Citizen Eco Drive Military Style BM8180-03E Review

Citizen Eco Drive Military Style BM8180-03E
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • Quality
    Editor: 80%
  • Design
    Editor: 70%
  • Price
    Editor: 80%

Review Summary:

This Citizen Eco Drive military watch is not a perfect product in every way, but it offers you outstanding values at such an attractive price. With just about $100, you get an eye-catching simple-designed field watch which is extremely reliable & easy to use without hassles.

Simple dial design, cool green canvas strap, reliable solar-powered quartz movement, all these strong points make the Citizen Eco Drive Military BM8180-03E on of the most popular field watches now. This watch can be dressed up or down depending on different occasions. With just about $100, what you get is a versatile watch from a prestigious brand. Okay, enough for praising this timepiece, let’s see what we have with it!

Pros

  • Eye-catching simple design with military style
  • Reliable & highly accurate solar-powered quartz movement
  • Long lasting bright-blue lume
  • Cool green canvas strap

Cons

  • The canvas strap with leather inner lining is not so comfortable, has some minor problems.
  • The crown sticks out a little too far

Here’s a short video review of this watch:

Design – Simple classic military style

37mm – It’s not an oversized timepiece

As wristwatches for both men and women are getting bigger and bigger, a 37mm field watch is certainly not a trendy accessory now. However, it is reminiscent of military timepieces of old days and thus being attractive in its own way.

It’s worth noting that most field watches don’t have a case size of more than 42mm. They’re normally thin & modest-sized. This type of watch has been initially used in land warfare by infantries since World War I, they’re different from today’s oversized fully-featured tactical watches (Casio G Shocks & Suunto, for example).

Despite its small case, this watch doesn’t look tiny on your wrist because its dial takes most of the face area, making it look bigger than other pieces at the same size.

What’s not to love is the 2-level push-pull crown. It sticks out too far, making the watch look a little disproportionate. However, the overall design is still very good-looking despite this imperfection.

Simple-textured dial offers clear legibility

One of the most sensible characters of a field watch is its clear legibility. You should be able to read the time easily from any angles. Thus the hour indices are normally big Arabic numberals which can be seen at a glance. Minute & hour hands are also bolder than those of ordinary dress watches.

All the details contrast very well with the matte black background, making the watch not only easy to read, but also aesthetically attractive. Field watches like this are ideal choices for those who love minimal style.

All of the hands and hour indices are lumed with Luminova paint which provides a very intensive & long lasting bright-blue glow in the dark. Outstanding lume is an advantage of Citizen watches, especially diving & military timepieces. This type of lume cannot maintain its highest intensity for long, but still enough for you to see the dial over 3 hours in total dark before it completely dies out.

This BM8180-03E features a mineral glass, which is not as scratch resistant as sapphire crystal, but also not too brittle. It’s not highly reflective, thus making for an easy outdoor read.

Green canvas strap with leather inner lining

As the case is just 37mm, the lug-width can’t be too wide, 18mm is the perfect band size for this watch. I really like the style & color of this strap. But to be honest, I’m not completely satisfied with it:

  • The strap is rather stiff at first thanks to the leather inner lining. Anyway, it is a common problem of leather bands. This material needs time to fit your wrist perfectly.
  • The surface is quite rough because of the coarse canvas fabrics.
  • Smell is another issue that’s worth noticing, but every textile watch band has this problem, not only the Citizen BM8180-03E’s canvas strap.

That being said, you don’t have to stay with the stock band if you don’t like it. There’re plenty of aftermarket bands available with very attractive prices. You can change to another NATO/ZULU strap, or leather, rubber band…anything that better suits your style and demands.

In my opinion, this canvas strap is not perfectly made, but it’s still well matched to the watch. I bet 9/10 people would love the metal reinforced holes on this strap, because they really make the BM8180-03E look much cooler on your wrist.

Functionality

I know when it comes to men’s watches, mechanical pieces are usually considered classier than quartz. I agree that mechanical timepieces show a high level of devotion from watchmakers. However, it doesn’t mean quartz or any other kind of movement are of less value. Being more accurate (just run off a few seconds per month) and doesn’t need constant use to keep running, quartz timepieces are good choices for those who love the concept of “set it and forget it”.

Solar-powered quartz movement

The BM8180-03E is among the Eco-Drive watches that Citizen is always proud of. This type of watch has a solar cell whose role is to transfer sunlight into electricity and supply energy for the quartz movement to operate. Eco-Drive watches don’t need battery replacing every 2 years like ordinary quartz pieces.

Insufficient charge warning function

After a full charge, the BM8180-03E can keep on track in one week. When it’s low on battery, the second hand will move in 2-second intervals to inform you about the lack of energy.

Quick start function

If your watch has completely run out of energy, just expose it to a strong light source and it should begin to operate again in 10 seconds. Very convenient, isn’t it?

The 2-level adjusting crown

As you can see in the picture above, occupying the 3 o’clock position is a date/day aperture. Every adjustment is done through the only guarded crown:

For date/day adjustment: pull the crown to position 1. Rotate it clockwise to advance the day, turn it counterclockwise to advance the date.

For time adjustment: pull the crown to position 2. The watch will stop and you can synchronize the time, very easy!

Please don’t perform any type of adjustment from 9PM to 4AM when the calendar is on the move, or else you may break it by mistake.

330 feet (100m) water resistant depth

Because the Citizen BM8180-03E is a field watch, its water resistance is certainly higher than normal dress watches. However, as Citizen has clearly stated in their manual, this watch is just suitable with swimming or snorkeling, not scuba diving, because the gasket may not sustain the pressure at high depth. For best use, you should put the BM8180-03E to water testing and gasket checks every 3 or 4 years.

Verdict

Eco-Drive is one of the bestselling product lines in the North American market now, and the BM8180-03E is among the top sought-after pieces in this group. This Citizen Eco Drive military watch is not a perfect product in every way, but it offers you outstanding values at such an attractive price. With just over $120, you get an eye-catching simple-designed field watch which is extremely reliable & easy to use without hassles. Moreover, Citizen is the second biggest watchmakers in Japan now, this alone is enough for other people to know the watch on your wrist is a good choice.

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2 thoughts on “Citizen Eco Drive Military Style BM8180-03E Review

  1. Great bit of kit for an outdoor girl like me – I like simple and this watch ticks all the boxes. Clear easy to read face, no batteries, slimmer and more elegant than my G shocks, rugged and waterproof. Tip for anyone out there – warm the strap up gently, rub a little dubbin into the strap on the leather side, leave overnight, wipe off any excess and this will help soften the strap up for you. Go easy with the dubbin though – you just need a smear and gently rub it into the leather.
    Thanks for the review which helped me decide to buy this.

    • Wow, such a useful tip! Thank you a lot, Molly :D. The biggest flaw of this watch is the strap, and you helped us fix it easily. With a comfortable strap, the watch is nearly perfect!

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