WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
10,357 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a review of a just-received watch. I haven't had the time to wear it for days, but the first impressions should be sufficient for a rather in-depth review. The pictures provided are taken by a cell-phone of the previous generation - so they are not top-notch quality, sorry. There may also be some dust particles on the watch - that is my fault entirely. They are not faults in the coating - I assure you. ;-) The watch was purchased at creationwatches - following an advert of Jason on the WUS sales forums. The watch was shipped and arrived relatively fast, no issues there.

The Promaster Sky I'm reviewing is better know as the Japanese/European version of the Citizen Nighthawk - of which there are a couple of reviews already. This one, however, is, currently, the only one of the all-black PVD version. Right, let's get started!

Brand, Model, Nickname: Citizen Skymaster Pro BJ7019-62E, nicknamed "Nighthawk". it is well known that the Japanese versions do not, officially, hold the nickname of Nighthawk anywhere on the watch itself, however, the differences between the US and the EU/Japan versions are so subtle that I, and everyone else, apparently, can be fully justified to apply the moniker to this version as well

Overview:



The watch is very sturdy and heavy - officially weighted at 150g. On the whole, it blends both modern and classic features seamlessly - it is neither as simple as a basic Seiko 5, nor is it as complex as Citizen's other pilot watches (such as the Black Eagle, for example). Upon the very first glance of it upon lifting it out of the box & unwrapping it, I instantly knew that this watch is a looker - and what a looker, at that!



Movement information:

Based on the information given in the user's guide, this watch uses the B877 Caliber movement - a quartz movement run by solar power-fed battery instead of a disposable one. The watch can keep track of two timezones - one by it's main hands, the other by the little GMT hand - a rather unique design not seen on other watches at that, the current date, or the current GMT time. Of course, the movement is not really a highlight of a quartz-based non-automatic watch, but the second hand moves in crisp, sharp increments, and the hour and minute hands seem to be extremely precise, and move with very little lee-way when setting - after the initial jolt. The presumed accuracy of this caliber is said, by Citizen, to be "Within +/-15sec/month", which should mean a maximum deviation of 3 minutes a year on either side - a feat not many automatics could dare to approach without a certificate of one or the other kind.



Case:

The case of the watch is made entirely from Stainless Steel, coated in a thin, black ion-plating. It essentially means that several microns of the steel have been structurally enfused with the black paint, so that it can not physically 'peel off' or 'flake'. Technically, it means that the surface colour is as thick - if not more - than the regular Stainless Steel durability. However, there is a caveat. Since the layer of coating is relatively thin, bigger scratches can go deeper and reach the white steel below the paint. Since white stripes on black show easily, this type of watch should be kept somewhat safe from thrashing and beating. That said, to me it seems that it is sturdy and durable enough to withstand regular, every-day wear and tear. The upper half of the case is in fact a rotating bezel - the well known E6B Aviation Slide Rule. It is rotated by the little crown in the '8' position - it can not be moved by hand. This lends another assurance of the durability of the case. The back is made of stainless steel, it's a screw-on, and has a very nice engraving for such a low-priced watch. In fact, the engraving is crisp, clear (though the pictures may not relate it well), well-detailed and immensively helpful in fixing the watch in place on wrist. The main crown, at '3' position, is a screw-down, and has the Promaster Sky logo engraved - a nice touch, again something you see very rarely on sub-800$ watches. The slide-rule turning crow, however, is neither engraved nor screwdown, however, it does not compromise water-resitence, because the case is fitted together in such a way that the additional crown does not reach the interior of the watch at all - it does not penetrate the water-tight seals.





Crystal.

Unfortunately, Citizen does not provide a sapphire crystal with this watch series - which is a shame, and actually, the only negative the watch has. The crystal is a scratch-resistant mineral with inside anti-glare coating, instead. To be fair, this does mean that you will have to be a bit careful with the watch, as the crystal is almost as wide as the case itself, but for all appearances, the crystal is extremely clear and non-obstructive. In actual life, you can barely notice it at all - which is why you really should take a look at this watch in person, just to know what it feels like. The crystal is raised above the case by about a milimeter - meaning you should not leave the watch face-down, ever. It is completely flat, so there are rare angles that give a reflection - but most of the time, there is none.





