Citizen BN0100-51E Promaster Sea review

Any watch that comes in below £150 could be considered to be at the low-end of the spectrum for those who have a passion for timepieces. There are, however, some brands that offer consistency and quality in important areas at such a price point. Seiko and Citizen in particular stand out in this regard, but even then we tend to expect compromises at the lower end of their ranges.

There is something unusual about this watch though and that is the sheer quality throughout the feature set. From the moment I tried it on, I had a sense that this is a carefully considered design that does not try to do too much, but rather concentrates on doing the important things well.

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The design is somewhat classic with just a touch of ‘Black Bay’ in the case shape. The sizing works well and is substantial yet slim enough to be worn comfortably by almost anyone. It is actually much more pleasing to the eye than you may expect when you look at the marketing shots of this watch and the feel is one of quality way above the asking price.

The screw down crown is protected by angular crown guards that lift the design from the more traditional to tool modern yet they just about manage to fit in with the dial and case shape. If I had to sum up the aesthetics, I would say that it is one of the smarter looking watches I own. It does not stand out in any way, but it holds its own against much more expensive timepieces that also attempt to go for the Submariner feel.

Readability is superb thanks to larger than expected hands that stand out from the otherwise colourless look thanks to the bright orange minute pointer. There is no problem choosing a specific point when setting the time thanks to the sharp tips and for me it works perfectly for quickly catching the time at a glance when you are busy. Add to this a quite superb lume, seriously superb, which borders on being too bright at night. It does, however, add to the sense that this is a genuine diver’s watch despite the low price.

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It has 200 metre water resistance and the bezel, which clicks strongly with no play at all, is also well lumed for when you are not being a desk diver.

With a Citizen quartz movement inside I expected accuracy and after 1 week it is not even 1 second out. My experience with Citizen quartz is that they are easily as accurate, if not more so, than the Seiko equivalent. Obviously a mechanical movement is preferable to us watch people, but if you want accuracy you will have it here.

So, is there anything wrong with this watch at all? Just one thing which is the tiny date window. The size and colour of the window dial are to the point that I fail to see why there is even a date function included. This is standard for Citizen though and I have seen this time and time again from this brand, but it is a small price to pay for a watch of such quality at such a… small price.

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This is one of the best value watches I have owned to date and I find myself wearing it much more than I expected. It’s perfect at night if you wake up and want to check the time, it is highly accurate, it is subtly designed and it has a charm that you would not expect in a watch of this price. Throw in a quite brilliant metal strap with an excellent dive extension mechanism and you really are looking at a beater watch that you may find yourself wearing a lot. Seriously, this is a great watch. It really is.

Categories: Watch Reviews

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