back to top

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

New for Baselworld 2016 is a watch I’m very excited about, the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS reference CC3020-57L watch with the calibre F150 movement. Granted, I have an almost irrational inclination towards solar powered watches that manage to sync their time to an external source automatically. In fact, a watch of this type is the first “real” watch that I bought, not long before I got into the world of watch reviewing. Really, these watches can epitomize the argument in favor of quartz movements.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

This latest offering from Citizen looks like it will satiate watch lovers with a similar affinity for these solar powered GPS watches. What you are seeing is perhaps the first real dress-style casual watch with a size that makes sense for most wearers and that offer not just a light-powered Eco-Drive movement but also the functionality to receive always accurate time signals from GPS satellites.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Frankly, the name of the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch says it all. The GPS portion is literally how this watch keeps itself on time all around the world. Citizen has been making GPS watches for some time now (like the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS F150 watch), but older pieces like mine rely on radio signals from the atomic clock broadcasts. GPS watches like this Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS actually get their information from the GPS satellites revolving around the globe. The main benefit in syncing to GPS rather than atomic clock is the fact that it works all around the world, rather than relying on being within range of one of the three radio broadcasts around the globe.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As the specs for the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch point out, the watch can get a signal from the satellites in 40 different time zones in as little as 3 seconds. What this means is that, for a world-traveler, you should be able to step outside in the city you just arrived in, force a sync on the watch, and have it not only display the accurate time (to the second), but have it automatically adjust to the timezone of where you are. It’s hard to downplay the usefulness of this for world-travelers.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Stepping outside has another great benefit for the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch. Being as it is part of the Eco-Drive family, like the recent Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F900 GPS watch, that means it is recharged by light, as you probably know by now. Frankly, when you’re relying on a watch communicating with satellites, having this sort of recharging built in is all but required unless you feel like plugging in. And for watches, I don’t. This also means that this is certainly a quartz you could have stuck in a drawer for a good long time, pull it out for a bit, and have it up and running very quickly. In many ways, it is as close of a thing to a mechanical watch in that regard as you can find.


Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I have to say that the design of the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch is something I have not found to be all that prevalent in the world of these solar and syncing watches. By that, I mean they tend to really embrace the technological guts inside, and go heavy into the sporty/outdoorsy look. Not that there is anything wrong with that – in fact, mine is of that nature. They can get overly complex to use in ways other than reading the time, and can look out of place in some business environments.

Citizen has oddly left out the size (UPDATE: the watch is a reported 44mm wide) of the CC3020-57L, but Ariel was able to get some hands-on time with a pre-production prototype and you can see that it is very wearable and not too thick. It has an handsome almost retro-look that Japanese watch aficionados will find similar to watches ranging from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The dial on the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch is kept fairly clean, and having things set in a steel case and seven-link bracelet really give the watch the looks that should tie in well for the global business traveler. Now, it is not the most affordable GPS watch I have seen, but it has some of the best “business travel-ready” styling I have run across to date. For those who stick closer to home, the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS watch probably is not the best option. If you are the sort who found the movie Up in the Air to be a bit auto-biographical, though, then this is probably something you need to have a look at. Price for the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L watch is $1,150.

Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS CC3020-57L Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Tech Specs from Citizen

  • Ref: CC3020-57L
  • Eco-Drive Technology
  • Calibre F150
  • Satellite GPS timekeeping system (GPS and manual)
  • 3-second reception speed
  • Worldwide reception area
  • World time in 27 cities (40 time zones)
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Daylight savings time indicator
  • Power reserve indictor
  • Light level power indicator
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Day/date
  • WR100



Disqus Debug thread_id: 4566035658

  • David Williams

    Patrick, please forgive a rather pedantic comment – “…hard to downplay the usefulness…” – really? Think about that for a moment! Hard to overstate the usefulness, perhaps.

  • Borys Bozzor Pawliw

    Is anyone else getting a hint of Vacheron Constantin Overseas vibe? Damn nice and a bit more affordable!

  • ConElPueblo

    Love the case, a clear reference to Japanese watches of the late 60s and the 70s.

  • SuperStrapper

    I can see these becoming quite popular within a certain segment of people that aren’t really watch nerds, but do like to wear a watch that isn’t connected to their phone.

    • spiceballs

      I have a similar Citizen and am not mobile phone bound. These are great (in the way they synch with time of the country one is or will be, in) and great to travel with, being also very robust.

  • Michael Reichmann

    “…..for a world-traveler, you should be able to step outside in the city you just arrived in, force a sync on the watch…”

    Really? I couldn’t disagree more. As someone who has spent the part 40 years on more international flights than I care to remember, I would say that waiting to arrive at your destination to set ones watch is the last thing you want to do.

    You’d have to step out into the airport’s parking lot, or maybe wait till you get to your hotel and then find a clear patch of sky between the buildings.

