Citizen PROMASTER Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E
One year after its launch, it is still the hero of the Promaster collection
100 years of Citizen watches (celebrated almost in silence)
There is a simple rule to keep in mind when you visit Baselword; the most important novelties are never confined to the ground floor only. The second floor of the central hall is primarily dominated by the three big Japanese groups: Citizen, Seiko, and Casio. This year, Citizen celebrates its 100th Anniversary and celebrates it with some commemorative models and a completely renovated booth that has moved to the center of the floor and includes the Citizen Pavilion, where they proudly display all the watches from the brands belonging to the Citizen Group, many of which are located in Europe such as for example the Frederique Constant-Alpina group, acquired one year ago.
Moving from the product industry to the timepieces displayed at this exhibition, the Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E is back in the news since it successfully blends the brand's experience in creating professional diver's watches with their Eco-Drive technology.
Last year it was displayed in a renewed yet dark booth, inside a thematic area devoted to the Promaster collection. This year it was instead placed inside a much brighter and more enjoyable space, which included commemorative models such as the Citizen Satellite Wave GPS CC7005-16G and the beautiful Citizen Promaster AV0077-82E, the modern re-edition of the legendary Citizen Bullhead.
The legacy of the Citizen Promaster AutoZilla NH6930-09FB
Why is the Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E so important? Because it has marked the come-back of Citizen among hyper-professional diver’s watches by replacing the historic automatic Citizen Promaster AutoZilla NH6930-09FB with a timepiece equipped with impressive technical features and a crafting level that, personally, I have never encountered in any other Citizen Promaster before. The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E is, first of all, a beautiful watch; its Japanese designers started off with the current platform of their professional diver’s watches characterized by a case with a “perfect cylindrical symmetry” typical of the last generation of Promaster Eco-Drive diver’s watches (no lugs and the Accordion strap that enters the case with no continuity solution).
A timepiece with outstanding technical features
Citizen came up with a new blocking system for the bezel, one of the most important features when it comes to professional diving sessions, that is made up of a ring coaxial to the bezel itself that, when rotated clockwise, can block the bezel in a specific position. Conversely, if you rotate it counterclockwise (FREE), you can unlock it. The bezel doesn’t feature the classic micro-grooves typical of all diver’s watches but it rather features six 'wings’ that remind me of a shuriken design and that are built to allow a diver to easily grab the bezel when underwater and let it rotate even when wearing thick diver’s gloves. The case is made of titanium and it underwent a hardening treatment called Duratect MRK that is applied to the entire watch with crown and helium-escape-valve (something we could get rid of) included, so as to withstand the pressure of water at a 1000-metre-depth (ca 100 bar). The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E is the first watch equipped with the Eco-Drive technology that can reach this depth and is therefore a milestone in the history of Citizen.
The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E is a hefty watch
The case is quite impressive (52,5mm) and it is larger by 3mm than that of the Citizen Promaster Depth Meter (that I owned), but the thickness is even more impressive since it was necessary to create something that could satisfy a 700m-rating higher than the entry level diver’s watch; the BN0175-01E. Citizen mainly chose the Super Titanium so as to make it extremely light and the manufacture also took the very best from its technologic shelf to make it extremely resistant. The Super Titanium-made case undergoes then Duractect DLC, MRK and TIC treatments. The DLC acronym might sound familiar to watch-making fans (it stands for “Diamond Like Carbon”). The MRK treatment consists of a treatment where titanium is combined with nitrogen and oxygen to make it extremely strong, the TIC treatment, on the other hand, is a chemical treatment, where a thin layer of titanium carbide is transferred on to the metal surface. The Eco-Drive movement, once fully wound, can last up to 1,5 years rather than the standard 6 months of the other Promaster watches (but keep it please always under a source of light, you might otherwise experience what I personally experienced with my Citizen Promaster Altichron Titanio).
JAMSTEC, Citizen's technical partner in testing the Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E
The Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E was developed by Citizen in collaboration with JAMSTEC (the “Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology”) that fully tested the watch prototypes using the Shinkai 6500 (JAMSTEC partners with Seiko too), a small submarine used by the agency’s technicians to explore ocean depths. According to the brand, the Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E kept working non-stop even when it reached depths well above 1,000m. It is therefore neither the classic Eco-Drive nor the classic Promaster, it is rather a watch that summarizes exceptional technical specs and that follows a manufacturing process that differs from the standard one all the other models of this collection undergo. The timepiece is hand-assembled by a dedicated and highly-specialized team following the criteria of the pharmaceutical industry (i.e. in an environment completely dust-free) and a rigid assembling process that only allows the team to craft 35 pieces a day.
Price and availability
All those who have never been able to get their hands on an Autozilla, are now given the chance to purchase the new Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Professional Diver 1000 BN7020-09E that is fully available, at the brand's authorized retailers as well as on the grey market. The official retail price of the most advanced ISO 6425 certified timepiece ever crafted by Citizen totals 2,200 euro but you can buy it on line with a 40% discount approximate (and no manfuacturer's warranty). It is retailed at a premium price that cannot be compared to the retail price of Citizen’s top range timepieces from 10 years ago and neither are the products comparable.
This diver’s watch belongs to that family of timepieces that Citizen releases on to the market every 2 years as its flagship models and devoted to a small group of aficionados; this model does not follow the standard production volumes and processes of traditional diver’s watches. If you are a fan of diving and this type of diver’s watches also, bear in mind that the quality of the crafting is simply extraordinary, despite the fact I would have expect Citizen to come up with a case with no helium-escape-valve; a goal that Citizen could easily achieve and that his Japanese competitors have reached already.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®