There is a saying that goes something like, “If you’re going to buy quartz, you might as well make it a good quartz”. The sentiment is true as you can get an automatic for very little these days, especially when you consider the technology and innovated that is represented by even an entry level mechanical movement. With all the options available to the modern and savvy buyer, why is anyone buying quartz? Isn’t it just a cheap and bland technology that gained prominence in the 80’s? Citizen would like to respectfully disagree and today we enter the Promaster PMX56-2811 as evidence that quartz is not just for Casio calculator watches. The 2811 is a classically sized watch that is packed full of modern technology and innovative design.



Citizen Promaster PMX56-2811

  • 41.5 x 11 mm
  • 48mm lug to lug
  • Single piece titanium case
  • Full titanium bracelet
  • Mineral crystal
  • Ratcheting bracelet extension
  • Date at 3 o’clock
  • Solid end-links
  • 103g w/bracelet
  • 200m WR
  • 20mm Lugs

Thin dive watches are generally hard to come by as they are generally made with large and chunky cases that can ensure strong construction and resistance to pressure. The Citizen PMX56-2811 takes a different approach to its case design. The 2811 is relatively small by current standards, only 41.5 mm wide (not including the crown) and 11 mm tall. Those dimensions make it a little small for a sport watch and even more appealing is the short lug-lug distance of 48mm. Combine the practical case size with the fact that the case and bracelet are made from Citizen Duratect titanium, and you have a watch that you will barely notice on your wrist. Furthermore, the case is actually made from a single piece of the hardened titanium and the movement, dial, hands and crystal are fitted through the front of the watch. This unibody design allows the case to be very strong without sacrificing simplicity and . The total package with the bracelet weighs a scant 103 g, which is less than the head of some dive watches we have reviewed in the past.

The Citizen 2811 is powered by an Eco-Drive movement that should never need a replacement battery and can carry a charge for 6 months before it needs a light source with which it can recharge. Citizen’s solar powered Eco-Drive technology has been in production for more than 15 years but they have been steadily increasing the build quality and efficiency of their everyday movements. This specific example gained 2 seconds over a 1.5 month period that was evenly split between my wrist and my desk. During that time the 2811 was as tough as it was accurate, the hardened titanium was much harder to scratch than the regular titanium watches we have had in the past. Titanium, without any additional coatings or hardening, is generally a scratch prone metal that becomes marred and pitted over time. Note, some early PMX56-2811 models are marked with “Duratect” on the back of the case, newer models still use Duratect but dont have the label as the bezel is aluminum. This model is from 2009 and has the aluminum bezel.

The flat mineral crystal is exceedingly clear and often seems to vanish all together except when subjected to direct light. The bezel appears to be aluminum and carries a full 60 clicks that line up precisely with the markings on the chapter ring. The numerals are painted onto the dark gray/black dial and the date sits in a bordered aperature, black text on a white wheel. The aperture is perfectly sized to blend into the overall composition of the dial as it is the same size as the numerals. The date printing is very small so it makes sense that they chose the higher contrast option of black text on a white wheel. The bezel and crown action are very light but sure-footed enough to instil confidence. The screw down action on the crown is not especially smooth in this example and could definitely be improved upon by Citizen.

The bracelet on the Citizen PMX56-2811 is outstanding. It is very light and well finished and its links are bound together using a pin and collar technique that makes changing links a pain but once sized the bracelet is very secure. Its clasp is also a nice piece of kit, its a standard push button fold over clasp but it features a ratcheting extension that can be adjusted via pinch buttons on the clasp its self. The ratchet is completely solid and a great way to make micro adjustments to the sizing of the bracelet so you always have a perfect fit. The extension can add as much as 13mm to the bracelet so it may be suitable as a dive extension depending on the thickness of the wetsuit you’re wearing.

The Citizen PMX56-2811 is a shining example of why Citizen is still around and just how good a product can be when a company sticks to its core competencies. Yes, Citizen makes a lot of vaguely boring department store watches but they also produce great examples like the Air Diver line-up. Light, thin, featuring reserved styling and excellent accuracy, the Citizen 2811 is definitely one of the best quartz watches we have ever reviewed. The Citizen PMX56-2811 is a Japanese only model that can be found online for around $400 USD. At that price point, there is almost no competition for the Promaster Air Diver line-up given its unique unibody case design, solar movement and low profile titanium construction. So, if you’re going to buy quartz, you should probably take a look at what Citizen has to offer.