Bracelet - the bracelet for this specific version is also coated with the same black PVD coating that the case has. The bracelet is very tough, firm and angular. It is also one of the best metal bracelets I've ever worn or tried on - there is absolutely zero wobble and rattle - it feels as if it was built to serve in war-time circumstances. Whether the coating holds up, I've no idea, but as it is, I am thoroughly impressed.
The clasp is the best design out there, in my opinion - the well-tested, basic 'Push-to-deploy' with a stylized fold-over safeguard. It, just as the rest of the watch, feels exceptionally solid, and there is nothing flimsy about it. There are 3 holes in the clasp for fine-tuning the bracelet length, a task more than easy, as it seems to be spring-based. Simple, and effective.





Face.

Let's face it (pun intended) - the face, the dial and the slide rule is what this watch is all about. I am no pilot, so I don't know how easy or useful to use this is in an actual fighter cockpit, but as an Average Joe, the face is easily one of the most beautiful samples of tech watches out there. When viewed close-up, all the little numbers, indices, lines and accents are surprisingly crisp and clear, and using the slide rule is a blast, not hampered by poor viewability in the least (though older aged people might disagree). When viewed from a distance, however, or at a glance, all the tiny details sort of blend into the background ,leaving amazingly unobstructed main hands and hour indices perfectly viewable. To be honest, I was astonished how easy it is to tell the basic time on this watch on a glance, given the relative complexity of the dial.
The hour indices are raised above the dial a bit, ad have a chrome-like finish on the edges, with a lumed square on the outer side. The numbers (12 and 6) are not raised, unfortunately - something that is different from the US version. Nevertheless, the lume on the numbers is the Citizen signature blue lume, very sharp and clear - and very fast-charging too. It is enough for the watch to be placed at the window on a cloudy winter's day to charge the lume sufficiently!
The main hands are lumed, with steel-finish outline, classic sword-shaped. The second hand is entirely metallic, and exceptionally thin. The special hand - which tells the GMT time (or an alternate time), has two little airplanes - red and white - at the opposite ends, that help to distinguish which semi-circle of the GMT time we should be looking at. The tiny airplane figures are well-made and sharp, giving the whole watch a tiny bit of that 'vintage' and 'luxury' look. There is little promotive writing on the dial, thankfully - only the brand name (Citizen), "Eco-Drive" and "WR-200", near the Skymaster Pro logotype - as seen on the crown.



Closing Remarks

The watch is, in my opinion, one of the best offerings Citizen has made recently. It is astonishingly cheap - you can get one at around 200-250 USD (I got mine at 250$ + shipped) new, and it looks and feels to be built well enough for a 1000$ pricetag. The only, and I really mean - the only - drawback is the lack of a sapphire glass. Everything else can be varied - there are leather straps, and plain stainless steel cases and bracelets, black and brown and blue dials, black and white slide rules. Then again - if you are buying a watch that is known as a Nighthawk, why don't you take the all-black version? Black is, after all, the colour of the night.. And another thing - this watch, thank's to its design and styling, has the potential to become a classic in two, three years' time. If you treat it well, it may even be something to pass on to your children - as the eco-drive system will ensure that it remains running for that long!

So if you are meaning to buy a Citizen eco-drive, if you want a pilot's watch that looks good with both bracelet and strap, if you want a cool-looking watch, or all of the above, you will do yourself good if you choose this. For myself, this is now at the top of my collection, and shall remain a firm favourite for a long time. This one is not for flipping - this one is for keeping!
 

Attachments

· Registered
Joined
·
10,357 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A little update after wearing the watch for 2 months exclusively.

The PVD coating is indeed strong and durable enough for regular wear. So far, there have been no scratches at all - not on the clasp, not on the bracelet and not on the watch itself. Very impressed with how it is holding up.