    Instead you’ll likely want to set your watch to the time of your destination city when you get on the plane. Or maybe to the time of the city where you have a three hour layover.

    I have a Citizen F100, so I am well aware of these issues with a GPS watch. To write “It’s hard to downplay the usefulness of this for world-travelers,” simply means that you’ve either eaten the Citizen PR mushroom or haven’t spent enough time on international flights.

    • Wayne McCombe

      you wouldnt need to sync to change the time zone. that can be done without a signal, eg on a plane, which is where i do it too.

    • TechUser2011

      You are also missing the point that the watch uses GPS to set the time and date for you. So instead of moving the hours hand around and adjusting for the correct date, the watch will set both automatically.

  • I_G

    Party like it’s 1982 with that bracelet.

  • Gary K

    Is there no lume on the dial? All of my current Eco-Drives have lume on the dial.

    • Sevenmack

      On the hands and on the indices at 12, 3, 6, and 9. And like all Citizens, that lume will be awesome.

      • Gary K

        The faces of those three markers look like brushed metal to me, not lume. Check out the zoomed in pics.

  • Sevenmack

    And suddenly, a grand in fun money is gone. I must have this watch. The best-looking Citizen I have seen since the Attesa JDM world timer.

  • beardedman

    I understand the author’s enthusiasm. But ultimately, for me, it’s a total fail. “They can get overly complex to use in ways other than reading the time”. There it is. It’s pretty, and it’s relatively inexpensive. While it doesn’t need to be paired with a phone, it needs to pair with a satellite and sunlight. Then you have the “No”, “OK” and other stuff the hands fly around the dial and point to that need to be figured out. It doesn’t appeal to me in any respect.

    • Shinytoys

      Aye, you’re a tough sale Mr. Beard 🙂

  • Lawrence

    I don’t like the bracelet, oyster bracelet would be better

  • JimBob

    Why in the name of all that is holy do these not have a GMT hand?

  • Wayne McCombe

    love the styling but would have preferred a different bracelet or normal lugs

  • Emperius

    Size in mm?

  • craik

    I only recently purchased an F150. This one is a beauty, though I’d have to see it in person to consider pulling the trigger!

  • Shinytoys

    Excellent piece Mr. Kansa. This particular model grouping is in my next purchase category. I love my Pro-Treks, but this clearly ups the game with Satellite accuracy, eco drive and build quality. She’s a beauty, and the price is right.

  • MikeCrash

    I love the idea of having a watch that tells YOU the exact time not vice versa. I have a few of Casio’s Multiband6 watches but after nearly missing a plane because of the Daylight Saving Time time difference between Ankara and Athens which are in the same time zone, I decided I’d have a GPS watch next. It turns out that only Casio’s GPS watches set DST automatically, with a Seiko or Citizen you must change that setting yourself. It’s an important difference for me – I want a watch that tells ME the time. I think Citizen have made a very attractive and simple watch here – I’ll be waiting for Casio to make something as elegant because their Oceanus OCW-G1000 and G1100 are way too fussy.

    • Stare

      Hi, great comment about summer-time-fuss. So in order to get the exact time i should ask a local person whether current place’s hour is moved (summer) or not and adjust SMT on?

  • Pemar

    I like the idea of very accurate watches. Radio-controlled or with GPS receiver are the ones of interest. I have a radio-controlled Citizen – unfortunately in area where I live the synchronization is extremely slow – up to 15 minutes (Older Casio would quite often not synchronize at all). For that reason extremely fast, and not time of day depended, Citizen is very attractive to me. Automatic time zone change is useful but I don’t travel that much. I like the design of the reviewed watch – finally something less cluttered. My radio-controlled Citizen (very similar to satellite-wave but without day function) I had to import from Europe as all what was available here at the time were models with all kinds of sub dials or heavy bezels with high contrast engravings. Seiko Astrons are also too busy for me. In radio-controlled department Junghans aesthetics appeals to me.
    It would be interesting to see comparison review of functionality of GPS watches as somebody in this discussion has pointed to some downsides and differences between brands. I would also be interested what happens if time zones designation change as it will happen on March 27 in most of Russia (not that I am going there anytime soon). Will position acquired from GPS translate properly into time? Will the watch need software update? Will satellites provide necessary correction?

  • Dénes Albert

    “Citizen has oddly left out the size of the CC3020-57L…” and so did you, I’m sorry to say. That would be borderline acceptable for a fashion blog, but we do come here for _information_. How long does it take to measure (and, God forbid, weigh) a watch? If it’s not too much to ask, please provide this information in the future.

    Thank you

    • Ariel Adams

      I just updated the article. The watch is 44mm wide.

      • Dénes Albert

        I appreciate it, Ariel. Thank you.

  • Stare

    Nice watch, but i would get rid of days indicator, it is really worthless, instead compass or alarm would be much useful

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