With the incredible depth and variety present in the watch industry, it’s nearly impossible for a single watchmaker to cater to every possible taste, need, and environment. The sheer scope of possible wearing situations often means that if a timepiece or technology is perfect for a certain situation, it’s almost inherently wrong for another situation. Finding something that can truly cater to every situation, then, is a genuinely rare occurrence, and this fact is one of many ways that Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology is a true standout in the world of watchmaking. Ever since Citizen introduced the world’s first light-powered watch in 1976, the brand has continually evolved the core technology behind Eco-Drive, creating an array of accurate, reliable, and environmentally friendly movement and design options that can adapt to suit nearly every wearer’s needs and that has prevented well over ten million watch batteries from entering landfills in North America alone. Rather than simply telling you about Eco-Drive’s incredible versatility, however, we’ve opted to show you firsthand. Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology lies at the heart of both the Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E, the thinnest analog light-powered watch in the world, and the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E, a heavy-duty professional diver’s watch affectionately named “Ecozilla” by fans for its imposing dimensions.
When Citizen first launched the Quartz Crystron Solar Cell in 1976, the science behind the photovoltaic effect (the principle by which light can be converted into electricity) was only beginning to be understood and applied. Outside of specialty applications for spacecraft and an experimental building complex in 1974, Citizen was one of the first brands to bring light-powered electronics to the public at large, and it has remained at the cutting edge ever since through relentless innovation toward greater charging efficiency, battery life, and capability. This has culminated in a long line of industry firsts for Citizen, including the world’s first light-powered analog dive watch in 1998, the world’s first light-powered watch to gather energy from the sides of its case in 2012, and the world’s first Bluetooth-equipped analog light-powered watch in 2012.
One of the most dramatic fruits of Citizen’s relentless pursuit of innovation is the Eco-Drive One series, including the striking AR5054-51E (images of other recent Eco-Drive One references are also included to showcase the breadth of the series). Measuring in at 39mm-wide and a mere 2.98mm in overall thickness for the Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E, the Eco-Drive One line currently holds the title of the thinnest light-powered analog timepieces in the world, and this record translates to unmatched elegance on the wrist. The case design combines classic dress watch forms with modern stylistic touches, including a slender set of downturned lugs, a broad chamfered bezel, and a set of four striking triangular bezel screws. Citizen gives the AR5054-51E’s design a modern masculine touch with a black Duratect DLC coating for the stainless steel main case body, along with a bezel in brushed and polished rose gold-tone Cermet (a proprietary Citizen-made blend of ceramic and metallic materials).
In practice, the Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E’s extreme thinness allows it to virtually disappear on the wrist when viewed from the side, and this incredible look requires a bevy of technical achievements to execute. The sapphire crystal dial measures in at only 0.15mm-thick, and the 3.7-volt rechargeable power cell was designed specifically for this application by a collaboration between Citizen and Maxell. Despite the incredibly cramped dimensions, the Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E’s dial includes a handful of refined flourishes, including a fluted texture for the minutes track and a handsomely faceted set of pink gold-tone dauphine hands.
The hand-assembled in-house Eco-Drive Cal. 8826 inside the Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E is only 1mm-thick in total. This ultra-slim powerplant does not sacrifice performance either, with an accuracy rating of +15/-15 seconds per month and a full 12-month power reserve after a complete charge. To complete the design, Citizen fits the watch on a Duratect DLC-coated multi-link bracelet featuring an eye-catching mix of brushed and polished links.
On the opposite end of the Eco-Drive spectrum lies the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E. Nicknamed “Ecozilla” by its fans, the Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E is designed to survive the rigors of professional mixed-gas scuba diving. The round stainless steel case measures in at 48mm-wide and a robust 18.6mm-thick, and features aggressive touches like knurled case sides and a heavily guarded 9 o’clock crown (Citizen places the crown here as opposed to the more usual 3 o’clock as added protection against potential impacts). The unidirectional rotating dive bezel features deep cutout grooves for easy manipulation even underwater and offers a solid, heavy turning action with zero back play. Despite its bold dimensions, the Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E wears well on a variety of wrist sizes thanks to its lugless design, which avoids potential overhang issues. Thanks to its screw-down crown, solid engraved caseback, and 6mm-thick curved crystal, the Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E is rated for a hefty 300 meters of water resistance.
The dial of the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E offers an aggressive, ultra-legible take on the dive watch formula. The sword handset is broad and easy to read, with an eye-catching hazard orange minutes hand to attract the wearer’s attention to crucial information at a glance. Both the hands and the rounded dive indices are filled with a generous portion of luminous material, ensuring that even in the darkest conditions the watch remains highly legible.
Citizen’s in-house Eco-Drive B873 movement inside the Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E provides ample torque for the watch’s broad, heavy handset. The Eco-Drive B873 also offers reliable, accurate performance overall, including accuracy of +15/-15 seconds per month and a power reserve of six months after a full charge. Citizen fits the watch with an accordion-style black rubber dive strap, offering a perfect mix of durability and comfort for heavy-duty wear.
Although they exist as only two points on the brand’s broad spectrum, both the Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E and the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E stand as striking examples of the versatility, capability, and innovation of Citizen’s signature light-powered technology. Both watches are available now on citizenwatch.com. MSRP for the Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E is $3,995 USD, while the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E is priced at $595 USD. To learn more about Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology and its collection of Eco-Drive watches, please visit the brand’s website.
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