back to top

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

With the reference BN5058-07E timepiece, Citizen of Japan totally re-imagines the previous generation “avant-garde moderne”  Promaster Altichron into something that I feel is correctly a lot more mainstream. The previous generation Altichron was a dream piece for anyone that considers themselves a fan of quirky, yet serious tool watches. In 2014, they even released a super niche and cool limited model, the Altichron Cirrus. For 2017 Citizen wanted to make the very practical and impressive functionality of the Promaster Altichron a bit more mainstream in style, so what we now have is a lovely design study in more conservative and traditional design elements as applied to the theme of the Altichron. Did I mention the new 2017 Altichron watches are priced considerably lower than before? There is that too.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams & David Bredan

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

What gadget theme is represented by the Altichron? Well, the name “Altichron” (originally introduced by Citizen in the late 1980s) combines “altitude” with “chronometer,” but the better way to think of the watch is as an all-analog timepiece that combines time-telling with a compass and altimeter – in a reliable Citizen Eco-Drive light powered movement package.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

The Altichron reference BN5058-07E alongside an original from the 1980s.

Compared to the previous generation Altichron models, the BN5058-07E is practically vintage-styled, though not in a bad way. Citizen adopted a more pilot-watch style theme that looks like the Altichron mated with a 1960s military aviator chronograph.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

With that said, the sheer depth of the dial doesn’t make the Altichron feel like anything else. The dial needs to be so deep because the center stem needs to accommodate five hands, plus a sixth hand on the dial for the multi-purpose subsidiary dial.  You also get the date. Movement is, as I understand it, unchanged for this updated Promaster Altichron that continues to contain the Citizen caliber 3290 Eco-Drive quartz movement. In addition to the time, compass, altimeter (that measures in really large segments up to 32,000 feet), and calendar, the dial has a power reserve indicator for the battery life.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

People generally use the Altichron as a sort of all purpose adventure watch for when altitude is needed, but not in a super precise manner. More useful than the altimeter (for most, given modern technology), is the compass – which can prove really handy. Citizen still makes the Promaster Altichron a lot like a dive watch, so this 46mm wide steel case is water resistant to 200m. Yes, you can dive with it, but the altimeter system is not really designed to operate as a depth gauge for diving. So this timepiece wouldn’t be as appropriate as other Promaster watches under the sea.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Fitting the vintage military watch look is the black-colored rotating bezel, as well as the sober-looking white hour markers and hands against the mostly matte black dial. The result is very legible and conservative, with a pleasant emphasis on pure functionality (with a small hint of color). This is the price point where I would start to expect sapphire crystals, so I think I am not the only one wishing Citizen used an AR-coated sapphire crystal as opposed to an AR-coated mineral crystal.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen does their best to use design tricks to help visually reduce the mass of the Promaster Altichron. No matter how they dress it, the watch will still be pretty large. I think a future generation Altichron deserves to be a lot smaller. This is basically the size of a smartwatch, and you know there isn’t need for a battery or a screen, or GPS for that matter. Thus, if the movement size is what is keeping the Altichron so thick, there might be value in trying to engineer a smaller one. We know Citizen can do it, of course. It is just a matter of priority at the company. I just seem to think there is a market for a slim Promaster “navigation watch” with a compass complication.

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

The movement has a crown at 4 o’clock, two pushers on the left-side of the case, and also an access point for the air pressure sensor for the altimeter. Citizen says the watch is for a “semi-professional adventurer.” I’m not actually sure who might constitute a professional adventurer these days aside from someone like Indiana Jones. Maybe Citizen has some suggestions on where one – semi-professionally, of course – might want to seek adventure?

Citizen Promaster Altichron Watch Updated For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Attached to the steel case is a black polyurethane strap that is comfortable, even if it isn’t a style leader. Citizen often pairs straps with otherwise great watches that are best replaced with something that might make for a better high-end look. I think on a black leather aviator-style strap, the Citizen Promaster Altichron might look really cool. Retail price for the Citizen Promaster Altichron BN5058-07E watch is $550 USD.



Disqus Debug thread_id: 6294059546

  • A Sinn Citizen? I like it!

