Citizen Altichron Analog Altimeter Compass Watch Hands-On

Citizen Altichron Analog Altimeter Compass Watch Hands-On

Citizen Altichron Analog Altimeter Compass Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For 2013, Citizen watches remakes the famed Altichron that originally showed its face (no pun intended) in 1989. A mere comparison of the 2013 versus the 1989 model shows just how far Japanese watch brands (as well as the overall timepiece industry) has come. 24 years after its original debut, the new Altichron has some new tricks for sure, but looks much more visually stunning. The tool part of the watch has become amazingly much more showy. See a picture of the original Altichron below.

The new Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Altichron is a totally analog digital sensor watch that includes a compass and altimeter. It of course tells you the time and the date as well (and a power reserve indicator for the charge remaining in the battery). This latter feature is handy and we appreciate the light-powered Eco-Drive watches that have them as after sitting around for a while it can be difficult to know how much life is left in the battery and if it is safe to take or if it needs to sunbathe for a while (to charge).

Citizen Altichron Analog Altimeter Compass Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Size for the 2013 Altichron is way up from the original as the new model is a whopping 49.5mm wide. Having said that, all versions of the Altichron come in a titanium case and these are on par with Casio's Pro Trek multi-sensor watches which are its natural competitors. Both Citizen and Casio have a fascination with removing the digital part of quartz watches and making them as analog as possible. Style-wise they always look better, but functionality always seems to suffer. A recent example can be seen in our review of the Casio G-Shock GW-A1000 watch.

In this case you can see a lack of features such as a weather-predicting barometer or thermometer. Perhaps those aren't too useful on a watch, but when it comes to Japanese gadget watches, we tend to prefer all the functionality we can get. Hopefully less features means a more simple and enjoyable operating experience. Here the Altichron does not fare too badly. Pushers on the left of the case flank the sensor for the altitude and are color coded with the function you want to activate. Orange will tell you your altitude from minus 300 meters (1,000 feet) up to 10,000 meters (32,000 feet). I am not sure if you can use the function underwater, I doubt it. The watch is however water resistant to 200 meters. UPDATE: Citizen has noted that the Altichron is not intended as a diver and will not measure water pressure or depth. Note that there will be distinct versions of the Promaster Altichron that indicate distance in either meters or feet. The watch cannot display both - so choose wisely.

Citizen Altichron Analog Altimeter Compass Watch Hands-On Hands-On
Original Citizen Altichron form 1989. Image credit:
What do you think?
  • I want it! (15)
  • I love it! (5)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
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  • Ulysses31

    I may have taken leave of my senses but I think this looks great, and I would happily wear it.  The colours are bright but not overpowering (slightly pastel rather than neon) and they go very well with the dark case and strap.  What’s more the overall design is smooth and attractive, not looking lumpy and ridged like a tyre tread as with some other popular sports watches.  That Citizen manufacturing quality and finish seals the deal, something Casio doesn’t come close to.  No weeping into your loupe with this timepiece.

  • Kris C

    Wow, I love it. The dark grey satinized case with orange chaptwer ring is a stunning display, and while very busy, it is quite readable. Lots of levels, and the handsets are awesome. This is a very well thought out design for sure – I’m impressed. I won’t replace my PAG240 with it (The baro trend graph is very useful for me, along with sunrise/sunset data, and it’s also 1/3 the cost), but this is one of those watches that I kinda want to buy just so that I have it. Price is reasonable for the most part, although maybe a little steep, but I would expect that to come down a bit eventually.

  • Lesthepom

    This is certainly a cool gadget watch it Duse have a look of a Suunto case but the dial is all citizen looks like it would be accurate I have had watches with altimeter on them but have been way of the mark when tested in the real world would be interesting if the minus scale is for diving not just for those strange places on the planet that are below sea level
    I will definitely try one on when my local dealer gets one in

  • rampalus

    I am wearing at this moment my 20 years-old Altichron – for years its aesthetic has fascinated me. I haven´t changed its battery more than 6 times in all that time and it is accurate to 5 seconds a month. This watch started my preference of multi-purpose/ABC types of watch for a daily wearing. I am quite happy CItizen has resuscitated the brand and I will definitely be getting one of these, even more considering that these new ones are Eco-Drive. I also have one of the new eco-drive Aqualands.
    One of the bad things of the old version was getting strap replacements – I had only found them in Brazil and they are quite rare elsewhere (at least in Europe). I do miss that on the new one though, the Suunto strap (although I have one and it is quite confortable) is not that appealing to me and I will be looking to replace it with a chunkier, aviator-type leather strap that the Altichron name deserves. after all, its was a quite big watch at its time of launch.

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