CITIZEN CALIBRE 2100 •Promaster Land 1. Is this Promaster Land worth the extra money for what it offers: Sapphire Glass and the Engraved Case Back?
model: AV0030-51A / AV0030-60A
Sapphire Crystal & Engraved Case Back
PURCHASED- May 2013
REVIEWED - June 2013
(with full video review at bottom of post)
This will be a short review discussing the cosmetics of the AV0030-xxA Calibre 2100 which has Sapphire Crystal and the Engraved Promaster case back. A few months ago I reviewed the North American market Calibre 2100 AV0031-59A which is the same as this AV0030-xxA but that North American version has the Mineral crystal glass and a shiny finished laser-etched case back. You can refer back to that review for specifics on the Calibre 2100 movement and function since I will not discuss them here.
Also I use the term AV0030 or AV0030-xxA thru out my review to refer to both AV0030-51A and AV0030-60A since both watches are identical in every way. I believe the 51A and 60A sub-model designations may have been based on regional markets with the 60A sold in Asia/Eastern Europe and 51A sold in Western Europe/Latin America. It was suspected a few years back by a customer that the 51A likely came with Mineral Crystal while the 60A had Sapphire but this was never proven. What is known is that Citizen has produced and sold both sub-models consistently over the years and has listed both sub-models as having non reflective Sapphire Crystal glass.
You can refer back to my previous AV0031-59A review ( https://forums.watchuseek.com/f305/ci...es-860272.html ) for specifics on the e210 movement, dail layout and functional features that all these Calibre 2100 watches utilize. Below is a basic picture layout of the dial with the features.
This review is only going to be about the appearance and build quality of my new 'Promaster Land' AV0030-xxA. I will also touch upon the controversy surrounding the lack of Sapphire Crystal on recent AV0030-xxA models that are leaving the factory. This affected me as a customer that purchased this watch based on the fact that the sub-model number, AV0030-51A, previously implied Sapphire Crystal and an Engraved 'Promaster' Caseback.
2. Citizen's Calibre 2100 Promaster Land SAPPHIRE Crystal Facts and Confusion:
In Europe and Asia the AV0030-51A is also called the AV0030-60A and collectively both of these sub models to the Calibre 2100 model are known as the Promaster Land Series.
In North America the Sapphire/Engraved AV0030-xxA Promaster Lands are not sold retail and are not widely known here in the USA even by department store retailers that sell Citizen watches. The only avenue for procuring one in North America is thru overseas online sellers, eBay or by traveling to Asia/Europe. Below are some screen caps showing many European websites that sold or still sell these 'Promaster Land' watches.
Note in all the screen caps that they are sold as having Sapphire Crystal Glass:
The issue that has come up lately is recent AV0030-xxAs no longer leave the Citizen factory with Sapphire Crystals. They now all ship with a chunky slice of Mineral Glass stuffed into the bezel. The Mineral Glass is robust, more hefty in fact than the slimmer Mineral glass found on the North American AV0031-59A. This new Mineral Crystal also floats high above the bezel where it is easily recognized by its clear blue-green hue at the glass edge/circumference. See picture below:
Sapphire, by contrast, is a thinner, flatter crystal sitting flush with the Promaster Land Calibre 2100's bezel. Sapphire Crystal also emanates a pinkish hue at its edge.
These days on eBay and online webstores they are lots of AV0030-xxAs (both 51a and 60a) that have an Engraved 'Promaster' case back but DO NOT have Sapphire Crystal glass. Instead many of these watches are advertised as having Mineral Crystal glass whiles some may just say Non Reflective Glass-which can be confusing. The worse case are Sellers that 'think' these watches have Sapphire Crystal glass simply because the watch tag or box says AV0030-51A or 60A. This is exactly what happened to me. The AV0030-59A watch I purchased came with Mineral Glass and not Sapphire Glass. In the end I updated my watch to have Sapphire Crystal using the Citizen Service Center.
This controversial phenomena was explained to me by a Citizen Service Rep. Also see the E2100 information picture below for the general rule of what to expect.
The Citizen Service Rep explained that since the advent of the newer Sapphire AV0050-xxA Calibre 2100 watches (see picture below) Citizen no longer makes the original 2100 AV0030s with Sapphire.
The AV0030s are still very popular so Citizen still manufactures them but now with Mineral Crystal glass while the Sapphire Crystal glass is put on the AV0050s. As a result the only cosmetic distinction (or cosmetic advantage if you want to call it that) is that the Promaster Land AV0030s has an Engraved case back (as well as a more robust and protrusive mineral glass) when compared to the cheaper North American AV0031-59A watches with the unrefined shiny case back.
