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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I eyed this watch somewhere online and, being a fan of Citizen and affordable watches, it checked a lot of boxes for me -- Chronograph (Eco-Drive a plus), utilitarian Flieger styling, and a chance to try out another watch with an unusual cushion / turtle / C-shape case (or whatever you want to call it).

Well, as things turn out, this is not a worldwide SKU offered by Citizen. To the best of my knowledge, it's Europe and Asia only, unfortunately. Not the end of the world though -- it was available on a grey market website for $160+20 shipping, as long as you are able to wait for a couple weeks. Well within the realm of affordable watches, so I took the plunge. To the credit of the salesman in the Times Square Citizen store in NY, he specifically used the term "Flieger" when I asked if he had this model in stock. While they didn't have it, I'm sure a lot of other salespeople wouldn't necessarily recognize the term.

TL;DR - Great for the money and practicality. Everything I was looking for in a pilot's chronograph, if you are willing to deal with shipping and availability.
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I've only had the watch a few hours now, so this is absolutely a "First impressions" share, not a long term review. However, I have two Eco-Drives and barring anything unexpected, I can't expect why I couldn't like this watch 1 month or 1 year down the road.

So far as I can tell, this model (the "Metropolitan" as Citizen calls it), comes in four colorways:
  • CA7040-85E - Silver case + bracelet, black dial. This one.
  • CA7040-85L - Silver case + bracelet, blue dial
  • CA7047-86E - Black PVD case + bracelet
  • CA7045-14E - Black PVD case, leather strap
Dimensions and info:
  • Diameter: 41.5mm from 9:30 to 3:30 (i.e. not including crown or pushers)
  • Thickness 11.5mm. Crystal sits maybe 0.1-0.2mm above bezel edge
  • Lug width: 20.0mm, bracelet tapers down to 18.0mm at clasp
  • Lug to lug: 47.2mm
  • Lens (crystal) diameter: 35.5mm
  • Materials: Stainless steel case and bracelet, mineral glass lens
  • Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive chronograph Caliber B642
  • Crown is not screwdown; WR is 100m.
Thoughts:

Overall:
I've had an interest with pilot's chronographs, but so many of them are large and expensive. Being a quartz guy, this was doubly so for any of the cool automatic aviator ones that I kept seeing online. I happened to be looking for a cushion-style case watch as well -- so this watch seems to successfully fill both needs. A BIG nice thing on this watch is the Eco-Drive. I've worried previously about running batteries down by liberally using the chronograph, but since this is recharged continually, there should be much less of a worry.

Size and case:
While this seems to usually be listed at 41mm, it is 41.5mm on the dot. With my 6.5" wrist, I would not want this any larger, since it wears relatively large due to the thin bezel and large lens:case ratio. A diver of the same diameter would feel smaller because of the thicker bezel and smaller lens. I'm still happy with the size here though, as I wanted a watch with decent presence -- something I was missing from my 38-39mm watches.

To adjust the bracelet, I had to remove a whopping 5 links to size it snuggly, with only 1 remaining to remove. I think a 6" wrist would be the lower limit for this one.

If you can rock an SKX or a Seiko Sports SRPD (5KX), this will be fine for you.

I just wish there was some Turtle-like contouring on the case itself. There is some chamfering, but it is mostly slab-sided and a little chunky from the side view and on the wrist. This is just a minor complaint.
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Here it is on my skinny 6.5" wrist. I can't take a wrist photo to save my life, but hopefully the mirror shot gives a good idea too:
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Bracelet, clasp, and comfort:
I don't usually love the idea of hollow links and endlinks, but as long as it's durable and they don't look or feel too cheap, it can be OK. And I have to remember that this is a <$200 watch.

You can see that the links themselves are just folded pieces of sheet metal. The finishing and edges on these are doughier and less crisp than the watch itself. The good news is that this watch should go great on any NATO or Zulu that you throw on it (I haven't gotten around to that yet).

Fortunately, the bracelet itself is fine when it comes to comfort. It's using the "fake Oyster" style where the outer links and the center link are attached and don't rotate separately, but when I compare it to other mono-link bracelets like my Mini Turtle, it is A-OK. This one feels like any other comfortable bracelet, with no odd pinch points.

Perhaps good or bad, but since this is made of folded links, the entire watch assembly feels noticeably lighter than most of my other steel solid-link watches like the SNA411. If you told me this was all titanium, I might believe it.

As you can see, clasp is push-button operated, without a fold-over mechanism, and is stamped, not milled. IMO, still totally reasonable for <$200.

Addition (after a week of wearing): You know how many watches have the caseback sit a little lower than the lugs, so the round caseback is the only thing making contact with your wrist? On this one, the bottom edge of the lugs sits pretty low, so it makes contact too. I can still wear it all day just fine, but it is somewhat more noticeable than other watches that I have in the lume lineup image.
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Dial and hands:

I am a fan. Always enjoyed Fliegers and enjoyed the extra details that a chronograph has. The hour markers and indices have some dimension and orange peel texture, though they don't stand as tall as a typical applied index. The inner area (inset from the minute marker track) is slightly slightly lighter, though I don't notice it much in person.

