Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

The Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter has existed in evolving forms for many years as a popular dive watch choice for those looking to measure their depth as well as the time under water. As an amateur diver and watch lover, I make use of my dive/tool watches to actually dive. This is especially interesting, since even with the omnipresence of dive computers, a dive watch, in my opinion, remains important while diving as it provides the secondary method (backup plan) for timing that any diver knows is critical and potentially life saving if something were to go awry.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

Some of the most complicated modern mechanical dive watches are the ones that have depth gauges. Not that typical dive computers do not include a depth measurement feature, but again, as a secondary source of redundancy, the dive watch with depth gauge is highly usable and practical.

One of the most affordable, yet feature packed, dive watches with a depth gauge is the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter reference BN2029-01E (or Citizen Promaster Aqualand for short). As I venture into eventually becoming a master diver, I did not hesitate when Citizen wanted to send me one exemplar for my second trip to Key Largo, FL, in the past three years to dive in the marine sanctuary there. What follows here is a recap of three days diving with the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand diver.

Citizen is well known for their quartz watches, however, the Citizen company has a long history in horology dating back to 1924 producing pocket watches under the name Citizen but branded by Shokosha Watch Research Institute.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

Currently the most popular lineup from Citizen stems from their Eco-Drive watches which use a solar cell on the dial to charge a battery and fuel an accurate quartz movement. The great part about this technology is that watch can be powered by any light, solar, home light, and so on, and the battery is typically rated and guaranteed for a the lifetime of the watch. This makes for an accurate watch that requires very low maintenance.

In the model I received, containing the Eco-Drive J250 movement, one charge will typically hold the watch working for 180 days and more (by going to standby mode) if the watch is kept in a poorly lit enclosure. So far, I can attest that the battery charging has worked perfectly as the watch remained pretty much fully charged (easily seen by the power reserve indicator on the dial) since I received it a couple of weeks before the trip, and the sun in Florida constantly recharged it as I used it for diving.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

What makes the Citizen Promaster Aqualand particularly usable to me for diving are two unique features that are most commonly found in either dive computers or mechanical watches ten times the price of this one: a depth gauge with indication of current depth and max depth.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

If you look carefully at the dial above, you will see that besides the two skeletonized hands in white (indicating hours) and orange (indicating minutes), there are two other smaller hands shaped as pointy arrows in blue and purple. The first one indicates the current depth in meters and the other moves along but remains at the greatest depth achieved.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

For instance, in the picture above, you can see that I was at about 8 meters (26 feet) depth, whereas my max depth at the time was about 10 meters (or about 33 feet). What makes this feature interesting for divers is the ease of knowing what max depth you have achieved during a dive as you check for your dive time. This is important as one of the main factors of staying in the no-decompression limits for a dive are your maximum depth achieved and the amount of time spent at bottom as well as overall time in water and prior dives. With some calculation and remembering or checking the decompression tables, with the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter you are able to accurately determine if you should perform decompression stops.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

While most recreational divers tend to plan dives with no-decompression stops, having the knowledge that you need that decompression stop readily during a dive makes for a safer experience. And again, while I realize that a modern dive computer will readily give you this information and much more, there remain two realities that still make the Citizen a great companion for me.

Firstly, most dive computers have busy multiple dials with lots of information, including air reserve and compass, which are two necessary pieces of info when diving; I therefore tend to use the computer primarily for these information first. Secondly, dive computers require batteries and are pretty useless if they run out of juice. So while not a mechanical device and thus not a true alternative secondary source of information, the Citizen rechargeable Eco-Drive technology still makes for an excellent fault-tolerant secondary source for me.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

Additionally, a wonderful feature of the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter is the fast ascent indicator. Essentially, the watch will automatically start beeping (which one can hear easily underwater) whenever your ascent speed is greater than 33 feet (10 meters) per minute. This is a feature I activated more than a few times during my second dive, when the weather was inclement and thus the visibility was terrible, and even at 30 and 40 feet, the waves on the surface would affect the deeper waters. Moving up and down was not infrequent as we tried to move to areas with less coral and making sure we stayed far from the fragile marine life.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