 

17 Comments

  1. Wow, great review James. This seems like a very special citizen. I’ve been complaining lately how most divers are “too thick” and it’s great to see someone has heard my cries. It is a rather exotic watch with the all titanium construction and single piece. I’d love to see it in SS for a lower price but hey, you can’t please everybody all the time. Love all your reviews, always look forward to when your blog updates on my reader. Take care my friend. Dan

    Reply
  2. @615841c2d742000d8be68d9b8eca6e1d:disqus Im glad you liked the review. I love a thin watch that fit under your sleeve but does have to be taken off if your in a situation where it might get wet. I dont know if they make anything like this in SS, but Ill keep an eye out. 

    Reply
    • Thanks James. Keep doin what you do!

      Reply
  3. Great report James.  It is very interesting how you have analyzed a watch,
    and go into great detail about why a watch is good, and also its weak points.
    This type of report is great for somebody who already knows watches, but
    cannot get his hands on a watch for inspection.  After reading your report, and
    then watching your video, I have a good idea what this watch is like, and
    if I would like to buy this particular model. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  4. Hey James! Great report! I’d like to pick one up. I’m in Northern California. Are there any online dealers you’d recommend?

    Reply
  5. Hi James, thank you for review.
    I want to buy a watch. So after your review I decided to buy Citizen Promaster PMX56-2811, but during net surfing I found 
    Seiko Prospex SBCB008 Diver Scuba 200M(picture attached). Seiko pretty much the same, even case and braselet titanium.
    As they are JDM, I found a shop where I can buy and price is the same. Now I am not sure, which one is better. 

    On this site I couldn’t find any information about Seiko.

    Could you tell me which one is better, or can you make a review with Seiko?

    Cheers,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Hi Jim, 

      Here is a link to Higuchi where you can get an sbcb007 (sorry, I dont know what delineates a 008, possibly the blueish dial) http://www.higuchi-inc.com/seikosolardiver.html

      If we get the opportunity I will happly produce a review for the Seiko but from it stats it looks to be an almost identical watches. Within 1 mm of the same size, both are solar, all Ti (not sure on the comparison of the Seiko Ti to the Citizen Duratect), both have mineral glass crystals and cost about the same amount. 

      I would say pick the one you like the look of best. The Seiko has more of a Japanese diver look while while the Citizen is more of a military look with its arabic numerals. I think I like the Seiko best (I have always been a fan of their dial/marker choices and these are very similar to my trusty SKX007J. 

      Thanks!
      JS

      Reply
      • Hi James,

        Thank you for your answer. I moved to PMX56-2812. Seiko seems to be smaller. I already ordered it from Japan. Waiting for it.

        Cheers,

        Jim

        Reply
        • Congrats Jim, if you’re on twitter tweet a photo to @ watchreport when you get it. 
          Enjoy!

          Reply
          • Cheers. I got it and tweeted to @watchereport:twitter as you asked 🙂

            Reply
  6. James,

    Thanks for the great review – I bought one from bodying.com on the strength of your comments.  I agree – it’s rare to see a dive watch that delivers slimness, legibility, accuracy and reliability (10-15 yr service window!), all at a reasonable price point. I’m looking forward to wearing it every day.

    Reply
  7. Hey I  bought the blue version of this watch a few years back in 2008. It’s an awesome watch and I wear it everyday but it scratches way too easily. How do I know if mine is Duratect and how can I remove the scratches?

    Reply
  8. Hello James.

    I bought this one yesterday at offline shop near my home. and i really like it. It’s simple and light.
    Thanks for your great review – It gave me a chance to meet a nice watch.

    Reply
  9. I really wanted to invest in a Citizen Eco Drive watch but was not knocked out by any of the models available in the US, and then I happened to stumble on this one. Wow, it’s a beauty. Thanks to this video and some other research I did I was comfortable enough to buy a watch I had not seen in person, ordered directly from Japan, no less. I ordered the watch from Higuchi and was not disappointed with their service…excellent. I have been wearing the watch for about a month now and absolutely love it, it’s beautiful, and incredibly well made. Exactly what I was looking for! It’s better looking in person than it is in the video, trust me. Very, very nice watch for the money; very nice watch period. Thank you, James!

    Reply
  10. Just received this watch today…look cool,but have two complaints…bezel doesn’t line with 12 o’clock. I know I’m being picky but still. And question to you James…the bezel of mine is little bit “springy”…like you can push it and you can feel it springing up and down. Is this normal?

    Reply

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