I've always liked matte white on matte black, so I may be biased here. I've put up with polished edges and applied indices for a while, but this is really nice and practical for readability. Perhaps the closest thing I'll get to a Sinn for a long time. It might go without saying that this should be a very readable chronograph.

I really like how the chronograph seconds hands is only highlighted at the tip -- makes it appear "floating" and matches very well with the rest of the sword hands.

I am not the pickiest on date wheel colors, but given that there is a 3-o'clock index already, the date window would have probably been improved if it were black without the outline and blended in better with the dial.

The sloped chapter ring with the minute text is a great touch, however. This dial would have a lot less depth and life without it.

The inner portion of the dial itself (everything inset from the minute markers) is slightly slightly lighter and has some purple sheen as you can see in one of the Zulu photos, but not in a bad way. It's just not a full textured matte black like you see in some other watches. As with a lot of chronographs, there is a concentric brush pattern on the subdials, which works well and isn't distracting.

I like sword hands in general and don't own enough watches that have them, so am fully happy there. Compared to some chronographs with polished little silver hands on the subdials, these are a lot easier to read.

The lens / crystal is fully flat mineral glass, raised about 0.10-0.20mm above the bezel (not enough to incur scratches I'm sure). Another one of those things that is fine for the cost.
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Movement and setting:
Like some Seikos, the chronograph seconds hand of this model sweeps smoothly -- I honestly didn't know this was possible in a solar movement. It stops after an hour and the minute totalizer goes to zero again, since there is no hour timer.

Crown setting is what you would expect. Not a screwdown crown, but this is a 100m-rated watch and not a diver.

Addition (after a week of wearing): Chrono pushers feel gummier than any of my other chronos of similar price. It still has the audible click when you first start the chrono, but the feel is not as good when you stop / resume (until you reset it with the bottom pusher).

Here's an Imgur video with the smooth chronograph sweep:



Finishing:

I am very happy that Citizen fully brushed everything, sans the bead-blasted crown and pushers. If they had left the pushers polished, it would definitely be worse and wouldn't match the rest of the look.I have a feeling that had Seiko released this, the entire sides would be polished, and it would feel a lot cheaper. I don't have much experience with brushing on brands >$1000 to compare to, but the treatment here is nice overall and not too coarse (IMO the worst thing you can have is brushing that is excessively rough).
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Lineup and Lume:

Here is is with some of my other favorite watches. Don't make fun of me for only liking cheap black dial watches. Lume seems roughly in the middle of the pack for Citizens, though not as good as my Citizen BN0000-04h diver (adjacent to the left). The dark photo is after they were all sitting in an indoor window on an overcast day for about an hour.

Not amazing, but I could still read the time in the middle of the night.
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I'm going to keep wearing this thing as long as I enjoy it, so let me know if you have any questions or get one of these yourself! I will update this topic when I try it out on a Zulu strap relatively soon.

Addition: Come on Citizen, offer these things worldwide!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As promised, I tried the single-layer Zulu strap today. No big surprise, it works fine on a Zulu / NATO, one of the nice things about the case shape.

And as always, swapping a bracelet with a curved endlink is an absolute pain, but you get the hang of it (maybe -- we'll see when I try to re-install the bracelet later).

First image shows the slightly lighter / reflective dial area, probably an Eco-Drive requirement with how it is slightly transparent to gather light.
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And shameless plug here, use my patented Hidden Tucktechnique with your Zulus :p
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IMO, the Turtle / cushion case looks a little odd when there's the gap you'd get with a standard 2-piece strap setup. I always like how Zulus and NATOs pass under and make a more seamless look. But if that doesn't bother you, go for it.
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Sent while sitting on my toilet using Kakatalk easily flushed after a single wipe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Any time a thread gets a Scorpion King gif, I'm happy.
Well looks like Citizens took a page out of the IWC Pilot Chronograph watchmaker book lol
Oh you are absolutely right. I would have loved to have that third subdial too. I know it's a large watch and happy for those than can enjoy it, but man, the way those lugs hang off of the wrist is rough.
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Good watch.
Nice review.

My son acquired my Seiko SNN235 chrono, so maybe I will grab myself one of these.
 
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Congrats on your CA7040-85E Eco-Drive Chrono. And thanks for providing an informative review and pics. Plus, it looks really good on the Zulu strap. Enjoy your new Citizen's pilot watch. (y)
 

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What a great watch for the price. It thoroughly scratched the 3-year long itch I had for a Stowa Flieger Classic and saved me USD $1000 that I obviously put into another watch. I think Citizen needs to add a consistent tactile click to the start/stop pusher and not just on start, gave it a solid (quieter) bracelet, and release it in North America. If they did that, I would buy another one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Your review and pics are great buddy so much so I've just ordered this watch in black. They look to be of great value.
Love to hear it got you excited, I hope you enjoy it when it shows up! Please share a pick when it does too. The black should look great.

