Citizen Promaster “EcoZilla”: One Serious Diver!
A Serious Dive Watch That’s All Business
I’ve been trying to get my hands on all sorts of divers lately. This is a result of critically assessing WYCA’s content, realizing that I’ve covered dress watches extensively, and have only reviewed a handful of divers. So, in June, I decided to make dive watches a thing that I learned and talked about more.
Enter a series of divers, including this choice Citizen Promaster. Powered by an Eco-Drive quartz movement, and with styling only an underwater welder could love, the Promaster BJ8050-08E is one of the few watches I’ve come across where the photos do not at all demonstrate the entirety of it.
Suffice to say that this Promaster is 100% business, built tough as nails, and designed to handle itself under pressure. With a common street price of under $225, it’s also an affordable option that gives its wearers more for less. So, let’s go for a deep dive as we explore the Citizen Promaster BJ8050-08E!
I’d like to thank Certified Watch Store, who we partner with to make reviews like this happen, for providing me with this Promaster to photograph and review.
Citizen Promaster TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Eco-Drive Quartz, B873
Approximately 6 months at full charge
300m / 990ft
One look at the Promaster makes it clear that this isn’t a dive watch that’s meant for life above the shoreline. Many divers want to look as good outside of the drink as they do deep within it – I’m looking at you Khaki Sub Auto – but the Promaster shrugs off any interest in that. It’s all business all the time.
And business is down deep, where visibility is limited and time is in short supply.
Colloquially named “EcoZilla”, the BJ8050-08E is big in all respects: it’s wide (48mm), it’s tall (18.6mm), and it’s heavy. It’s a tool watch that uses a lot of steel and glass to earn its tough credentials. The crown guards and uni-directional rotating bezel, along with the lume-heavy dial, likewise embolden this durable diver even more.
WYCA RECOMMENDS CERTIFIED WATCH STORE
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Dissecting Dive Credentials: What Water Resistance Ratings Really Mean
The way watch water resistance ratings are given and displayed is hilariously unintuitive.
Prior to learning the hard way that water resistance ratings don’t mean what they say (via a damaging underwater test of a Hamilton Jazzmaster Day/Date), I was like every other non-wristwatch obsessed person in assuming that water resistance was exactly what was printed on the dial.
But oh no, that isn’t the case at all.
Water resistance ratings – while presented in simple English – feel entirely arbitrary. A watch rated for 50m / 165ft is suitable for some light swimming – maybe – and a “dive watch” rated for 200m (such as the Orient Mako or Casio MDV106-1AV) is good for some swimming/snorkeling but not much in the way of actual diving.
EcoZilla’s 300m rating places it in a league above lesser divers, but when a genuinely nice-looking Hamilton can hang right beside you, the EcoZilla looks a little silly by comparison.
Of course, a number isn’t the only thing that defines a dive watch.
There’s Deep, & There’s Deeper
It’s one thing to be rated to do a thing, and something else entirely to be properly equipped to do the job. It’s the emphasis on the latter half of that statement that many people love about the EcoZilla. The EcoZilla has developed a cult-like following, where owners customize their EcoZilla to suit their specific tastes or needs.
There’s even a custom-made adapter for it that allows you to wear it with different straps, as the EcoZilla’s lugless case uses a proprietary silicone strap/lug combo.
Assuming you’re intending on leaving yours as it comes, you’ll find that the hefty strap it ships with is more than tough enough for whatever you’re going to throw at it. The strap and steel buckle are as heavy duty as it gets.
Citizen also incorporates several quality of life touches that divers will appreciate: the dial is so luminous that you might want to use it as a nightlight; the big rotating bezel moves with solid clicks that snaps it satisfyingly into place; the bezel itself features large grooved notches, making it easier to manipulate while wearing gloves; the crown is located at 9 o’clock, opposite it’s usual 3 o’clock position, so that it doesn’t dig into your hands while working underwater.
So yea: there’s a dive watch, and then there’s a professional dive watch like the EcoZilla.
If you look closely at the above picture, you’ll notice the crystal’s edge peeking out through the notch in the bezel. Like everything else on this watch, the crystal is oversized. 6mm deep, to be precise.
It’s disappointing to see mineral in place of sapphire, but at least it’s been given an anti-reflective coating. The bezel also goes as long way in protecting the crystal from impact, so it should last a long time if you’re careful with it. Considering the low street price of the Promaster, the mineral is price acceptable. It still feels like a miss, though.
All told, the Promaster “EcoZilla” is very much as tough as its aesthetic implies- and then some. Thought went into not only making the Promaster dive-worthy but robust and long-lasting as well. Those that play in or near the water will find that the EcoZilla easily keeps up with their pace.
Powered By Light, But Otherwise Anything But
The Eco-Drive movement makes the Promaster BJ8050-08E easy to live with. Light – any light – will charge the capacitor inside. At full charge you’ll enjoy six months of timekeeping. Be warned that leaving the watch in the dark for long periods – such as inside a drawer for six months – may kill the cell and render the movement useless. Ensure yours sees the sun every now and again.
Given that I’m less of a diver and more of a “pool bar” kind of guy, I admit that the EcoZilla is just too much for my tastes. It’s too big and too hardcore for a poser like me to rock. But if you’re less of a poser and more of a diver, EcoZilla is practically calling your name.
Pick this one up if you love its looks, want to go deep, and want something tough to keep your wrist company.