Citizen Eco-Drive GMT World Timer

Ref. BJ9031-58E

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This watch’s history:

I was looking for a watch for the holidays, my perfect holiday watch had to have the following features:

I wouldn't mind if my future holiday-watch was going to be a quartz watch, but I don't like battery switching on quartz watches, because that threatens the waterresistance. There are several options on a non-battery changing quartz watch: First thing that came to my mind was a Seiko Kinetic or, even better, a Seiko Spring Drive. Then there are the Citizen Eco-Drive watches. On the mechanical side there were the Omega seamaster GMT (white dial) on my wish-list, or the Omega Bond watch, but the latter doesn't have a GMT function. Just on the day I decided to go looking for a watch that met my wishes, I came across an ad on my favorite Internet trading site. A Citizen Eco-Drive GMT world timer. The seller showed a picture he "borrowed" from the Internet.

 

wpe8.jpg (16267 bytes)Wow...I liked the looks of that watch, it did have a GMT function, and it was 20 bar waterresistant. I looked for information on this watch on the Internet. It was ref. BJ9030-51E. Pity it didn't have sapphire crystal, and I couldn't find anywhere if the markers were visible at night. Anyway, I gave it a try, and contacted the seller, arranging a meeting on a parking lot near a Mc Donald's in a town 50 kilometers away from where I live. When I arrived I called his cellular phone, and minutes later a BMW with foreign plates came to the arranged place. I went over and leaned towards him via the opened passenger window. It was like we were trading narcotics.... We shook hands and he showed me the watch. It felt heavy and looked even better in real life as it did on the picture. Then I noticed something on the dial....except for the words "Citizen""Eco-Drive" "GMT" "World Timer" and "WR 200" this watch had another word on the dial: "Sapphire". This was another model then the model  showed on the picture in the ad. I asked if he had all the papers, and of there was still warranty on the watch. He showed me the box the watch came in, as well as all the papers, the warranty and the purchasing receipt from a jeweler. It was bought 2 months ago, but the seller wanted to sell it because he got himself an Omega Bond watch now. I asked if I could have a look at his new watch. He was wearing it. He gave it to me....great watch that Omega. The trade seemed OK to me, despite the somewhat shady setting the deal took place. I gave him the money we agreed on. The watch was mine now. I gave the watch I received a final long inspection, it was OK.

 

Brand and Reference:

Founded in 1930, with headquarters in Tokyo, the Citizen Watch Co. claim to be the world's largest watch manufacturer. Citizen always are up front with new technologies, including the Eco-Drive technique, introduced in 1994.

 

Technique:

 

wpe3.jpg (8863 bytes)The watch features the famous Eco-Drive technique. It is a quartz watch that gets it's energy via a battery.that is charged through solar light or artificial light. Because of this technique, the battery never needs to be changed, and the power reserve can, depending on the model, last up to 4 years on a full battery. This watch has got a power reserve of 180 days. When the reserve is low, the seconds hand starts to tick in a 2 second interval. I guess I never will get to see this because the watch is exposed to enough light every day. If the situation occurs that the watch stopped because of lack of power, and the watch is exposed again to a lightsource, it will warn that the time shown is not the actual time anymore. (time reset advisory)

If you are interested in a manual on this watch in PDF-format click here.

 

 

 

 

Case and crown:

The case diameter is 39mm and its height is 10mm. These are right sizes. The material is all stainless steel. The case is of a monoblock constructing. There is no way one can open the back to have a look inside. A monoblock construction is good for waterresistance, and this watch has got a WR of 200 meters (20 BAR). More than enough for my water-activities. Because no battery changes are needed on this watch, it is no problem that the caseback can not be removed. As a matter of fact it is better for the future. This watch will always be water-resistant, no O-rings that cause leaks after a battery change.

The bezel does not have a minute indication as one would expect on a 200M watch, but the bezel can be used in co-operation with the GMT hand on the dial. The bezel shows the names of 23 worldcities (anyone ever heard of Noumea??) This bezel comes in handy to determine the time in any time zone of the world at any given local time. I'll explain how that works later on.

The crown is solid, screw down type, with protecting shoulders. The grip on the crown is very good, it screws in and unscrews not too easy, but just as this type of watch should.

Back:

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The back looks great with the Citizen Eco Drive worldglobe logo. The following inscriptions are on the back: "CITIZEN WATCH CO." "W.R. 20 BAR" "GN-4W-UL" "JAPAN" "992061 (this is the serial number)" "ANTIMAG.4800" "B876-H23231 TA" "ST.STEEL". I guess the model- and the casenumber are mentioned here somewhere, and the watch also seems to be anti magnetic.

