Review: Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Altichron
When you first receive the Citizen Eco-Drive Altichron, you take the top off of what is best described as a “canister,” and you are greeted with a beautifully complex watch face wrapped in titanium and glass. The business on the face is a bit overwhelming when you first start using the watch but you quickly get used to it and are able to distinguish between the different markings.
Even though the watch looks very complex, it only has four features. Five if you count the battery level gauge. It tells you the time and date and it also has compass and altimeter functions. I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t any sort of alarm on the watch. I wanted to test the compass and altimeter so I used a satellite calibrated altimeter and compass and found that the Altichron wasn’t as accurate as I would have hoped. I even tested it from my desk every day for a week and the measurements that it gave me were never the same.
One of my favorite features about this watch is that it is solar powered. When I first heard about this feature, I started looking for a solar panel. It wasn’t until I did a bit of research that I found that the whole face of the watch is the solar panel that charges the watch. I love the idea of never having to replace the battery or worry about winding it.
Design and Aesthetics
The face of this watch is extremely busy and when I first started wearing it, I had to really concentrate to find the time. But as you wear it more and more, your eyes become accustomed to the clutter and you get to where you can just glance at it and find the time. The best way I can describe the look of this watch is “beautiful complexity.” The face has so much going on but Citizen uses a stacked design that manages to jam as much information onto the display as possible.
Whoever developed the Liquid Rubber material that Citizen uses in their watch bands should be given a gold star! The material is a combination of rubber and unicorn tears that forms to your wrist as soon as you put it on. It’s extremely soft and feels like it could tear very easily but it is very durable. When you pair this band with the light, titanium body of the watch, you’re left with a watch that is comfortable enough to wear all day and you even forget about it shortly after putting it on, which is surprising for a time piece this large.
I’m not known for being particularly easy on my gear and I was a bit worried when I received this watch because I’m not used to having close to $1,000 strapped to my wrist. I was terrified that I was going to shatter the dial or just end up ruining it in one way or another, but after wearing the Altichron every day for over a month, I took it off, grabbed a flashlight, and meticulously inspected the watch, trying to find scratches and damage. The only thing I fond was a tiny, surface level scratch on the edge of the mineral crystal dial. The titanium body looked just as new as the day I took it out of the box. I am truly impressed with how well this watch has held up to the daily abuse.
The least appealing aspect of this time piece is the hefty price tag. At $850, this is a pretty considerable chunk of change. Don’t think that Citizen is just charging that because they can. The Eco-Drive line is made with the highest quality materials and technology available. The Japanese Quartz movement that Citizen uses is precisely engineered to be as accurate as possible. When you compare this watch to other luxury watches in its class, $850 doesn’t seem quite as bad but there is still just something that doesn’t sit right with me about spending the better part of a grand on a watch that doesn’t even have an alarm.
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