CITIZEN ROYAL MARINES COMMANDO BJ9140 52E
First of all, I would like to ask you to excuse me for my English, I tried the best I could!
I used to own a Citizen 4x4 Limited (BJ9074-55H) which was one of my favorite watches. When it was broken beyond repair, I started searching for one of similar specifications. After many months, I came across the Citizen Royal Marines Commando BJ9140 52E, which seemed to be very similar. The watch was introduced sometime in the middle of the 2012 and continues the tradition Citizen has started many years ago with its titanium, one-piece cases (“Ray Mears”, “4x4", “Mission Antarctica" and many others). They all have similar specifications and are considered to be among the tougher of the watches available. Let’s see its specifications;
Movement Eco-drive B876
Case width (approx.) 42mm excluding crown
Lug width 20mm
Case depth approx. 14mm
Dial Color Black
Case Material One piece (no case back), “Super Titanium” (Duratect?)
Strap type Titanium bracelet with push buttons release and diver’s extension
Water resistance 300 metres
Features Date, GMT hand, World Time indicator
I just have to mention the 5 year guarantee citizen is offering for the commando, it’s something that I don’t see often and surely provides peace of mind for a good amount of time.
The watch sports a one-piece (“monocoque”) titanium case. The titanium used is described as “super titanium” in the manual, I don’t know if it’s used to substitute the “Duratect” term, or if it is just a different kind of titanium. The fact is that it keeps the same beautiful matte silver tone. The whole watch is matte, except a thin rim on the case back.
The similarities between its case and that of 4x4 are many. They look almost the same, not only in design but also in dimensions, both are 42mm wide, with 20mm lug width.
Commando. No Promaster insignia…
4x4. Very similar, if not identical case design.
The bezel is the main difference between the case of the two watches. The Commando has a rather useful world time index. The 4x4 on the other hand has a diver’s index which is big, rough and, at the end of the day, strange to the character of the watch. It was also very flimsy right from the start, but the bezel of the Commando is firm and looks of better built and quality.
Both watches have a similar thickness of about 14mm. The truth is that the Commando sits much better on the hand and the reason for that is probably the design of the case back.
Commando. Plain and simple.
4x4. Classic Citizen eco-drive case back.
The case back of the commando is absolutely flat and sits perfectly on the wrist. The 4x4 had two levels and engraved signs. That was not feeling very comfortable.
The crown is, of course, screw-down on both and they have an equally firm feeling. The Commando is water resistance to 300m, while the 4x4 is to 200m.
I preferred the bracelet variant. I always prefer a watch with bracelet, because it’s easy to buy a good aftermarket strap, but it’s not easy to find the bracelet afterwards. The bracelet is of the same, high quality titanium in matte finish and has a nice pattern. Compared to that of 4x4, is thinner and much more elegant, without looking weaker or less dynamic. No need to mention that the end links are solid in both.
Commando. Nice bracelet pattern.
4x4. Very tough-looking.
The Commando bracelet has all the features someone would expect from a watch of this class. It has a push-button release mechanism and a protective “bar” with the citizen logo. The added bonus is the diver’s extension. Probably I will never wear this watch with a diver’s suit in my life, but the reason I like this extension is because it allows me to fine-tune the bracelet length so it can fit perfectly on my wrist and I can loosen it a little in the summer or tighten it in the winter. It’s a really handy feature.
Commando. Unexpectedly good readability
4x4. A mixed bag.
The dial of the Commando is of military style with big numbers. It is colored matt black and is rather small in diameter (approx. 31mm) compared to the rest of the watch. The first thing that struck me when I unboxed it was the incredible readability of it. I have never seen such a small and busy dial and yet so easy to read. When I bought it, I was worried that the 24-hour disc would have too small numbers and it would be difficult to read, but that’s not true, it’s incredibly easy to tell the 24-hour and it’s almost as easy to read as the main hour.
The indexes are thin and white in color with the exception of the GMT hand, which is red.
The dial of the 4x4 on the other hand has a very beautiful, hive-patterned dial. The dial is equally small, but the 24-hour disc is very difficult to read. The indexes are very nice, but they are too wide. Too many colors, too many shapes, all these have as a result a less clear dial.
The Commando has a 2.5mm thick flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside. The result is a perfectly clear crystal that is readable under every angle. The 4x4 has a 4mm (!) crystal, but it was domed and too thick to be clear under any viewing angle, or maybe it had not the anti-reflective treatment. You can see in the pictures how clear the Commando crystal looks, in contrast to that of the 4x4, which has some minor reflections.
And now, about the logos and the writings on the commando dial. There are about ten words and nearly all the surface of the watch has something written on it. In a magical way, all these logos do not affect the readability of the watch to the slightest degree and if you take a quick glance at the watch, you barely notice them.
Many people have complained about the Royal Marines logo. Generally I agree, I would prefer the watch without the logo any day of the week. The fact is that Citizen has a long tradition in presenting watches linked to groups or people, so I consider it to be yet another special edition. I do not care what is written on the watch, as long as it is a good watch!
Both watches use the same movement, the B876 eco drive. After 4 years of using it, I have to say that is very accurate and very reliable. When adjusting the time, it is important to remember that the adjustment affects the minute and the GMT index, these are the indexes that have to be adjusted first, and then the hour index. The watch also has a date indication.
I found out that the watch is qualified to temperatures from -10 to 60 celcius. The 60 is perfectly fine for me, but the -10 seem too little, I would expect it to be much lower.
The only thing that I have to mention is that the indexes do not have a very firm feeling when adjusting them, they are somewhat flimsy.
Yes, the Royal Marines Commando logo is not perfectly tasteful. And yes, the dial is full of logos and writings. But what we have here is a truly great watch of superior built and nice looks. It is rather expensive for an non-mechanical analog watch, but that’s the price that has to be paid for the titanium, the special case design and the GMT function. It’s another unique watch from Citizen that it will be a classic in a few years, just like all its ancestors.