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.
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.
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.