Dark surprise

Thought I’d feature a Christmas gift idea of mine – the Citizen BL8097-52E.

Citizen BL8097-52E dark surprise

Citizen BL8097-52E dark surprise

This is a model that has proved itself to be a bit of a winner – a dark surprise if you will – with most everyone who has either bought it or received it as a gift and that’s a solid recommendation in my book.  It’s one of those wear and forget models that Citizen occasionally produce owing to modest but useful practical functions and good looks.

1) it’s Eco-drive which means no battery worries ever  – 2) at a glance you can read the Time, Day and the Date – 3) Anti-reflective Mineral Crystal assists with visibility I’m glad to say as the sub-dial & Index dials unfortunately have silver text plates – 4) it has a Perpetual Calendar to 2100 including Leap Years – 5) it has remarkably slim case dimensions 41mm x 12mm with unobtrusive pushers – 6) it is IP treated black/Grey two tone Stainless steel case and bracelet – 7) 100m Water Resistance – 8) it has a 24hr Alarm function and Dual Time indication – 9) it has full broad sword shaped hour and minute hands that are luminous as are the indices – 10) Once charged fully the power reserve is approximately 7 months or 1.5 years with Power Save function.  Also as shown in one of my images these luminous aspects are actually very good and very blue.

Citizen BL8097-52E on the wrist

Citizen BL8097-52E on the wrist

Once the watch is set up, which is not too difficult it more or less functions away without further intervention.  Basically the Time (home time I call it) is set by selection of the Time position on the Mode dial.  There is also however a Dual Time feature which is set by selecting the Local Time (L-TM) position on the Mode dial.  Once in this Mode it can be fast set to change in 1 hour increments, so very useful for travel and different Time Zones. and once set use this for Local Time (destination time I call it).  The Months noted around the dial perimeter are used solely during setting the time when you first receive the watch and are not part of the visual Time and Date indication when reading the time.  The Day of the week can also be set and altered quickly using   Push button B below the crown.  Push button A above the crown is used for the Alarm ON/Off control.
So basically the “quick glance” at the dial will show you the Time, the Date and the Day of the week.  If you don’t know what year it is, then I’d say you have another problem!) ;-).  It will also indicate the Alarm state.

If the dial is not exposed to light for more than 30 minutes when in Time or Local Time mode, the auto Power Save function is activated.  The Second hand moves and stops at the 12 o’clock park position leaving the 24hr, Hour and Minute hands to continue as before and the watch keeps normal time.  When light falls on the dial again, the Second hand resumes correctly.

Settings wise the wearer can set the Year, Month, Day and Date, Leap Year data and Time and this you will sort out when you first get the watch, though if that nice Dealer has set it all for you, so much the better.  But always a good idea to fiddle around with it yourself so you know what to do and what the various controls are for.

Citizen BL8097-52E at night.

Citizen BL8097-52E at night.

So although this model is relatively modest and dare I say practical in function capability, visually it is perhaps less so.  The case is rather striking in black IP treated Stainless steel and quite glossy though the matching bracelet is toned down a fraction having a satin finish apart from the edges which are also gloss. The case dimensions are 45mm diameter including the crown, approx 12mm thick and a neat 46mm lug to lug which will suit those of use with smaller wrists.

A pretty solid model this weighing in at 135 gms and that’s with 4 bracelet links removed to fit my average wrist.  And regarding bracelet adjustment-  this uses split pins but thankfully no tiny collars within the bracelet unlike some Citizens, so is very easy to manage.  To remove a link simply push out the pin on the end of it and in the direction of the little arrow on the back surface – the pin will simply drop out.  This separates the bracelet in two, then repeat with the pin on the other end of the link, then remove the link.  Join the two ends of the bracelet together, slip in the split pin from the other end (the opposite direction) until it gets tight, then tap it in flush – and that’s it.  The bracelet fits to standard spring bars, though is a non standard 21mm width.  But I’m sure if required a 22mm rubber or leather strap could easily be coaxed a fraction to fit perfectly.  The supplied bracelet is in fact VERY comfortable so I wouldn’t change it personally.

I’ve currently seen it for just over £300 and for a discounted price of £239 (out of stock) BUT it can be bought for around £180 which I think is a very good price – so maybe a Christmas present for someone and without breaking the bank!

Change of strap – easy to manage.  Here is a silicon deployment alternative –

Citizen BL8097-52E

Citizen BL8097-52E with alternative Silicon rubber deployment strap

I removed the original bracelet and fitted the Silicon strap in around 1 minute.  I then cut the Silicon rubber strap to suit my wrist (under 5 minutes with trial and error) – so job done easily in under 10 minutes with little or no skill level required.  The advantage of having a watch with standard spring bars strap/bracelet fitting.

Negatives?

The only negative for me is the silver color sub-dial and indication index dials which in certain light situations do make it difficult to make out the hands.  This is a problem with any of these dials that feature bright backgrounds and especially if they are also reflective.  For example, take the Week Days indicator – the right half (with the Days printed) is silvered and yet the left side is not.  The right side causes the problem – the left side does not.  I rest my case!
Such a simple thing and yet totally counter productive in reference to clarity, which is a pity as this is an excellent model otherwise.

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