, the outcome is quite the contrary to the original statement. I’ve earned the experience to be quite a skeptic. So, when I heard about watches that were zero-maintenance, I had my doubts and was not convinced.

    On my cursory research, there were only two affordable mainstream brands that offer maintenance-free watches, Casio and Citizen. More specifically, there are several Casio models from the G-shock, Giez and Edifice lines with solar/atomic/perpetual features. All met the functional requirements, exceeded the tough shock factors but fell short on clean dial aesthetics.

    Citizen offers their AT, JY and CB model series. All share the following core features that bring maintenance-free possibilities to life: eco-drive, perpetual calendar and atomic time synchronization. The AT chrono and JY Skyhawk series had very busy dials. The last remaining series was the CB world series. All models within this series had relatively simple dials. However, one particular version stood out. The CB0010-53L model was the clear choice. The key giveaway on this model was the striking blue dial with world city codes placed inside the chapter ring rather than on the outside bezel, further cleaning up the look.



    The blue colored dial is tastefully done and at certain angles with the right light, it’s quite dramatic. Upon closer inspection, you’ll discover additional details. The dial has two shades of blue. The inner center seems to be a translucent blue with very subtle lines that radiate from the center outward to each of the hour indices. Within this space, there are two reference labels. The atomic sync status label spans concentrically from the 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock indices while the SMT (summertime or daylight savings) label sits between the 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock indices. The only item that interrupts the translucent perimeter is the date window at the 3 o’clock position. This center portion is encircled by a solid blue ring that is as wide as the hour indices that occupy it. Each hour indice is lumed and has delicate chrome accents on each side. It’s very easy to miss but when it catches the right light, you’ll get a nice little reflective glint. The same chrome accent is applied around the perimeter of each of the lumed sword hands. The hands reach out progressively from the center with the hour hand living within the translucent center, the minute hand just reaching across the solid border and the white seconds hand meeting each tip of the sharp white minute/second marks spot on. Surrounding all of this is a blue chapter ring with each of the 26 three-letter city codes in a white font. Finally, it’s all capped off with a non-reflective sapphire crystal and brushed bezel. Overall, the handsome blue dial is modestly stylish, informative, layered with delicate design details and visually clutter-free.



    The stainless steel bracelet is mainly brushed with a thin polished stripe running down the center. It connects to the case body at the odd size of 23mm then tapers down to 20mm at the double-fold over clasp. It’s a secure clasp, quite comfortable and quiet.

    The predominantly brushed finished case body is 43mm in diameter (45mm with the crown), approximately 46mm in lug-to-lug height and 10mm thick. There are some finer polished sections on the underside of the case body and on the outer perimeter of the bezel. The brushed case back is laser engraved with the eco-drive logo and several specs including WR10 bar, serial numbers and the H144 Japanese quartz movement. On the outside of the case, there are two recessed buttons, one located at the 2 o’clock and the other at 4 o’clock. The 2 o’clock button is used for several setting/resetting functions while the 4 o’clock button is mainly for the atomic function.



    The watch can sync with four regional atomic clocks around the world: US, Germany, China and Japan. Each of the stations cover a wide geography, but are still limited to the northern hemisphere. So, for those living below the equator, this feature is not as compelling. Every night, the watch automatically syncs with the atomic clock at three pre-programmed intervals: 2am, 3am and 4am. If it fails to sync at 2am, it will retry at 3am and so forth. Citizen recommends to point the crown toward the atomic station for optimal reception. Mine is placed on a watch stand in the bedroom that doesn’t have any windows facing the atomic station in Fort Collins, CO. Despite this, it still syncs. In the three months or so of owning this watch, the time has been dead accurate nearly every day. In the very unlikely possibility that the watch fails to sync for an entire month, it will still perform within typical quartz parameters of +/- 15 seconds per month.



    To confirm the sync, a single press of the 4 o’clock recessed button will spin the seconds hand to either “OK” (sync successful) or “NO” (sync not successful) on the sync status label momentarily. By pressing and holding the same button for about 2-3 seconds, you will manually initiate synchronization, the seconds hand will spin to “RX” on the label and the watch enters receive mode for the atomic time/date signal. Of the two, time is the most likely item to be adjusted. More specifically, it’ll only be the seconds since the minutes and hours will not deviate to the point of requiring adjustment. As for the date, the atomic correction seems to be somewhat superfluous. After all, the calendar on the watch is perpetual (or automatic) and programmed to the year 2100, so it will automatically advance the date on months shorter than 31 days. However, I’m guessing that there may be circumstances where it may prove useful. For example, date correction by the atomic clock would happen if the watch stayed in total darkness for more than the two year power reserve. Or, maybe if you travel to a different atomic region. Actually, that doesn’t make sense, since you’ll be using the world time function and that will change the atomic band selection and it will receive the date from that particular atomic clock. So, other than when the watch is absolutely dead, I really can’t think of any real-world situations where the atomic sync would adjust the date on the watch.



