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I think at some point in every watch collector’s lifecycle, the idea of an isolated, accurate, and self-sustaining timepiece becomes remarkably fascinating. The hunger for accuracy can come from anywhere, but it can often stem from our frustrations with mechanical pieces that have let us down.

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Common Questions | Specs | Case | Dial | Strap | Movement | Overall | Alternatives

As TBWS has evolved, the concept of a “grab and go” quartz option has been something several readers and listeners have pursued ferociously—and the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver* seems to be an option that consistently comes out on top. For me, this is a watch that holds a special place in my heart, after Kaz gave the wristwatch to me as a gift a few years ago. Now after serving me for quite some time, I think it’s a great idea to finally get my thoughts down on the site.

Commonl Questions About The Citizen Promaster Diver

How Much Is A Citizen Promaster?

Depending on the model you choose, a typical price to pay would be between $250 – $300.

Is The Citizen Promaster Diver ISO Certified?

Yes – the Citizen Promaster Diver is ISO certified, which makes it a high functionality professional diver.

Is The Citizen Promaster Automatic?

No, this Citizen Promaster Diver is powered by the Citizen Eco-Drive E168 movement, which is a solar quartz watch movement.

How Long Will A Citizen Eco-Drive Last Without Light?

Approx. 6 months as per the specifications from Citizen Watches.

The first time I laid eyes on the Citizen Promaster Diver was during my time perusing Terry’s ToxiNATOs Instagram feed, and seeing it with an attractive bunch of straps. Something about the compact case styling, care-free Eco-Drive movement, and low price just really spoke to me. But, naturally, I took way too long to make a decision. That’s when my best bud Kaz stepped in and gave it to me during the great TBWS Christmas gift battle of 2016. I was floored from day one and now, I get to scream my praises from the top of the world.

Citizen Promaster Diver Specs

Case Dimensions:43mm x 48mm x 11.5mm
Lug Width:20mm
Crystal:Mineral Crystal (with anti-reflective coating)
Water Resistance:Diver 200m
Movement:Citizen Eco-Drive E168

Iconic Citizen Promaster Stainless Steel Case

It’s a good idea to start with what was perhaps most surprising after getting this one on the wrist—case proportions. The watch almost feels lugless and the compact fit really translates well on the stock strap or a NATO. On paper, we have a 43mm case diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug distance, and a thickness of just 11.5mm. Combine that with the super lightweight nature of the Eco-Drive movement, and you have a watch that almost feels like a titanium diver… especially on a nylon strap. Water resistance is 200m and I had no qualms about taking this one swimming in the Hood Canal off the beautiful shores of Seabeck, WA.

The aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel incorporates an accurate 60-click mechanism that I find preferable to 120-click systems for quick timekeeping. It really does hit every mark but the teeth configuration is slightly awkward and not as grippy as I would have hoped. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to turn it. At 4 o’clock, the screw down crown sits pretty close to the rest of the steel case and is also easy to operate. The bezel insert itself is fully graduated and serves as a good match with the aforementioned click mechanism.

Highly Legible Diver Watch Dial

Everything about the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster’s dial fits flawlessly with the idea of dive watch legibility. Information is clearly marked, the analog hands cause zero confusion, and the indices markers are spot-on. Even the 4 o’ clock date window—which eats slightly into the hour marker—is pleasantly integrated. I’m also very impressed with the overall size of the handset, especially when switching between this watch and something like my Doxa, which features really unconventional hand sizes.

While I didn’t get any shots here, the lume is Citizen’s aqua tone BGW9 and I absolutely love it. Low light visibility is no issue and even seconds hand is slightly lumed. All these features make for a dial that’s just fun to interact with. Above all, the blue tone is also a sight to behold and can often transition to a sort of deep purple depending on the light. I’ve also had zero issues with the AR-coated mineral crystal. No chips or scratches… nothing.

If you aren’t a fan of the blue dial, there is a black version of the Citizen Promaster Diver available.

No-Decompression Limits Polyurethane Strap

Like many of Citizen’s dive watches, the Promaster Diver comes with a polyurethane strap (similar to a rubber strap but with some differences) featuring no-decompression limits. It’s comfortable but I quickly removed it and stored it for preservation. Besides, I always found those a bit difficult to manipulate and shape for a comfortable fit. Since then, I’ve only worn the watch on a standard BluShark NATO strap and I think it’s probably the best option.