What a great watch for the price. It thoroughly scratched the 3-year long itch I had for a Stowa Flieger Classic and saved me USD $1000 that I obviously put into another watch. I think Citizen needs to add a consistent tactile click to the start/stop pusher and not just on start, gave it a solid (quieter) bracelet, and release it in North America. If they did that, I would buy another one.
Really glad to hear you are enjoying it too and that it is a nice cheaper alternate to the Stowa. I'll never understand the thinking about why some models are released in certain areas and excluded in others. I completely agree about the bad tactile click of the start pusher. Only good thing about it is that I haven't had any instances where I thought I pressed it but the button didn't activate, if that makes sense (would be much worse).
 

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What a great watch for the price. It thoroughly scratched the 3-year long itch I had for a Stowa Flieger Classic and saved me USD $1000 that I obviously put into another watch. I think Citizen needs to add a consistent tactile click to the start/stop pusher and not just on start, gave it a solid (quieter) bracelet, and release it in North America. If they did that, I would buy another one.
Really glad to hear you are enjoying it too and that it is a nice cheaper alternate to the Stowa. I'll never understand the thinking about why some models are released in certain areas and excluded in others. I completely agree about the bad tactile click of the start pusher. Only good thing about it is that I haven't had any instances where I thought I pressed it but the button didn't activate, if that makes sense (would be much worse).
The tactile start click is the most important one but it I have often found myself unsure if I stopped the chronograph because I am expecting a responsive pusher. No problems, of course, just dashed expectations.
 

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The second thing I will do when I finally fly to Europe is order the watch. Well actually I hope the local stores have them so I can admire one first. Regardless, I'm bringing two NATO 20mm black straps and the pin remover.

Mr Black Junior will join the Tough Brothers in my collection.

BTW...can someone confirm the color of the numbers on this one? CA7045-14E Are they white or cream colored? Doesn't matter other then the strap I will bring with me. I have a dynamite black and cream NATO strap.
 

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Love this watch,,,,, but i already have too many watches with similar qualities.

I am SO impressed with Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches.
Proven reliability and performance.
Excellent designs.
Its the watch I recommend most to people.

The only thing I can criticize Citizen for is that,,, i will never buy a standard battery operated Quartz again.
No more battery changes.
Thank you Citizen!

mich

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am SO impressed with Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches.
The only thing I can criticize Citizen for is that,,, i will never buy a standard battery operated Quartz again.
I'm with you! It's very hard to wear my automatics for the same reason because these are so convenient. My wallet is probably happy since these are usually much more affordable. Thanks for sharing the beautiful watch and photo.
The second thing I will do when I finally fly to Europe is order the watch. Well actually I hope the local stores have them so I can admire one first. Regardless, I'm bringing two NATO 20mm black straps and the pin remover.
I hope you can check these ones out in person, that black watch variety is sweet. Definitely post some photos when you're able to get it : ) I can't say on the indices printing color, but it looks a little more cream-colored in photos. Not overly coffee-colored or anything.

I got a cheapie $40 macro lens that clips onto my phone. I'm no photographer, but this is pretty fun. The brushed finish on this watch is very fine, almost like a satin finish.
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Love this watch,,,,, but i already have too many watches with similar qualities.

I am SO impressed with Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches.
Proven reliability and performance.
Excellent designs.
Its the watch I recommend most to people.

The only thing I can criticize Citizen for is that,,, i will never buy a standard battery operated Quartz again.
No more battery changes.
Thank you Citizen!
The only fly in the ointment is that the battery/capacitor will go down in 10 to 15 years. I have the Tough Brothers and it will cost to plenty take it apart at Citizen shop and put a new battery in it.

I have another watch with a coin battery that is now over 10 years old and has yet to be replaced. I prefer to go that route because at $1 and self change, it's dirt cheap. Doing it once every 10 years is not much of an inconvenience.

Having said that, I think we have a dozen Citizen eco drives between my wife and me. Plus another one or two soon to be added.....
 

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I'm with you! It's very hard to wear my automatics for the same reason because these are so convenient. My wallet is probably happy since these are usually much more affordable. Thanks for sharing the beautiful watch and photo.

I hope you can check these ones out in person, that black watch variety is sweet. Definitely post some photos when you're able to get it : ) I can't say on the indices printing color, but it looks a little more cream-colored in photos. Not overly coffee-colored or anything.

I got a cheapie $40 macro lens that clips onto my phone. I'm no photographer, but this is pretty fun. The brushed finish on this watch is very fine, almost like a satin finish.
I will review it when I get back in fall.

Since you own one, one of my BIGGEST peeves is reflections. How is yours? I've had knock out looking Citizen but was sooo bothered with the reflections that I gave it as a present. I actually wrote up about it on WUS.

So how would you rate the reflection? Is it easy to read other then odd positions or you need an odd position to read it? That is also the reason I want to see it in a store because where I'm going, you buy it, you own it.
 
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