    • Pete Pete

      that was my first idea as well. looks like a sinn. which – for a toolwatch – is a good thing.

      • Can’t think of higher praise than that for a tool watch!

        • IG

          I can.

    • Tea Hound

      Sinn Citi.

    • DanW94

      Sinnizen or Citisinn?

  • Mikita

    The new way to say “Busy”.

  • Bozzor

    A big fansof this as a cool but still reasonably practical fashion statement. But whilst all analogue dials look cool and are what many want, an ana-digi or pure digital can’t be beaten for true functionality in the real world of accurate information being displayed to you in a quickly understood way. Still, I guess the real world these days is not out in the wilds of Alaska, but in the wilds of the jewellery store or online when you are trying to buy style.

  • SuperStrapper

    Really cool actually. Sent this to a southpaw friend that is always looking for left side watches and hes completing an online order right now.

  • IG

    I like the Sinn-ish design, though the date wheel should be white or yellow on black.

  • Yan Fin

    …and for an extra $20 you can get 2 hands and 3 scales more.


    All the way to 32,0000 ft ok but will the display work in a pressurized cabin?
    Anyhow too big too thick too many hands for me but at least it is a play thing at a reasonable cost. Either that or get an Undone.

    • egznyc

      It will work but it won’t display the actual altitude since it’s based on air pressure.

    • IG

      Get an Undone – then get it undone.

  • That fake screw head at 6 o’clock.

    It’s funny when you realize that there was a committee that met for months on whether or not to include it in the design, and argued over in which direction it should be aligned.

  • TrevorXM

    At least it’s got enough stuff going on to be interesting. Seems like a watch which should have a sapphire as mentioned in the article. They should have bumped the price up just a little if they had to — but that’s just typical Japanese corporate penny pinching crap. As mentioned by Valannin, what is that “screw” thing on the dial between 6 and 7? Is that a symbol for something?

  • Larry Holmack


  • Raymond Wilkie

    I hate to stereotype but i think i can quite confidently say that i wouldn’t get on with anyone wearing this nightmare strapped to their wrist.

    • mtnsicl

      Do you ever get on with anyone?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Of course i do, but I’ve got to an age where i don’t suffer fools gladly.

      • IG

        With Malcolm The Lawnmower.

    • JDB

      If you were unsure of your location in the backcountry, and met a fellow hiker with an altimeter watch, compass, and a topo map (none of which quickly drain batteries like a GPS), you might consider getting along with that person 🙂

      • Raymond Wilkie

        All i need is the sun and my Indian chief spirit guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and my path would become clear and my destination set.

        • JDB

          With guidance and humor like that, you’re always welcome on my hikes!

  • Dave Gibson

    I bought this watch when it first became available and it’s a wonderful watch. I do a lot of mountain climbing and the watch is very accurate(I’ve only summited up to 5,300ft) and is always a few feet within published data for the peaks I’ve climbed. It’s become my everyday watch as well.

  • Tea Hound

    I’d rather have the Breitling Emergency II. If I was up a mountain and needed to know how high I was, I’d unscrew the transmitter and ask the rescue services to tell me when they arrived, then take me back down in their chopper. They’d probably have more accurate stuff, and it’d save me the walk down.

  • Joel Woodward

    Where did you find one with a black case? Even Citizen’s web site only shows stainless steel.

  • That is a nice watch

  • AllYourFache

    OOOOOOOHHHH. So cool. I’ve been wanting to climb Mt Shasta (14.3k) for a few years. I’m gonna do it with one of these.

  • b12k3

    For me this watch looks to invisible, like I would have seen it so often before. So I still prefer the BN4021-02E, but both are without sapphire, that’s sad and stops me buying one.

  • Ulysses31

    Altichrons can be identified by their overly-cluttered dials. I realise it is very practical and with a lot of functionality but just isn’t particularly pleasant to look at.

  • Art?rs Kor?evs

    Hi. Maybe someone knows where to buy this promaster rubber straps separately? 22mm, straight ends. As i know these are very comfortable and soft and i want to buy these for my cc9030 and bn2021.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Forever Great

    I need an altimeter because I’m currently training to climb mount Rainier to throw this pos citizen watch off it.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.