    The Eco-Drive feature is Citizen’s marque technology. The Eco-Drive system utilizes photovoltaic cells to convert natural or artificial light to electrical energy to drive the H144 quartz movement and deliver additional energy to the rechargeable battery for use as a back-up power source. The Eco-Drive system has worked flawlessly thus far. Then again, I’ve only had this watch for about three months, which is still well within the 6 month “total darkness” power reserve. If the power level does get low, the seconds hand will jump every two seconds as an indicator. If it isn’t recharged for a prolonged period, the watch will then enter a power saving mode where it will cease displaying the time/date, but will still keep the time/date internally for up to two years. So, as long as the watch is not stored long-term in total darkness, it will continue to operate for years on end.



    If you’re not the traveling type, the world time function may have minimal appeal. However, even if you travel to a neighboring time zone, the feature can prove useful. With a simple pull of the crown, the seconds hand becomes a city selector. Turning the crown in either direction will spin the seconds hand around the perimeter of the chapter ring to each of the 26 three-letter world city codes and simultaneously adjust the hour and date (if applicable) for the selected city. This action will also trigger a change in the atomic band selection to match up with that region. Personally, I don’t travel much but do visit family in New York. So, when leaving Los Angeles, a few clicks around the dial will set the watch quickly and easily. If you’re a globetrotter, this feature will be a boon for you.



    The watch does wear a bit larger than the 43mm case spec. Chalk that up to the discreet bezel. On my skinny, flat 57mm wrist width, the 46mm lug-to-lug case size covers my entire top wrist with just barely a touch of lug overhang. This hits my upper limit for size preferences. For practically everyone else, this size should be manageable.



    The lumed hour indices, minute and hour hands work reasonably well. With a strong charge in the late evening, it will last until dawn...but just barely. I’m spoiled with Timex Indiglo where its “lume” is bright no matter when you use it. This is probably the only real detraction to the watch. If this watch had Indiglo, I’d be truly perfect for me.



    There are many non-quartz mechanical watches that offer more of an emotional connection or romantic notion of sorts. But as we all know, those types of relationships require attention and can be “needy” at times. This Citizen watch is perhaps the furthest thing from that. With eco-drive, you’ll never need to replace the battery. With the perpetual calendar, you’ll never need to adjust the date. With atomic synchronization, you’ll never need to adjust the time. It’s damn near maintenance-free. In other words, “You don’t have to do anything, it’s does everything by itself.” Really.

    Dan

    Here's the video review:

    Last edited by Dan-LAX; January 30th, 2012 at 22:45.
    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” H. MacKay
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    Member Sabresoft's Avatar
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    Great review. Almost bought one just before Christmas, but decided not to spend the money at that time.

    One minor issue is that while there are 1/2 hour time zones on the watch, there isn't one for Newfoundland, which makes the watch effectively useless in that province, as AT synchronization would always set the time to the full hour of the adjacent time zone. I have the same issue with my Citizen Attesa ATD53-3081 (similar to the AT Chrono).

    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1329584042.309029.jpg
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    While my Skyhawk AT also does not have a time zone for Newfoundland, at least it has the user settable zone that could be set to the 1/2 time zone.

    My Casio G-Shock GW3500B-1A has Newfoundland zone!

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    Sabresoft

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  3. #3
    Member Dan-LAX's Avatar
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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Sabresoft,

    Nice Attesa - I can see the AT being an issue for those exact situations. Having a user selectable override function would be a good thing. Or, even better, a generic user settable UTC +/- X or X.5 would be best so that the watch will continue to sync with the atomic clock and keep the correct local time.

    I really like your G-Shock GW3500. I've been waiting patiently for somebody to sells theirs for <$200...my personal spending limit. The GW3500 is the perfect compliment to this Citizen - sporty and virtually indestructible. Both are the ideal maintenance-free pair.