The Mineral crystal so far has proven to be very legible and clear. So far, it hasn't gotten any major scratches, though I tend to keep that part as safe as possible. It isn't as clear as a sapphire though.

The rotating bezel is a joy, however it is a 'smooth' slider, not a 'clicking' one. As such, you really have to take the watch off the wrist to turn it precisely - trying to roll the '8' crown while the watch is on your wrist is not really comfortable nor precise. Once in hand, though, it is very easy to fine-tune and adjust. In case you were wondering, there is no loose play in the bezel, and you really can not turn it without touching the '8' crown.

The bracelet has grown a bit softer, more responsive over time - in the first few days, it was quite stiff. Now, it bends more easily, but is still extremely rigid and does not shift side-to-side or rotate as can be seen on some other watches with bracelets that can do a 360°. The clasp is very sharp and durable, no problems there at all.

Setting up and adjusting the watch is relatively easy - the crown goes into two positions for adjusting when pulled out. One pull out, and you roll around the large hour hand (turn clockwise), and the date display (turn counter-clockwise) These move only forwards, though, so to adjust a date backwards, you have to make it do a full loop. Two pulls out, and you move the minute hand + the 24 hour hand (they are linked together. These two move in both directions). Easy to remember and get used to, and you can use the 24 hour hand as a secondary timezone one. The date window is fixed to the main hour hand, which is important, as you must remember it's AM/PM time while setting it.

When you are setting the hour hand, the seconds hand does not stop, but when you are turning the minute hand + the GMT hand, the seconds hand stops - because they are linked together for accuracy.

The seconds hand moves in 1sec increments and is remarkably accurate - it fits the markings on the dial perfectly, without even a millimetre deviation. Same goes for minute and hour hands. The minute hand moves in extremely small increments every second, so when there are 15 seconds over a minute, the minute hand will be 1/4th over the minute mark on the dial and 3/4ths away from the next one. This relation is always preserved when you are adjusting the time.


Overall, after 2 months, I can safely say that I am thoroughly satisfied with this piece. It is accurate, well-built, very durable and interesting. And it looks very nice.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Glad you still like it!! I have the asian model as well and I LOVE IT! The bracelet is so original and solid... I tried this watch on a variety of leather straps, but this baby belongs on the OEM bracelet :)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
A really nice watch, the asian version is nicer than the american because of the engraving on the back. I am selling mine because I've got the "ultimate nighthawk" in black titanium.

https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?p=2936686#post2936686
I prefer the 'Nighthawk' dial branding on the US version. An engraved caseback does nothing for me, since it's obscured when worn. The only reason I'd go Euro/Asian is for a sapphire crystal, which this watch really, really needs.
 

Attachments

· Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Great review!
I have one of these and absolutely love it! A very special watch!

/ZeXeL
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,357 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update.

So, it has been 8 months from the moment of purchase, how has the watch held up?

Well, there are the good news and the bad news.

The bad news are that I am not showing any pictures.

The good news are, the coating has remained, well, perfectly intact. I'll admit, I am careful with my watches, they usually don't gather many dings anyway, but as far as all the reports on 'flaking' and 'fragility' of the black coat go - I can assure that they are wrong. Don't tear up forests with the watch, and it will look as good as new!
The crystal is also (due to my care, I guess) scratch-free. I suppose it could be clearer, but so far it has been perfectly legible in all types of weather.

The face, which seemed 'busy' a while back, is now surprisingly familiar and comfortable to me - there aren't any issues of telling what time it is. I still have to remind myself to look at the watch and not the cell-phone for the date, though - but that goes for all my timepieces. I would have liked it to be a white number on black square background, not the other way around, for aesthetic consistency. Still, the traditional black-on-white square is easy to notice.

The GMT hour hands are still a very neat touch. I do wish they had a blue accent in them, and not a red one (frankly, I'd like everything red on the watch's face to be deep blue, that would go well with the pilot theme, imo), but they are a great supplementary indicator. And they fill up the emptier parts of the dial nicely, balancing it all out.