I have, however, seen a stainless steel bracelet offered by Citizen that looks compelling. But, I almost think that it would take away from the attractive, lightweight nature of the watch overall. Still, with a 20mm lug width, it’s going to be incredibly easy to find something that works for you. Come to think of it, sailcloth might be a neat alternative to the stock strap.

Citizen Eco-Drive E168 Movement

Aside from the price, I’d argue that the biggest selling point here is Citizen’s Eco-Drive movement tech that’s behind the caseback. Specifically, it’s the Citizen 3-hand E168 with 6 months of power reserve on a full charge. According to Citizen, this movement is also capable of a +/- 15 seconds per month accuracy range with a 32,768Hz quartz oscillator frequency. Additionally, the movement will also revert to a low charge two-second interval mode if the battery is running low. This only happened to me once and placing the watch on a window sill for a few hours was really all it took to get it back to a full charge.

Final Thoughts

Even with options from brands like Doxa, CWC, and Omega spanning my collection, I’m still very proud of owning the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver – it’s honestly just a great watch. It’s another one of those “Honda Civics” of the watch world and a piece I reach for regularly. It has seen a ton of hikes, lake outings, jogging, and casual days at the office. Really, I find it hard to believe that anyone could be on the fence about this one—especially now that prices are dipping so low.

Sure, the bezel could be a little less slippery, but that really is my only issue with the watch. One strike, that’s it. That almost never happens in a watch review. To learn more about the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver, please visit the official Citizen Watches site.

Citizen Promaster Diver Alternatives

Like the idea of an affordable diver but just aren’t that into the Citizen Promaster Diver? No worries – here are some great alternatives for you to check out.

Alternative #1: Seiko 5KX

Building upon the lineage of the famous Seiko SKX007, the latest revamp of the iconic diver has been developed within the Seiko 5 line (hence the nickname 5KX). While some of the specs aren’t as function-heavy as the Citizen, there are a variety of dial and style options available that give you more creativity to express yourself with your watch choice – check out the full review.

Alternative #2: Orient Mako II

Routinely heralded as the most affordable mechanical dive watch on the market, the Orient Mako II offers an incredible amount of value for the cost of the watch (nearly half the cost of the Citizen Promaster Diver). The Orient Mako II would also be a great option for someone looking for a diver that was slightly smaller than the Citizen Promaster – see our full write-up!


    • At first It seemed people were getting 10 years out of the power cell. What was happening, tho, was that as the watch got older more owners were leaving in in the drawer or jewelry box and not keeping it charged. Lacking an intimate knowledge that all they needed to do was recharge it in sunlight, they were taking them in for service to replace the cell. As time has gone one fans now know this and those Eco Drives on auction sites which are sold as “needs battery” are edging up in price – because the new owner understands what to do.

      Citizen is now estimating power cell life up to 40 years – many ten year old watches are trading hands and the ones I have purchased get two to four hours in sunlight to return to normal. Older power cells are said to lose some reserve, ten year old watches seem to have only 5 months reserve. Compared to an Orange Monster – I have a 1Gen ten years old – that’s about 4 months and 28 days more. If you rotate a lot of automatics you already understand that they will need resetting every time. Not so an Eco Drive, or, even a simpler battery operated quartz, some of which now are equipped with 10 year batteries (Casio.)

      Keep in mind the high beat of a quartz and Citizen’s care in regulating them prior to shipment means the three I own keep under 30 seconds fast a year. That is the second reason I no longer wear an auto, the weekly reset to correct running at least a minute fast means at least 50 crown operations a year. The Eco Drive gets a date correction and DST – about 8. There is much less wear and tear on threads and stem. If I were to rotate 4 watches with one being an automatic the reset would then number over 90 a year as the watch would likely rarely get fully wound and would likely require time and date set every four days.

      I would much rather swap straps and bands on a watch than constantly reset the time – its known as one of the things that eventually causes serous damage and lack of use.

  1. What width is your NATO strap for this watch 22,23,24mm? Really great looking watch with your NATO strap!
    THanks for the review

  2. I have the same watch. The original bracelet strap unfortunately is very rough on the wrist. Tbh it rubs this sore. As for the NATO, I had them when they first come out, as I was actually serving in NATO with the Brits. Good strong comfortable strap. Maybe not posh enough for some. I like things that work and not glitter.

  3. I’ve worn mine everyday for four years. Swam in the Atlantic and the Pacific with it. Now it’s a trusted friend. What a fantastic time piece.

