Citizen NY008-11E ‘Fugu’ Dive Watch Review

Today I’m reviewing my Citizen Promaster “Fugu” dive watch, model number NY008-11E. This is the “Pepsi” bezel edition of the limited NY008 collection, released in 2018 and sold only to Asian markets. This collection has been nicknamed “Fugu” for the Japanese word for pufferfish. The caseback has a laser-etched pufferfish motif, and perhaps the rounded bezel with the grooves gives some semblance to the spiny fish. Five models of the NY008 were released, limited to 1,000 pieces each, with two more models getting a 500 piece run. Despite this limited production, these watches are available here in the US on the used market, which is how I acquired mine.

The Case

Let’s get some specs on the table.

  • Case Diameter: 41.5mm
  • Lug to Lug: 48mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Case thickness: 12.5mm

It’s impossible to talk about the Fugu without talking about its predecessor in the Citizen dive watch stable; the venerable NY004. The NY004 was first released in 1993, and famously adopted for combat use in 1997 by the Italian Navy’s Special Forces unit.

The NY004’s unique crown position at 8:00 has been preserved in the Fugu, although the crown itself is now knurled rather than grooved- in my opinion a great upgrade, as knurling is low profile, has a tidy presentation and is unparalleled for good grip. The unusual location is kind of divisive among dive watch enthusiasts; for me, I love it! It prevents the crown from digging into the top of the wrist at all, and really sets this watch apart from any other diver. The crown is also signed with the Citizen Promaster logo.

The case shape is also the same as the NY004 and in my opinion (and Citizen’s, evidently) it’s definitely a case of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. From the top it has simple, clean lines, brushed surfaces and nicely beveled off lugs. On the underside, however, the sides of the case are heavily rounded and polished, for a really great wrist fit that prevents the tall bezel from making the watch look perched on the wrist.

I love the bezel on this watch- also a carryover from the great NY004. It’s totally unique, with its relatively tall, straight-sided profile, rounded top edge and alternating smooth and notched areas around the side. The bezel on my watch is quite easy to move, especially with the deep notches, and gives a positive click. It’s a bit looser than some bezels I’ve handled and has a small amount of play. It definitely does not have the same great feel that a mid-level Swiss diver often has, but I like it quite well in its own way.


 

Each of the 60 click positions lines up perfectly with a minute marker, something I really like about 60 click bezels in general. The insert is bright anodized aluminum and has a metallic shine that changes tint slightly depending on the light. It’s similar to Steinhart’s Pepsi bezels, and unlike Seiko’s flat painted appearance.

The Dial

Changes and upgrades from the NY004 include the shape of the lumed indices, now straight and sharp corned instead of round. The handset is changed as well, still massive and legible, but now more straight-sided, with a sort of straight cathedral-style hand for the hours, and bold, a red-trimmed arrow for the minutes. The arrow-tipped second hand is lumed, and trimmed in red also. The colored minute hand is a great feature for a working diver’s watch, as it draws the eye immediately to the most important hand on the face- and it looks very cool above water too.

The dial itself is deep, glossy black, and I really love how inky and polished it looks- and again, a nice change from the legions of matte-dialed divers. The day/date wheels are dark gray- very well color-matched to the dial itself, something rare on a diver and very aesthetically pleasing.

The Movement

Underneath the dial beats the same movement used in the NY004- the Citizen caliber 8203. This caliber was released in 1977 and is known for its simplicity and robustness. It hand winds but doesn’t hack, and keeps perfectly acceptable time. An upgrade to the much more refined Miyota/Citizen 90xx series would have made this watch almost perfect, but the older caliber still works reliably well.

The Strap

This watch comes with a special color-matched NATO strap and a black vented rubber strap. The NATO is dark blue and red to match the bezel, and is of middling, ok quality. The rubber strap is the usual suspect on Citizen divers, and is rather stiff, but of decent quality otherwise. The matching NATO strap is a nice touch – it makes the watch feel like a special edition.

My Fugu gets equal wrist time on a NATO strap and an aftermarket bracelet (I don’t particularly like rubber straps). The case shape and slightly smaller height of 12.5mm make this one of the best NATO-wearing watches I’ve owned.

For those interested in a bracelet for this watch, anything with endlinks that fit the NY004 or the newer NY009 will fit this watch as well. I bought an inexpensive oyster style bracelet with solid links and folded endlinks for mine, and I love the way it wears. I’ve also worn this watch on a polished Milanese mesh, another great look.

Final Thoughts

This watch is one of my favorite dive watches – 100% for its unique and beautiful design. At a glance, it doesn’t appear too out of the ordinary or revolutionary- but when you look closely, handle it and wear it you come to appreciate what a really spectacular piece Citizen has put together. The legibility of the clean lumed indices causes you to notice the glossy, smooth dial, the unique and bold handset, and how smoothly the day/date window blends in with the rest of the dial. Turn the bezel and you’ll realize how easy it is to grip and turn, and the way the brilliant blue and red pop in the sunlight. And the whole time you’re wearing it, no matter what you’re doing, you’ll never once feel a crown dig in between your wrist tendons.

Featured Insights
 

• 41.5mm x 12.5mm x 48mm
• 20mm Lug Width
• Citizen/Miyota 8203 Automatic (Manual Wind | Non-Hacking)
• Mineral Crystal
• 60 Click Bezel (Aluminum Insert)
• 200 Meter Water Resistance
• Price: $400 – $600

This watch reminds me strongly of the Seiko SKX- not necessarily the best specs you can get for your dollar, but possessing a unique quality of design that makes it compelling to collectors in all price brackets. It would have been great if Citizen had made this with a sapphire crystal. I would have loved having a 9 series movement in it, and a more tightly machined bezel, but at the end of the day this watch more than makes up for some of its lower-end specs.


Check Out The TBWS Podcast

Wrist Watch Podcast