Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2037-11E 30th Anniversary
In my small community, there are at least ten people who own or have owned a Citizen Promaster Aqualand. I'm talking about the first release, the timepiece that debuted in 1985 as Citizen Aqualand to then become Citizen Promaster Aqualand once the Promaster collection debuted in 1989, as I explained in our article that officially opened the celebrations for the 30th Anniversary of the Promaster collection. The first Aqualand is a legendary timepiece that still holds its place in the brand's catalog thanks to the iconic design and a retail price below the €400 threshold, that makes it pretty attractive and quite sought-after too.
The Citizen Promaster Aqualand 1 JP2000-8E, the very last iteration of this legendary diver's watch, has finally a proper successor whose full name still includes the term "Aqualand." The modern Citizen Promaster Aqualand was launched overseas at the end of last year's first half, and I discovered it by chance, while surfing the Citizen Watch Japan's official Instagram profile.
It is nothing new; Japan is the domestic market to Citizen watches. The company, therefore, starts usually selling its new Promaster watches initially in Japan, and some of them will never hit the Italian stores, like the Team Kuroshio special edition watch, that was just conceived as a JDM (Japan Domestic Market) collection exclusively.
During our tour of the brand's booth, at Baselworld 2019, we discovered all their new products, but our press meeting lasted much longer than expected. We learned the full story behind the direction the Design team undertook before 2013 when they then introduced masterpieces like the Citizen Promaster Altichron in Titanium and the Citizen Promaster Altichron Cirrus, before turning back to their roots and adopting a more conservative style.
As a take-out of that experience, the new Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand comes in as a full analog watch, although designers tried to mimic the original Aqualand case's style as faithfully as possible. When it was first released, I spent time surfing the brand's country websites to understand what variant had the brand launched on each market. In Japan, for example, three variations of the new Aqualand are currently available, and they all sport a black or blue dial, whereas in the UK Citizen offers one version with a red bezel (Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2039-59E) and another with the so-called "Pepsi" bezel (Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2038-01L). We're still not aware of what Citizen will be offering on the Italian market, I think however it's just a matter of weeks.
I hope and I believe the thirty years commemorative edition that is pictured in this article and is named Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2037-11E 30th Anniversary Limited Edition, will soon arrive. This edition introduces subtle details that are pretty popular in Japanese watchmaking tradition, as it combines metal case to gold-colored accents. As evidence, thereof the brand presented last year gold accents adorned commemorative timepieces when it celebrated its 100th Anniversary.
The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2037-11E 30th Anniversary watch thus confirms a tradition that Citizen began in the mid-eighties when it initially presented the Aqualand. Citizen watch had already proposed something similar when it issued the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter BN2024-05E back in 2014. However, that watch, that I currently own, by the way, cannot be regarded as a proper successor to the first Aqualand given its tool-watch appearance and massive size whereas the new Aqualand aims at being an all-rounder, it is no coincidence it comes on a bracelet too. To cut a long story short, I believe the 2019 Aqualand will soon replace the 2014 Depth Meter.
What has changed between the old and new Citizen Promaster Aqualand watch over the last thirty years?
There are so many years in between that any comparison between old and new Aqualand might sound ridiculous. You can probably wear a 1980 outfit nowadays but when it comes to technology and watchmaking, obsolescence kicks in and the generation gap cannot be bridged, and even more so when the brand is firmly rooted in innovation and advanced quartz technology as that's the case with Citizen watches. Style, finishes and size apart, the new Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2037-11E 30th Anniversary watch is powered by state of the art Eco-Drive technology, which represents the pinnacle of the brand's engineering and has been widely adopted across the entire range of professional divers' watches, Citizen Promaster Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E included.
When it first appeared, the new Aqualand in steel with a black dial suddenly reminded me of the original Aqualand. Its style confirms designers at Citizen were looking for a family feeling with other collections too: the similarities between the new Aqualand's case and dial design and a Citizen Promaster Altichron Steel BN4044-15E's architecture are undeniable. The case measures 46.1mm in diameter and is 16.4mm thick; in terms of size it is close to the Aqualand 1's 44mm which is despite that much thinner, but the comparison is unfair, to say the least. I believe it's fair to compare it with the 2014 Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand Depth Meter BN2024-05E whose case stops at an outrageous 52.5mm, not to mention its thickness, that is way greater than 17mm. They're all compliant to the ISO 6425 certification, making them all true professional divers' watches.
The Citizen J250 caliber, its main features and how are the various functions displayed.
The Citizen J250 caliber is an Eco-Drive movement capable of ensuring eleven months of power reserve when fully charged and a +/-15 seconds per month accuracy. The power reserve counter is the only visible counter along with the date window, making the dial look extremely neat and easy to read. Among its functions, there is the "Shock Detection Function" Citizen introduced with the Citizen Promaster Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E, and that allows the computer to instantly stop the hands following a shock such as an impact or a fall, and preserve the mechanism from any damage.
Those tiny arrow-shaped hands placed just below the hour and minute hand measure current, and maximum depth respectively and glow blue in the dark, unlike the hour and minute hands that glow green along with the applied luminous indexes. On the left-hand side of the case, there is the pressure sensor while on the right-hand side is the water sensor inserted instead.
Details on the Citizen Promaster 30th Anniversary Edition watch.
If the original Citizen Aqualand was the first diver's watch ever to be equipped with a digital depth indicator, the 2019 Citizen Aqualand has not the same reputation and cannot be considered a milestone as the original was, but merely a dressier version than the 2014 Aqualand. The modern Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2036-14E (case in stainless steel and black dial), however, is the perfect successor to the original and the 30th Anniversary Edition adds that touch of gold (made in Duratect MRK) that makes the re-issue exercise far more fascinating (a gold-colored version came in 2014 too) from a collector's perspective. The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand BN2037-11E 30th Anniversary will be supplied in 6000 specimens to meet the global market request.
I wrapped it around my wrist at Baselworld, and I like it "almost" in everything, including the smooth urethane strap carrying the embossed Promaster logo on one half and "Promaster" lettering on the other. It is a more useable yet less professional looking Promaster at first sight, although it ticks all the boxes as a tool designed for professional diving. That "almost" refers to the bezel; I was hoping Citizen to have improved the ratcheting, a feat I've always found a bit poor in comparison to other Japanese watches in the benchmark, something I can accept on my Aqualand 1 but not on this new one, given the rise in expectations. The commemorative edition retails for €700, approximate, which marks a consistent +40% over to the stainless steel version. It would be interesting to find out if this edition also comes with additional accessories and and exclusive package to please each of the six thousands collectors.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®