on 15 May 2009
This is a great time keeper, taking its time every morning from the atomic clock at Frankfurt. Lighter than the versions with stainless steel straps which would have been too heavy for me. You just have to be careful when resizing the strap to fit your wrist as this is done by cutting out pieces from the rubber strap so you have to make sure you don't remove too much.
on 20 May 2010
I have had this watch for over 2 years now and it has to be seen to be believed. Prior to owning this I had looked at previous Skyhawk watches and wanted to buy one, but never quite got around to it. The solar power and multifunction dials always appealed to me, but they never had as many functions as this version.
When this version came out I could not believe the specification! As well as the usual stuff: Stopwatch, alarms, multiple time zones, solar power and no battery change, two other features blew me away, namely the atomic time, which means this watch is always accurate and the fact that it is titanium making this huge watch extremely light. Not to mention the slide rule dial which can be used for calculations.
One other thing that only becomes clear after wearing this is the quality and precision of the dials and the huge amount of finely printed text on this watch. Believe me there is alot of tiny print, but the quality is absolutely second to none and all the surfaces are machined to an incredibly precise finish. I have owned many watches but never seen anything which looks so precise.
Although none of these functions is unique, I do not know of any watch which comes close in functionality, except maybe a Casio or Tissot touch and I have heard that many people have had problems with the Tissot, which is aimed at trekkers rather than a world traveller or pilot and Casio have never quite shaken the cheap disposable image of years gone by.
This watch has been faultless and 100% accurate for 2 years now. It will never be regarded with the same respect as any of the Swiss timepieces all the purists rave about, simply because it is a Citizen, but it simply blows them all away for accuracy and functionality. Most of all it works without any problems and does it at a price they could never compete with.
There are lots of functions on this watch but only two buttons and a crown, which has to be pulled out to use some of the functions and some people object to this, but overall the watch is an absolute revelation.
on 5 July 2013
I'm giving this five stars as its a great watch, but I'd have preferred to give 4.5.
I ordered one and when it arrived I started working my way through the instruction manual. However as I practised with the slide rule bezel it became stiff and felt like there was some kind of grit underneath. It was making a grinding noise as well. This is not what I paid for, so I returned it.
When the replacement arrived I checked the slide rule bezel to see if it had the same problem. Sure enough, half a dozen twists and it was grinding away. Having this happen with two watches in a row suggests a quality control problem, so rather than return it immediately I did a bit of Googling. I couldn't find anything about new units, but with other Citizen watches with stiff rotating bezels the two things to try seemed to be warm soapy water and a length of thread pulled around under the bezel to clean underneath it. I did both of these, and about a meter of button thread and a couple of rinses later I had the bezel rotating easily again, and its been no trouble since (I've had it about a week now). Disclaimer: this worked for me, but it is not in the instructions and might invalidate your warranty if anything goes wrong. If you try this then make very sure that the crown wheel is pushed fully in, as the watch is not waterproof when it is pulled out. UPDATE: its been perfectly fine for a few months now.
Apart from that problem the build quality is good. Everything feels smooth and precise.
The rest of the watch is complicated, and you need good eyesight to make the most of it. There is a 24 hour UTC dial, which is useful if you are in a profession like aviation or computers where UTC is frequently used. The top right dial (the one always covered by the minute hand in the product shots) is actually a 24 hour version of the main hour hand, so you can see whether your local time is AM or PM. Personally I'd have preferred a bigger digital display instead. The remaining two dials are functional indicators rather than telling the time.
The crown wheel (the one on the right you pull out and turn) has two stops. The first one is for setting the mode in the bottom dial, and the second one is used in some modes to adjust things. The various combinations of buttons and crown wheel are complicated, and its worth working through the instructions a few times until you have it memorized. Watching all the various hands do their things is cool. I figure it must have 4 different electric motors (or maybe its one motor and a bunch of clutches). All the hands are under software control and always say exactly what the software wants them to. The main second and minute hands are obviously done by the same motor because the second hand spins rapidly around when the minute hand is being moved, but the hour hand has its own motor and if you watch carefully you can see it move at the start of every other minute.
Stuff I really like about this watch:
* Radio control means I don't have to set it. It checks the time three times each night, and you can check whether it received the time the following day by pressing one of the buttons. It works when in range of transmitters in Germany (meaning most of Western and Central Europe), USA and Japan. I live in on the south coast of the UK and reception is fine here. Outside those areas you can set the time manually. It also knows about DST in many countries. If you are in a country it doesn't know then you can switch that manually as well.
* Solar power means no more batteries, which is nice. More importantly it means that I don't need to worry about finding a jeweller who can guarantee the water proofing, and I don't need to worry about shortening the battery life when I use power-hungry features. I haven't made a point of charging it, but the power indicator has stayed in zone 3 (out of 4) apart from a brief excursion into zone 2 when I was learning the controls and hence sending the hands spinning around a lot. UPDATE: the power indicator now stays firmly on full unless I deliberately waste power by keeping the light on.