The last thing to cover is the basic shape of the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter watch. It's the classic round "tuna-can" style shape that Seiko and Citizen dive watches are famous for. This makes for a dial that is recessed and well protected by the unidirectional bezel. The sword teeth three dimensional design of the bezel make it easy to grasp and turn. Since the bezel seats 2 to 3 mm higher above the anti-reflective mineral crystal, it does a good job of covering the dial face while giving a truly instrument look to the watch. The rest of the dial is no-nonsense dive watch, with indicators well situated, while the inner part of the dial contains the depth gauge indicators in meters up to 70 meters, or 230 feet (typically the limit for most recreational diving). The watch itself is water resistant to 200 meters.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

Finishing the case are the screw-down crown to control setting the time and quick setting of the date located at 4 o'clock; while two other crowns (at 8 o'clock and 10 o'clock) can be used to ask for the maximum depth on demand when the watch is outside water and to reset it to zero. Between the two crowns, at 9 o'clock, there is the depth gauge sensor which does not turn, but gives a instrument look to the watch. The depth gauge is automatically activated once the watch is submerged in water, as a sensor, flat on the case, located at 7 o'clock activates the mechanism when wet.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

At 43 mm wide and a bit more than 15 mm high, the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter is a large watch, however, it actually wears quite well. The primary reason is that the lugs are almost completely integrated into the case, allowing the well built polyurethane rubber strap to wrap ones naked wrist above water and tightly around a wet suit when diving. The strap is also long, with two keepers. The first one is locked, while the other can move. Together, they keep the strap perfectly around ones wrist, with or without a wet suit.

Diving Key Largo Marine Sanctuary With A Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter Watch Wrist Time Reviews

At an MSRP of $950, the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter is a bargain for what it provides, and when one compares it with the other similarly featured-watches in this category. While I would have a hard time wearing this watch day-to-day, due to it's imposing, yet wearable, stature, it felt great on the dive boat and during post-dive activities. The extremely legible dial and instrument look, make it blend perfectly with my other dive equipment. citizenwatch.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Citizen
>Model: Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter ref. BN2029-01E
>Price: $950
>Size: 50 mm diameter x 18 mm high (not much more than 52 mm lug to lug)
>Weight: 175g on strap
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, during dives and diving excursions.
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Anyone new to diving or the seasoned amateur diver who lacks a dive watch and is dependent on his/her dive computer solely.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Lack of deployment buckle option. The strap is great but I miss the quick and easy removal of my other mechanical dive watches.
>Best characteristic of watch: The rapid ascent indicator. It works brilliantly with an audible note that one can hear easily yet does not pollute the environment or annoy your dive buddy.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (26)
  • I love it! (4)
  • Interesting (3)
  • Thumbs up (3)
  • Classy (0)
  • 5803822

    Splendid value and looks – think I might take a dive as soon as I can get my hands on one.

  • Great actual-use review. What surprises me most about the watch is the 200m rating. It’s looks really over built for a rating like that, iyou would expect more like a rating of 500m, etc with looks like that.

  • Good to see a diver used for its intended purpose!  And I say this as an avowed desk diver…

  • Lkcons

    SuperStrapper Would guess a depth gauge limitation rather than a watch limitation…still prefer the fully mechanical Oris though. But then, I don’t dive deeper than 20m (after that everything just gets blue anyway) and my air only lasts about 60mins or so on a 12 liter bottle (hence no decompression stops either), so no dive computers & battery assist for me (yeah, I have one, hate the beep beep beep….stupid things says I breath too slow. Obviously wrong as I am still alive….)

  • thornwood36

    This watch takes chunkiness to a new level. But i’ll still have one :). I wonder how many people actually use this watch for its intended purpose. i dont even own a pair of flippers.

  • nickyb66

    A nice, purposeful watch for sure. When I first looked at the image of the watch and by noting how big and chunky it was I thought it would be certified to a depth of 5,000 ft or more not ‘just’ 200m.

