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Citizen Proximity Bluetooth Watch For iPhone Hands-On

Citizen Proximity Bluetooth Watch For iPhone Hands-On Hands-On

At first glance, this upcoming watch from Citizen is modern and cool, but it barely suggests its core appeal as a timepiece with Bluetooth connectivity. Look closely on the dial and you’ll find the Bluetooth logo to suggest it may do something else. This is Citizen’s first Bluetooth capable timepiece (that I am aware of) and it has been specially designed to only work with the Apple iPhone.

I actually find it a bit amusing that most people looking at the wealth of text on the dial would probably not see anything to suggest this new watch collection from Citizen is meant to connect to the iPhone. A closer look at the Citizen Proximity dial reveals indicators such as “CALL and MAIL.” That is something you don’t typically see on even the most high function Citizen Eco-Drive timepieces. While your iPhone is stuck in a pocket or bag, the watch can tell you if you have a range of incoming alerts such as a missed call or new message.

Citizen Proximity Bluetooth Watch For iPhone Hands-On Hands-On

I am not 100% sure why, but for this initial Bluetooth watch, Citizen designed the Proximity to work only with the iPhone 4S – which I believe is the first iPhone that uses Bluetooth profile 4.0 – which is a lower power consumption version of the popular connectivity system. The Proximity watch will also work with the iPhone 5 and other future versions of the popular smartphone. Citizen will also offer a special App Store available app to help upgrade the software on the watch, and perhaps other functions in the future. Citizen claims that the Proximity watch has a ten meter sync range with the phone.

So how exactly do the Proximity watch and iPhone work together? I got to check out prototype versions and was not able to actually sync the iPhone with a Proximity – though the promised functionality is simple enough. Using Bluetooth, the watch will sync its time and date from the phone, alert you to incoming calls, SMS messages, and e-mails. It will also tell you if you have a missed call. If you have a calendar appointment or event, the watch will let you know that you have something to do. One other function is that you can search for your phone using the Proximity watch. This likely has the watch make the phone ring or something similar when the search function is activated.

To notify you that your phone has a new message or event, the seconds hand from the time moves over to one of the indicators on the inner flange ring of the dial. It stays there until you notice it, and that doesn’t affect the time keeping. It is a simple and useful system that is likely combined with a slight vibration or beeping from the watch. It is an interesting way of having a watch live nicely with your phone. Watch brands today realize that in order to get many people to wear their products, watches either need to be more stylish than phones and/or somehow be used with phones. This is a step in that direction.


Citizen Proximity Bluetooth Watch For iPhone Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Proximity Bluetooth Watch For iPhone Hands-On Hands-On

The Citizen Proximity watch is about 44-45mm wide in steel. There is a brushed and polished case mixed with black and blue trim (ref. AT7030-05E), as well as an IP black case mixed with black and neon green trim (ref. AT7035-01E). Modern looking enough for ya? Inside the watches is a Citizen Japanese quartz caliber W760 Eco-Drive movement. The movement is powered by light, and offers the time, date, day of the week, AM/PM indicator, and 60 minute chronograph in addition to the Bluetooth and phone functions. Not having to change the battery is a great feature of Eco-Drive watches and lends itself well to a timepiece that lives with a phone. The watch case is water resistant to 100 meters.

Attached to the case is a perforated black strap – that looks a bit like leather. Why is this watch appealing? For  one thing it is the first Bluetooth connectable watch that is analog. Most of the Proximity’s competitors are going to be digital watches, which begs for an analog option. The Eco-Drive movement is certainly a plus, as well as the modern styling meant to appeal to the iPhone generation. Look for the Citizen Proximity watch this fall for your iPhone 4S and above at a retail price of $550.



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  • Kris C

    Cool watch, and like the concept, but I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying an iPhone. But, if they expand into other platforms, I’ll be a buyer.

    • MarkCarson

      Kris C This and Ulysses31’s comment beg the question – what is the more popular smartphone among WISs? A poll Ariel? I’m with Kris C and Ulysses31, no iPhone for me. Android guy here.

  • Ulysses31

    The design doesn’t look like something an iPhone owner would want – though I can’t be certain since I don’t have one – I wouldn’t want a phone made of glass any more than i’d want a wrench made of bone china.  I don’t think it’s very handsome but for a reasonable price it may sell.  Don’t Casio have something similar to this out already with more functions?  Android compatibility is a must considering it’s over 60% of the market; perhaps they’ll add that later.

  • HawaiianHorology

    I like the concept of the watch (IPhone bluetooth connectivity) with and Eco-Drive setup, but the execution of the dial leaves much to be desired.  People love the IPhone because it is intuitive to use, looks simple but elegant, and has a large number of Apps.  This looks to be neither simple/intuitive nor elegant.

