The world of racing-inspired timepieces is perhaps the most wondrous subset of the watch industry, aiming to translate fascinating car designs and raw performance into a fashion statement you can wear on your wrist. Covering a diverse array of motorsport disciplines, these products draw in racing fans from all over the world, and show some of the most intricate watch building. The product to catch my immediate attention is an upcoming SHIFT line of watches, created by none other than the well-renowned Formula 1 Journalist Giorgio Piola. His tech drawings that document the evolution of Formula 1 designs throughout decades demonstrate unparalleled attention to detail, which has translated nicely into not just the SHIFT, but other collections available from Giorgio Piola. Drawing inspiration from the intense discipline that is F1 racing, the SHIFT collection arguably offers some of the most beautiful visuals you’d see from its category, provided you like the style of course, and especially appeals to me as a racing fan and a watch enthusiast. Currently funded under Kickstarter, these watches are available at more than reasonable prices, with $350USD pledge getting you one of the timepieces sometime around March 2019. If you have passion for the world of motorsports, the SHIFT collection shouldn’t be overlooked, and its solid spec sheet makes it one of the best options to be had in the price range.Continue reading
It is rare to see a diving watch incorporate clean visuals into an otherwise sporty utilitarian design so well that it becomes a viable everyday wearer, but this is precisely what Victorinox Swiss Army accomplished with their Inox Professional Diver line of watches. Translating the design of the classic Inox collection into a rugged build, the Pro Diver adds various features to distinguish the range as a viable alternative to the traditional line, doubling as a useful tool for those who use the full extent of the product’s features. You need to only appreciate athletic-inspired watches to instantly take a liking to the Victorinox Pro Diver, and its availability in various colors and different straps ensures buyers have a selection of choices to better suit their visual taste. I recently grabbed a reference model 241734 in the navy blue dial with a matching rubber strap, which not only contrast nicely with the stainless steel case, but also offer an excellent match to any dark outfit. A durable Swiss quartz movement within further positions the watch to be suited for any outdoor or work activity, and the fairly reasonable ownership price makes the Inox Pro Diver one of the most attractive watches you won’t be afraid to put under pressure of everyday use. If you’re not chasing after durability, however, the combination of stylish looks and comfortable wear ensure the features of the entire Inox range remain appealing to younger buyers like myself.Continue reading
The Citizen Promaster Altichron 2017 Release is hands down one of the best analog watches for the outdoors.
The updated for 2017 Citizen Promaster Altichron is an excellent addition to any sports or outdoor enthusiasts’ watch collections; and with a useful set of features in its movement, represents one of the most streamlined and durable Eco-Drive pieces made by Citizen thus far. With a rugged construction, comfortable strap, and a very readable dial, the Altichron makes for a perfect watch to those looking for a sporty fashion piece; or an outdoor watch, to which Citizen introduces handy altimeter and compass features. Keep in mind my review is of the updated model for 2017, as the Altichron name has already existed in the Citizen line-up, and my focus would be only on the 2017 release model. With a surprisingly light fit, where you wouldn’t expect a watch this thick to wear so comfortably, the Altichron imposes a big presence on the wrist, yet it never feels heavy to become a burden. After owning the watch for about 2 months, here are my impressions of the Citizen Promaster Altichron timepiece and why I think all watch enthusiasts should consider adding this one to their watch collection.
The packaging of the watch wasn’t really worth talking about, as at a $700 CAD price, I wouldn’t expect watches like this to deliver on fancy boxes, so the design is the starting point of discussion. Although it is worth noting that Citizen’s round boxes are a nice touch. The Citizen Altichron offers a nice contrast with its black strap, dial and the rotating bezel against the stainless steel construction of the case. The outside of the dial has a crown, two pushers and what I can assume is the air pressure gauge that allows the watch measure altitude up to 30000 ft, hence the name Altichron. The watch is very practical, and with this timepiece, Citizen have finally nailed a casual sporty look that goes along well with practically any outfit, including a black suit. The case diameter of 46 mm might sound large on paper and is definitely noticeable I will add, however the watch still wears surprisingly light and for some would look smaller than the measures suggest. The Altichron’s design heavily resembles a diving watch, both in terms of readability and depth of the dial, however it doesn’t offer any diver-specific features so those looking for a diving watch need to look elsewhere (Citizen offers some Eco-Drive divers as well). The case is 200 m water-resistant, however, so you can easily swim with it and for minimum diving, it can at least provide a clear time reading.