Now, the real bad news. The slide-rule, which accounts for most of the dial's busy digits/indexes, is more or less useless for myself. Sure, it is a neat play-toy, but for practical use, a common calculator/brain/computer is much, much better. Just a matter of application, I guess. Still, even though it is more of a style that practical thing for me, the rotating ring itself is still perfectly smooth and lines up as well as you can put it. And did I mention it makes the whole watch look really cool in a proper, aesthetic way?


So yes, after 8 months of use, I can confirm that this watch is very sturdy, the coating is quite durable and shouldn't be an issue for concern, it keeps the cool-ness factor throughout the year, it is easy to use at a glance, and there are no 'aging' issues as far as I can tell. So yes, my favourite watch right there, I can say that I absolutely do not regret getting one. After all this time spent using it, I can safely say "Don't be a cheapskate, get this amazing thing Now!". You shall not be disappointed.

P.S. The relief caseback is still a neat thing - just taking taking the watch off for the eve, flipping it and feeling the ridges of the globe and text is really worth it. A superb payoff for the missing 'Nighthawk' on the dial, in my opinion - the face has enough stuff to show as it is :)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
Nice review, and the pics aren't nearly as bad as your preface would suggest.
Agree with Stiggy, super comfortable and manufactured bracelet.
Thanks, you have inspired me to don my SS one for the day. (It looks fine with a blue suit)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
Great review. I received the US model as a gift a couple of years ago, and love it. Just got a nice deal on a used Asian, and, wanting to be careful with the gift model, got it too.
A couple of differences between the two; the dial on the US model is deepest pitch black, while the Asian has a turned, starbust effect and shimmers a shade or two lighter black. The lume is more blue on the US model, and covers the entire index, while the more green Asn is only on the tips. Both lumes are outstanding. Neither of the second hands are lumed. The 12 and 6 markers are outlined in silver on the US model, giving them the appearance of being raised. The US model says "Nighthawk" under the date window.
I transferred the nice Asian caseback to the US gift model, and am going to use the Asian as a daily (?)wearer, play around with straps, although the Nighthawk bracelet is 100% awesome. Really love this Citizen, reminds me of a Walter Wolf racing model I had in the 80's. It's a Monster-sized bargain.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
The slide-rule turning crow, however, is neither engraved nor screwdown, however, it does not compromise water-resitence, because the case is fitted together in such a way that the additional crown does not reach the interior of the watch at all - it does not penetrate the water-tight seals.
How do you know? Did you disassemble the watch yourself? Or do you have an official source?
From what I can see in my Nighthawk, the sliding bezel rotates under the glass, right in the same interior space as the dial, the hands and the date indicator. There must be some kind of connection between this 8 o'clock crown and its bezel, if it is to drive it.

I would really like to know the exact mechanism, since this is about the only concern in my Nighthawk.

Regards
 

· Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
The sliderule is useless for everyone. Not even pilots (or engineers) use these anymore. Our computers, calculators, and PDA's perform all of these functions much quicker than any crown-rotated sliderule.
There's one thing I can still see myself using the slide rule for: currency conversion. When I'm in a country other than my own country, I often want to know what a particular item will cost me when converted back to my home currency. Circular slide rules with C and D scales (which includes most slide rule watches except the Breitling for Bentley) are ideal for this; you set them once and then you can read all possible conversions opposite each other on the scales without changing either scale.

For example, suppose the Canadian dollar was still worth 85 cents US. To set the slide rule initially, I put 85 on one scale opposite 1 (or 10, however you choose to read the markings). Then I can immediately see that US$1 is about C$1.18, $2.50 converts to $2.94, $5 becomes $5.90, and so on around the scales. This is faster than any calculator because you don't have to enter anything, you just find the amount on a scale and the answer is right there.

And when I go shopping, I generally do not carry a calculator, a PDA, or a smartphone. I don't carry a separate slide rule either. But I always wear a watch, and if the watch happens to include a slide rule, I might well use it for this. (I haven't actually done this yet, but I only obtained a watch with a slide rule quite recently).

- Dave
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top