I thought I'd finally post a review of this watch after meaning to do it for a quite a while. I posted one for the site I bought it from so I have used parts of it and adapted it for WUS. Sorry for some of the bad photos. I don't have a better camera currently available and I'm no photographer. I've just taken most of these now for this review however I've included a few better ones that I took with a better camera a few weeks ago too.
I had been looking at this watch for a long time and it was in several jewellers in my area. Whenever I went past them I always stopped and looked at it and went in to have a proper look a couple of times. But I always left feeling I couldn't justify the cost. Well I finally decided to go for it after selling my Seiko SKA371 BFK to get some extra cash towards it (I liked the BFK but I couldn't keep it fully charged when only wearing it out of work, so I decided to start wearing it for work and it started getting scratched too much, hence I sold it).
Now to get to the point, I'll start my review with the presentation since it's what you first see when you buy one of these.
Well you definitely don't need to worry about this thing being knocked about in the post. After removing the standard cardboard packaging used by Royal Mail to deliver this I got to a sturdy black cardboard box with the Royal Marines Commando logo printed on it. This is just the external packaging that houses the actual presentation box and also the instruction manual and a Certificate of Authenticity card displaying which number out of the 1500 made you have bought. The presentation box itself is a very nice black, plastic pelican style case (also marked with the Royal Marines Commando logo), inside which is a spongey block with cutouts where the watch itself is contained, as well as military-style compass. These compasses do not cost much but it seems decent quality and I suppose is a nice little addition. While the presentation for this watch is very good I honestly would not have been bothered if it came in the standard Citizen box as it is not important to me, but it is nice all the same. Finally inside the case is a list of the features of the watch, which takes me on to the next part of this review.
Firstly, it's Eco-Drive: Citizens light-powered technology (all light will charge the watch but sunlight works best, and it cannot be overcharged) which means you should be looking at at least 10 years use before requiring a battery change and possibly never needing one at all within the life of the watch. When fully charged the watch should remain operational even in total darkness for at least 6 months. This is obviously a nice feature anyway but it is an even better feature with a diver watch, as opening the watch up means potentially needing to replace seals etc. and having to have it pressure tested so the longer you can avoid doing that for, the better. The screw-down case back which you would open for a battery change, if it was ever needed, is engraved with the Royal Marines Commando logo and the number of the limited edition you have (mine is 1218 out of 1500), along with the serial number, movement calibre and several other little bits of information (Sapphire, anti-mag, Japan Movement etc.).
The watch is marketed as being "Super Tough" and it has many features that give it that toughness. To start with, the "DIVER'S 300m" on the dial indicates that this watch complies with the ISO 6425 standard for diving watches so you know it will be able to withstand a large amount of pressure and also meet other stringent requirements. A screw-down crown with an embossed Citizen Promaster logo makes sure the watch will remain well-sealed.
The watch is also advertised as being shock resistant although I have found no information about what exactly has been done to it to make it so. The watch is also stated as being anti-magnetic so time keeping should not be affected by any magnetic fields that you may encounter. I don't know to what extent this watch is anti-magnetic though, and if it is any more anti-magnetic than any other diver's watch. It isn't stated in the documents so I'd have to contact Citizen to get moire information on that.
It is also claimed by Citizen that the watch is "extreme temperature resistant" being able to withstand temperatures from -10c to 60c while remaining accurate, although as far as I know this seems to be quite a common attribute for quartz watches? I could be wrong there, but I think pretty much all G-Shock watches are advertised as being able to operate accurately within that temperature range. Also as long as this watch is on your wrist and absorbing your body heat it is never going to reach anywhere close to -10C.
The bezel is a 60 click unidirectional bezel that rotates to the left. The reason for this feature on diver watches is to read the elapsed time that you have been underwater for by setting the 12 o'clock marker to the position of the minute hand upon entry. The bezel only turns anti-clockwise so you can never accidentally move it in the opposite direction, which would result in the bezel displaying less elapsed time than that which has actually passed, and would cause you to think you had more time left.
The watch has a sapphire crystal rather than the mineral glass that is most commonly used. Sapphire is very scratch-resistant compared to mineral glass, but as it is harder and more brittle it also means it would shatter more easily than mineral glass if hit with enough force to crack it. Overall though in my opinion, what is the chance you are going to hit the glass that hard it would break compared to the chance of scratching it on something? I personally think a sapphire crystal is definitely preferable and will keep the watch looking in good condition far longer than a mineral crystal would. The crystal also features a date magnifier while leaving the exterior of the crystal completely flat, so you have no protruding part that could scrape against something.