    Dan
    Last edited by Dan-LAX; February 20th, 2012 at 00:48.
    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” H. MacKay
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    Member Sabresoft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan-LAX View Post
    Sabresoft,

    Nice Attesa -
    I did a long review of the Attesa today, spent way more time than I wanted or should have spent ( I was supposed to be doing the yearend books for my company).
    Sabresoft

    Breitling Airwolf Raven | Certina
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    Casio G-Shock GW3500B-1A | Casio Pro Trek PRW5100-1 | Citizen Attesa ATD53-3081 |
    Citizen Blue Angels World Time Chronograph AT | Citizen SS Skyhawk AT | Citizen Red Arrows Skyhawk AT |
    Citizen Satellite Wave-Air | Seiko Astron SAST005

    Campanola Grand Complication AH4000-01X | Citizen Titanium Skyhawk | Independent Black ITA21-5141 |
    Timex IQ Flyback Chronograph T2N700ZL

    αlpha Carbon | duBois Rotomatic | Maurice Lacroix Miros (Automatic) Diver

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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan-LAX View Post
    Make: Citizen
    Model: Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T
    Model Number: CB0010-53L
    Movement: Japanese H144 quartz


    Dan,

    Great review! I bought this watch at Costco for $220 lastweek.

    This last time change had me adjusting my non-atomic RC watches for a few hours...

    The back case of my watch indicates a H145 movement.

    The user maual is a little fuzzy explaing how to check the charge of the battery. Is the 9 or 6 position fully charged? Any chance you might update your video review to show that process? It would also be fantastic to see checking the month and year function on the video too.

    Again, your review is a 10/10!



    Thank you,


    Philip
    Last edited by Pdarnall; April 2nd, 2012 at 16:48.

  6. #6
    Member Dan-LAX's Avatar
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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Quote Originally Posted by Pdarnall View Post
    Dan,

    Great review! I bought this watch at Costco for $220 lastweek.

    This last time change had me adjusting my non-atomic RC watches for a few hours...

    The back case of my watch indicates a H145 movement.

    The user maual is a little fuzzy explaing how to check the charge of the battery. Is the 9 or 6 position fully charged? Any chance you might update your video review to show that process? It would also be fantastic to see checking the month and year function on the video too.

    Again, your review is a 10/10!



    Thank you,


    Philip
    Philip,

    The watch doesn't have a battery level indicator. So long as the seconds hand operates normally, then the battery level is okay. Low battery indication is accomplished via the seconds hand. When the seconds hand jumps every two seconds, then the battery is low and must be recharged. So, since there's no way to 'check' battery status, I can't video it.

    As for checking the month and year function...the atomic signal delivers that as part of the time data. However, for this watch in particular, you can also manually adjust/check that as well. I did not include that as part of the video...it would have exceeded the 15min. limit and probably bored many more folks.

    I'd suggest that you read through pages 34-41 in your owner's manual. It details all the steps on how to do this. In a few words here...it's a combination of using the crown, recessed 4 o'clock button, seconds hand and markers. It sounds more complicated than it really is.

    You can download the manual here directly from Citizen.

    Enjoy the watch!
    Dan
    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” H. MacKay
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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Quote Originally Posted by Pdarnall View Post
    Dan,

    Great review! I bought this watch at Costco for $220 lastweek.

    This last time change had me adjusting my non-atomic RC watches for a few hours...

    The back case of my watch indicates a H145 movement.

    The user maual is a little fuzzy explaing how to check the charge of the battery. Is the 9 or 6 position fully charged? Any chance you might update your video review to show that process? It would also be fantastic to see checking the month and year function on the video too.

    Again, your review is a 10/10!



    Thank you,


    Philip
    Hey Dan, I must say that you reviewed this watch wonderfully. This review helped me decide that this is the watch I want. Thanks! :)

    Philip, could you please tell which Costco you bought the watch at? (Hopefully in Southern California ;)) I've been scouring the Internet and haven't found this watch anywhere near $220. Plus, Costco's got great service and I don't have to worry about buying the watch from unauthorized dealers :)

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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Quote Originally Posted by chenga91 View Post
    Hey Dan, I must say that you reviewed this watch wonderfully. This review helped me decide that this is the watch I want. Thanks! :)

    Philip, could you please tell which Costco you bought the watch at? (Hopefully in Southern California ;)) I've been scouring the Internet and haven't found this watch anywhere near $220. Plus, Costco's got great service and I don't have to worry about buying the watch from unauthorized dealers :)
    Andy - PM sent. I got it at the local San Bernardino, CA store. It's item #644470 good hunting!
    Philip

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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Quote Originally Posted by Pdarnall View Post
    Andy - PM sent. I got it at the local San Bernardino, CA store. It's item #644470 good hunting!
    Philip
    Thanks so much!! :) Will be picking one up after I return from Taiwan. It's incredible that these watches cost $500 in Taiwan even after a 25% discount and haggling. :/

  10. #10
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    Re: Video Review: Citizen Eco-Drive World Perpetual A-T

    Nicely Done Review!

    A clean look compared to most Citizen Atomics

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