Sunday, 2 August 2009

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Titanium Diver’s Watch (JV0050-03E) Review

This review was a long time coming, but better ever than never. I wanted to write this review because I couldn’t find an informative one on the web.


I bought this watch almost 2 years ago to replace (or better to say complement) my Casio G-Shock digital watch. I like that asymmetrical look, the diver’s “sign of recognition (1)”, titanium shell, very visible hands, modern design with lcd, digital watch operation (hands are linked to internal digital timekeeping) and of course, solar power charging. Speaking of design it looks futuristic which I always like. Notice that it may seem that the case is quite large in the proportion to the watch face (which looks small comparably) but this is only the effect on the photos. In reality the watch face looks large and the bezel around it looks much smaller. This is of course supplemented by the fact that the case is painted in dark grey around the watch face and unpainted at the edges as you can see clearly from the images. So this colour combination tries (and succeeds) to mask the fact that the case is not that big.

What is to like about this watch? The watch is somewhat light for its size because it is made of titanium and when you compare it to the non-asymmetrical version which is made from steel you can certainly notice the difference in or on your hand (my friend has the latter one). The strap buckle is also made of titanium. The bad news about the titanium is that it scratches easily. This is very pronounced on the darker part of the shell in a way of noticeable light shaded scratches. You can definitely see the scratches on the pictures i provided. The case is made very nicely with every surface lovingly rounded and dulled so the watch is very easy on the hand and skin. When speaking of casing, the glass is of a mineral sort, not sapphire so it too scratches very easily. Moreover, it scratches even more because the glass is almost at the same level as the casing which is not a good solution to be honest.

The timekeeping is solidly done and as I mentioned, the hands are very clear and highly visible. The minute and hour hands have completely separate movement contrary to the some watches I’ve seen. The little hand shows the solar battery charge level. My only complaint about the hands themselves is that the phosphorous illumination (which is bluish) doesn’t last long in the dark. I must note that the timekeeping is very precise. That means that even after a month it won’t lose or add a second on the time. I measured this by synchronizing my computer time with some atomic time server and then synchronizing the watch. Then after a month or more checked the results with synchronized computer again. I was fascinated by the result (I retested it couple of times) because my casio g-shock would go couple of minutes in advance after a few months of use. This watch, on the contrary is as I said, very precise. The LCD display is big and clearly readable too. It is inversely illuminated by pressing the button which means that the content is illuminated instead of background which is a nice touch. The display doesn’t show any redundant information in non-diving mode so that is a plus too. As you probably read somewhere else, you get world clock (in which you can easily swap local and some other time), three different sounding alarms, deep and dive-time alarm, diving log (date, time, max depth, sea temperature and dive-time) and finally watch hands calibration. All the functions are very easy to adjust and almost completely logical. One of the serious downsides of this watch is that there is no timer and stopwatch function in normal mode. This unfortunately is a great downside for me because I so got used to timing my parking time, cooking procedures, etc. On every screen aside from the calibration one, the display and hands return to regular timekeeping after two minutes of inactivity.


This watch gets in the diving mode automatically when two things happen. Firstly the sensor on the right side needs to get wet (or slightly moist, but I will talk about this later), and to indicate this, the lcd displays a diver, then when you start to submerge (left sensor detects higher pressure) below the surface the watch rearranges the hands in the way described below:

  • Hour hand goes to 6 o’clock (red DIVE label) and stays there for the full duration of the dive.
  • Minute and the little left hand move to position 12 o’clock and 0 respectably.

The minute hand indicates the dive time, the little left hand displays max depth reached. The LCD displays current depth and time (not to be confused with dive time) and a diver (in three rows). In the first 15min of diving the diver is at the first row and afterwards it is on the bottom row. This is made so the minute hand doesn’t obstruct the depth display at any time which is a great touch. At the press of the upper left button you get sea temperature and dive time. The watch even has an alarm for ascending too fast which is audible and visible on the display and the little red LED just below the 12 o’clock mark. You can always cancel the diving mode by pressing and holding the mode button. After a dive you get additional “page” in the normal watch operation which shows info from the last dive and how much time passed since the dive. All in all, diving with this watch is a pleasure.

I just wanted to add some other things I didn’t manage to fit into the previous paragraphs. If you need to see the time in darkness and the hands illumination has faded away, you can set the world time page (usually the first after normal date display) to display your local time and by pressing the mode and light button you can see the exact time. One interesting bit is that the same versions of this watch I found on don’t come in titanium shell. You can see that detail because on my watches’ face there is “Titanium” label, and those amazon’s don’t have one. I have already mentioned some of the problems with the watch I just wanted to add another thing which disables this watch from true greatness. Why is that I can’t measure the temperature and use the bloody stopwatch when not diving which are already implemented? But probably the biggest thing that gets on my nerves (but not too much honestly) is the dreaded diver with the ready text pictured below.

citizen diver titanium moisture problem

As I mentioned before this screen appears when the right sensor detects moisture or water. And during the summer here this happens a lot. So it is quite usual for lcd to display that screen obscuring the other data you may have when riding a bike, just sweating or washing hands. One more thing that really gets in the way is that the hands rearrange themselves in the 12 o’clock position when you want to adjust something or when you are just looking at some screen like log. That wouldn’t be a problem you may answer, but the actual problem is that the hands move somewhat slowly and one by one and you can’t interact with the watch when those hands start to move.

As some of you bots readers may recall I had a true agony with this watch the last summer but ever since it was fully repaired it works great.

The full photo gallery you can find here.


(1) I wanted to buy a truly diver’s watch because you can generally recognize a diver in the crowd by his watch. So when you see a guy with generally big watch with a sensor you can bet that he is a diver. The other guys which have big watches with sensors are some terrain folks with casio protrek watches but those are easily recognized because, in general, diving watches don’t have much plastic parts (as protrek has them) which isn’t a bad thing of course, I’m just stating the difference.


Acctonmark said...

you are obviosly not a serios diver but more a want to look like a serios diver, your assesment of this watch is poor and gives no info on the diving capability. 

poor poor poor

Marc Levy said...

How is the watch working now?

Prosperous Poverty said...

Very good. Not a single problem since then.