Citizen Skyhawk A-T is the 3rd generation of the Skyhawk watches. And it is the first one that so much attracted my attention.
The watch is packed with all features I considered important for my all around watch.
Apparently I was searching for the slide rule watch. I liked the design and the features of Breitling Navitimer, but I was not ready to spend couple of thousands Euros for a watch. I am one of these guys who consider spending more than one thousand for a watch as buying just some luxury feelings. So with all the respect to the design and the watch quality, Breitling was disqualified from the buying competition. I wanted to buy my first slide rule watch with the reasonable (in my standards) price.
Apparently there is a good choice of mechanical and quartz E6B timepieces under EUR 1000.
I like mechanical watches so my first thoughts were around Poljot (see: the picture) and Orient. Both Russian Poljot and Japanese Orient sell good looking slide rule watches. Actually Poljot is not a real slide rule watch as the bezel do not rotate (Radio_Daze of forums.watchuseek.com: thanks for pointing it out!).
Additionally I looked at Pulsar, Timex, Torgoen, Chase-Durer, Sinn, Zeno Watch, Seiko and Citizen items.
The clear winner of the comparison was Orient CFT00001B (see: the picture below). The mechanical watch would be always my first choice. Already possessing an Orient watch I was convinced that brand always brings good quality for reasonable money.
I would probably buy the Orient by the end of the year only if I would not had looked at the Citizen website where they presented Skyhawk A-T. I simply had fallen in love with this timepiece when I saw it for the very first time.
Then I read numerous posts and reviews. The people who published them liked the watch at least as much as I did.
That was clear to me, the Orient should wait. Citizen Skyhawk goes first.
It offered very attractive design, world time option, and - using a quartz movement - the massive set of features including alarms, timer, chronograph. I decided that my mechanical watches collection would be extended for a perfect timing granted by the radio control of this quartz timepiece. Last but not least the Eco-Drive solution of the solar energy seemed to be a nice idea to be tried.
I live in Switzerland and could not hope to find Skyhawk A-T anywhere here. Actually the UK was the only European country where the watch was officially offered. I had also found some unofficial retailers of the Citizen offering Skyhawk A-T in Poland.
Then I checked the online shops in Japan and USA. The Japanese version (PMV65-2242) with a good looking titan case and titan bracelet looked very interesting (see: the picture below). But I was discouraged by the price above EUR 1000.
In the US shops I found the models with the same Japanese movement (U600), however the case was stainless steel and probably done in China, mineral glass instead of the Made in Japan sapphire crystal, and the price tag showing about half of the Japanese version price.
I already new I would go for the American edition. In fact I could choose between two American models with the only difference being the strap: stainless steel bracelet (JY0000-53E) or the rubber strap (JY0000-02E). The black rubber looked very impressive to me. I turned to eBay and found Skyhawk being offered with a reasonable discount. Together with the Priority Mail shipment and the Swiss Value Added Tax I ended up paying about EUR 260 (i.e. CHF 440, USD 380, PLN 950).
Within one week the watch was delivered. The actual item looked to me even more attractive than all the pictures I found online (as always when buying watches without having chance to see them live before the purchase).
Moreover the watch was not as heavy as I expected after reading the other users' reviews. Most on the online comments referred to the heavy stainless steel bracelet model, while mine was the rubber strap version of the total weight 115 gram.
The time synchronization with the Frankfurt station went smoothly (as Switzerland is very close to the German broadcasting antenna).
Later I adjusted the strap cutting away couple of rubber units and started enjoying the great watch on my wrist.
In the following days I made some trips across Europe so I had the prefect opportunity to use the slide rule when converting Swiss Francs into Euro or Polish Zloty.
Apparently the feature I enjoy the most is the slide rule. I know it sounds weired when referring to the watch equipped with so many useful functions. I can not deny the world time helps a lot in job when dealing with people in India, Malaysia, Thailand, USA or Australia. The orange back-light does its great job when checking the time in the middle of the night.
Edit 2007/11/05: I was walking in Luzern and in one of the shops I noticed JY0000-53E. At least I thought that was JY0000-53E. When I had a closer look I read the name: JY0020-64E. The price CHF 995 (i.e. USD 860, EUR 595, PLN 2200). Is JY0020-64E the European version of JY0000-53E?
Edit 2007/11/11: Some updates on the radio synchronisation performance across the Europe. I have just visited Barcelona. I stayed on the 9th floor of the hotel. The automatic synchronisation of the watch did not work there. When placing the watch next to the window I managed to force manual synchronization while the signal strength was marked as Low. Theoretically the city was in the range of the German antenna (but already quite distant from Frankfurt - see the map below, copied from http://www.citizenwatch.com).
Questions? Comments? Please, send them to: bernardREMOVE_THIS_CAPS_TEXT@fruga.net
Specifications (as per "Full Setting Instructions" from http://www.citizenwatch.com):
1. Cal. No.: U60*
2. Type: Combination solar powered watch
3. Time accuracy: Without reception (when watch is not receiving a radio signal)
Average monthly deviation: ±15 seconds
when used in room temperature (+5°C to +35°C / 41°F to 95°F)
4. Acceptable temperature range: 0°C to + 50°C / 32°F to 122°F
5. Display functions
• Home city time: Hours, minutes, seconds, 24-hour
• UTC time: Hours, minutes
• Charge level display (fan-shaped display, 4 grades)
• Radio wave reception display: Japan: JJY, USA: WWVB, Europe
• Home city name/world city name
• World city time: Hours, minutes and seconds (switch between 12-hour and 24-hour
• Daylight saving time on/off
• Date: Month, date, day (fully automatic calendar until December 31, 2099)
6. Additional functions
• Radio signal reception function (automatic reception, on demand reception, recovery
• Radio wave transmitter automatic selection function (only when radio wave from
• Reception on/off selection function
• Reception standby indication function (RX)
• Reception level indication function (H, M, L)
• Reception status confirmation function (H, M, L or NO)
• Automatic reception time setting function
• Daylight saving time on/off selection function
• World time alarm 1 and 2:Hours, minutes, AM/PM, city name, on/off, alarm check
• Chronograph (24-hour measurement, 1/100 second units, split time measurement)
• Timer (setting range: from 1 minute up to 99 minutes, in 1-minute units)
Flyback function, auto return function
• World time display function
• Time difference set by user
• Zone set function (city name display SET/OFF)
• Home time (analog) and world time (digital) switching function
• LED lights
• Power saving function 1
• Power saving function 2
• Reference position checking/adjustment function
• Solar power function
• Insufficient charge warning function (2-second interval movement)
• Overcharging prevention function
• JIS Type-1 antimagnetic watch
• Impact detection function
• Hand correction function
7. Operation time:
• Time from a full charge until the watch stops without charging
: About 2.5 years (when in the power saving mode)
: About 6 months (when not in the power saving mode)
(The operation time may vary depending on the conditions of use, such as how
many times the radio wave is received.)
• Time from insufficient charge warning to watch stopping:
About 3 days
8. Battery: Secondary battery 1
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