* The slide rule bezel is good for multiplication and division to within 1%, and there is an inner scale of hours and minutes to help with questions like "How far will you travel at 47 miles per hour in 1 hour and 25 minutes?" (Answer: about 66.5). Also useful for price comparison when abroad: set the rate and you can convert prices in both directions at a glance.
* Its about two thirds the weight of my old watch.
* The luminous hands remain visible throughout the night, unlike my old watch where they faded after a couple of hours.
* The previously mentioned tale of having to clean under the slide rule bezel.
* The lens is mineral glass instead of sapphire, so at some point its going to get scratched. I gather you can opt for a sapphire replacement if you have it repaired, at extra cost. I would have expected this to at least be an option, and having had a sapphire lens on a previous watch I would have chosen it. UPDATE: Its been a few months now, and the glass is still unblemished: maybe they are using Gorilla Glass.
* Likewise, the slide rule scales are painted on rather than etched, so I imagine they are going to wear off in time. UPDATE: the paint on a couple of numbers on the outer bezel have been damaged. The outer bezel is actually etched, so with care and a magnifying glass you can repaint the numbers by blobbing enamel paint on and then wiping off the excess.
* The date on the right hand digital display (shown in "CAL" mode) is the date for the second time zone rather than the one shown by the watch hands. I can sort of see the logic here: the right hand display shows the time and date for the second time zone, and it would be confusing if it showed the time for the second zone and the date for the first. But its also potentially confusing if you are in a foreign country and see the date for your home. This really ought to be a configurable option.
* You change mode by pulling the crown wheel out one notch and turning it. This is not easy to do with the watch on your wrist, so using the stopwatch or timer functions can mean taking it off unless you have strong fingers or good fingernails.
* Its not waterproof when the crown wheel is pulled out. I won't swim or shower with it in case I forget this fact (I'm rather absent minded).
* The alarms are too quiet to wake you up or to be heard anywhere with much ambient noise. I can see that putting a decently loud sounder in a watch is not going to be easy so I didn't expect anything different. But don't buy this as an alarm clock.
Overall: this is a great watch with lots of features. Everything is perfectly usable despite the niggles above. Buy it for its features, but only if you have good close vision.
on 15 June 2008
I have owned this watch for 3 months now and I am very impressed. As a fighter pilot having an accurate time hack is very important to me and the best aspect of this watch is that it receives a radio time hack in the middle of the night every day. You can also manually order the watch to re-hack itself from the radio signal. The ability to receive a time hack in America and Europe (plus the Far East too) is invaluable. The radio reception was strong in Ridgecrest, California and OK in Tucson but was very weak in Las Vegas. I had to go outside to receive the signal so the overnight automatic update did not receive indoors. In the east of the UK the signal is maximum strength.
Other than this, the watch has numerous additional features which make it indispensable.
The slide rule bezel is remarkably useful on the ground, not only for planning missions, but also for currency conversion, long division and percentages. Furthermore on a trail back from the US recently it was extremely useful for calculating fuel burn when the gas was a bit tight. I will definitely not own a work watch without a slide rule bezel again.
The light is bright and the watch hands are also luminous and easy to read in low light. Whilst this is a large watch (I suggest you go and try one on before purchasing), the titanium version is remarkably light. I like its purposeful looks too.
The build quality of the watch is excellent. Whilst it sounds like a small point, the second hand points exactly at each second mark on the dial as it rotates (it really annoys me if the second hand points halfway between them). Furthermore, if the hands are not correctly aligned you can manually adjust them. This is the first watch that I have owned with this functionality and whilst it arrived perfectly aligned, it is indicative of the quality and attention to detail of the manufacturers.
The watch is maintenance free too, as it is powered by an Eco-Drive (effectively a solar panel on the watch face). Mine arrived fully charged and it has remained so over the past 3 months without me having to leave it to charge in direct sunlight. I have simply worn it everyday. Coupled with the automatic radio reception time hack, it means this watch requires no effort from you. All you have to do is wear it - the watch does the rest.
Like everything, there is room for improvement. Whilst I like the watch styling in general, I think that the use of orange in the writing was a little misguided. However, there is an identical Japanese version of this watch in black with white writing so if the colour bothers you I'm sure you could track down that version.
There are 2 smaller clocks which display UTC (very useful) and a pointless 24hr clock - a pilot who doesn't understand the 24hr clock system is going to be hard to find! Given that this is marketed as a pilot's watch it is a ridiculous addition. Making the UTC display bigger would have been a much better design, freeing up space for a dedicated calendar display. The watch can either show an alternative time zone on the LCD display or the date, but not both simultaneously. Additionally another LCD display is used up showing you what your home city is set to. Personally I would have made the UTC clock larger, removed the 24hr clock and added a dedicated date display.