    Makes my Rolex Sub’ look dainty by comparison!

  • iamcalledryan

    This totally maxes my chunk-ometer

  • Tourbillion87

    A very useful review. Thank you. Stuff like this i a actually take the time to read instead of skimming through the pictures.

  • CG

    Nice… straps are easier to adjust for me when going from wearing dive suit to wearing a warm water fleece skin or bare arm… 200 meters is plenty for 99% of all divers, now if you are Nitrox certed that’s different. I have the first issue AL PM w/ digital depth gauge used it for years went thru 3 straps (they used to print dive tables on the strap…useful), this issue is slightly larger, even the original AL PM’s were 200 meters. Nice sport diver but should be $600 price point.

  • Spaceguitar

    Another excellent “true intended use” review Maximilien, I very much enjoy your reviews.
    Purpose-built and solid. This is the watch that the desk divers scuttle away and avoid when it strolls into the bar. Good job Citizen.

  • shinytoys

    A very well written article by Maximilien! I own two previous model Aqua Land pieces, and they have never failed me or given me one scintilla of trouble.  The best part is they are extremely accurate with the measurements most concerning diver’s. I have calibrated mine against my dive computers and my old school hand written manual findings and they have always been spot on. A  pretty fine accomplishment considering they are not exactly treated with the greatest respect when you bang them around under water, or they get dropped on the deck of the dive boat and stepped on by a foot or a flipper.. (Accidents happen). These tools just come up smiling and the fit and finish are excellent. The only service these watches have had are the replacement of batteries over the years, and the frequency has not been excessive. I also have replaced the band on the one unit, but that’s seven years of use.
    The fact that this is solar powered is a huge plus, and a welcomed change.
    Best of luck in your pursuit of Dive Master qualification Maximilien.

  • shinytoys

    CG I agree with you on the price CG. It should come in a bit lower than $1000. 00.  It’s a considerable price jump over my previous Aqua Master Watches. Still, all in all, I believe it’s a great value for what you receive in a well made diving tool. I would consider giving my past models a rest and upgrading here.

  • Lkcons

    CG “200 meters is plenty for 99% of all divers, now if you are Nitrox certed that’s different”. Uhhmmm…no? A simple Nitrox mix (adding oxygen) will kill you at 200m – Nitrox = simply more oxygen = more oxygen = higher toxicity – hence +- 30m safe diving depth for typical Nitrox mix. Perhaps you meant Trimix (helium based)?

  • Time2Go

    Not a diver, but I really enjoyed this review – it’s nice to learn how such a watch is actually used by its intended audience.  Thanks!

  • CG

    Lkcons CG  yep Trimix is right no Nitrox, don’t know what “version” of Trimix but a few friends certified for that mixed gas cocktail dove Andrea Doria…. I did Crystal Springs caving a few times saw people there with Nitrox.

  • bichondaddy

    Very well written article Maximilien!!!  Nice to see a big diver’s tool watch used for what it was intended!

  • spiceballs

    Nice review Max and very nice Citizen tool, used as intended.

  • Thanks for kind comment and wishes. Was the previous version the same size and features? Seems that the depth gauge is new?

  • Lkcons

    CG Lkcons 100% mainly for less nitrogen absorption benefits – shorter intervals + repeated dives + less waiting before you can fly – important if on short holiday break/limited window of good weather…but not massively beneficial IMHO 🙂

  • CG

    Bottom time greatly increased but interval has a distinct advantage with Nitrox but added expense.

  • Noodlefish

    Bottom times *are* greatly increased – look at a 30m dive on EAN36 versus air tables, for example; you’ll increase your PADI non-deco time from 20 to 35 minutes (from memory, I’m a NAUI diver and the Navy Tables were different). Even at 24m you’re getting a significant increase in ND limits.
    I also find I feel better on enriched air mixes, especially when diving 3-4 times a day for 3-4 days.

  • shinytoys

    Maximilien The depth gauge on my models are digital. The model pictured here has analog hands, which clearly are easier to read.

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