Finally on features, and on that note about the watch remaining looking good, the titanium used on this watch is surface-hardened with what Citizen call Diamond Like Carbon (DLC). This is a hard carbon film over the titanium that makes it very scratch resistant (however not as scratch resistant as the sapphire crystal) and is stated to be 5-7 times harder than stainless steel, and is also what gives this watch that very dark grey colour. I think this may be one of the features that you are paying so much for, as it is not used on any of Citizen's cheaper watches. I have tried scratching on the links I took out underneath to test this finish, normal scratches with a piece of metal left marks which I at first thought were scratches on the DLC, it was actually material that had rubbed off the piece of metal and I could just wipe them away. When I put more force into it I was able to scratch through the DLC and into the titanium underneath leaving clear silver marks, so I do not believe it is as hard as the standard 316L steel despite what is stated by Citizen, it's still pretty tough though. Also, if you've not had a titanium watch before, this is my second and I personally find them very comfortable to wear, not just for the lightness vs steel which you can really feel the difference with especially when moving your wrist a lot, but also due to titanium not having good thermal conductivity. This is good as it means the metal never becomes very cold or hot due to the temperature around it, and always feels a comfortable temperature against the skin.
LOOKS, FIT AND FINISH:
Well as I've already said I went looking at this watch a lot and was always attracted to it since I first saw a picture of it. It ticks a few boxes for me in its style. I wanted a black/dark grey diving watch and if it was titanium too then even better. I love the look of it and how it does not look at all like an homage to certain other diver watches. It has its own style in the shape of the hands and indices which feature 2 different colours of lume (blue on the hour markers and hour hand, green on the minute hand, second hand and bezel pip). This gives it a great look when illuminated in the dark and makes it extremely legible. The lume is also extremely long lasting, I have left the watch in its box closed for a day after being in the light, and when taking it out again in the dark (after my eyes had adjusted to the darkness for a couple of minutes) I could still ead the time. As just mentioned above the colour of the case and bracelet is more of a very dark "gunmetal" grey than black, although I have found this is true for nearly all watches that appear black on the internet when actually seeing them in the flesh. It very much depends on the light how the colour of the metal looks, but I think it looks great in any light.
The dial is pure matte black with the words "CITIZEN", "Eco-Drive" and "DIVER'S 300m" printed in white while "TITANIUM" is printed in silver. All of the indices and the frame of the date window have metallic outlines which improve the look especially when light catches them. This is also the case for the large hour and minute hands. The minute hand extends all of the way out to the minute marks on the chapter ring which makes it easy to clearly see what time it is.
The 60-click bezel is marked at every minute making the watch suitable for timing things (another feature required by ISO 6425), however due to the bezel only being 60 clicks you do not have the finer adjustment to easily align the 12 o'clock pip to the minute hand as you would with a 120 click bezel, but it still can be done. The digits on the bezel are also engraved and painted rather than just being printed on, which should make them more durable. As mentioned the bezel pip at the 12 o'clock position has green lume.
The case is a great shape and the finish is lovely. The edges of the case between the top and sides are polished to give some nice variance in the finish and adds some detail. I believe the only other polished parts of the watch are the edges of the bezel and crown, and also the sides of the case between the lugs. The bracelet features no polished parts either and is completely brushed, although I would've liked to see a better finish on the more hidden edges of the links which exhibit a strange sort of multi-colouring, possibly a by-product of the DLC process that has not been cleared up. This is a very minor criticism though as you can't see it when wearing it, still though it would've been nice to possibly see polishing on those parts.
On the subject of the bracelet this is where this is where I, at least initially, believed this watch had its one con. There is no micro adjustment option on the clasp as you have on most watches, where you can move the location where the strap connects to the clasp by a few mm in either direction giving you a perfect fit. Neither are there any half-sized links so adjustment is purely done by adding and removing full-sized links. However, the bracelet does have a ratcheting divers extension in the clasp which enables you to easily extend the bracelet to wear it over a wetsuit; using this to lengthen the bracelet does make the clasp even longer than it already is and possibly will not be comfortable for some, but it is extremyl handy to quickly change the fit of the bracelet if it starts to feel too tight or loose. I think a lot of people that have a bracelet with a feature such as this probably miss it quite a bit when they go back to one that just has a standard micro adjustment. It's a shame it doesn't have these extra adjustment options as well though, as comfort could be an issue for some people.
The measurements of the watch are 50mm lug to lug, 43mm diameter excluding the crown and 12mm depth. The gap between the lugs is 20mm however the bracelet tapers off from 20mm to 18mm.
I think this is a great looking watch that should be very durable and will hopefully remain looking and running great for years to come, as I think that's what you are paying for the most. From what I have heard DLC is supposed to hold up very well and obviously the sapphire will be hard (even harder) to scratch too. It is a fairly simple watch with it only being a basic 3 hand model with a date complication but I was not looking for anything more in that regard so the lack of features such as atomic timekeeping, while it would've been a nice addition, does not bother me. The only thing I was initially slightly disappointed about is the lack of adjustment options on the bracelet, but I now really like the quick adjustment of the ratchet extension and comfort isn't an issue. I hope this review helps anybody else who is thinking about buying this and I have covered everything, and I will say that as long as the watch fits you properly, I don't think you will be disappointed. If you have any questions just ask.
More pics below (wrist size is just over 7" for reference)