Monochrome Watches
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The Truly Affordable Citizen Challenge Diver Automatic Collection

No need to spend thousands on a handsome and robust diver, Citizen does it for under 300 euros!

| By Robin Nooy | 2 min read |

While we all might dream of being able to spend big money on watches, the reality is that most people simply can’t or won’t. And when it comes to watches, most people start out with something simple and affordable. Brands like Seiko or Citizen immediately come to mind, as they’re known for providing excellent value for money. Zooming in on the latter, the brand is capable of some mighty impressive luxury watchmaking, yet it’s the simple and compelling budget-friendly watches like the Tsuyosa and Fujitsubo it’s best known for. Citizen once again underlines this by presenting four sensible and handsome references in the Challenger Diver Automatic collection.

Starting with the exterior, the stainless steel case of these new Challenge Diver Automatics comes in at 41mm and 13.7mm in height. On top, there’s a unidirectional rotating bezel with a metallic insert in black, green or blue, depending on the dial colour. A screw-down crown and a solid caseback ensure a 200m water resistance, which is more than enough to get you through everyday life and even the occasional snorkelling or diving adventure. The case is fully brushed, while the polished crown and bezel provide a bit of visual contrast.

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Four dial variations are available, all with the same grained texture and a nice gradient effect running from the centre outward. The black dial is the most subtle, while you can also add a splash of orange, green or blue if you want something a bit more eye-catching. The applied indices, as well as the Mercedes-, arrow-, and lollipop-shaped hands, are luminous. The 3 o’clock marker is cut to accommodate the day-date window, which has a metallic frame.

Hidden under a closed caseback is the Citizen Calibre 8204-21A, similar to the Promaster Diver “Fugu” collection. This automatic movement runs at a rate of 21,600vph and has a power reserve of 45 hours. It’s regulated to run within a window of -10 to +20 seconds of deviation per day. Next to central hours, minutes and (hacking) seconds, it also shows you the day of the week and the date.

This quartet of compelling Citizen Challenge Diver comes on a black polyurethane strap for the black and orange dials or a green polyurethane strap for the green dial. The blue dial is the only one presented on a stainless steel bracelet, fitted to a folding clasp. Citizen keeps the prices more than sensible, as the watches retail for EUR 269 on the polyurethane strap, or EUR 299 on the steel bracelet. Once again Citizen shows it’s extremely capable of building excellent no-nonsense value-for-money watches, especially considering the fact it’s ISO 6425 certified.

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8 responses

  1. Mineral crystal + miyota 8k – sorry, but no. I know it is not expensive, but the NB6021 is a much better choice.

  2. You can buy microbrand watches with sapphire glass and also quality movement for the same price, so I just don’t see the point.

  3. Not having the name of the metal used for the case *on the dial* is an easy win for this model over the other one. And I think, looking at this as a tool watch (albeit with “fashionable” color ways), the crystal and movement are just fine. To me, this is rather perfect and an absolute no-brainer of a purchase. Oh, and no dreaded chapter ring issues that cursed 99% of SKX’s. Maybe the best affordable diver to be released in a long long while.

  4. Citizen is the new Seiko when it comes to great value for money no-frills watches.

  5. I own the NY0120-01ZE since few months, it works and looks good (at least for this price range) and I’m satisfied even if 1) there’s a slight curve on the crystal that makes it difficult to read it at times and 2) the hands appear a bit undersized. However in my opinion the NY004 series still rules.
    Best regards,

  6. I own the NY0129 on bracelet. I have many awesome Seiko divers in my collection but this new Citizens is equally as awesome.

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