Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite - a quick guide to drive you through the choice of your next Satellite Watch
It's a well-known fact that, if you're looking into buying a satellite watch, you need to focus on two manufacturers mainly: Citizen and Seiko. These two brands are constantly challenging each other with new technologies and features and they are always studying different technical approaches to come up with revolutionaries Satellite watches. However, more or less, their products still provide the very same functions. If you take a look at these two manufacturers' products on offer, you will get very confused, because the line up has grown so much since the brands launched their first models a few years ago, that you won't really know whose products to go for and, most importantly, which differences (if any) their features have.
Seiko, whose satellite watches have been reviewed on this website already, started off with the release of a classical watch, the GPS Astron, and then moved towards a more futuristic design, while Citizen immediately pushed the boundaries of its design with its early avant garde style creations. This post aims at giving you an overview of the latest products released by Citizen and, if you are interested in adding a new timepiece to your collection, at helping you to understand and choose among the many satellite watches currently available on the market.
When Citizen released the first F100 in 2014 this watch was widely welcomed as a milestone in the brand's history of watchmaking, not only for its technical features but for its style too. Citizen had managed to steer towards a new design concept that featured cut and sharp surfaces and a perceived quality that was much higher than what you could ever expect from the brand's standard creations. This timepiece really represented a game changer for Citizen and, over the last year, it has been constantly developed and improved through the introduction of new versions and the addition of even more functions. The first edition is a limited one and is represented by this Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave Air Limited Edition Model CC2004-59E that has been made in just 2000 pieces, it is made of Titanium covered by proprietary Duratect DLC coating and it features rose gold accents.
This timepiece actually represents the premium offering from the F100 collection and, along with other versions, it is the neatest and thinnest Satellite watch in the world, a timepiece that can measure the time in 40 different time-zones and that features a Perpetual Calendar too. It is not just a matter of precision, timekeeping and functions that are a "given" on such a timepiece: if you take a closer look at it you will immediately understand that its 3-dimensional dial, its fit and finish are the result of amazing engineering skills. If you live in Italy and would like to purchase this timepiece, you will need to turn to the Internet or take a trip to Oceania because this watch is sold only there, as an alternative, you can try your luck with the e-commerce platforms of the official Citizen Watch sites of New Zealand and Australia.
The Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F900 represents an important move for Citizen as it turned, in one year only, a Satellite watch into a GPS watch, thus bridging the gap with Seiko while adding some interesting new functionalities at the same time also. Owning a GPS watch makes a big difference because it means that you do not need to constantly change the timezone during long trips, by simply pushing a single button, after about 30 seconds, you will get the correct local time on your watch. Moreover, the Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F900 is able to receive the satellite signal in just 3 seconds, making it not only the fastest but also the thinnest GPS watch in the world (it is only 13,1mm thick). In terms of functions, the F900 features a dual time-display and a chronograph of 1/20 seconds, while a new twin-coil motor enables the hands to quickly and smoothly move from one timezone to another.
This year, the F100 and the F900 have seen the addition of a new model, released in two different versions, that exactly resemble the very same line-up, i.e. a "base" version and a chronograph one. The base model is the Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS F150 (or World Time Multifunction) and it represents a more classic take on Citizen's GPS watch. Let's take a look at this timepiece in details and let's try to explain my initial opening sentence a bit further: about two years ago Citizen started to reassess the style of its complicated watches, the manufacturer began redesigning the Promaster Altichron first and then moved to its latest satellite watches that slowly abandoned their digital displays to leave room for much personal, less crowded, multilayer dials with a somehow futuristic design. The F100 underwent this make-over too and the final result is an avant garde watch; a big step forward and also a futuristic one if you consider, for instance, the taste of the typical Italian Citizen customer. With the F150, Citizen is perhaps willing to move towards something more conservative (while still aiming at making it a proper GPS watch) and to a design that, from a professional's perspective, is way neater than that of a F100.
The F150 has exactly the same features of the F100, the same main layout (featuring the day indicator in the small register at 8 o' clock and the light indicator on the dial), a +/- 5 seconds accuracy rate per month all packed in a watch that is only 12,5mm thick and that is perfect for an everyday use, on top of things this watch has been turned into a GPS timepiece. Which one of the two versions would I go for? I'm an early adopter and my choice would be the Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave Air Limited Edition Model CC2004-59E, it costs 3,000NZ$ (nearly 1,900€ at today's exchange rate) but it has that plus that sets it apart from the competition, especially from an aesthetic point of view. I could also go for the CC2006-53E, which is the base version and Citizen's most affordable Satellite watch (although, as stated before, I can't confirm 100% whether both versions have been turned into GPS watches). My next choice would then be the F900 that costs exactly the same as the F100 Limited Edition, it features some other functions but it actually lacks the purity of the F100.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Citizen Watch; Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter