My “active” 6 for 2016

Daily Beaters for 2016

During 2016 there are 6 models I’m wearing in rotation, week in week out.   These are from my “Active Group”that for me are both comfortable, useful and practical.  I have various categories in my watch collection, from vintage to Vintage big names, to Classic dress and Milestone models and so on.  But this question is about watches I wear on a day to day basis and they’re all models that for me are “keepers”.

I rate them basically as they are each Practical, Affordable and each does what it’s supposed to do – very well.

First I have the Breitling Aerospace 1999 model.

Breitling Aerospace Minute Repeater late1990's vintage

Breitling Aerospace Minute Repeater late 1990’s vintage

It’s relatively small (in comparison with todays models) has absolute clarity, a great set of hidden functions, Titanium cased and in as good condition as bought, albeit a little smoother.  Terrific timekeeper without RC, needs a battery change only every 5 to 7 years, so no solar.  It is however the most “on the wrist” watch of my entire collection.  Interestingly though it’s an Ana/Digi model, which you might think was and is the preserve of the Japan big three (Citizen, Casio and Seiko), in functionality it’s better than most of them – in other words Breitling got it right.
NoteMy old review can be seen HERE

Second and third models are together as they appear at first glance to be from the same family.

Citizen CC3005-85E Satellite and the Citizen AT

Citizen CC3005-85E Satellite and the Citizen AT CB0020-09E

On the left is the Citizen CC3005-85E and on the right the Citizen AT CB0020-09E .  They are both understated with classic analog dials.  However in function they differ considerably.

The AT has just a few functions, displays the Time and the Date, uses Eco-Drive and Radio Control and has the best travel World Time function I know – and it’s so easy to use.  As usual with RC, sit the watch on the windowsill at night and it will update the time by receiving time signal from the nearest transmitter.  For World Time simply pull out the crown turn to the city, push in the crown – job done.

Facially the two models look very alike, but the CC3005-85E is thicker and heavier at 144 gms (after bracelet resizing) against the AT at just 94 gms (rubber strap).  Function wise it also has Eco-Drive but no Radio Control – instead it has GPS Satellite control.  The default glance on the dial shows the Time, the Date and the Day.

Rather than use ground based Radio Transmitters, it uses satellites for Time control based on location.  Oddly however whilst the AT seeks a time signal automatically, the CC3005 does not – this has to be a push button operation as and when you remember to do it.
For basic Time Control however it is phenomenally fast!  In the house I stood next to the window, pressed and released the lower push button (A) for a second or two – the second hand moves to indicate rx/time and then flicked to OK and almost instantly back to the corrected time.  Total time was maybe 4 seconds!   So this is much, much faster than Radio Control.  Also with the cc150 movement at just +/- 5 secs per month, even without time signals it is the more accurate model.
Full Satellite link you can really forget about once you’re set to your locality and basically use only when you travel – arrive at your location, press and release the lower button (A) for around 4 seconds this time, the second hand indicates rx/gps and will seek the satellites.  Best to direct it towards the sky and within a short period the watch is updated with your new Zone local time.

Another point to note is that with such as simple dial set up and ease of use, it is quite amazing that such technology is hidden beneath such an unobtrusive exterior.

Note My reviews are shown HERE and HERE – Note 2 –   Updated the CC3005-85E Citizen 10th March 2016.

My fourth choice is a real power function watch – and arguably the best ABC model today.

Tissot Solar Touch ABC model

Tissot Solar Touch ABC Pro model – arguably the best ABC today

The Tissot Solar Touch Professional.  An ABC watch that manages to out do most of the Japanese versions at their own game.  26 different functions hidden under the guise of a deceptively easy to read simple, simple dial.  The normal at a glance view is Time, Day, Date, Month, and Year.  Select a function however and the display instantly alters to show the selected data exclusively (I don’t know of another that does this) such as Digital Compass or Altitude or Barometric Pressure, or a Timer or Chronograph or Alarm.  It is also a remarkable time keeper without RC and when checked against my RC clock each week I see little difference.  So no Radio Control but like the Breitling this is compensated by a superb movement.
Note – My previous review is shown HERE

My fifth model is the very practical Diver – the Apeks 200 m Day and Date in stainless steel.

Apeks 200m Diver

Apeks 200m Diver

Unobtrusive, very easy to read day or night, very tough and highly water resistant, very neat and compact so doesn’t look as if I’ve just emerged from the sea and taken off my wet suit, tanks and goggles.  It is one of those models that looks good in any situation.  Can’t say more as it’s just a great watch and does it’s job.
Note – My previous review shown HERE

Sixth and final model is the so, so practical and versatile Timex Expedition T49976.

Timex T49776 Aalrm Chronograph

Timex T49976 Alarm Chronograph S-Shock

This is a model Timex managed to get dead right.  Everything is as it should be and just perfect at it’s job. Very easy and so intuitive to operate, it is a triumph of function and value for money and in my opinion beats most Casio equivalents.
Note – My previous review shown HERE

Note that some of these models have been around a while, yet are still currently available.  To me this shows that some watch models are just “right”, totally “fit for purpose” and within their class, improvement is not an option.

So for 2016 I am very pleased with my “beaters” and my question has to be – What will turn up for next year and will they be any better?

Here are some extra images of the Tissot and my new Satellite Citizen too –

GPS Citizen - uses Satellites for Time and Zone indication

GPS Satellite Citizen – uses Satellites for Time and Zone indication

Citizen AT known also as Perpetual Calendar model - with Radio Control

Citizen AT known also as Perpetual Calendar model – with Radio Control

Solar ABC function "touch" screen Tissot Pro model

Solar ABC function “touch” screen Tissot Pro model

These taken today (11th March 2016) and show the Citizen  CC3005-85E against my Citizen Skyhawk – very similar dimensions and both fitted with alternative Silicon deployment straps.  The CB0020-09E AT model has the original bespoke strap without standard spring bars unlike the other two.

The Citizen powerhouse selection

The Citizen selection – CB0020-09E, CC3005-85E and JY0005-50E Skyhawk

Note the change of strap to silicon reduces the weight of the CC3005-85E from 144 gms to 101 gms and it feels much lighter on the wrist and is actually a good fit (24mm Strap width).

Citizen CC3005-85E with silicon deployment strap alternative (22mm)

Citizen CC3005-85E with silicon deployment strap alternative (24mm) – Note – the top left lug is simply reflecting a gold colored lampshade on my desk.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

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I have not included any of the “collectors” specials I might have – no Cartier or Jaeger LeCoultre or Omega, or IWC or Genta or Muller or Vacheron or Patek or Breguet or some gems I have from before 1900, because generally these are display pieces – perhaps worn on very special occasions (and sometimes never), because that’s not what my web site is about frankly.

But the models featured here are all affordable, practical and useful, and in the case of the latest Citizen CC3005-85E a culmination of many years of research and technology.  The result of which is a device that “simply” provides the basics and displays the Time – wherever you are!

As to the rest of course there are countless different watch models, catering for every sort of taste and price range.  So that said I Post this as just my own take on it all, a small section of my watches – what I call my “active” group of what I’m wearing, for this year anyway.
These are the ones that for the moment it all basically comes down to, and that’s after the many hundreds of watches I’ve bought, owned and sold on over the years.

D060 Windsurfer 89 vintage

It’s always nice to get another old Citizen, especially one that’s in great condition as this Gold Series D060 Windsurfer happens to be.  This one is from 1989, made in Japan, in solid stainless steel and in a neat size at 39 mm x 39 mm and just 10 mm depth.  Once again “windsurfer” in basic form it has to be said, even though it does feature an Auto-Chronograph and countdown function, has Timers and can read time groups such as 5 minutes, 3 minutes and so on with countdown function it’s not quite up there with the latest specialist watches today.

Citizen D060 Windsurfer - 1989 vintage

Citizen D060 Windsurfer – 1989 vintage

It doesn’t have such things as tide data, wave heights, swell or wind direction or indeed speeds.  Nor does it have water and air temperatures and so on.  This sort of data is reserved for models from the likes of Rip Curl, Nixon, Vestal, Freestyle, Casio and Electric to name a few.  But this was early days and an attempt to manage some of the timing requirements of a new developing sport.

P1030147

Great display, even after nearly 30 years.

Functions are – Time, Day and Date and Month, dial light, Alarm, Signal beep, Timer 1 (which is also the Auto-Chronograph) Timer 2 and Stopwatch with Split, Memo and Lap timing. The display sections basically can provide group timings as countdown visuals for various periods.  It also features a rotating 2 way bezel and a decent 100 m Water Resistance.   Once again it’s one of those multi dial display models that always impresses and shows how clever Citizen was in producing displays that managed to show intuitively and clearly.  The splitting up of display sections allows different timings to be read easily.  This model also has quite an involved Chrono-Countdown function which initially requires checking out the instructions – unfortunately I only have the Quick Set reference sheet and could benefit from a full instruction manual to fully understand the functions properly.
Note – As the D060 features a single line display – the Day, Date and Month are viewed by toggling the lower right push button – the Day features on the top right display (where the seconds are showing in the image) – whilst pressed the Date indicator under the Time shows.  (the D120 model shows the Date/Day and Month above the Time as it features a dual line display).

Other brands have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, with either Digital, Ana-Digi or Analog only, to multi-read various timing data easily and found it tricky to manage without making the dials cluttered and unreadable.  As a result only few analog and analog/digitals managed this feat as well as Citizen at the time.  And there’s no doubt that digital, handled properly, as in this D060 here is a really good example of this art.P1030145
I particularly like the way color is used within the displays to effectively highlight different timing data with good clarity.P1030149

Overall this is a really good looking watch and is sure to produce plenty of comment when worn on a sleeveless wrist (poser time!).

Mostly I guess because it’s that bit different from today’s models and specifically as this one scores highly being virtually New Old Stock condition, externally, internally and in functionality.

For me these old stainless steel bodies Citizens seem preferable to the resin bodied models that were really staring to flood the market in those days.  Each competing for top spot to the new customers who loved the idea of complication models covering all sorts of sports and pastimes.

Citizen however stayed mostly with steel cased models whereas their competitor Casio opted for the resin cases pushing the plastics technology to unprecedented levels, even to this day.  Though that said the last Post illustrates that Casio too could produce stunning stainless cased models too, like the Pentagraph – another personal favorite.

I attach the .pdf Instruction Manual for this model – CitizenD060Windsurfer

NOTE 1 – For all you true “Windsurfers” out there I have to say that the vintage “surfer” watch, like the above Citizen have to be regarded as – vintage watch collectors pieces.  And if you take the sport seriously (and I know a couple of guys who are obsessed and seem to travel the world for a decent wave!), then you’ll have to have the proper watch kit.

So for you I can only recommend you follow the link as the writers appear to have a good idea as to what is required.  My favorite is at the foot of this page however – but that’s just me . . . .

http://hubpages.com/style/5-Best-Mens-Tide-Watches-for-Surfing-Reviews

NOTE 2 – There are a few of these on offer on the Web, but beware of over-inflated prices.  I’ve seen these from £350 to £500! which is excessive.
Remember most are pre-owned and whilst some may indicate New Old Stock, the strap is rarely original and sometimes there are so called shop movement damage – I find this debatable especially if there are scratches. . . . .

So my advice – take care and don’t get carried away – expect to pay up to around £150 and look carefully at all images and check/ask questions to ensure module/display segments are all working properly.

As ever – Buyer beware! 

Just a final note – If you are really into Windsurfing and you feel the need for a Windsurfing watch, I would suggest a look at the Rip Curl Trestles Pro Tide model.  It seems to have everything you need and more and costs only around £150 – I link to a video showing the features – HERE

Just bear in mind the only surfing I do is on the Internet!  So what do I know!  😉

The Casio Pentagraph (1989)

This is my Casio DW-7200 Penta Graph Referee match timer which was manufactured in japan in 1989 and a rather rare find today especially when it’s in almost perfect as new condition.  This model is from the DW 7000 stainless steel series and in regards Casio digital model, is just a little different from the ubiquitous resin cased ones at the time.

With its 200m Water resistance and heavy solid stainless steel case, contrasting gold bezel, plus gold plated pushers and large clear crystal, it is a very sharp and stylish watch.

This DW-7200 was supplied originally with a black rubber strap (the DW7200G was the bracelet version), but this one’s strap disappeared along the years and although I bought it with a solid stainless steel bracelet with a Casio buckle fitted which the seller had sourced and which complimented it very well, I decided I liked the black contrast and it seemed right to see how it looked, so I fitted this black silicon deployment band as an alternative, which I

Casio DW7200 PentaGraph from 1989 - Japan made referee timer.

Casio DW-7200 PentaGraph from 1989 – Japan made referee timer.

show here.

I particularly like this model with the inset gold bezel effect in contrast to the stainless case, and style-wise even after nearly 30 years it looks as if it was made yesterday.

So what does it do?

As to functions – this clearly displays Time, Day and Date, Month, am/pm and features 5 independent Alarms plus an hour on/off signal.  A Chronograph and a Score Keeper for 2 sides – you can keep score while the timer is running in another mode.

It also features an amazing array of Competition Timers:  1 free timer, 1 auto timer and 9 other sports timers (Boxing counts 3 min-break-3 min, Soccer 45 min–15 min break -45 min and so on AND these can all be changed to suit changed rules and/or timings in the future or for different sports.  In other words this model is ideal for any number of timing tasks (find one that does that today!).

Casio DW7200 Pentagraph multi-timer displays.

Casio DW7200 Pentagraph multi-timer displays.

Named Penta Graph basically as it features 5 digital counter/graphs, including a selector display and of course the main Time and Calendar display @6.  It’s powered by a standard Lithium battery.

With many of these vintage digitals, it can take some trial and error to see what’s what, but with fortunately with these it’s not too difficult to master which is a plus point regarding these vintage modules – their ease of use and general intuitiveness.  However in this instance I do have the instructions Casio928PentaGraph which also covers 7 other modules.

Solid stainless steel screw back and 200m Water resistance.

Solid stainless steel screw back and 200m Water resistance (hidden serial for image)

Note this model sports a 200 m Water Resistance, courtesy of the circular solid stainless steel screwed back.  The Module and model number as usual are scribed on the back (I have obscured the serial number – an annoying consequence of the ease of Internet abuse).

This is a great addition to my little collection and it has a rarity simply owing to it’s terrific condition and unusual functionality, which I love and the fact that such complications have been integrated so seamlessly into such a stylish watch.  A bonus is that’s it’s also quite easy to use and yet accomplishes so much.

It’s odd when you talk of rarity and the likes of Casio, Citizen and Seiko in the same breath as these companies were and still are mass producers of watch models.  It’s not as if they produced Limited Editions in those days, but often the rarity is simply that these models are no longer around.  The battery technology lagged well behind the module science and many watches stopped working owing to battery corrosion.
In many cases the owners simply chucked them in the drawer and probably bought the latest one as a replacement, with the old model eventually being chucked out at some future date.

So to find any 1970-1990 digital watch model in pristine condition is pretty much a rarity in itself, let alone being rare for any specific functionality.  This particular DW-7200 however scores on all fronts – great cosmetically, fully functioning module wise and unusual in it’s actual feature set.  And let’s face it, where else can you get a “referee” match timer model today as stylish as this?

Note – I seem to recall a PGW-30 and 92, with similar functions but both were resin cased I think.  Also a Casio SW-110(512) Soccer Timer, but none quite as stylish as this model.

Citizen Vintage Surfer?

I love it when I find a watch model that doesn’t appear to fit with the familiarity of the “normal” version and especially when it’s from the Golden Era of the big three Japanese brands – Citizen Casio and Seiko.

Take the unusual cased D100 Citizen Promaster Windsurfer, which unlike the standard black resin model features a metalised reshaped case with the addition of an orange/yellow outer bezel stylised colorway band around the top face.  It alters the look considerably.