3. My Calibre 2100 back story:
Being a long time fan of the original white Panda Face AV0031-59A I didn't realize other versions existed outside the USA. It wasn't until months after purchasing my first AV0031-59A in 2011 and coming to WUS seeking answers for the frail mineral crystal on my AV0031 that I found out there were Sapphire versions and even a Titanium version (AV0020-55A) white Panda Faces with better quality parts.
After a month of ownership my Mineral Crystal had permanent scratch marks. I loved the watch but wanted a better crystal. Also the shiny AV0031 caseback picks up scratches and dirt easily and the laser etching fades over time. So I sold my AV0031-59A with hopes of eventually getting a Sapphire Crystal Engraved AV0030-xxA.
This Spring I finally managed to track down an AV0030-51A. Sadly it came with the Mineral crystal and not the Sapphire crystal that was advertised when I paid for the watch.
I got a partial refund from the seller and used it to upgrade the glass to Sapphire ($165) at the Citizen USA Hurley Roberts Service Center in Atlanta GA. Below is a picture of my old Mineral Glass and Seal Ring laid beside my newly Sapphire Upgraded AV0030-51A:
So now my AV0030-51A has Sapphire Crystal and the Engraved case back just like the original Promaster Land Calibre 2100s. As you see in the two pictures right below Sapphire is always flush with the Calibre 2100's bezel. It does not protrude or float above the bezel like Mineral Crystal.
Was it worth it? Let's find out.
4. BUILD QUALITY:
After owning three AV0031-59A Calibre 2100s over the space of 2 years (first two were flipped due to scratched crystals, bezels and clasps, third was an anniversary gift that I flipped to get this AV0030-51A) I've become a bit close to these 2100 watches.
That is why it may be a unconcsious bias but I swear my AV0030-51A is a better quality watch outside of having a Sapphire Crystal glass and an Engraved 'Promaster' case back. The steel for one is less clunky and more polished. The bracelet feels lighter and the clasp has a more brushed finish to it than the AV0031. I've been wearing my AV0030 all week at my office desk and the brushed clasp has NOT been scuffed at all from rubbing against the wooden desk edge. In fact it still looks brand new!
By stark contrast, my old after one encounter with my desk edge it was scarred with hairline marks. It was so bad that I covered the clasp with scotch tape to protect it. Usually daily wear can really scar the clasp and band easily on those watches if you are not careful.
Other refinements that seem present on my AV0030 is the bezel ring and crown section has a brighter polish to it. I'm not sure it this watch uses a different or improved quality steel but it certainly looks better and feel better.
The engraved caseback is sturdy and more robust than the flat shiny AV0031 caseback. The engraved caseback alone elevates any 2100 from your normal department store watch line up to 5th Ave Flagship store show piece. It reminds me of how Omega engraves and decorates their casebacks.
Sapphire Crystal needs no introduction. It is known for it's scratchproofness and wearability. While I don't believe it is shatterproof (in fact it is said to be more prone to shatter than mineral crystal) it certainly is slim slice of hard crystal.
One discovery I made with some help from WUS members is that Citizen tends to etch the word SAPPHIRE on specific models that carry the Sapphire Crystal.
My AV0030-51A did not have this etching of the word SAPPHIRE on it.
This lack of SAPPHIRE etching can be another way of indicating if your AV0030-xxA has Sapphire or Mineral Crystal.
It is also less reflective than the mineral crystal and sits in the bezel not above like mineral crystal. The effect of this is when viewing the watch head on the bezel and white dial face sparkles better giving the overall appearance one of more luxury. The bezel stands out more which I like. However be careful here since the bezel will now the most exposed part of the AV0030 and will be prone to damages from bumps and bangs. Below is a picture of a worn out and abused Promaster Land showing the damaged bezel surrounded an unblemished Sapphire Crystal glass:
It can't be replaced and Citizen Service won't polish it for you. They are Cape Cod Cloths that are known for polishing out marks and scuffs out of shiny steel on watches.
In closing, I highly recommend getting one of these AV0030-xxA. Even if you get one with the Mineral Glass you always have the option to upgrade to Sapphire anytime you need to. Besides having Sapphire glass, the engraved styled case back as well as the quality of the steel alone on the AV0030-xxA is definitely worth getting one.
There also may be old stock Promaster Land with Sapphire still being sold from online web stores and eBay out of Central and Eastern Europe.
-My video review of this Promaster Land: