Citizen has introduced a new Altichron to the Promaster family of watches. This series has always struck me as kind of gleefully over the top, even more than many of the crazy dive watches we talk about in these pages frequently. The whole idea behind the “Promaster” branding is to show Citizen’s prominence in designing watches that can take on land and air in addition to sea, but sometimes we get caught up in the dive watch aspect of it all given the importance of watches in that niche to the culture of contemporary watch collecting. The Altichron is, effectively, a souped up field watch made with mountaineering in mind, and it has a number of features that should make athletes who spend their time at higher elevations quite happy. For the rest of us, there’s still a lot of cool tech to gawk at, which is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy a watch like this in my book.
The key feature of the Altichron is its altitude sensor, which allows for measurements up to 32,800 feet above sea level (Mt. Everest, for the record, is a little over 29,000 feet above sea level). Also, just in case you’re the multidisciplinary sort, you’ll get an accurate reading up to 300 meters below sea level as well. The altitude meter is read via an inner dial for the first 900 meters above sea level, and then via a subdial at 9:00 for higher altitudes. The Altichron is also equipped with an electronic compass that shows your heading via a gauge around the dial’s perimeter. The layout, as well as the use of skeletonized hands for the altimeter and compass, is ingenious, as everything is displayed in an analog fashion and easy to see at a glance. Plus, of course, you have the time, read via oversized hands and Arabic numerals in a contemporary rendition of the classic field watch layout.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that the Altichron’s case measures a fairly intense 46.7mm in diameter and is 16.4mm thick. It’s made from Citizen’s Super Titanium alloy and finished with Duratect to keep it scratch free, even as you drag it down Everest. The blue dial complements the dark DLC finish nicely, and all the critical dial info is rendered in white and fully lumed, for easy to read contrasts day and night.
The movement is Citizen’s Cal. J280, which is an Eco-Drive caliber that will run for 11 months on a full charge. Accuracy is rated to 15 seconds in either direction per month.
The retail price is $995, and the watch is expected in Citizen retailers this month. Citizen