 

Crystal:

Yummie....., as described above, I didn't expect this watch to have Sapphire crystal, it came as a big bonus. Sapphire is extremely scratch-resistant, and after a few years of use you'd be glad your watch has got Sapphire. Scratches and marks on the crystal are soooo annoying This feature is almost no.1 on my priority list for future watches in my collection.

 

Dial and hands:

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The watch is very sturdy, and the lay-out of the dial, the markers and the hands adds to the sturdiness of it. The overall appearance of the watch reminds me somewhat of a Breitling watch, but without overdoing it, as most Breitlings tend to do.( The Breitling Superocean not included.)

The dial is black. With all even hours in Roman figures. The odd hours are stripes. Both Roman figures and the stripes are luminous. Minutes are represented by small markers. The date is at the 3 o'clock position, in a rather small window. The outermost ring of the dial shows the 24 hour indication.

If you position the watch to a certain angle, you can see that the dial is in fact placed on a thin (glass?) layer, and under it two stripes are visible in a cross form from 12 to 6 and from 9 to 3. This is typical of the Eco-Drive technique.

The hour hand looks great, a broad arrow type (thank you Omega), and aligns with the hour markers. The minute hand is longer and aligns perfect with the minute markings. Clearly different is the GMT hand, in skeletonised orange it is just a fraction shorter as the minute hand, but it points clearly to the 24 hour bezel on the inside of the dial. The seconds hand aligns perfect with the seconds markers, as a quartz watch should. (But not always do...). If only the seconds hand was running smooth instead of the second interval.....

 

Bracelet:

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The (stainless steel) bracelet was another fine surprise. Looks good, feels great. The watch came with 2 spare bracelet pieces, I used 1 to lenghten the bracelet. I than fine-tuned the bracelet-lenght further by adjusting it on the 3 holes on the folding clasp, until it fitted perfectly on my wrist. The folding clasp (push-button) features an extra safety catch at the back. Result is a perfect comfort to wear bracelet, with no sharp edges. I've seen many much more expensive (mechanical) watches with bracelets less comfortable than this one. Bravo Citizen!

 

Functions:

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seconds, minutes, hours, date, second time zone (or 24 hour indicator), world time in all the world zones. The watch is delivered with the GMT hand synchronized to local time on the 24-hour scale. With the GMT hand in this position, one can quickly determine the time in all the time-zones of the world as follow: Find out in what time-zone your local residence is. Each time-zone is represented by a major city in that time-zone on the bezel. Turn the name of that city (I live in the Netherlands, represented by Paris for GMT+1 hour) until it aligns with the GMT-hand. Now you can read the times in all the other time-zones of the world. Of course the GMT-hand can be set as a second time for continuous and easy to read time in that second time-zone of your choice. This feature is ideal when you travel a lot, using the local time by the normal hour and minute hands, and using the GMT-hand for your home-time.

The bezel with the world-cities is a bit (too) loose in my opinion. It turns just a bit too easy. I would have liked it more if the bezel could be set click by click.

Like being said in the intro of this review, this is going to be my holiday-watch. Only one item on the feature list has not been mentioned in detail. Luminosity. The (even) Roman numbers and the (odd) stripe markers are luminous, and all the hands (the seconds-, the minute-, the hour-, and the GMT-hand) are also luminous. These four hands are very easy to distinct from each other in the dark. The best part is that the hours are somewhat less luminous than the four hands. This makes reading the time in the dark extremely easy. I really like this eye for detail. Luminosity lasts all night, no problems here either.

 

Conclusion:

I am very impressed by this watch. It scores on all the features I wanted my holiday-watch to have. Sometimes exceeding them. (on waterresistance, luminosity, and comfortability). I guess I did found my perfect holiday-beater. Even though it is a quartz.

Using it's hack function I have synchronized the watch with my radio controlled clock upon receiving it. I'm wearing this watch for 8 days now, and it runs +1 second in that period. (Yes, a quartz is far more accurate than a mechanical watch)

If you travel a lot (see pictures below) and like swimming or diving on holidays, this Eco-Drive is a watch I highly recommend.

 

What happened....

I wanted to upgrade to an Omega Seamaster GMT, and I did buy an Omega Seamaster....the Chrono (bond-style). To finance that watch I sold this Citizen. Guess what....I got sellers remorse, and I decided to buy back the same model Citizen again. So her I am owning the same model watch again (this one with a much lower serial number 051070). Now I'm happy again......

 

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Unless stated differently, All of the pictures are of the actual watch, and the pictures are taken by myself, (I'm not a great photographer)

If you have any questions or remarks, feel free to e-mail me.

This watch is For sale,  SOLD ,if you are interested send me an e-mail.

I have more watches for sale, to see the actual inventory of my watches for sale, see my little web-shop  Horlogerie Nivelacuso at http://shop.kapaza.nl/nivelacuso/