Citizen D100 Surfer 1988 vintage

Citizen D100 Surfer 1988 vintage

This one lost its original black resin strap somewhere along the years and has an alternative Casio strap, which in all honesty could easily have been the same as the original, though minus the printed wind-speed data.  A good point to note with these older vintage models is the use of standard spring bars, so alternative straps are possible, which is a plus over many current models.

The D100 model was introduced back in the late 1980’s (this one is 1988) and so far I’m unable to find a Manual for it.  However as with many of the older digital models it’s fairly intuitive and the basic timekeeping functions are easy to work out and operate.  This model has a Memo function so Stopwatch events (I think 5) can be stored in memory and recalled later.  I have another Citizen model with this function which may be similar (mod 948).
On this model it appears the module and all functions appear to be working as they should, which is so important when collecting these old models.

And as with many of these old Citizen and Casio models the term “Windsurfer” was basically a marketing description to attract those looking for a “complication” digital watch.  Calculations as such, were limited to printed data tables on the original rubber strap, such as wind-speed/velocity etc.  However the watch is conventional in that it features a fairly standard function set.

Function-wise – it states them quite clearly on the dial in white lettering – Alarm, Timer, Stopwatch and Memo and the Time (hours, minutes and seconds), Day, Date and Month are running indications.  There is also a colored mobile display in green and red showing seconds, with additional segments of 10, 20 and 30 second and a running 5 seconds are indicated in small blocks in a mobile green display and the collective times in red segments – so an interesting display even in standard timekeeping mode.  The lower Time and Calendar digital dial contrast is exceptional for the vintage and is very easy to read.

This model also has a 100m Water Resistance courtesy of a flat, steel 4 screw back plate, though being a vintage model I have not tried it out and don’t intend to either.

Flat steel screwed back plate = 100m Water Resistance (I have hidden Ser No)

Flat steel screwed back plate = 100m Water Resistance (Serial No. brushed out)

But why is the D100 so difficult to find compared with the D060 or D120? – I have no real answer for that, but as a collector the attraction for me is perhaps just that very fact.  I have seen a few of them before, though not in great condition, but also a long way from the UK, South America and Southern Europe as I recall.

And that’s the thing about older digital vintage model variations, and there’s lots of ’em, that when you do come across one, you might have to do a bit of investigation to find specific or indeed any relevant information.  The production date isn’t too difficult if you have an idea of the decade the model came out – the model number indicates the Year and the Month and even the number of pieces produced.
But other than that, more often than not you don’t find much else with vintage digitals and sometimes you can draw a blank.  In this instance there’s no indication of any Module No. which is a pity. (I’ll probably remove the back soon and see what’s stamped there).

Generally though this lack of data is a real a shame as many of these models were variants resulting from a period when new modules and new technology were appearing almost daily and are the precursors of many of today’s current models.

Anyway lack of information or not, I like this particular model as it’s different from the usual ones which could often scuff easily, whereas this metalized case seems that little bit harder and as a result is looking great and almost as new.

Indeed it can be a fascination in itself collecting even just one model from a brand such as Citizen, as they were definitely front runners in both the technology and the display of data in watches at an exciting time in digital watch development.
I know a few guys who specialise in just that and one or two have almost every version of the same model covering many years of development.  Now I’m not quite as obsessive yet but I have done a little of that myself in the collection of Casio Compass function watches from the early 1970’s onwards.  It showed me for example that the compass functions themselves haven’t improved much over the intervening years until the advent of the triple axis compass.

Even then it was more to do with functionality than accuracy.  (The need for keeping the compass flat and steady was no longer required).   I say that as I’d still put up some of the older twin axis models against triple axis and if used properly I wouldn’t guarantee which would be the most accurate.

So another vintage digital joins my little collection and I have more ready to Post once I’ve time to take the pictures.  Three Casio multi-display models from the Golden Age that are in excellent condition and operating as well as they did when bought new.

