August 12, 2021
by Ariel Adams
One of the most interesting new Citizen watches for 2021 was quietly announced in March and isn’t even being sold widely around the world. The Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200M reference NB6004-08E represents a return to automatic movement-based dive watches by the major Japanese watchmaker. Citizen has plenty of history with mechanical diver’s watches, but, for the most part, have focused on its Eco-Drive (light-powered quartz) movements as the basis of new diver’s watch models. For 2021, Citizen released a series of brand-new in-house mechanical movements that are debuted in the refreshed Series 8 collection. One of those movements is the Citizen caliber 9051, which is at the heart of this new Promaster Diver model.
The caliber 9051, as used in the Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m, is a wise choice. The movement is a modern 4Hz frequency mechanism with 42 hours of power reserve. The movement is also highly magnetic-resistant, putting this Promaster sports watch in the same group as the major Swiss Made watches now boasting high magnetic resistance. Citizen claims this Promaster Mechanical is able to withstand magnetic fields of 16,000 A/m. The 9051 automatic movement features the time with date (and notice how the date is on a cool-looking silver disc).
What I like most about the Citizen Promaster NB6004-08E is how it wears and how it looks. Citizen combines much of its sports watch DNA with a lot of modern elements, including aggressive masculine angles on the case and buckle that I happen to like. The case, overall, is a thing of beauty in both construction and design. It isn’t small, though, at 46mm-wide, 15.3mm-thick, and with a roughly 51mm lug-to-lug distance. On the comfortable, soft urethane diver’s-style strap, it wears very comfortably. Note that Citizen includes a strap extender segment should you want to wear the watch over a wetsuit. I much prefer this approach to what we see with some Seiko and Casio dive watches where the standard strap is just really long.
The case is produced from titanium and uses Citizen’s Super Titanium technology. Super Titanium is a hardened and coated titanium metal that boasts the lightweight strength of titanium with unparalleled surface hardness and scratch resistance. No one really does coated titanium better than Citizen, from what I’ve seen. The design of the case also includes a sort of semi-shroud for the large uni-directional rotating diver’s-style bezel (that is also in titanium). Speaking of the bezel, did you notice the detailing? From the core shape of the bezel to the intricate cutout markers, this is among the most expressive bezels you’ll find on any new diver’s watch this year. Citizen uses the bezel as part of the expressiveness of the product, meaning that, in addition to being functional, the bezel design is where a lot of the product personality comes from.
The diamond-style texture on the rotating bezel is somewhat mimicked on the Promaster Mechanical Diver’s face. Here we see a mix of old and new, with Citizen’s iconic hands and hour markers and a playfulness that you don’t really see in many of the more strict “vintage-style” sports watches out there. One of the things I feel Citizen does well is combine a sense of instrument-style purpose and fashionable design. For example, note how the watch face actually has four rings of hour markers. First is the dial itself, followed by a sloped flange right around the dial. The bezel also has a sloped section with markers, and then, of course, there are additional markers on the top surface of the bezel. In all that is quadruple redundancy for the markers. Instead of looking cluttered, it actually results in a neat visual experience for viewing the reference NB6004-08E’s dial.
Even though the watch is “only” water-resistant to 200 meters (99% of divers will never need more than that), the case has the look and feel of a more rugged and deeper-going diver’s watch. One of the most interesting diver’s functions is how the dramatically domed sapphire crystal is related to functionality. Citizen designed the crystal to create a semi-distortion effect that allows you to see the white and orange hands from extreme angles. This is relevant especially underwater because dive watch faces can “disappear” unless viewing them from the correct angle. Even outside of the water, you can easily read the dial of the NB6004-08E from angles that would make most other watches entirely illegible.
Dial luminant is also excellent, with a single lume pip point on the rotating bezel. There is also luminant painted inside of the “Citizen” logo on the matching Super Titanium strap buckle. This is just a fun detail that I really appreciate seeing in the design, and that will delight consumers who stumble upon the fact that there is a glowing Citizen name in a place they’d not expect to normally find it.
With a beautiful design, highly durable case, and modern automatic mechanical movement, the Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m is also very competitively priced, especially when compared to Seiko’s much larger collection of mechanical dive watches that, in many instances, cost more for similar specs and performance. This Promaster is also very proudly a Citizen watch, not attempting to look like anything other than a Citizen, and celebrating Citizen brand DNA without potentially paying homage to other products on the market. You get a real sense that Citizen designed the NB6004-08E with a lot of pride and passion. That positive emotional sentiment translates into an excellent wearing and ownership experience that won’t break the bank. Price for the Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m reference NB6004-08E watch is $1,050 USD. Learn more at the Citizen Watch Global website here.
>Model: Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m reference NA6004-08E
>Price: $1,050 USD
>Size: 46mm-wide, 15.3mm-thick, and ~51mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: To the beach, to space, to the mountains, to hike, to the store. It’s just a happy sports watch that wants to be where you are.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Lover of Japanese sports watches who likes the idea of a novel in-house Japanese automatic movement with the durability of Super Titanium diver’s model.
>Best characteristic of watch: Thorough Citizen brand DNA results in a surprisingly cohesive yet original product that seems to work better than much of the competition at the same price point. Excellent case and dial design. Movement will please enthusiasts, and Super Titanium will ensure that wear and tear are kept to a minimum.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Case and dial design language will not appeal to everyone. Highly domed crystal is there for a reason, but it does result in a bit of glare and reflectivity (though not so much as to really affect otherwise strong legibility). Product availability could be limited.