Citizen may be best known for its popular light-powered Eco-Drive watches, but it makes a mean diver, too. Established in Japan in 1918, Citizen has been a pioneer in solar-powered watch movements (its first Eco-Drive model came out in 1976) and titanium cases, both of which add value and allure to its lineup, particularly where dive watches are concerned. While Citizen may not have the luxury clout of some of the big Swiss brands, it nonetheless has been a major player in the world of water-resistant watches for decades, and has some of the best sub-$1,000 choices on the market. Here are a few of our top picks.
Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m
Citizen’s newest dive watch (heading to stores and e-comm this month) is this model inspired by the Challenger Diver, a 1970s design that was renowned for its toughness. The new model combines design inspiration from the original Challenger Diver with modern components and a subtle style upgrade. Available in two different styles (a black dial and bezel with a rubber strap or a blue dial and bezel with Super Titanium bracelet) both watches have a 41mm case and are powered by Citizen’s Cal. 9051 automatic movement. Lightweight, scratch-resistant, anti-magnetic, and water-resistant to 200m, the new Promaster Mechanical Diver is as stylish and tough as the original.
Promaster Dive “Orca”
One of the more unusual designs in Citizen’s catalogue, this eye-catching watch was originally released in 2006, and re-released this year. With its big, curvy 46mm case and dial adorned with white semi-circles, the Orca has been a collector’s favourite since its inception, and will appeal to anyone who wants a diver’s watch that looks completely unique. Plus, with 200m of water resistant, it makes a capable companion on your next dive. ($595)
Promaster Dive Super Titanium
Titanium watches are trending these days, but they’ve been a mainstay at Citizen since the 1970s, and the brand has been steadily refining its techniques ever since. This version of the Promaster Dive features a unique four-cornered case made from Super Titanium, the brand’s proprietary alloy, which is both ultralight and scratch-resistant. First introduced in the early 1980s, this design recently received a refresh in the form of a camo-print dial that recalls the patterns of refracted light underwater. ($725)
Promaster Dive Automatic
New for 2022, this Promaster model adds something novel to the mix: an automatic movement. While Citizen’s light-powered Eco-Drive technology has been a mainstay for decades, this classic-inspired diver proves the brand is more than capable of creating a great (and great-looking) automatic. With a 44mm case, sapphire crystal, 200m water-resistance, and seven unique dial/case combinations to choose from, the Promaster Dive has everything you could want in a daily-wearing dive watch. ($750)
It seems somewhat disrespectful to call this a perfect “beater” watch, but with its sturdy stainless steel case, durable rubber strap and a price under $500, it’s definitely up for any adventure above or below the waves. Plus, with an Eco-Drive movement that’s powered by any light source, this watch will run forever (or as close to forever as a watch can) without needing a service. As entry-level divers go, that’s a pretty unbeatable combination. ($450)
Promaster 1000M Professional Diver
Creating a watch that can withstand 1000m of pressure is no small feat, making this burly Citizen something special. And while its price is in the upper range for a Citizen watch, it’s still a bargain for anyone looking for a timepiece that can withstand serious depth. Designed for saturation divers who spend extended periods working underwater, there’s no missing the humongous 53mm Super Titanium case of this beast, complete with a sawblade-inspired locking rotating elapsed-time bezel. Other pro features include a helium release valve, a power reserve indicator, a wetsuit strap extender, and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. At 13mm thick, it certainly makes a statement on the wrist, but thanks to its Super Titanium construction it weighs in at a relatively svelte 130 grams. ($2,695)