It’s not a very closely guarded secret that I like lighter weight watches. Titanium is an interesting material, because it is both lightweight, hard to machine, and tough at holding up against the brutish, rough and tumble world. Citizen used to make wonderful watches, and here’s one from the back catalogue that I really wish they would revive.
The BN0141-53E (I hate having to refer to it by its model number) was made for a short period of time, and in a limited edition of 2500. Made out of titanium, the watch is not entirely dissimilar to a Tudor Submariner from 1995, the 79190, which had a stainless steel bezel. The watch is powered by an Eco-Drive movement, which for some, may be its only failing. For me, it makes it a perfect apocalypse watch. When the apocalypse comes, as long as there’s still sunshine, and EMP hasn’t killed all electronics, the ProMaster Diver will still run without requiring service.
That would be fine, and could go for any Eco-Drive model. What makes this work are a combination of elements. First, it’s titanium through and through, with a titanium bezel, crown, caseback, and bracelet. This cuts the weight in almost half compared to a steel watch. Secondly, the design. It’s obviously a relative of the Submariner design language, but Citizen has changed hour indices and the bezel markers just enough to make it their own.
The hands are mercedes, and fall a little shorter than I might like, but the seconds hand is tipped with a delightful shade of blue. The bracelet is constructed like an oyster, but with a molded 5 link look, and the crown guards are angled down and pointy. The bezel has straight knurling rather than the scalloped knurling of modern Subs, making it more akin to an older Sub. The crystal is a flat sapphire, with the unique asset of a date magnifier that is internal to the crystal – it bubbles below the surface, making the crystal smooth to the touch. It’s excellent.
A word on lume. Citizen got the lume right here: they used largely blue for most of the dial, and illuminated the bezel pip and minute hand in green. It’s a little subtle, but it makes a difference. I doubt that it would be that noticeable underwater, but it looks brilliant on land.
This is a tool watch, with a solid movement, a solid design language, and comfortable to wear. If I could ask Citizen to change it up a little, I could do without crown guards entirely, and would wish for sharper bezel knurling, a slightly larger crown, and maybe a true oyster style bracelet in titanium. It’s such a joy to wear as it is. A very reasonable request is, why, among Citizen’s catalogue, are there only 9 watches equipped with automatic movements, and only one of them in the diver segment? We don’t know. What we do know is that there are more, and better Citizen-powered automatic divers than the one available from Citizen today. That’s right; third parties using Citizen movements do a better job than Citizen does today. But Citizen of just a few years ago? They nailed it. If you like the idea of a watch for the beach, a watch for banging around doing yard work, wrenching on the car, or bodging some project around the home, the best Eco-Drive quartz ProMaster Diver made should do the job.
- Brand & Model: BN0141-53E ProMaster Diver Limited Edition
- Price: good luck. Examples can be found for $500 now
- Who we think it might be for: Lightweight, with a movement that will survive everything but the death of the Sun.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: It’s pretty sweet for a quartz watch.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: bracelet simplification, bezel teeth made a bit sharper, removal of crown guards.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: it’s the modern tool watch.
Tech Specs from Citizen
- Case size: 43mm
- Height: 13mm
- Case material: titanium
- Crystal: sapphire
- Strap: brushed titanium, equipped with a folding clasp
- Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive
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