The new Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Altichron ($638) is a wild upgrade over the original that launched the Citizen Promaster series in 1989. That watch, a digital/analog combo with a huge bulge on the left side for the pressure sensor, was no slouch and still has fans over two decades later.
The new piece has appropriate updates for the new millenium — color, size, Citizen’s Eco-Drive tech — but it continues the tradition of looking (and proving itself) every millimeter a tool watch. The dial is a bit busy until the various scales become clear. For instance, the altimeter, which will measure from the floor of Death Valley to the top of Mt. Everest with room to spare on either end, is read on three different scales. Press the yellow striped pusher at eight o’clock and the power reserve indicator switches duty to read in 10,000-foot increments. The red indicator moves to read in 1,000-foot increments, and the yellow hand reads in 100 foot increments. Add all three together to figure out the altitude where your nose started bleeding.
The Altichron also has a compass that operates on demand. Press the red striped indicator at ten o’clock and it swings into action, indicating north, even while the watch is in altimeter mode. A rotating inner bezel is actuated by a screw-down crown and duplicates the 100-foot scale for the altimeter; it also carries compass markings so you can keep your bearings.
Thanks to a lightweight titanium case and a rubber strap, the reimagined Promaster wears remarkably well for a 49.5-millimeter watch. Good to 200 meters of water resistance and recharged by sunlight, it’s a tidy package, indeed. We break down its utilitarian glory for you above.