Monday, July 2, 2012

Citizen AT0-660 Eco-Drive Titanium Chronograph Review

Ahh.. Titanium, the space age wonder material. Its super strong, high temperature resistance and yet super lightweight. I was bedazzled by how light a titanium watch was when I first got my hands on a Seiko Titanium chrono SNA139P watch. After using for more than 4 years I decided to let it go because I worried about the battery running out. (replacing batteries meant that I the case had to be opened and thus affecting the water resistance). Realizing the problems of quartz battery powered watches I knew that my next titanium chrono must not have this same problem.

My old Seiko Military Titanium Chrono 200m

Searching for my next Titanium watch it had to have the following criteria :

- Case made from Titanium. Preferred a rubber or leather strap as titanium bracelets tend to scratch too easily
- 200m water resist as I ride my bike in all weather conditions
- Solar powered as this would solve the battery replacement issue. (and appeal to my environmentalist side)
- Chronograph, as long as it was solar powered, why have some extra features right?
- Simple military chrono design with arabic numerals

Searching all over the net I stumbled across the Citizen AT0-660. Design wise it looked similar to my old seiko Ti chrono and of course it was an Eco-Drive :). Searching high and low around town in Pertama, Money River, and other places in KL I was dissapointed to find out that this model was never made for the SEA region. Arrrghhh!!!! No other choice but had to resort to ebay. After ordering and mailing it to my sister who was in Dublin en route back to KL. My watch was on its way...thanx sis :)

The watch came is a minimalistic box and printed on the bottom of the box read "made from recycled materials" Way to go Citizen...doing its little part is saving the earth. The watch came with a black nylon strap. I opted for this strap option instead of the titanium braclet becasue in my past experience titanium braclets scratched far too easily and I would swap out the nylon strap for a leather on later anyways. After inspecting the watch I noticed that the second hand was moving in 2 second intervals indication low power reserve. So off it sat beside my window to charge it up.

 "Eco" Friendly box

The watch...
First of all the watch is big... but not too ridiculously big. At 44mm (not including crown) its just a tad bigger than my Seiko "SPORK". Thickness is just nice. The crystal is a flat surface mineral type and is about half a milimeter higher than the bezel. No rotating bezel or markings like "tachymeter" on the bezel just clean matte titanium finish. The crown is screw down type and well protected. The chronograph pushers nice and big. The lug size is 22m so its very nice to change straps with a variety of rubber, nato, zulu and leather straps. Please dont use a steel bracelet on this watch as it would defeat the purpose, people choose titanium for its lightweight properties.
 The watch beside the window with its black nylon strap Big dial, easy to read. 

The dial, hands and lume...
The dial is nice classic and a no nonsense design. Big hour markers with arabic numerals on 12,3,6 and 9 with silver linings give it an elegant touch. I guess my only beef with the design is that second sub dial actually cuts the number "6" making it look a bit deformed. The date window is rather small and I wished it was lined with silver instead of white. The chrono minutes sub dial, 24 hr sub dial are nicely placed and do not interfere with reading of the time thank to the big hour and minute hands. Lume for this watch is excellent nice and bright initially and lasts all through the night until it was time to wake up. One thing that I really liked is that the lume is Blue/Cyan in colour which is a frech change from the usual luminous green.

 Nice blue lume for a change.

 There were two main things that made me worry when I got the watch, the nylon strap and its large mineral glass area with no sort of protection.

1) The glass problem was fixed by applying a "screen protector" now I dont have to worry about scrating the face.

2) The nylon strap has been reported to become stinky after a short duration of use. So instead wearing it with the nylon strap. I replaced the strap with a nice tough looking leather strap a la "timex" expedition type strap. I further modified this strap by replacing the standard buckle with a "butterfly" deployment clasp...Perfect!!!

 Thick rugged leather strap with butterfly deployment clasp.

I love this watch, the big size, the light weight, and combined with the leather strap, this watch will follow me to my jamming sessions (im a drummer so its either this watch or my G-shock, bracelets are a no-no for drummers). Also suitable for casual outings and the office it doesn't seem out of place anywhere I go. The fact that this watch is not available in the S.E.A. region makes me love it even more because of the unique factor. Lastly this watch also for the "environmentalist" in me and doing my small part in "going green"!!!!!

Rugged look.

Big but not too big on the wrist.

Size comparison to the Seiko 10 Bar...