Additional comfort comes with a polyurethane strap that features a metal clasp, making the watch adjustable to any size of wrist. Even on my small wrist, the watch fits rather well, and the fact that it’s not a steel bracelet saved me the trouble of removing additional links (which i’ve had to do on my Bulova Curv). Unlike with a rubber or silicone band, the material used here is barely noticeable, and at times, I wouldn’t even notice the watch was on my wrist (it’s very very hard not to).With the Altichron’s decent thickness to accommodate 5 hands, it wears surprisingly comfortable, which is largely due to light materials, but also the strap. The said strap can be fully adjusted to preference and wrist size, as some might prefer a slightly loose fit over a tight one, but in technicality, it should fit just about anyone.
The watch dial deserves a separate category, not simply because it looks great and is easily readable, but also with a stellar set of features it offers, there is a lot to discuss here. Many would find the Altichron as absolutely busy, and it is; I’ve seriously never seen so many hands in an analog timepiece, and a deep dial on a watch that’s not even designed for diving. With that said, i never had issues reading the dial, whether in the sunlight or the dark, which says a lot for a watch that features 5 main hands. Perhaps the dial is very clear due to excellent contrast between a black dial and bright white hour/minute/second hands as well as hour indicators. Either way, the 2017’s Altichron can be read clearly anywhere. Citizen have also gone full out with luminous paint, which glows light blue in the dark both on the hour/minute hands, and small markers by the hour indicators, which I find really neat. Surprisingly, one could clearly tell the time in full darkness – that’s how much luminous paint there is, which only serves as an upside to an outdoor-style watch.
To break each of the dial functions down, there is a thin running seconds hand, and two thick hour & minute hands. Below those sits the altimeter function along with the compass, aided by a rotating bezel to display direction. A smaller sub-dial at 9 o’clock measures altitude at up to 32000 ft compared to the main hand’s 9000 ft limitation. The Altichron can also be used as a pilot’s watch to some extent, however again it wasn’t explicitly designed to do so. Then at 3 o’clock there’s the date position, which comes in handy on a busy watch like this, although most Citizen Eco-Drive pieces include that feature. The solid choice of colors the brand has put into the watch really shines, and red compass and altimeter hands are well contrasted against the dark dial, but also against the white time hands. All in all, it is one of the best watch designs I’ve seen, and I personally think it would appeal to all sorts of watch lovers, ranging from casual to even dressy, however most would probably use it as a sporty or outdoors watch.
The Promaster Altichron is powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive 3290 cal quartz meter. With the company’s signature Eco-Drive technology, which features a solar cell under the dial sapphire to capture small rays of light, which keeps the battery running. In simple words, according to Citizen, wear this watch semi-frequently and you won’t have to replace the battery as often as with other quartz watches or at all. For quartz movements, there isn’t much to talk about, as those are the most common watches available on the market, and most know how it operates. The Altichron is no different aside from the Eco-Drive technology, and I’ll add that Japanese brands especially have almost perfected the quartz technology better than their Swiss counterparts.
The Citizen Altichron features a solid steel caseback, so there is no way to see the movement, but then again it is a $700 watch we are talking about. There is a nice Citizen Eco-Drive logo that takes up most space, which I found to be neat. The caseback is completely sealed to provide that 200m depth resistance, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to open it yourself if the watch ever needs a battery change or repair. With a durable case and high-quality quartz movement, the Altichron is likely to last for many years if not decades, which makes it great for collectors also, however since it’s not a limited edition, would likely not be worth much in the future. However, that is not a downside, and many are bound to enjoy wearing or simply just looking at this watch, as Citizen have gone full-on mainstream in their design, and more simplistic than say the Altichron Cirrus released in 2014 as a limited edition.
- Solid case construction
- Easy to read dial
- Comfortable wear, light fit
- High quality durable Eco-Drive quartz movement
- 200 m water resistance
- Compass feature
Dislikes (I personally found nothing to dislike about this watch, however in my review I account for potential buyers and what they might find as a downside):
- 5 hands make the dial very busy Some might be thrown off by the thickness, however the watch wears very lightly
- 46 mm diameter case wears somewhat large but I haven’t noticed it
- Personally, none
The 2017 Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Altichron is an excellent watch, with a durable Japanese quartz movement, and a design that would appeal to different kinds of watch enthusiasts. Whether you’re an adventurer or just a casual watch wearer, the Altichron offers the necessary functions for mountain-climbers and hikers, but its design is the main appeal, as the watch goes along nicely with any kind of outfit. Despite the busy dial, it is easily readable, and looks spectacular in the dark with bright luminous hands and hour markers. With a date dial for added measure, Citizen have created an everyday watch that is bound to last for many years to come. If I were to rate it out of 10, I’d give it a solid 9.5, and I can easily recommend this watch to anyone, as the design is very mainstream and at a price around $700, the Citizen Altichron is not a large investment, but it’s an absolutely worthwhile timepiece.
Available at retailers: Hudson’s Bay, Jomashop, Amazon