  4. I just got one of these last month. I’ve worn it for all sorts of adventures–mountain biking, hiking, surfing, swimming, and lawn mowing. It’s been perfect.

  5. Could you tell me what the name is of the NATO strap? It Just looks perfect and u am thinking of purchasing the watch.

  6. This watch is very comfortable to wear. If you want an ss bracelet there are plenty of comfortable ones available in lieu of the original. In terms of wearability, I prefer it to my DOXA 1200T and Submariner (although not nearly as eye-catching). No worries about using it during the rigors of diving.

    • The original rubber strap? It’s def a pain – best we can suggest is to try and push as much of the strap away from the lug/spring bar with your thumb/finger, exposing the little lip on the spring bar for the tool. The key is not trying to push the strap to the side with the tool while also trying to get the tool on that spring bar rim – the tool can’t really operate if the strap is fighting against it.

  7. I read your article because I’m wearing the same watch you reviewed. I’ve had it about three years now. The striking thing to me about this watch is its accuracy. When I checked it last, against cell phone time, it was 40 seconds off. It’s never been more than that. Right now in US we change times twice a year. After that ends this next year, I’ll set my time to see how accurate it is over 2 years unchecked.
    This watch is fantastic. We’re coming into money and I had to decide Rolex or Citizens- which one fit my character. Citizen won out, and a great choice too. Solar will likely have zero service and you can’t say that about Rolex. Reliability wins with me. One reviewer said he replaced his after 12 years. I expect the same.

  8. I own two ProMaster models: (a) the BN0150-28E in black; (b) the BN0157-11X in Marine green which was made exclusively for the Japanese domestic market. It was (a) that convinced me to get a second one. The green-face ProMaster has a gunmetal case whose aesthetic is pleasing to behold.

    Straps: I happen to love ZuluAlpha OTAN straps made in the UK. I took out the black polyurethane strap off the black ProMaster and attached a single-pass Watches of Espionage light green strap to it. On the Marine green ProMaster, I noticed the poly strap is of a softer more pliable strap than the one that came with the black ProMaster.

  9. Probably going to buy this watch soon. Ive got the field watch and a chrono which are both excellent, The field watch is over 10 years old and has never missed a beat in all that time. The Eco Drive is great – all you need do is lay it flat on your dresser or coffee table and not bung it in a drawer. This was one of the first watches in my collection and I still think its the best.

  10. I have had this watch for about a year now. I don’t wear it every day but when I do, I really like it. I wore it recently on a beach trip to an island off the coast of Georgia. It was in the ocean several hours a day and had a depth of maybe 1-2 meters. No issues. I replaced the band with a Barton blue silicon band.
    I contrast it with Casio Duro that I wear sometimes. The ring is much smoother on the Citizen, and the lume is great. I charge it with my flashlight before bed, and I can see it all night long.

  11. Just one comment. Don’t suggest alternatives for a ISO Divers 200m watch that isn’t also Diver’s 200m without proper context.

    Both the Orient and Seiko listed here are not ISO certified divers. Non divers are only subject to ISO standard 2281 which only requires testing to 100% rated depth for 10 minutes. Skip lot testing is allowed meaning that not all pieces are required to be tested to achieve the WR rating.

    Both the Mako and Seiko are attractive dive style watches. I have a Seiko 5 myself. I’ll wear it swimming or in the shower. But if I’m diving, It’s the Citizen.

    ISO 6245 Divers certification (which is what the Citizen is) requires 125% rated pressure depth for 2 hours, and here’s the important bit, each and every piece must be subjected to the testing.

    Now Rolex or Blancpain may not pay for ISO certification because their name and reputation as dive watch manufacturers are on the line. A Rolex that fails at 30m is going to be a huge black eye. So they will pay the extra coin to pressure test each and every piece and they know that their own in house testing exceeds ISO certification, so they don’t pay for it to be done.

    But manufacturers of “affordable” pieces don’t have the margins. So at best, with a non-certified diver, it MIGHT have only been pressure tested at depth for 10 minutes, if at all.

    Other than the EcoDrive, the overwhelming selling point of this watch is it’s 200m ISO certification and all that it includes If your alternatives don’t at least offer ISO certification, it really isn’t an alternative for what the watch was designed to do. Especially at this price point where ISO certification is a pretty big deal.

    Otherwise just go get an Invicta “pro diver” and cross your fingers….


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