Up for review today is the Citizen JV0010-08E, also known as the 20th Anniversary Aqualand. It’s a solar-powered dive watch/computer, sporting both analog hands and a medium-sized digital display. Citizen has made a lot of dive computers and watches over the years, but this is the first Aqualand that uses their Eco-Drive solar technology.
The features include:
•It’s a very large watch, 50mm by 17mm thick, weighing in at 135g with the integrated 25mm urethane strap.
•Stainless steel case, with a brushed finish, matching buckle. The bezel is high-polish stainless steel. Screw-back case, no crown.
•Power reserve of 6 months to 2.5 years, depending on power save mode.
•The Citizen quartz U10 module is accurate to within 15 seconds per month.
•Water and pressure sensors (water sensor on the right side, pressure on the left.) that let the watch automatically enter dive mode when depth exceeds about 4m (12ft)
•Analog and digital depth meters, measures up to 100m (330ft). Out of the water, the depth gauge hand indicates power reserve (battery charge).
•Three alarms, each in its own timezone.
•World time in 42 cities plus UTC, 29 time zones.
•Local and world time, second timezone on digital display.
•Logging of up to 20 dives, each recording max depth, minimum temperature, total dive time, starting time and time zone.
•After a dive, the watch automatically measures surface time and shows you the dive time and max depth of your last dive, so as to avoid getting the bends.
•Electroluminescent backlight for the LCD display, and blue-glow lume for the hands, bezel and dial.
•Unusually for a dive watch, the bezel is under the (mineral glass) crystal and fixed. Normally, you rotate the bezel to line up with the minute hand when you submerge; Citizen cleverly inverted this: When it switches to dive mode, the minute hand zips to 00 and starts timing the dive!
•User-settable dive alarms for max depth, bottom time trigger sound as well as a red LED at 12 o’clock.
•Also alarms if ascent rate exceeds 9m/minute (33ft/min)
In addition, it’s sold in a variety of other versions – metric measurements, asymmetric case, bracelet, orange strap, etc.
In this picture, you can see the right-side buttons and water sensor. The buttons are plastic, textured with raised dots for traction and quite usable. You can also see the nicely brushed finished and complex shape of the case.
There’s a broad spectrum from ‘dive-style watch’ to ‘dive computer’. Dive-style watches are exemplified by the Rolex Submariner, and are a time-only watch in a waterproof case, usually with a unidirectional bezel. This is how dive watches began in 1953, and many still look that way now. Modern dive computers such as the Suunto D9 are full-blown digital computers with bitmapped displays, computer data downloads and wireless pressure sensors. This Citizen is somewhere in the middle, since it does log data, but only max/min/temp/time, and doesn’t interface to a computer for downloads. However, it’s certainly not a simple time-only watch, either.
One big advantage of a solar-powered dive watch is that you don’t have to breach the seals to change a battery. Since dive watches have to be pressure-tested, this saves both time and money, probably a few hundred dollars per year at least.
I wasn’t able to take this watch diving, for which I apologize; it clearly needs a dive to show its true strengths. On land, it’s a great deal of fun to wear, being large, colorful and easy to read. The thick strap balances the watch nicely, and the weight is reasonable. I’ve a 7.25″ wrist, and the watch didn’t feel overly large or top-heavy.
On land, you do notice how laser-focused this watch is on diving. There’s no stopwatch and no countdown timer, both of which are de regeur for most multifunction watches anymore. I also noticed that while very bright, the lume fades quickly at night and the digital display always switches back to day/date/month, so it can be quite difficult to read in the dark. However, if you’re diving, the display is showing you dive time, depth and temp, while the minute hand and depth gauge do their thing.
I quite like this watch and recommend it for divers who want a big, stylish, fun watch to wear around. The Eco-Drive makes it low-maintenance, and the price is quite reasonable for what it does.