About three or four years ago, I got an email from a reader chastising us for not having better coverage of Citizen. I remember thinking at the time that I really wanted more Citizen content on Watch Report, but that they just weren’t doing anything all that interesting. I promised the reader that we would keep a closer eye on Citizen’s new watches, and do our best to make sure they were better represented.
Fast forward to the present, and Citizen is now one of my favorite brands. Since June of 2006, we’ve written 11 articles on Citizen watches, and I anticipate that the pace will increase. Every year, Citizen is stepping up their game and releasing more and more watches that are grabbing our attention. Although I’m still a diehard Japanese-market Casio G-Shock fan, I now regard Citizen watches with the exact same level of respect.
A great deal of my interest in Citizen watches comes from the Attesa line which I consider comparable to the MR-G line of Casio G-Shocks. Both lines represent some of the most advanced, durable, and certainly coolest quartz watches in the world.
Let’s start with a detailed rundown of an extremely impressive (and lengthy) set of features:
- Light-weight titanium case and bracelet with a highly scratch resistant DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) coating. Not only does DLC shrug off all kinds of abuse, but it helps give the watch a very cool stealthy look appreciated by those of us who aren’t so much into bling.
- Sapphire crystal (virtually scratchproof) with AR coating.
- Atomic calibration compatible with time signals in Japan, US, Germany, and China. Calibration occurs at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m. The 4 a.m. calibration can be moved to any time of the day which is great for people who work nights. While calibrating, the second hand turns into a signal strength indicator.
- Solar powered with a 3.5 year power reserve, two levels of power-saving (the first for the LCDs, and the second for the analog hands), battery power indicator, and a low-battery warning. If the watch’s battery ever dies completely, it’s even smart enough to automatically calibrate once sufficiently recharged.
- World time. 43 cities are pre-programmed, and there’s room to add one custom city (the time can be set in increments of 15 minutes which can accommodate pretty much any time zone on the planet). DST can be individually toggled for any of the 43 cities, and each city can be hidden if you’d like to remove it from the list (to make scrolling more efficient). And finally, you can swap your home and world time zones by depressing the two buttons on the right simultaneously. This is a great feature for people who frequently travel between the same two cities.
- Two world time alarms. Each alarm can be set to individual cities, and each alarm sounds a distinct tone. The alarms have a test function so you can try them out without actually having to set them and wait for them to go off.
- Countdown timer with a maximum time of 99 minutes.
- Stopwatch with a resolution of 1/100th of a second and a maximum time of 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59.99 seconds.
- UTC subdial at the 12 o’clock position, 24-hour subdial at the 2 o’clock position, mode subdial at the 6 o’clock position, and battery power subdial at the 10 o’clock position.
- Internal timing bezel for analog timing. This is an extremely unusual feature typically only found on dive watches. The crown located at the 8 o’clock position rotates the inner bezel which you can use for timing against the analog minute hand.
- Red electroluminescent backlight (very cool effect), and surprisingly bright luminescent paint on the hour and minute hands, hour indices, and the “pearl” of the rotating diving bezel.
- Tri-fold push-button clasp with slide micro-adjuster. Rather than moving spring pins to make micro adjustments to the bracelet, just depress the clasp buttons and slide the bracelet in or out to get a perfect fit.
- Anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m (not quite a Rolex Milgauss, but not bad), hand correction function (in case the hands get misaligned due to magnetism or shock), and shock-resistant construction.
- Water resistant to 100 meters, or about 330 feet.
- 47mm by 13.4mm, 125g.
In general, three things about the Citizen Attesa ATV53-2933 really stand out:
- Ease of use. Although the ATV53-2933 is an extremely sophisticated watch, the three-position crown flanked by big, accessible buttons make it surprising intuitive to use and efficient to navigate.
- Intelligent design. The telescoping micro-adjustment is a feature all watches should have, and the skeletonized hands that don’t completely obscure the LCDs below show that a great deal of thought went into the design of this watch.
- Quality. Titanium is such a light metal that it can sometimes come across as cheap, but the ATV53-2933 manages to feel as well constructed as it actually is. The button feedback is good, the LCDs are very high contrast, the bracelet is quiet and solid, and the combination of sapphire crystal and DLC coating make the entire watch almost completely scratchproof.
As you might have guessed, I’m a big fan of the Citizen Attesa ATV53-2933, and of Citizen watches in general. Citizen’s closest competitor is probably Casio, and while I’m a very big G-Shock fan, I think Citizen has continued to innovate and distinguish itself by producing some extremely impressive timepieces. Like many great Citizen watches (too many), the ATV53-2933 is not available in the US, but it can be imported by overseas retailers for something around $1,300.
By Christian Cantrell