  • iharley

    Not to sound like the edit police, but this might need cleaning up: “Using Bluetooth the watch will sync its time and date from the watch…” I assume it syncs with the phone.

  • To quote a plebeian horologist “I would not strap this to my dog” even if he had his own iPhone :). If you must, somehow, have your wristwatch connect to your phone then get a Pebble, or the like, that actually has some utility via readable e-ink screen.

  • LarryAyonn

    It’s a shame that they are limiting their market CONSIDERABLY, because this only works with an iPhone. I might wear this if it actually worked with my phone, but since I will never buy an iPhone, then I guess this has a bunch of “nifty” features that I’d miss out on.

  • gadgety

    The best part is it can be used under water, and that is Eco-drive. Even better if it were eco-drive duo.

  • gadgety

    The best part is it can be used under water, and that it’s Eco-drive. Even better if it were eco-drive duo. Design wise it’s a bit messy.

  • DG Cayse

    I like Citizen watches.I like the Eco-Drive system.I use Android 4.0. Samsung phone. In my upper right desk drawer. I hate carrying a cell phone.Luddite is my name.

  • piusisaac

    If you guys want to buy I am a authorized citizen retailer. The retail price is $495.00 I have them for sale in both colors on ebay. Heres the links.

  • techknowman

    OK, So I was at the mall on black Friday and there was a super deal on this watch at Kay’s. I picked one up for 323.00 (no tax in NH). By the time I got through waiting for my wife to pick out some shoes I had the watch set up and working. There is an app on the iTunes store that was a snap to figure out and set up with the phone. So here’s the good news, It works just as advertised, as soon as you pair the watch and tell it to synch the time, the watch sets itself. This is the feature I cared about most since I travel all over the country more than 40 weeks per year. And it’s cool. There is a call and mail indicator as well as sms. The vibration is VERY subtle and is easy to miss even if you are standing still but it is there. The calendar feature is useless because it is way to hard to read on the dial. But, I don’t need it so for me it’s no big deal. Now for the bad news, because the connection is made via Bluetooth, there is a battery drain, I know this says it’s using the low power mode of the phone’s Bluetooth, but it WILL drain the power. This is normal. In addition, unless you are interested in the mail and call notifications, there is not much of a reason to leave the Bluetooth on. Since I travel, I just turn it on and synch the phone as I am getting off the plane. So here is the question, how hard is it to set your watch manually vs. turning on the Bluetooth and synching the thing? This debate I leave to the world. For me, I love the look of the watch, the heft, and the styling. I like the technology and get a kick out of seeing all my friends observe the watch “set itself” and I am a geek at heart. So for me there is value and benefit. For others, it may be just seen as a gimmick. If I had to give a final rating it would be this:Cool: yesNecessary: noCost: I was happyWill I keep it? You Betcha.

    • techknowman Thanks so much for the comment and experience. Good information to have. Enjoy!

  • mopac01

    I’ve had this watch now for a month.  It’s done what I’d previously considered impossible – turned me once again into an everyday watch wearer.  Before receiving the Proximity as a gift, I don’t think I’d worn a watch in 10 years.  I’m sure I’d neither purchased one or received one as a gift in 15 years.  I thought that once I moved to a smart phone and it was a constant companion, a watch was redundant in the extreme.  I’m currently using a “phallet” from TwelveSouth for my iPhone called the “BookBook.”  It has collapsed my iPhone case and wallet into a single leather package that’s much more convenient than a phone and a separate wallet.  It’s also much more costly should the combination get misplaced.  The Proximity helps me ensure I don’t leave my phone/wallet behind.  I also rely on my phone for reminders of appointments and meetings.  But if I leave the office with the phone on the desk, then I’m open to miss a meeting alert.  The watch reminds me if I set off from my office without my phone.  It also has helped me locate my phone when I’ve set it down somewhere in the house.    I’ve received numerous compliments on the watch itself.
    The application on the iPhone is a mixed bag.  I’m sure it will improve.  Citizen makes clear they only support IMAP email and do NOT support SMS text notifications.  So folks rating them down for that on the iTunes store do Citizen an injustice.  Notification that you have an SMS text isn’t something they can do even if they wanted to – Apple doesn’t allow access to that by 3rd party apps.  The application does disconnect very easily – but it’s the only low energy bluetooth 4.0 device I have, so I’m not sure how much of that is the application and how much is the protocol.  I do wish Citizen would allow more personalization via the application.  I know they have a small energy “envelope” on the watch given the solar charging, but I’d like more say in how I “spend” that energy.  Let me turn off notifications for emails and calendar alerts in order to receive more vibrations on the watch in the event the link with the phone is lost for example.  Give me options on how to “spend” a reasonable number of days supply of energy based on the notifications that are most important to ME.

    • mopac01 Thanks for the great feedback and personal experience.