With a history dating back to 1989, and elements of the first Promaster watch by Citizen even further back, the collection has always captured the public’s imagination. First and foremost for their capabilities, being proper diving instruments, but on another note also for the accompanying innovation. It was Citizen, after all, who produced the first Japanese water-resistant watch. The Promaster characteristics are still very much alive and kicking, as the new and ultra-robust Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m NB6004 clearly shows.
While most of Citizen’s collections feature quartz and solar-powered movements, the brand’s mechanical watchmaking capabilities should not be underestimated. After all, Citizen is a vertically integrated manufacturer that does almost everything in-house. With the integration of brands like Arnold & Son, Frederique Constant, Alpina, Atelier de Monaco and high-end movement maker La Joux-Perret (resulting in this watch), Citizen has become a powerhouse manufacturer.
While earlier this year we looked at the Citizen Promaster Marine Automatic Diver 200m, you could consider the watch we’ll look at today as its more rugged big brother. A bolder look, superior materials and overall better performance. And the bonus of having proper anti-magnetic capabilities, something vital for a watch to be considered a serious tool watch.
Citizen Parashock & Parawater
As mentioned, Citizen launched the Promaster line in 1989, but features on that first range of watches can be linked (spiritually, at least) to much earlier models. It was in 1956 that Citizen produced a shock-resistant watch: the Parashock. According to the brand’s history, three years later (1959), Japan’s first-ever water-resistant watch was introduced, the Parawater. These Parashock and Parawater models showed signs of the capabilities of Japanese watchmakers to produce innovative mechanical timepieces.
Fast forward to the early 1980s. Despite the quartz crisis striking the heart of mechanical watchmaking hard, Citizen was still soldiering on. The spiritual ancestor to the Promaster line would be introduced in 1982. The quartz-powered Citizen Professional Diver 1300m shares many elements still present in modern-day Promaster models. Back then, the watch had the highest water-resistance on the market (excl. prototypes). The Professional Diver 1300m was built for saturation diving and came in a lightweight, corrosion-resistant titanium case. This material was still relatively rare in watchmaking, but since Citizen was the first watchmaker to produce a watch in titanium back in 1970, it had already mastered the material.
Citizen Aqualand & Promaster
Moving along in the timeline for the Citizen Promaster, the next chapter came in 1985 with the launch of the Aqualand C023. Yet again, a testament to Citizen’s innovation, it was another world first. A proper dive watch in itself, it featured a digital depth gauge. It also meant the true purpose of a mechanical dive watch would pretty much become obsolete. It had a movement that would update the depth of the dive on the go, had a dive timer functionality and featured No Decompression Limits imprinted on the rubber strap. You can read an in-depth article on the Citizen Aqualand Promaster here.
The final proverbial nail in the coffin for mechanical dive watches serving any real logical purpose was the emergence of reliable, fully digital diving computers. The Aqualand was later joined by the Altichron (with an altimeter) and the Sky (a precursor to radio- and satellite-controlled watches). The series of watches was branded “Promaster” as a sign of the capabilities of each of the watches within this collection.
The Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m NB6004
The new Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m falls within the Promaster Marine collection, as all divers do. The basic design can still be linked to the original Aqualand from the mid-1980s, even though it lacks the protruding depth gauge that the Aqualand is known for. The rugged 46mm wide case is done in titanium, treated with Citizen’s Duratect hardening technology. The unidirectional diving bezel is partially shrouded by the case and has trapezoidal-shaped indentations for maximum grip. The bezel is enhanced with a knurled pattern on the insert with raised double-digit numerals.
The dial for the Citizen Promaster Mechanical 200m features a pattern similar in style to the bezel insert. The large applied hour markers are all finished with luminescent material. The large V-shaped marker at the top has a contrasting orange bit to easily identify what’s the right way up under low-light circumstances. It is accompanied by rectangular markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and semi-circular ones for the rest. The large hour hand, done in white, and minute hand in orange, have a generous amount of luminous material. The seconds hand has an orange tip with a luminous dot. The date window is “integrated” into the rectangular hour marker at 3 o’clock.
Anti-magnetism is crucial in a mechanical watch. Labelled as a proper professional instrument, the Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m is developed with that in mind. The calibre 9051 movement can continue to perform in circumstances with magnetic fields up to 16.000 a/m (amperes per meters), which equates to about 200 Gauss. To put this into perspective, an average mechanical ETA calibre is anti-magnetic up to 4,800 a/m. There are watches with higher anti-magnetic properties on the market – think about Omega and its 15,000-gauss technology – but this will get you a very long way and should do perfectly fine, even onboard ships with magnetic compasses.
The calibre 9051 is an automatic movement, which can also be wound through the crown. It uses anti-magnetic material for the balance spring and the surrounding components to improve its resistance. The movement uses 24 jewels, runs at a frequency of 28.800vph (4Hz) and boasts 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound. It is regulated to run within -10 to +20 seconds per day.
The Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m comes in two references. You have the distinction between a black polyurethane strap with built-in ripples to allow it to be worn over a diving suit or a titanium bracelet. The price for the watch is EUR 695 for the polyurethane strap or EUR 795 for the titanium bracelet.
More information on citizenwatch.eu