Simple Date

Often with unisex watches that are not physically large, one of the problems if showing a date window is they are so small and therefore difficult to read.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany.  Double Date clarity.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany. Double Date clarity.

I found this model Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent 492801 Quartz watch recently that solves the problem neatly with the addition of a proper Double Date window set in it’s plain color dial.

Numerals and indices are omitted for clarity and the good contrasting red colored hour and minutes hands are complimented by the centre seconds hand with it’s black dot pointer.
The double date aperture is @12 and is designed as the main feature of the watch.
The crystal is mineral glass, the case in stainless steel and the wrist band is in complimentary red quality leather.  Dimensions of the watch are neat at 34.3 mm wide, 9.5 mm depth and 45.5 mm lug to lug and overall the watch has a superb modern clean line look, perfect for day or dress wear.

Another plus is the fact the watch is not expensive at around 139 Euros.

In my opinion this is a great example of good design and function.  Clear to read, elegant looks and deceptively simple in form, it’s one of those models that’s just perfect for those little occasions – not flash, not minimalistic silly – but rather elegant, modern and rather refined.

Casio elegance +

To some the concept of “Casio and elegance” may seem to be a contradiction in terms, yet they do have a model which to my mind just about manages to fit the phrase.  This is the Casio LCW-M170TD-1AER (the usual clunky code model number), part of the Lineage series and here it does describe a rather neatly specified and yes “elegant” model.

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

In dress style form it is surprisingly well specified as it is both Solar powered, Radio Controlled (multi band 6) with a World Time* function and it’s Ana/Digi (with a center seconds hand) and with the emphasis on analog in looks, with just a neat secondary digital and on this model a positive display in the lower segment.  A round solid Titanium light weight (80 gms) case with excellent dimensions of just 39.5 mm diameter and very slim at just 9.2 mm height, this is a sleek watch considering the complications.

It also has a 5 bar Water Resistance (50 m) so can be viewed as a dress watch that doesn’t mind getting it’s feet wet.  The crystal unusually for Casio is in synthetic Sapphire, so scratches are virtually eliminated and the pushbutton bracelet is also made of solid Titanium incorporating a twin push catch.

The slight downside for me is that Casio’s Module 5161 is not the most up to date, noticeable in the *World Time function by the fact that only 29 City Time Zones are represented (the latest models feature some 40 zones) and omits Newfoundland, Canada (sorry guys) which has a UTC offset of -3.5 hrs – it won’t indicate that particular zone automatically.  It has a 1/100 sec to 1 hr Stop Watch with elapsed time, split time and 5 independent Alarms, Auto calendar and an LED back light.  The battery used is the CTL920 and there is a battery level indicator.

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

The analog hands are luminous and the dial background is black though I note it can be slightly reflective at times, but that said it doesn’t seem to be an issue from the reports and reviews I’ve seen to date.  I already noted that this version features a positive digital display and indeed of the 4 variations offered I believe it is the only one, the others being negative displays.  I personally find it easier to see positive displays than the negative ones.

I have to think this is maybe a slight departure for a Casio complication model, as they’ve managed to refrain from having it shrouded in Shock protection, nor is it oversize.  And it does prove to me at last that they can easily squeeze the technology into a sensible standard sized dress style watch.

This model also features a standard spring bar fitting arrangement for the bracelet, so if you fancy a change it’s simple to fit a standard strap should you prefer one.  And that IS unusual for Casio today.

So for those looking for a surprisingly well specified watch with all the mod cons complication wise you could wish for and within a dress watch style, this could be the one for you.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing perhaps – and if you don’t like macho or flash, I think you’ll find this model rather elegant with it’s dress style looks – but PLUS a surprising set of functions hidden within.

Elegance + – could be a good name for it instead of that big code?

NoteNot intended as a true travel watch it is not possible to swap the analog time and the digital time (for another time zone for example).  However it is quite easy if changing time zones, to change your home digital time to the destination time – the analog hands will move to the new “home” time, as they are programmed to indicate Home time by default.

