Although the last few years have seen the watch enthusiast community turn increasingly towards compact, vintage-style designs, there’s still a place in the industry for the oversized tool watch. Citizen’s cult favorite “Ecozilla” family is a textbook example of the enduring power of the “big watch,” blending a durable and functional solar-powered dive watch core with a defiantly overbuilt case and strap design to create a watch that is impressively charismatic in its excess. For 2023, Citizen expands the series with a pair of new colorways, including this navy blue variant with signal yellow accents. Although the new Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L is no slouch when it comes to real capability on paper, its muscular proportions and satisfying heft make this one of the most reassuringly solid wearing experiences in its market segment.
At 48mm-wide and an imperious 18.6mm-thick, the stainless steel case of the Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L is no shrinking violet on the wrist. Everything about this design seems aimed to reinforce the feeling of security on the wrist. There’s a serious weight to this design, especially for a quartz watch on a bracelet, and the mix of oversized proportions, the quartz movement, and this heft work to create one of the toughest-feeling watches I’ve ever worn. Although the “Ecozilla” is more than dependable in real-world terms, the feeling of wearing such a solid chunk of steel works on an almost instinctual level to convince the wearer that this is a watch that can shrug off any challenge or impact. Although it’s an undeniably big watch, it’s also more wearable than the numbers might suggest thanks to its construction. The lugless cylindrical case profile makes for a remarkably short span across the wrist, while the 9 o’clock “destro” screw-down crown alleviates the possibility of the square guards digging into the back of the wearer’s hand. In addition, a subtle bowl-like case side undercut further mitigates the case’s footprint on the wrist, and a relatively high strap attachment point works to visually compress the case vertically during regular wear. However, this focus on monolithic steel case elements leads to a markedly small dial aperture, which arguably comes off as disproportionate on a 48mm-wide watch.
Citizen also packs a solid variety of finishes and details into the Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” case design. The case sides showcase clean, even horizontal brushing, broken up by an upper contrast ring in rugged diamond plate knurling. The crown also picks up this knurled texture for a unified look, while the upper surfaces of the case transition to radial brushing. Citizen makes the unidirectional dive bezel the real focal point of the case design, however. The oversized engraved Arabic numerals are filled with glossy navy blue enamel, while each of the six recessed grip points adds a highlight to the design with bright polishing. In keeping with the rest of the case’s focus on solidity, everything about this bezel setup works to further the overall sense of toughness. Rather than a coin edge for grip, the raised outer segments of the bezel call to mind the crenellations of a castle, and Citizen foregoes the precision of a 120-click system for a satisfyingly heavy and secure 60-click rotation with zero back play. All these oversized, blocky elements might make the bezel difficult to read at a glance, but Citizen solves this with an inner bezel ring in stark black and white with full 60-minute markings. Around back, Citizen completes the case with a solid caseback featuring a deeply recessed and smartly detailed engraving of a diving helmet. All these heavy, overbuilt case elements aren’t just for show, and the Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” packs a robust 300 meters of water resistance.
Like the case, the dial design of the Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L delivers a beefier, more muscular take on the classic diver layout. At the heart of this philosophy is the exaggerated Roman sword handset, featuring a minute hand in vibrant signal yellow for easier at-a-glance legibility. In place of the usual set of diver indices, Citizen opts for a set of broad printed semicircles and trapezoids for hour markers, each of which offers a generous fill of luminous material. Illumination is another strong suit for the ”Ecozilla,” which offers a vibrant lasting glow that rivals even Seiko’s legendary lume. The only potential weak link in this dial design is, ironically, the dial surface itself. Citizen’s Eco-Drive solar charging system dictates the dial finish here, which for this model is a semi-matte set of diminutive azurage rings. In addition, since this model uses a navy blue dial hue rather than black, the underlying structure of the Eco-Drive solar panel is clearly visible at certain angles, which may be a drawback for some.
Citizen powers the Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L with its in-house Eco-Drive B873 solar quartz movement. The Eco-Drive B873 is a mainstay of Citizen’s heavy-duty quartz offerings and offers a solid +15/-15 seconds per month in accuracy alongside a solid six months of power reserve after a full solar charge. The brand pairs this new Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” with a heavily tapering accordion-style rubber strap in bright hazard yellow. Although the bright yellow coloration is difficult to pair with outfits, this vibrant color should make the watch far easier to spot if lost while underwater. On the other hand, this strap is noticeably stiff and uncomfortable out of the box, with a lengthy break-in period.
While its aggressive styling and beefy proportions may prove divisive among enthusiasts, the new Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L proves there’s still plenty of charm to be had in oversized watches and offers a uniquely satisfying wearing experience. The new Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the new Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L stands at $595 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Model: Promaster Dive “Ecozilla” BJ8058-06L
>Price: $595 USD
>Size: 48mm-wide, 18.6mm-thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a vacation wear on a diving trip, or as a rugged and capable weekend watch for heavy-duty work.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Scuba divers looking for a sense of reassuring security; dive watch fans with large wrists.
>Best characteristic of watch: Rugged and accurate Eco-Drive movement, ultra-legible layout, solid finishing for the price.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Deliberately massive wrist presence will not suit everyone’s tastes; stiff strap; simplistic dial surface; on-wrist bulk makes it a magnet for dings and scratches.