Solar driven time has been around as long as humankind but no one has attempted to perform a saturation dive with a sundial strapped to their wrist up till now for obvious reasons. Citizen unveiled at Basel 2017 the world's first light-powered saturation 1000m dive watch. While solar powered dive watches are not new, whats different this time is this was built and designed for professional divers representing a significant milestone and a huge leap for green concept timepiece.

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Although Citizen is not the first watch maker to roll out a solar watch (Synchronar of Germany was in 1968), they were not far behind. Citizen Crystron, made their first appearance in 1976 and was the world's first light powered analog display watch. Now this was during the period at the cusp of the Japanese quartz revolution when Japanese watch makers was ranked third in the world after the Swiss and Russians (sorry Russophobics, it's true).

The new Citizen Promaster Eco-drive Professional 1000m Diver takes its design inspiration from the shape and structure of a turban shell. The structural strength of this shell case design has been tested to the limits by nature and again by Citizen in successfully producing a professional divers watch for saturation diving depth rated to 1000 meters under ISO 6425 standards which essentially means it passed pressure test of up to 1250 meters. Now this may come as a somewhat of a nasty surprise to you but not every watch maker have their depth ratings pegged against ISO, some choose to adhere to in-house standards which is something we will cover in the future in a separate article. Measuring 52.5mm diameter and 21.4mm tall with a helium valve at 10'oclock, the case is crafted from solid titanium and treated with Citizens own proprietary surface hardening process call Duratect™ MRK earning it the ultimate Citizen’s Super Titanium™ mark. The application to the case is only done when parts like the crown tube and the escape valve tube were already in place. It bonds the individual components to the case at the atomic level to achieve a higher level of adhesion. Technically called “solid phase diffusion bonding, the result is not just a tougher case surface, but increased structural strength capable of withstanding 1,250 metres of water pressure. It is also maintain its lustre, resist scratch and corrosion better!
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The most prominent part of this dive beast is the double spiral bezel. With a dash of imagination, the double spiral bezel bears uncanny resemblance to the turban shell structure. Apart from its unique form and appearance, the twin bezel have two completely different functions. The first bezel is a unidirectional countdown dive bezel that the diver uses to record his dive time by aligning the cardinal triangular marker to the large minute hand upon staring the dive. The second is a countdown dive bezel lock to ensure there is no accidental movement to the countdown bezel that would alter the dive countdown in session in anyway. Together with the unidirectional feature on the dive countdown bezel which manages the safety aspect by shortening the dive if ever it was moved, the formidable duo feature reduces dive countdown recording error to well, zero. when the bezel lock is activated, a swathe of orange appears on the edge of the bezel at 7'oclock. Similarly, a swathe of orange also appears at the top of the recess area between the crown and case when the crown is secured. The twin bezel has also received Citizen's version of DLC black hard coat giving it a stunning instrument contrast against the case and the bezel markings.

The hands and markers are large, distinctive, hard to describe in words but extremely functional, legible and unmistakably, Citizen. Generous amount of non radioactive photo luminescent materials (which Citizen neither claim to have proprietary to nor name it) have been applied resulting in twice the afterglow brightness even after five hours when compared to traditional luminous materials (which Citizen also did not name).

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The heart of this beast of a diver lies in the engine, which is integrated to the dial in a 'single construct'. Under the surface of the dial are a series of solar cells. When light energy strikes the solar cells through the dial, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the semiconductor material. The electrical conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides, forming an electrical circuit, the electrons are captured in the form of an electric current and stored in a capacitor with 18 months power on full charge displayed on the indicator at 9'oclock. The movement, Cal J210 is accurate up to +/- 15 seconds a month and freezes movement of the hands upon detecting the absence of a light source to conserve energy. Citizen has fine tuned the Eco-Drive movement to convert even ambient light to energy. Pretty nifty right!

The watch comes fitted with a set of Polyurethane straps that are secured by a titanium anchor just inside of the case sides. These have a stiff rubbery feel and suit the designated use perfectly. A divers extension is included to extend the length of the strap for use over a wetsuit when needed.

Citizen went out of its way to have the 1000m Eco-drive meet not just internal standards but external as well. Besides meeting all ISO 6425 divers watch standards, they sought performance validation with JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), the ocean research authority in Japan. At JAMSTEC, the effects of high water pressure to check waterproof performance in a high-pressure environment as well the dial visibility, and luminous features in deep waters was conducted. The message is clear; This is not just a divers watch, it's a certified professional dive instrument!

The new Citizen Promaster 1000m Eco-Drive is packed with loads of really impressive first and will no doubt fall within the crosshairs of dive watch enthusiast. Citizen did everything just about right for this milestone iconic diver from its highly unique and distinctive case and bezel concept right all the way down to having it ISO compliant and having a deep sea ocean authority like JAMSTEC to put it through the rigours of performing flawlessly in a hostile environment. In a very unlikely event your have any doubts about light driven Eco-Drive meeting the professional needs of a saturation dive, it's time you put it to rest.

Priced at S$3,330 and available right about now

Also catch the article on Seiko Kinetic GMT Diver here!

All Trademarks mention in the article are used solely for descriptive purposes and remain the properties of their rightful owners.
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