The best gets better! (updated April 1st 2016)

As you probably know if you read my web site, one of my favorite models is my Citizen AT, which I’ve had for several years now (2010).  I love it because I travel a great deal and it is easily one of the simplest of watches to use for different time zones.  Simply pull out the crown, turn the second hand to the time zone required and push in again – job done.  All you have to know is where you’re going!

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS - about as good as it gets. . .

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS – about as good as it gets. . .

Now with my new purchase I don’t even need to know that!  Citizen’s new GPS model takes care of that with the advent of new and superior GPS technology, which supersedes even Radio Control which I naively thought was the ultimate!  But my old AT of course was dependent on Radio Transmitter location, so conceivably could be out of contact.  😦

GPS offers so much more, yet the earlier GPS enabled Citizen watches didn’t really do it for me, as they had an angular case shape left over from the Attesa series, which if small to average wrist size, they never quite fitted as snugly as I wanted.  For me that all important lug to lug size being seemed a little bit too long and at the wrong angle and so over hung the wrist.

This latest model CC3005-85E however is a different ball game altogether.  It goes back to the more conventional and in my view a sensible case shape, which fits my wrist just fine and although cased is 44 mm x 13 mm, has that neater lug to lug dimension and angle.

Now where my older AT model was great, this new GPS model is exceptional and it really comes into its own in all respects.   Using the new F150 movement, it has an increased accuracy out of the box and even without GPS or Radio Control is within +/- 5 seconds per month, which is really, really good.   Add in the GPS function and with one press, hold and and release of the lower right button (A) until the seconds hand moves to rx/time.  It then synchronizes with satellite (confirms by moving to OK) then corrects to the exact local time in all around 3 seconds.  This is a lot quicker than the ground based Radio Control models I’m used to and indeed any other GPS model I’ve seen.
Update – (Note – owing to the accuracy of the F150 movement (+/- 5 secs) this watch doesn’t really require an auto time check every day – but if more than 6 days since the last time check, it will automatically seek & correct the Time via satellite between 6am and 6pm).

When traveling it can now locate (previous models did not have this feature) which out of the 40 time zones you are in by a longer press, hold and release (4 secs) of the lower right button (A) – the second hand this time will point to rx/gps and calibrate the Zone and Time using 4 satellites within just 3 minutes.  As before if successful it will quickly flick to OK and then the Zone and Time are corrected.

So no need to do much of anything again except on occasion push a button – and that means ease of use (so often the enemy of complication watches) which is quite amazing.  You can of course quickly set a Zone & Time without using GPS at all by simply pulling out the crown to Pos 1, turning to the Time Zone/City required and push the crown in, just like my old AT model.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

I like the fact this model not only calibrates and shows the Time, Day and the Date, each of which is shown on the dial, but displays it in analog on a simple and clear, easy to read dial.  I am really pleased that Citizen have achieved what I have long been an advocate of – a simple “display v complication” ratio – and this model manages this to perfection.  The Solar cell internal charging system is also nothing short of spectacular (updated yet again) and can operate for a day after just 3 minutes in the sun.  I find this extraordinary and coupled with the fact that, once fully charged, if you chuck it in a drawer, it will manage via its Power Save function to keep ticking away internally for up to 7 years!

Even without Power Save activated it will run happily for around 2 years.

Now I have to ask myself if I actually need all this technology, as being perfectly honest my current AT model does just fine, but HEY! this is tech done right!  And I collect watches, so it was a no brainer that I was going to get it – wasn’t it!

Practically I like the fact it has decent luminous hands and baton markers and the dial is uncluttered, very clean, clear and very easy to read.

There is also a Battery Charge indicator around the right segment of the sub dial, marked with 5 lines.  Battery Charge shows what is in the tank so to speak, the level of battery charge – press and release the upper right button (B) and the sub-dial pointer indicates the level of charge – towards the top line is the best (see image) and will give up to 24 months.

