Sometimes, an unlikely set of watches make their way into our collections simultaneously. When the watch is this unusual, it needs a bit of context to connect the dots. Today, Blake and Zach recount a watch that found a way into their hearts as quickly as their watchboxes, the strangely loveable, or loveably strange, Citizen Promaster Diver BN022. Ed reviewed this watch for us right here, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter at the Windup Watch Fair that things really escalated. Read for both Zach’s and Blake’s thoughts on this wild one, and keep an eye out for more owner’s roundtable discussions coming soon.
Do you ever have an immediate infatuation with a watch? I’ll be honest, it happens less and less with me. I think it’s a reflection of the work we do here day in and day out, which is the constant evaluation of watches. It just takes more time to warm up to something when you have so many watches competing for your attention. This is good for my bank account, I suppose, but I sometimes miss the feeling of knowing you just have to have a watch on sight. There’s a certain romance to that.
Well, at the Windup Watch Fair in Chicago this summer, I had that experience again, and I still have it in little fits when I look at my watch box and see the Citizen Promaster Dive sitting there, ticking away. This, readers, is not a conventionally good looking watch. It’s basically a big gray square, with a gnarly notched bezel protected by a shroud at each of the case’s four corners. Its appearance is downright alien (it would look at home on the wrist of a member of the Nostromo crew). The green camo colorway I chose for myself bolsters this impression to a certain degree.
So what drew me to it? Well, its strangeness, for one. The very fact that it’s unconventional, and that it might cause some to recoil, was part of the charm for me (I think it’s well known at this point I have a bit of a contrarian streak – I’m leaning into it). Before I even personally had a chance to check it out, a Windup attendee I was chatting with asked me if I had seen that Citizen, his tone indicating there was something shocking across the floor in their booth, like a never released Human Centipede sequel.
But trying it on is what really sealed the deal. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another watch that looks so ungainly, but feels so great on the wrist. I mean, this thing doesn’t fit in the pocket of my watch roll. How could it be anything but uncomfortable? Well, Citizen must be employing some type of wizard, casting strange spells on the titanium alloy making it the perfect weight, and cutting the case to be just the right height. It might be too wide for a watch roll, but it slides under a cuff pretty easily (not that this thing really goes with a dress shirt).
As a grab and go laundry and pizza timer, the Citizen Promaster Dive meets my needs and then some. In the short time I’ve owned it, it’s become the watch I wear when I don’t really know what watch I want to wear, which means it finds its way to my wrist on my early morning walks when I’m not nearly caffeinated enough to make a decision like that. On those days, its aggressive design is sometimes enough to jolt me awake, and remind me that it’s still possible to be completely taken by a watch immediately.
As basic as many of the watches I wear everyday tend to be, I have a notable soft spot for some rather unusual watches that act as a healthy counterweight to the more droll sections of my watchbox. Perhaps chief among the oddballs is this Citizen Promaster Dive. I’m not sure what its reference number is, or if it has a name beyond that, but it stands clear apart from the rest of the Promaster Dive collection on account of its, well, case only a mother could love.
Much like Zach, I had an immediate and visceral reaction to this watch the first time I saw it. It’s chunky and blocky in the best of ways, and yes, manages to be slim enough to sit easily and comfortably on the wrist. Inexplicably. This is a watch with some character, and it’s exactly what I love to see from Citizen. I don’t want them trying to play in the same spaces that Seiko has on lockdown, I want their full funky personality on display.
This watch, the Aqualand, the BN0231 “Orca” all exhibit the kind of originality that put Citizen on the map for many enthusiasts, and it’s the moxy I want to see them expand on.Ok, so maybe it’s not a great all day every day candidate, but I will tell you one thing for sure, I find myself looking for excuses to put this thing on throughout the day.
I went the blue route with this one, which gets a variety of shades thrown in, from the tealish strap, to the camo dial, to the dark gray titanium case. It’s an eyeful before you even get to the chunky bezel (which is satisfyingly light and clicky) and squared off case. From the outside, you’d swear this watch would be unsuitable for anything but spirited diving, but here we are, noted non-divers, enjoying the hell out of this one.
If you’re feeling the itch to get out of your comfort zone a bit, this Promaster is a great way to do it without taking too big a chunk out the wallet.