This year, Citizen has issued a 30th anniversary re-release of their classic Promaster line of watches. First released in 1989, Promaster were some of the first world travel watches on the market. These watches are designed to combine ruggedness and an attractive package that’s suitable for formal occasions.
To commemorate this historic – and very popular – set of watches, Citizen has manufactured limited-edition re-releases of the three most common variants. In keeping with the Promaster line’s theme of “Land, Sea, and Sky”, the three releases are the Aqualand dive watch, the Altichron pilot’s watch, and the SST racing watch. Here, I’m specifically reviewing the Promaster SST.
As with all Citizen watches, the Promaster SST is powered by the Eco-Drive movement, a battery-powered movement that recharges from solar power. It has an impressive battery reserve of 11 months, and needs only 35 hours of exposure to fully charge. Unless you literally live and work in a cave, you should never have to worry about a Citizen watch running out of juice.
The Promaster SST’s dial is one of the busiest – and most functional – I’ve seen in awhile. The even numbered hours are marked by fat lume arrows, while the odd numbered hours are marked by smaller rectangles, with miniscule odd numbered numerals on the outside of the dial. The hands are fat, with a white lume finish and stainless steel border that’s clearly visible even against all the complications in the background. And boy, are there ever some complications on the SST.
Three subdials occupy the top of the face, at 10 o’clock, 12 o’clock, and 2 o’clock. From left to right, they display a 60-minute clock (60 seconds when the stopwatch is activated), a 10ths of a second dial for the stopwatch, and a 12/24 hour dial. All of the Promaster SST’s subdials have fine white lume indices and slender, white lume hands. One thing I really loved about the design of these subdials is that the flat black finish matches the finish on the main dial. So even though there’s a lot going on, the SST maintains a less cluttered look that you’d expect from a watch with this many features.
On the bottom half of the dial, from 7 o’clock to 3 o’clock, a digital chronograph displays hours, minutes, seconds, and even thousandths of a second. This is an insane amount of accuracy, and considering the fact that human reaction speed is about a half of a second, I’m not sold on the benefit of a manual stopwatch with that kind of accuracy. Still, it’s pretty cool to look at. Like the rest of the watch face, the chronograph is easily visible at night, with a red backlight that won’t spoil your night vision.
Crystal and Case
In keeping with its origins as a travel watch, the SST features a scratch and glare-resistant sapphire crystal. The crystal offers plenty of clarity, and extends only slightly taller than the case itself, with a sharp, shallow bevel at the edge.
This keeps the thickness to an oh-so-reasonable 13mm, with a wide, 47.5mm diameter that sits nice and tight against your wrist.
The case itself is constructed from black stainless steel, with 60-minute red and white stopwatch markings on the fixed bezel. The ribbed crown sits at 3 o’clock, with a pair of pushers at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock. At 4 o’clock, you’ll find a push button for operating the digital chronograph.
One thing I appreciated about the Promaster SST was the attractive, black stainless steel band that perfectly matches the case. The links are flexible and comfortable, and don’t pinch the way some cheap metal bands can do. On the downside, unlike a rubber watch band, you’ll need to take this one to a jeweler to have it adjusted.
For the “Land” portion of the Promaster’s “Land, Sea, and Sky” theme, Citizen chose to go with a racing watch. And while many so-called racing watches feature an angled dial, supposedly for easy readability while driving, but in practice you still have to move your hand most of the time anyway. Instead, the Promaster SST opted to use a car’s console as their inspiration.
This is most obvious when you look at the subdials, which are clustered at the top, with cutaways on the two side subdials to accommodate the larger center dial. This looks remarkably like the instrument console on a number of cars I’ve seen, with the speedometer, tachometer, and gas gauge all clustered together.
Meanwhile, the case itself has an automotive feel, from the textured, raised pushers to the red accents on the black steel. Perhaps most striking of all was the red and white indexing on the outer bezel, complete with a red 0-10 section that’s evocative the red line on a car’s tachometer.
To view Citizens’ entire range of watches visit their official website here.