The Power Generation indicator means this – if you want to ensure the watch is charging it needs a position where it can get to light.  Outside sun is the best of course as it will charge quicker. So to check you have a good position for charging – press and release the upper right button (B) again and this time note the analog hands.  These will close together forming a large pointer which will indicate on the main dial (note the 6 lines around the dial from 12 to 6 ) if the watch is getting enough light to charge.  The 6 o’clock position is the best (see image).  Note if below 5 o’clock then it’s better to find somewhere with more light to efficiently charge the battery.

I’ve found with mine that even outside on a white cloud dull day the Power Generation pointer is indicating MAX, so it’s getting enough light to charge properly.  That’s gratifying as where I live to see the sun is a cause for celebration!

I tend to leave most of my solar powered watches on a window ledge in the house and they all have full charge indicated – it always ensures my watches are at their best.  Note the watches cannot overcharge in normal light situations. (they could of course overheat if left on a dashboard in direct sun).  Also I would note that if you wear the watch as your daily beater and you usually have bare arms then the watch will more than likely always have full charge.  If however you wear the watch under a sleeve, then you should make a point of locating it somewhere there is good light, at least for a a few hours every month.  But you can easily see the Battery state at any time so you can make your own regime that works for you.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and power Generation.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and Power Generation.

Nice deployment bracelet - which I might change to silicon . . . but we'll see . .

High quality bracelet with standard spring-bars (24mm) – so if a strap preferred can easily be changed.

Sapphire glass is used so few scratches will ever bother you and with its Perpetual Calendar until February 28th 2100 should also see me out (if not it means either I’m unique in my own right, or my watch has got a problem, and I know which one is likely to fail!).

And perhaps best of all, for me, is the fact that this wonderful technology comes in a familiar and, considering the technology, an understated style and just as unobtrusive as my Solar AT model.  Citizen have definitely got this one right – improved and upgraded technology in almost every department and managed it all in a sensible case size.  To then display that technology without an F16 cockpit dial set up is also to be applauded.

I love it and I love this one too.

There are competitors out there of course not least Seiko, but I’ve had a look at them and so far they don’t do it for me!  They all tend to look a bit cluttered and look complicated and I have the impression the technology seems to be shoehorned in to the case.  And on the wrist they are just not that super easy to read.

But Citizen with this model have very successfully merged technology and simplicity together in a very sleek and dare I say conventional watch – complicated yes, high tech yes, but super simple to use.

Now for me that’s real progress.

A friend has a Seiko GPS model though I prefer the Citizen.  Not sure of the model but from what I’ve seen this Citizen has a few plus points over it.
The Citizen has a much clearer and uncluttered dial in comparison, it also has a smaller case, a much longer charge life up to 24 months (7 years with Power Save) and it is a far more accurate watch movement (Seiko is +/- 15 secs – and Citizen +/- 5 secs), so it’s really not essential to time check every day (why they’ve not provided an auto time check function).   The main points for me are the simple uncluttered dial, the size and the ease of use of the Citizen.
However as always in his fast moving field, no doubt the next model of either watch will improve, so it’s up to personal choice at the end of the day, but I certainly love this one.

Note – The Time check indicator if selected will indicate probably NO if you haven’t time checked for 6 days – this is just a reminder to Time check every so often, though with a non GPS accuracy of +/- 5 secs I suggest it hardly matters.  I’ll probably do a Time Check/Adjust monthly maybe . . . .

Updated 12th March 2016 – new images shown here with silicon replacement deployment strap (24mm width)

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

Citizen cc3005-85E with 24 mm wide silicon deployment strap

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Very clean case back - standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Very clean case back – standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Note Whilst a GPS watch uses Satellite signals this doesn’t mean it doesn’t use Radio signals, because it does of course.  Each of the main 24 satellites around the earth carries an Atomic Clock and the GPS watch picks up the radio signals from these.  It should also be noted that the satellite clock is compensated and a small correction applied.  The space based clock,s owing to the fact they run in a reduced gravity, actually run slightly fast by around a net 38 microseconds a day compared to ground based clocks.   Not that this should worry anyone – as long as the computer chips within the clock works of course!

Anyway  I see on my office clock it’s about 10 at the moment so a cup of tea is required . . . . . .  :-)