CITIZEN CALIBRE 9000 Cal. g9001. The Perfect Sunday Watch for Church, Brunch, and the Park:
PURCHASED- August 2006
REVIEWED - May 2013
(with full video review at bottom of post)
After the 2004 purchase of my first Eco-drive, a Nighthawk, this BL9002-02A Calibre 9000 was the second Citizen I picked up back in Summer of 2006. Not knowing anything about Minute Repeaters I originally wanted a 'rugged' dress watch to match my coffee-brown bridle leather/gold shotshell Orvis belt (see pic below).
It came down to this BL9002-02A Calibre 9000 Minute Repeater which at the time was $495 retail/$295 on sale and a $14,900 18k/leather band Breitling Navitimer. Around that time Watch Time magazine did article on the Citizen Minute Repeater praising both the watch and the company for breaking the mold and entering into territories that was formerly restricted to the Swiss movements.
Reading the Watch Time article and coping with the fact that I didn't 15 grand for a Navitimer made buying this BL9002-02A Calibre 9000 very easy. Since that summer 7 years ago this Citizen Minute Repeater watch has been a unique treasure in my Eco-Drive collection.
2. Design Quality:
As always Citizen employs the best design methods that results in easy to wear, easy to use and great looking classic time pieces. The BL9002-02A Calibre 9000 is no exception.
The BL9002-02A off centered sub dials and mixture of classic fonts and clean lines encasing good tech makes it a remarkable balance of dress watch with sport inspired cues. I love how the leather strap seamlessly hugs the gold bezel.
Normally leather straps, particular aftermarket ones, meet the rounded edge of a watch case with a flat edge leaving a gap between watch and strap which can look incomplete and cheap as shown on this Promaster Nighthawk in the picture right below:
Here, on the BL9002-02A Calibre 9000, the strap is flush against the case and completes a smooth transition from clasp buckle to watch case and back down again to band and clasp buckle.
3. Build Quality:
Quality of materials used on Eco-drives has been a love/hate relationship for me. In 2008 one of the BL9002-02A's buttons fell out and vanished. I sent it in to the Hurley Roberts Service Center for a quick 3 week turn around warranty service. This actually turned out to be a memorable experience because it was then I discovered the greatness of Citizen's warranty service. The transaction was smooth, tidy, friendly and my BL9002-02A Calibre 9000 came back looking brand new and all I had to pay for was shipping fees.
The BL9002-02A and all other Calibre 9000 Eco-Drives use Mineral Crystal Glass which can scratch easily if you are not careful. Warranty service will replace a damaged crystal glass for free OR upgrade it to Sapphire Crystal Glass for a fee of $60 and up depending on what center you use and your location.
From 2006 to 2013 the original leather strap on my BL9002-02A has shown some wear and tear but has held together and I have not had to replace it yet.Citizen does offer the exact BL9002-02A replacement straps for $50 and up. Which is good because it is a quality strap that has a nice locking clasp that you won't really find on any aftermarket straps costing less than $50.
I'm not sure about the gold plated process used on the BL9002-02A but it has held up on my watch since 2006 very well with no fade or 'greying out' to gold finish at all. In fact, apart from the normal wear and tear fine hairline scratches, my BL9002-02A still looks new after 7 years of continuous use.
The case back says water resistant but this watch is not waterproof or water friendly. At best you can keep it on whiles doing the dishes or in the rain but it is wise to remove it in the shower or swimming pool.
4. Discussing the Calibre 9000's face:
The BL9002-02A's dial can be hard to read when you first get this watch but it is unlike any other dial in it's price category. It is a spectacular piece of business when studied close up with a layout that you would expect to find on a 6 figure price watch.
The main hands on the BL9002-02A show the 'local' timekeeping hour and minutes, with the second hand pointing to the calender date. When setting the watch the second hand acts as a mode pointer to indicate what settings you are currently at.
The 3 o'clock sub dial show the time keeping seconds. This sub-dial also serves as the low power indicator. Beneath that is the am/pm indicator. The 7 o'clock sub dial is the heart of this movement. It does a variety of things. It shows the 'master-perpetual' time, the calender month, the leap year, as well as the perpetual calender settings.
It can also show a variety of time keeping information based on what buttons are pushed.
5. The g900 'minute repeater' movement:
The movement here is not mechanical but of a (solar powered) quartz origin. This brings down the price of this watch from the tens of thousands to hundreds of dollars.
That said, it is a stable precise movement that offers a perpetual calender, multiple alarms, dual time zones, am/pm indicator, and minute repeater chimes. The heart of this movement, particularly the perpetual time keeping, is the 7 o'clock sub dial. Understand it and you will master this watch. The BL9002-02A's minute repeater chimes are fairly loud and useful in chiming out the exact time down to the minute when wearing the watch in the dark.
The video right below shows the minute repeater functioning:6. What I would change:
There isn't anything really wrong with this BL9002-02A watch but immediately I would swap out the mineral glass for sapphire just for durability purposes. I would also make it a waterproof watch for those rare occasions when you may trip fall into the swimming pool at a dinner party.
Design-wise I would also make the 42mm face bigger by 1mm or 2mm just to make the dial and sub dials easier to read-at a glance. Even though the BL9002-02A dial is robust as is when juxtaposed next to my 44.5 Calibre 9000 and my 46mm Chrono Time AT (see pic below)7. Bottom line:
The BL9002-02A is a great classic watch that deserves much praise. I've held onto it and worn it proudly over a 7 year period and it still looks fresh and new compared to newer watches that have come out in that time.
My Video Review: