In a recent review, I’ve made lots of positive remarks on the Citizen Eco Drive BM8180-03E. It’s undisputably good watch which offers outstanding value at a very affordable price. However, it’s not a right choice for anyone. It’s rather small and just has a basic time-telling function. Thus in this review, I’d like to introduce to you an upgraded version of the BM8180-03E – Citizen Eco Drive Chronograph AT0200-05E. Bigger-sized, having additional functions, but the Citizen Field Watch AT0200-05E still shares the same design cues with the BM8180-03E, they’re both military-inspired.
- Solar-powered Eco-drive movement that doesn’t need battery replacing
- Outstanding lume that makes for a good read in the dark
- Cool military style with classic green canvas strap
- Reliable Chronograph function
- High accuracy
- The canvas strap is quite good, but not excellent, there’re still some inconveniences
- The Arabic numberals are oversized a little bit (just my personal feel)
Here’s a short video review of this watch:
Design – Military-inspired, the watch is a great combination of stainless steel and green canvas
“Round metal case going with textile strap”, this is of nothing new, it’s how they combine with each other that makes all the uniqueness.
The overall design of this watch is very proportional, its 21 mm strap is perfectly matched to the 40mm metal case. It’s worth noting that the stainless steel case is not something twinkles on your wrist, it’s brushed, not polished. The canvas strap is also quite rough to be compatible with the case.
The bezel and 2 pushers are polished to add a focus of interest to the watch. The guarded crown at 3 o’clock is another thing I like much, too. Its knurled body makes for an easy grip. In the review of BM8180-03E, I said that the crown stuck out too far from the case. But for the AT0200-05E, there’s no such problem, because its case is bigger, so the crown certainly look smaller on it.
As I said above, the canvas strap has some shortcomings:
- 21mm width is a little weird: normally, a 40mm watch would go with a 20mm or 22mm band, but Citizen has chosen a 21mm lug width for this watch. I don’t know what they think, as this may cause some troubles for those who want to replace the strap. But don’t worry! It’s not a big deal, just opt for a 20mm replacement, 1mm of size difference just makes no sense.
- The metal riveted holes on the strap are too widely spaced apart, so sometimes the strap cannot fit snugly with wearer’s wrist. To me it’s a real problem as I always want my watch to mold around my wrist. If you have this problem with the stock canvas band, try a NATO/Zulu strap with the same military style, you can freely adjust it till you’re satisfied!
- The leather inner lining will crack sooner or later. This makes no difference when the watch is still clinging on your wrist because no one can see it. But if you were like me, you wouldn’t want to see such an imperfection like this on your beloved watch when you take it off!
In brief, the stock canvas strap really suits this watch, it’s well made despite some flaws. But there’re plenty of good replacement out there: calfskin, NATO/Zulu straps…, so don’t limit your selection.
Note: I think a metal bracelet doesn’t suit the AT0200-05E, this watch looks best on a fabric or leather band.
Matte black dial with big luminous hands & numberals
This watch is military-styled, so it must be easy to read at a glance. But I think Citizen made the numberals a tad bigger than necessary, making the dial look too busy. Fortunately, this flaw doesn’t affect much to the overall appearance.
The stack white hands & hour indices (because they’re covered with luminescent paint) contrast very well with the charcoal background. The red chronograph hand (the real second hand is on the bottom sub-dial) with lumed tip adds a focal point to the dial, helping it look not monotonous.
The date aperture at 4 o’clock seems to be redundant. I think Citizen had better remove it or make it bigger. This tiny window looks like a “beauty-spot” on the dial. I personally don’t like this “beauty-spot”. However, again, it doesn’t affect the overall look too much.
The chronograph function of this watch is very basic, nothing impressive. It’s just a 1-sec chrono that measures up to 60 mins, not the kind of 1/20-sec that you can find on a Casio Edifice. For tutorial of how to use the chronograph function, please watch this video, very easy to operate:
About the 3 subdials
It’s worth noting that the actual second hand is the one that keeps ticking on the bottom subdial. The top right subdial is designed for 24-hour format and the top left one is for minute-counting in the chronograph function.
If you don’t like to change your watch’s battery every 2 years, an Eco-Drive piece like this is a right choice for you. It features a solar-battery inside that gains power from strong light sources (sunshine, bright indoor light, etc…). After a full charge, the battery can supply energy for the movement in 7 days. When your watch is running out of energy, the second hand will move in 2-sec intervals. This feature is very useful on other non-chrono watches, it informs you when the watch need a charge, but for this AT0200-05E, the second is too small to get your attention.
The quartz movement is extremely accurate, Citizen is one of the biggest watch movement suppliers in the world, so you can rest assured about the precision of this watch. No more than 15 seconds off per month, but it’s just according to Citizen’s manual. In fact this watch just runs off about 5 secs/month on average.
100m (330feet) water resistant depth
Citizen doesn’t recommend this piece for true scuba diving, but you can wear it while swimming or snorkeling. Because it’s a military watch, its water resistance rating should be higher than ordinary dress watches. 100m WR depth is more than enough for your outdoor activities. In case you want a scuba diving piece, the Eco-Drive line also includes lots of cool & reliable dive watches whose WR depth is up to 300m (990feet).
The Citizen Eco Drive Chronograph AT0200-05E is a good choice for those who want a nice-looking & reliable military-style timepiece that just costs over 100 bucks. Its size of 40mm is appropriate for a wide range of wrists, the classic green canvas strap is not perfectly made but still adds much value to the watch in terms of styling. And the solar-powered battery that can live up to 10 years is really impressive. The quartz movement, needless to say, keeps perfect time.
Despite some flaws that are inevitable at its price point, overall, the AT0200-05E is a good watch for money!
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