Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter
Recently, I blipped about the new The CITIZEN Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter BN2024-05E that debuted in Basel 2014. It’s made a splash on my wrist in a big way, and its out-of-the-box design approach makes it stand out in a sea of sub homages and overly used catalog case designs. While many speak of Seiko’s heritage, many are unaware of Citizen’s proud lineage: one that was born in 1918 and continues to live one of the most decorated lives of any watch company in existence, releasing many industry “firsts” during the late 70’s and early 80’s, and emerging a leader in the quartz watch industry.
Since this review is about one of Citizen’s watches equipped with a depth gauge, I’ll quickly direct you to 1985, as it was the year Citizen introduced its first-depth-gauge watch, knows as the “Aqualand.” In 1995, Citizen introduced its Eco-Drive technology, bringing us full circle to 2014, where I am fortunate enough to adorn a dive timepiece that seamlessly blends the past, present and future and can simply be describe as the best that Citizen Watch has to offer.
Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Specifications
Case Diameter: 52.5mm
Case Height: 18.5mm
Lug Size: 24mm
Movement: Eco-Drive Technology
Crystal: Mineral Glass with Anti-Reflective Coating
Water Resistance: 200m/ 660ft
Certifications: ISO 6425 compliant
Retail Price: $950.00 (approximate)
This Citizen watch arrived in its fairly standard Citizen Eco-Drive box, and inside I found the cylindrical two-piece gray box we are all accustomed to. Since I did not purchase this watch through an authorized dealer, I am uncertain if this is the actual box that comes with this watch. Perhaps, you will find different variations of it, depending on who you purchase it from. I would hope that since this watch hovers around the $1000 price range that Citizen would send it away in a box or packaging worthy of cradling this mammoth sized beast. Along for the ride are Citizen’s warranty booklet, general instructions and thick instruction manual, which explains how to use this particular model in English, French and Espanol (muy caliente!)
The dial on this model, at a glance, seems to be all over the place, but Citizen gave it tons of thought, for the diver in all of us. It’s cool, it’s funky but most importantly, it’s functional. This multi-dimensional dial, while a bit cluttered, tells the diver the current time and date (that’s a pretty cool feature), that the watch is ready for use underwater (power reserve indicator strikes a “ready” position), the depth in meters (which will fluctuate as you dive), and the max depth reached on your dive (up to 70 meters). How in the hell do I keep up with all of that, you may ask? Well, Citizen color coded the markers and hands to make it a breeze to read and analyze the information, even when you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea.
The over-sized skeleton hands were carefully crafted in their design so that even when they overlap, the diver can discern the time from depth readings. As stated above, color, via the use of luminous paint, plays a big part of this watch’s functionality, not to mention it’s a lume junky’s dream come true. Bright green lume floods the tips of the hour, minute and second hands, along with the hour markers, represented by small rectangles on the dial. When speaking solely of depth, you’ll see bright blue lume from the “surface of the sea” sitting at the 3’ o clock position all the way up to the 40-meter marker. Small pips of blue lume continue on up, but the actual depth numbers are blacked out, which, of course, was purposely done by Citizen, and for good reason. The fluctuating depth gauge hand and the max depth gauge hand are also lumed in blue paint, making this a great dive watch from novice users to Jacques Cousteau himself, pre-1997.
Citizen chose to show the current depth and the max depth you’ve reached simultaneously. As the depth gauge engages, you begin so see it traverse down the dial using wide indexed spacing all the way up to the 40-meter mark for easy visibility while submerged. From the 50 70 meter mark, the space is narrower.
The large, sloped chapter ring adorns long white non-luminous markers in one-minute increments, as does the un-directional corrugated DLC bezel, designed for easy grip while wearing gloves. Note the six allen screws on the bezel that add a bit of “visual pop” if nothing else.
The case and the technology built into the CITIZEN Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter BN2024-05E can be mind-blowing to many, so I’ll spend most of my review time on it, noting key features, which makes this watch such an incredible value. As it sits, the stainless steel 52.5mm case, which by Citizen’s own words was “clamshell inspired,” is constructed in two separate pieces, offering incredible trauma protection whether your diving near the office water cooler or the waters off the coast of Cuba. In the hand, the case feels solid and reminiscent, at least to me, of the large-than-life heavy helmets worn by the earliest of divers. The spherical shape of this Aqualand will remind you a bit, aesthetically, of its 300m cousin, the Citizen Eco-Zilla while being its very own dive watch. The anti-reflective crystal is made of mineral glass and is pretty straight forward, so I won’t spend too much time on it.
Starting that the 12 o’clock position, going clockwise, you’ll find a nicely lumed bezel pip, which is a must have for many. At the 3 o’clock position, you’ll note a gold colored pinhole that is the watch’s water sensor. Continuing clockwise, you find the crown to be at the 4 o’clock position, making it comfy for wrists of all shapes and sizes. The crown, which is engraved with the Promaster logo, has a diamond patterned “rifling” to it, making it easier to grip.
On the left side of the case, you’ll discover two screw down pushers; one positioned at the 8 o’clock and the other at the 10 o’clock. The one position at the eight recalls the maximum depth reached (set to 60m by the factory) and the pusher at the ten allows the diver to set the rapid ascent warning alarm, which chirps in one second intervals. Lastly, located at the 9 o’clock, Citizen placed the water pressure sensor, which looks oddly enough like the dialing portion of your grandmother’s old rotary phone.
Powering this impressive piece of dive technology is Citizen’s Eco-Drive power generating system, which incorporates light-driven tech hidden in plain sight underneath the dial. By not having to replace the battery, Citizen reduces the need to open up the screw down case back, which maximizes the watch’s water resistance. If you’re a math guy, of which I’m not, here it is… 35 hours of charge will feed your watch enough light energy, giving it the ability to not eat again for an additional 300 hours. If only my kids were that easy to satisfy!
The case back appears to have been bead blasted, and all pertinent info. has been laser etched onto it. Personally, I loved the Eco-Zilla diver helmet case back and would have liked to have seen Citizen one-up it with this model. As mentioned in a previous review, I’m a case back junky, and this one is a bit blah.
The strap is made of polyurethane and, after wearing it for nearly two weeks, I find it to be extremely comfortable. As an admitted ISOfrane strap fanboy, I am anxiously optimistic that strap adapters will come to fruition in the near future, much like the ones created for the aforementioned Eco-Zilla. Regardless, Citizen did provide a nice rubber strap that keeps this top heavy watch in place. Much like the ISOfrane complaints that the keepers make it hard to thread through, this rubber strap faces similar challenges as the tip of the non-buckle end flares out slightly, making it difficult to pass through the two keepers (both floating and non-floating). Is this a deal killer? Absolutely not, but none-the-less, I believe it will be just another reason many will want the Suppa adapter option to happen sooner than later. The tang buckle, which is inscribed with the word “Citizen,” is slightly pre-Vish, sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.
While doing a bit of comparative shopping on the net, I began to notice the price of this watch on a steady climb. As more CITIZEN Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter BN2024-05E begin to hit the wrists of watch aficionados worldwide, I presume the prices will continue to escalate as this watch packs a serious punch in terms of the overall appeal. I don’t discount the notion that some will find this watch gimmicky while others will find it to be an enjoyable grab-and-go tool watch, ready for action, above or below the waves, at a moment’s notice. Will it reach icon status like other Promasters before it? Only time will tell, but for this reviewer, it’s well under way!