Skyhawk A-T

Citizen now has its 3rd Generation Skyhawk A-T!

Initial Impressions: The Citizen Skyhawk A-T was received in Citizen's Eco-Drive packaging with an attractive dark green leatherette covered cylinder enclosing the watch all packed in a matching cardboard box. Contained in the box were an instruction manual written in 3 languages and a warranty card. The packaging is excellent and often used in jewelry stores to display these watches. In the box was the watch with 2 tags attached and scratch protection plastic on the rear of the Citizen Skyhawk A-T.
I removed the Citizen Skyhawk A-T from the box and inspected it for scratches and defects. As is usual for this manufacturer none were found.

Band and Case: I proceeded to remove links to size the watch for my wrist. This band does not use the familiar split pins found in most Asian made bracelets.CAUTION The split pins have been replaced with a solid stainless steel pin which is held in place with a stainless steel split tube inserted in the center of the link. I discovered this when I found one of the tubes laying on the work surface. Apparently they are free to come out of the center link once the solid pin is removed.Tilting the link causes them to drop out of the center link.These tubes are very small and easily lost. If the tubes are missing the pin will not stay in the link.To put the tube back in I had to resort to using a watchmaker's tweezers (no. 3) to pick it up and slip it back in the link.
Once the band was sized I found that the watch sat on my wrist very well with no tendency to move around. The band links interlock with each other and cause the band to always assume an elliptical shape. Even with the clasp open the Citizen Skyhawk A-T will stand "on its own".
The case is a solid stainless steel screw back unit which moulds nicely with the other components of the watch.

Bezel: The bezel is an E6B rotary slide rule primarily used for aircraft flight computations. It turns in both directions with little or no detent or resistance. Originally I thought that the microscopic markers and calibrations were engraved into the metal, but upon closer inspection they appear to be silk screened. Durability and rub resistance of this method will only be found over time.

Legibility: At first the face of this watch seems very busy and not particularly readable. When used in good light the first items seen are the hour, minute and Yellow second hands followed by the digital display. The Citizen Skyhawk A-T has a shiny face and highly polished crystal both of which conspire to cause reflections under certain lighting conditions rendering the watch unreadable.
The digital displays are very small and unlike the NaviHawk series of watches, difficult to see without reading glasses. The skeletonized hour hand is painted a bright white an stands out well in daylight. The minute hand has white paint on its last quarter of length, the second hand is entirely covered in Yellow paint and tends to be the dominant hand.The U.T.C., 24-hour, and mode hands are painted bright white and are easily readable, but the markers that they line up with are smaller and more subdued so glasses may be required.
Nighttime readability is, in my opinion very poor. The thin hands do not have enough surface area to hold a lot of reflective coating so they are initially hard to see. None of the markers glow strongly at night (except the triangle at 12:00). The glow is a beautiful neon blue but has a very short life and after about a half hour the watch is completely dark.The digital display has no backlight and is unreadable in the dark.
Overall legibility of this watch is good in daytime and poor at night.

Movement: The movement in the Citizen Skyhawk A-T is similar to the NaviHawk series in that the digital and analog portions are integrated. This allows perfect timing synchronization and changing time zones is a breeze.
Unlike the NaviHawk, the ability to "park" the hands at 12:00 to read the digital display is missing in the SkyHawk.
Switching modes (by turning the crown) is not as convenient as the push button on the NaviHawk. You can, however switch modes in both directions in the SkyHawk.
The Eco-Drive system and it's power management make the SkyHawk a long lasting watch which should not require a lot of service.
Overall the movement is great and makes it easy to use the many built in functions.

Accuracy: The movement is quartz and is very accurate, exceeding the manufacturers specs. My observed accuracy has been running about 4-5 sec. per month.

Closing Thoughts: This is a good watch for those who travel a lot, have good eyes, and need the excellent timezone functions.

The Citizen Calibre 8700 Collection

I have quite a few ~$100-150 range watches, plus a nice (real) divers watch, etc. So I am somewhat familiar with watches. What I was looking for was something a little flashy, yet classy, that I could wear with jeans or a business suit, and had decent features, wasn't gaudy or in poor taste. My price range was anywhere from $50 up to Tags to Rolex, etc.. and while price was a consideration, if there was a watch I "fell in love with", I would have spent the money. That being said, I am extremely satisfied with the Citizen Calibre 8700. I originally was looking at the leather band watches, because I have *always* had issues with the metal link bracelets and my arm hair, wrist, etc. This one GIVES ME NO TROUBLE WHATSOEVER. It's also not sharp on the sides of the band (ala: Rolex), so it won't scrape you (or a loved one) up either. I was also looking closely at the Tag Link series. And while nice, they simply didn't have the features that this model has. I couldn't see spending $1400+ for a watch that I'd have to buy a watch winder box for, or put batteries in, that didn't have alarm, dual TZ, perpetual date, etc. etc. Additionally, the QUALITY of this watch is superb. I hand my watch to people that want to take a look at it--most say "wow that's heavy". But it's really not. It has a more solid feel than my ultra-thin watches, but I also forget I'm wearing it. The hands line up perfectly, it keeps great time, the alarm works well, etc. I was also comparing this to the Citizen Calibre 8700 with the moon-phase watches. And while I would LOVE to have moon phase, the addition of that function pushes the watch size to "Hey, is that your dad's watch" size. And I have skinny wrists so it (I) would have looked even more ridiculous with a big watch. Right now the watch [dial] is a perfect fit for my wrist. I also like the uniqueness of the BLUE face, over other face colors. And the roman numerals. I think the white face is a dressier look, if that's what you're looking for. The blue was the right choice for me; a little unique but still classy. In short, I have been wearing this watch for a few weeks now.. and absolutely love it. In fact, I have not worn any of my other watches since getting this one--if that tells you anything. And this is extremely unusual since, in the past, I have *never* had any luck with meatier watches.. especially with the link/metal bracelet. But this fits/wears awesome! I highly recommended at least checking out the Citizen watches in general. This is my first Citizen ever, and I am 100% satisfied with the brand and this model. And I'd bet that most of their other ones are good too. To me it comes down to spending less for something that's every bit as good as the "other" watches, and you'll likely get even more/better features to boot.

The Citizen Calibre 3100 Collection

Citizen announces the new high-end Calibre 3100 collection. Done in the style of a classic dress watch, the Citizen Calibre 3100 collection sports modern touches like large date mixed with the vintage look of Roman numerals, subseconds at 6 o'clock, and an elegant dial.

Features include:
Perpetual calendar, good until the year 2100.
Eco-Drive solar power.
Large twin date display at the 12 o'clock position.
24-hour dial at the 9 o'clock position, probably for a second time zone.
Anti-reflective crystal.
100m water resistant (about 330 feet).

The Calibre 3100 collection contains a total of 7 watches with the BT0000-15A , which features a genuine crocodile strap and it pictured above and the BT0003-17A being limited editions. The BT0000-15A (999 pieces) is stainless steel, and the BT0003-17A (1,500 pieces) is rose gold-tone stainless steel. Both have have anti-reflective sapphire crystals (the others have mineral glass crystals), and something I've never seen on a Citizen watch before: genuine alligator straps! MSRP for these limited edition pieces are $650 and $675, respectively. MSPR for the rest of the collection is between $375 and $500.

On a personal note, I really like how they've melded clean looks with modern features, making a dress watch that will last for many years with zero maintenance, keeping great time all the while. These really have very nice proportions and would go well in almost any situation. The 100 meter rating means you don't have to baby them either.