Friday, December 12, 2008

Citizen Promaster Sky Accuracy Update

So far the Promaster Sky is running about 0.1 seconds per day. Not bad for a quartz.
I was hoping for better accuracy, but happy with what I have seen so far.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Review: Citizen Promaster Sky Navihawk PMK65-2211 & PMK65-2212

This is my newest Citizen. Japan only Citizen Promaster Sky (PMK65-2211). Titanium case and band with Duratect coating, and a DLC bezel in a limited edition of 1000 per year. I believe this is due to the limited manufacturing numbers of the Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) coated bezel.

There is also a version with an ordinary titanium bezel with the model number PMK65-2212.

The Box

I purchased the watch from an Ebay Japan seller. The seller was excellent and the watch was received in 4 days via USPS Express Mail delivery. The watch was triple boxed with a standard shipping box on the outside. When I opened that box, I saw a nicely done outer cardboard box and the owner's manual on top.

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The inner box looked like this:
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And finally, I saw my watch:
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The yellow light that can seen is a reflection from my camera.

The owner's manual is in both English and Japanese. It is easy to read and readily understood.

The Case

Either model is fully coated with the Citizen proprietary Duratect coating. The case size listed at the Citizen website as 43 mm. The lug size is 20mm and the case has standard lugs which means you can use your favorite 20mm strap including a NATO strap. You can see the case, dial and the crystal here.

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The lugs on the case are curved downward so that even if you have a small wrist, there should not be undue pressure on the wrist. The caseback (screwed down) is also made of titanium and coated with Duratect. In nearly a month of ownership, there are no scratches on any part of the case, bezel and bracelet. This coating definitely works. I wish my IWC GST Chronograph Titanium was also finished with this coating. In fact, I wish the caseback of my IWC did not stick out as much and the lugs were curved. But hey, that's another review. Getting back to the Citizen, despite the 43mm size, this watch wears no differently than my Rolex Explorer II on the wrist except it is lighter. It is not paper light, but it is about 1/2 the weight of the Rolex. The lugs and the case are beveled to be smooth and not to dig into the wrist. I wish my Kobold Soarway Diver had such a nicely smooth case, but I am sure Mr. Kobold has his reasons for why the edges of the lugs are razor-sharp. The bezel rotates smoothly (uni-directional) and has a lume dot that glows pretty much all night long at the 0 minutes position.

The case is completed by a SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL coated with anti-reflective coating on the inside. The sapphire crystal is domed and looks beatiful. I have no idea why Citizen only brings in mineral crystal versions of their world time watches to the US.

The Bracelet

The bracelet is also made of titanium, and tapers from 20 mm to roughly 18 mm at the clasp. The clasp is milled and not stamped, has a very solid feel and has the required safety foldover. The bracelet attaches to the clasp with spring bars that seem to be made out of titanium (at least the color matches the rest of the bracelet). Like the case, the bracelet has tapered and beveled edges which makes it comfortable to wear with no digging into the skin and no hair pulling. It is light but still feels substantial, overall quality is very high. In fact, I would go out and say that this bracelet would not feel out of place on a watch that costs $5000-10000. Coated with Duratect, there has been no scratching over a month of daily wearing.

My only pick is that is uses the pin and collar method of fastening and much like my Omega X-33, I could not adjust the bracelet myself and had to take it in to my watchmaker (yes, we are on a first name basis by now) to get it fixed. If you want to adjust it yourself, you will need an extra long pin punch and a press to insert it back. The supplied bracelet will fit up to an 8 inch wrist. My watchmaker took out two links to make it fit my 7 inch wrist. There are 3 micro adjustment wholes on the clasp for seasonal (too much Turkey this thanksgiving !!!) adjustments.

The Movement

This watch comes with the Citizen C651 caliber Eco-drive world time movement. This movement is very similar to the US specification C650 except all the annoying power saving features have been toned down. For example, the seconds hand will only stop after being in complete darkness for 30 minutes as opposed to the C650. The power reserve has not gone down from 3 bars during the last month. The dial has a nicely done golf ball texture and the solar panels underneath are not visible unless you know what to look for. The LCD display is easy to read especially when compared to my Skyhawk AT. The edges of the LCD display holes on the dial are coated with black which makes this dial more professional (and less pronounced) looking compared to the Skyhawk AT . The lack of the battery reserve subdial also means that the 24 hr clock and the UTC clock are easier to read since they are bigger.

