There’s something alluring about an over-designed tool watch: It fits the needs and wants of professional divers, aviators or mountaineers and, while it may do more than you’ll ever need, that edge is something to covet. Since its launch in 1989, the Promaster collection has delivered just that. Now 30 years strong, these watches have consistently been designed to live up to the needs of pro-adventurers while fitting just as well on the wrists of the everyday outdoorsman.
First things first, the entirety of the Promaster collection is equipped with Eco-Drive. While Citizen first introduced a light-powered watch in the 1970s, this technology came on the market in 1995 and has become a cornerstone of the brand, found in more than 300 models. Now known as Eco-Drive, it powers the watches using any light source — natural or artificial. Passing through the dial to a solar panel, both direct and ambient light is converted into energy. Then, with the use of an IC chip, the energy is either used or stored in its rechargeable lithium-ion cell. Depending on the model, this cell can hold the charge for anywhere from six months to four years without requiring any further exposure to light. It’s allowed Citizen to save more than 10 million watch batteries in North America over the past decade alone. And it’s most certainly a core selling point within the robust nature of the Promaster collection.
The eldest Promaster, The Aqualand, debuted in 1985 as the first diver equipped with a digital depth gauge. This marine watch was then rounded out four years later by the Altichron, equipped then with an altimeter ranging from -300m to 5000m and the radio-controlled Promaster Sky with a world time setting function.
And with the 30th anniversary of Promaster, Citizen is still on course. The latest 46mm Aqualand is as robust as ever. The 200m dive watch is equipped with a rapid ascent alarm, maximum depth memory, an auto start dive mode and a power reserve indicator. Thanks to Eco-Drive, you’ll never have to open the caseback of this diver to change a battery (and the charge itself can last up to 11 months).
Today, the Altichron has an altimeter functional up to 10,000 meters (yes, that is higher than Everest) and is built to withstand extreme cold, with all functions operating in temperatures as low as -20ºC (-4ºF). This 46mm watch, complete with a black ion-plated stainless steel case and the seamless accent of a black polyurethane strap, also boasts an electronic compass as well as a power reserve of 11 months.
And, finally, the newest edition of Citizen’s Promaster Sky series, the Skyhawk A-T uses highly-accurate atomic timekeeping and features a perpetual calendar, dual time, alarms, countdown timer, digital backlight and UTC displays, power reserve and pilot’s rotating slide rule bezel. Calling back to the Navy’s elite Blue Angels squadron, it has a stainless steel case with a yellow accented dark blue dial and bezel and the Blue Angel’s insignia replicated on the caseback. The power reserve on this model will last up to a whopping 3.5 years.
While it’s very unlikely that you’ll find a mountain higher than Everest to climb or that you’ll find the need to test your power reserve for a year, knowing you have a watch that could stand by you through it all is not just reassuring, it’s inspiring. Since the beginning, the Promaster name has stood for watches with supreme utility and 30 years later, that principle hasn’t changed one bit.