Well, huge respects to Duty Free Island for whizzing me my new BN0193-17E over from Hong Kong - and in less than a week! Amazing service.
Ever since seeing the black and rose gold Mido Ocean Star Captain V (posted over on the best affordable watch of 2016 thread), I'd been lusting after one. But at £800 a pop, it was outside of my current budget range. Then Citizen launches this little star in Eco-Drive flavour and I just had to have one. So, after my ceremonial unboxing and an evening's wearing I have to say I am chuffed to bits with this watch and am very happy to have it as a substitute. My first auto will just have to wait - this Eco-Drives just keep smashing it out of the park!
Well, I promised a review, so here goes....
First off, the face: This is a handsome looking watch, that borrows inspiration from Omega and Tag. It's a lovely balance of confident understatement and bold, modern forms. The jet black face has a radial grain that gives a wonderful sunburst effect and completely disguises the solar panel behind it (not a hint of that four-quarter effect that is visible through other models' faces in bright sunlight). The generously chunky rose-gold-beaded indices float over a shallow 'trench' that holds them all together around the watch face. The hands, which are subtly cambered to catch the light and shadow, have pleasingly girthy proportions and sit well against the indices. The hour hand just kisses the points of the incidices, while the minute hand makes sure to reach right across to their outer edges. My only complaint here is with the second hand, which - also being gold - sometimes gets lost. It would have been nice to see a splash of colour against the black and gold; maybe a blood red or bright blue would have added a wink of sporting fun to things? Also, on my unit at least, the second hand misses the chapter ring's second indices by as much as a quarter space, which is irritating. I've several Citizens with an E168 movement and all the others are bang-on. Oh well, being an import, I'll just have to learn to live with it. Moving on. The date wheel is white with black text, which is the right amount of contrast, somehow making the Citizen Eco-Drive date window appear a fraction shallower than usual - it's easily legible, even when overshadowed. Although I've moaned in another thread about how I wished Citizen would apply their brand name to new watches rather than printing them, in this case I can make a concession. The crisply printed, white Citizen, Promaster and Eco-drive logos, along with the 'Diver's 200m' text sit well against the white lume-filled indices and hands. The lume itself is Citizen's usual bright blue affair and looks very vivid when charged up, thought it's too early to tell how long this lasts into the night.
The bezel, crown and barrel: The bezel was probably what sold this model to me the hardest. The font is bang up to the minute and is probably what reminds me of Omega's divers the most. I can't tell how Citizen have applied the black minute ring to the bezel, but it appears to be a separate material entirely from the gold bezel and has been inlaid into it. The metallic 10-minute numbers and 5-minute batons are very sharp-edged against the black material, which, whatever it is, looks more durable than paint on metal. I certainly hope so anyway. The bezel is brushed on its external surfaces, with the notches being polished inside, which really catch the light and add some pleasing bling to proceedings. The crown is also a novel departure from convention for Citizen. It's inward-tapered profile looks almost like something from a pilot's watch and adds a dressier flair to appearances. I like it a lot, especially since Citizen were mindful to acknowledge the Promaster heritage of the model with the arrow logo proudly etched in to the crown's polished face. The case back is your standard (very nicely done) Citizen laser-etched affair with the Citizen Eco-Drive text wrapping around the globe motif. It would've been nice to see the Promaster logo making an appearance somewhere on here too. The watch barrel and lugs are also brushed into a satin effect, which really shows off the depth of the rose-gold colour. The final flourish of gorgeous detail, is the polishing, with runs down the shoulder of the barrel, from lug to lug and really catches the eye. The last hidden detail is the polishing of the internal angles of the lugs, a feature which again looks very Omega-esque and gets two-thumbs-up from me.
Finally, the strap and buckle. The strap was the second reason for my wanting this watch in my collection, over the blue and steel bracelet version. The smooth black satin silicone-rubber strap pairs perfectly with the black face and bezel and feels very comfortable against the skin. It is finished with an appropriately weighty rose-gold metal, Citizen-embossed buckle. My only grumble is that the strap, which only features two parallel tramlines running down its length, is perhaps a little too plain - after seeing the amazing 'Promaster'-emblazoned rubber strap Citizen have put on their new BN4044-15E, I think this could have benefitted from the same in-your-face graphics.
Overall, I am very pleased with this new model. All the more so since it is extremely exclusive, not being available on the standard UK market. Its styling will not be to every diver-fan's taste, being probably too dressy for some. But for me it has a definite place in my box and will be very versatile - likely looking just as good on an evening, worn under a suit jacket cuff as it will the next morning, pool-side in a pair of swimming shorts and Ray-Bans.
Well done Citizen!
I hope you enjoy this evening's first photos - I tried to use the evening's sunset to compliment the rose gold.