Just in time for heading to the beach this summer, Citizen has released a new Eco-Drive model in their Scuba Fin lineup.
The new model (CA0515-02L) isn't a massive departure from the earlier Eco-Drive Scuba Fin models, but it does have some freshened looks, sporting a blue (or orange) dial that earlier iterations don't quite have. Don't forget there is a chronograph as well. That blue also carries over to the 26mm polyurethane strap. While this looks like it would be a fine enough material for hitting the water, it does give me some pause for concern. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it does look like the strap is integrated directly to the lugs - which means replacement options are limited, a strike in my book.
But enough about that - on to the good things in the watch. As with other models in the Scuba Fin lineup, this new model features a 60 minute chronograph function. The other two sub dials are tracking 24-hour time (I assumed synchronized to the main time) and small seconds.
These sub dials are closely clustered together, keeping a fairly balanced look, even with the date display set off a bit at the 3 o'clock position. And speaking of that date display - Citizen properly put a reversed color scheme on the date wheel, which is more of a rarity than you'd hope at this price point.
All of this is driven by an Eco-Drive movement, which charges up simply by being exposed to the sun. While I've not experienced this flavor of solar charging, I have it on another watch, and it is a nice feature to have on a quartz-driven model. Basically, until that cell gets worn out, you don't need to worry about changing batteries for a good long time.
Protecting that blue dial you have a mineral crystal, surrounded by a uni-directional bezel. While I'm not a diver myself, I find these dive bezels pretty handy for simple timing in many day-to-day activities (I actually use them more than I do a chronograph complication, truth be told). Should you want to hit the water with the watch though, you're covered - the 48mm stainless steel case carries a 200 meter water resistance rating. While the strap situation would personally give me some pause, this is a great looking diver chronograph continuing the Scuba Fin styling and theme that we've been enjoying.
I will give this recommendation - if you're going to have just a single quartz model in your collection, I'd heartily recommend a solar powered (Eco-Drive in Citizen's case) model of some flavor. If nothing else, it's fun to pull it out of the watch box and see the hands spring to life once the light hits the dial. Value is high with a retail price for the CA0515-02L at $399. Available now. citizenwatch.com