The lume on the dial and the hands glows brightly all night long and once you get used to the blue green color, the brightness is similar to my Seiko Monster (orange dial). The hands are finished with a matte-white coating which presents nice contrast with the black dial and makes them easier to read.

Unlike the Skyhawk AT, the crown can be used without pulling it out one click. This is the way it should be. I have no idea why the Citizen design team changed this from C651 when they designed the Skyhawk AT.

The Citizen C650/1 are covered in many places on the web, so I will not discuss the functions in detail. In a summary, the movement has 3 alarms that can be set in any timezone (31 time zones), a functional timer, a chronograph and obviously a perpetual calendar. Additionally, I also use the diver bezel to time things. So you can be timing three things at the same time which I do use occasionally.

My only pick on this movement is that Citizen should bite the bullet and put the UTC hand with the main clock hands (like an Explorer II) and increase the size of the LCD display to be even more legible. Again, Citizen design team, if you let me, I can design a really usable professional watch line for you. No payment necessary, consider it volunteer work.

The Conclusion

Normally, every watch I own, I have things that I don't like, except maybe the Explorer II which has been through thick and thin with me and is about perfect. This watch joins my Explorer II as the only other watch in my collection where I have no reservations. Titanium so it is strong and lightweight. Duratect coated so it does not scratch easily. AR-coated sapphire crystal and a DLC bezel. I simply love this watch. Get one soon as I am sure Citizen will discontinue this timepiece once they exhaust their supply of C651 movements. At a bargain list price of 82000 Yen, it is too good to pass-up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Timex Solar Shock Ironman 50 Lap

This watch is a Timex Solar Shock Ironman 50 Lap. Since the timex website does such a poor job of listing its features, I will cover them here:

  1. Three separate time/date zones are accessible. These are cycled through by pressing the start/split button right underneath the dial of the watch. Each time zone is settable individually and completely arbitrarily. The helps in accommodating time zones such India or certain regions in Australia. The date also displays correctly such that if it is 18PM in CA, and GMT is programmed, it will show the correct date as well.
  2. The main dial displays day, date, month as well as the time. Both AM (A) and PM (P) are indicated as well so there is no confusion.
  3. The watch features a countdown timer with repeat or stop feature. This makes it easy to get an alarm set at a regular interval since it will keep repeating the countdown.
  4. The watch features a 50 lap chronograph with recall feature. On the last lap, you have to hit start/split button after finishing the lap otherwise you do not get the final lap time.
  5. There are three individually settable alarms. The best feature of the alarms is the ability to set them weekdays only, weekends only, or everyday. This is very cool indeed.
  6. Timex says it is shock resistant to the same standard as the G-shocks (ISO standard). I did not verify this.
  7. It has Indiglo which IMHO is not as good as the EL backlight of my Casio Pathfinders. It does the job however. This watch does not have automatic light activation which is the equivalent of AutoEL (which timex calls FLIX).
  8. The bezel is made out of steel and appears to be very sturdy. The buttons are rubberized plastic. The paint on the START/SPLIT button is already starting to wear off.
  9. The rubber strap is not replaceable by the user. The watch has to go in to Timex to get the strap replaced. The cost is $10.00.
  10. Solar charge function seems to work well. I have never seen it drop past FULL since the first time I charged it.
  11. There is an annoying delay when one changes the mode of the watch. It takes the watch about a second before it accepts a command (such as START timing).
  12. Accuracy: The watch has lost 2 seconds in 22 days.
The verdict: At a price (from a nearby clothing store) of $70, this watch is a good buy. I have two picks with it: the strap should be user replaceable and the annoying delay between modes should be done away with.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Skyhawk AT Software Update Performed

I received my watch back from Citizen of America about 10 days after I sent it.
Watch looks as good as new and the only mark indicating that the service is performed is a dot on the case back (engraved) before the serial number.

Kudos to Citizen of America for taking a proactive stance in fixing this problem.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Skyhawk AT Software Update

It looks like there is a service action for the Skyhawk AT both in US and Japan. The problem is that the perpetual calendar will not update correctly after the year 2010.

Citizen is performing a software update to fix the problem. I sent my watch in after contacting them and verifying that it is indeed affect by this recall.

You can find more details at:


If your watch serial number starts with 8xxxx or it has an RFN stamped next to the 7xxxx serial number then your watch is not affected.

In Japan, you can email citizen using this link.

In the US, I email them using CustomerService_US !at! citizenwatch !dot! com