However these points are minor when compared to the quality, styling and overall utility and functionality of the Citizen Skyhawk A-T Titanium. I researched various pilots' watches before buying this, including allegedly dedicated specialist watchmakers. None came close to this watch. As a pilot it offers the near perfect solution to my chronograph requirements and I unreservedly recommend it.
on 21 April 2010
...except when I check the time!
For me, it's not the fancy world times. Don't get me wrong it was fun playing with this, but I'll use this once (twice if I'm lucky) a year to go on holiday. Even then I've got kids so the amount of exotic places I might go where this is actually useful will be few, since I can generally manage to add or take away a couple of hours. It would have been really useful in my wandering days, but that alas is a few years ago (or away hopefully).
Anyway you don't want to know that, you want to know what I think of it.
Well I don't have to think about batteries, which was my number one criteria, since I have a collection of really nice watches which nolonger go and aren't possible, practical or economic to have the batteries replaced.
Because it is titanium, it's light and comfortable and I hardly notice it's on, which was my number two criteria. Added to that it seems to be very resilient, this is a bonus for someone as clumsy as me.
Also I don't have to worry about it being the right time when I look at it, because the radio updates work brilliantly. This was a nice to have, but I'm glad I got it now. It's particularly galling to a friend who has a kinetic watch which cost more than my car, weighs nearly as much and has to be adjusted too regularly for his liking. Not to mention having to have it overhauled every few years, for a small fortune.
As suggested I'd have bought a cheaper watch with less features but the same quality. Because of the functionality the watch face is too busy for my needs. But I think the dials make it look interesting, it is still a pretty watch which tells the time and date clearly. The other options on the market which satisfied my criteria don't have good reviews and didn't seem to offer the same quality and where still quite expensive. I simply don't want to have to buy another watch after this one. So I am very happy with the watch, but it loses one star for me because of the price. That said, it is Citizen and I'm told they are bomb proof so I might just come back and put that star back in ten years if it's still perfect and turns out to be good value after all.
on 16 January 2015
A really great watch, the build quality and functionality is top class. The Titanium is light and also looks great, it's a nice darker grey as opposed to the SS version. It's very easy to use, download the manual from Citizen and you can follow it easily on your PR or Tablet. I love the World Time function, so many cities to choose from and switching between the two times you have selected is a simple two dual button press. I travel a lot so this is ideal for me.
The Radio Controlled function is really impressive. You will have absolute accurate time which is a great selling point. I was a bit wary of this as I live in Dublin and the radio transmitter for Europe is in Germany. Casio watches also use a transmitter in England which Citizen don't use for some reason. I need not have worried, the Watch picked up the signal from Germany with no issues and it was the High Strength signal reception as well which is very impressive.
The watch looks great, is not too huge and really does have tonnes of features. The digital displays are actually very useful and I would guess they are easier for the watch to deal with as the timer, chronograph, World time use this instead of the watch hands and dial like other watches so it's less taxing on the mechanism and also quicker to use.
Good news as well is that the authorised Citizen repair centre in Ireland can change the glass to Sapphire Crystal for just EUR60 which sounds like a good deal to me. When I get scratches on the Mineral Glass, I'll just send it to them for replacement.
Highly recommended watch. If you're thinking of buying, just go ahead and do it! You'll have it for years.
on 26 April 2008
The watch is superb, really well made, the strap is comfortable and with being titanium is not excessively heavy, in fact everything about the watch is superb. Would have been happier if it had received the UK atomic signal, but seems to pick up the German signal ok.
on 10 July 2013
Usual Citizen quality, looks great, doesn't wear as big as I thought it would, fits very well, not too heavy. Expensive, but with the functions it comes with it is certainly worth it. If you want a rugged, accurate well designed and good looking watch that can be worn in a variety of different occasions, this is a great option.
on 17 December 2012
I went for the model without a stainless steel bracelet as the watch is quite weighty. I certainly don't regret my decision.
Although this isn't a cheap watch by any stretch of the imagination, all the functions and build quality are there, with perfect accuracy across Europe, parts of Asia and the USA on this radio-controlled timepiece. No need to ever replace the battery is a major plus as well, with the meter always showing as fully charged.
I've used most of the functions without much difficulty, even the slide-rule bezel. The dual time zone and 2 alarms have been more useful than I realised, along with the countdown timer and stopwatch that I've used regularly.
After owning this watch for a year I can't fault it. There doesn't seem to be any other watch available that matches the price and features.
on 4 July 2009
This watch has everything just got mine yesterday and really chuffed, I first condidered a casio waveceptor as I liked the idea of a watch that was atomically acurate, and thought that Casio were the only brand that did that, then I discovered Citizen did one as well, so I went to a local jewellers and compared the 2 I looked at the stainless steel version of this watch and the Titanium and as soon as I put the titanium one on I had to have it, its got some things that I will never use like a stopwatch ,countdown timer and world time zone thingy but what is really impressive are the build quality, the fact that it is 100% acurate all the time (checked on the atomic clock on the internet this morning and it was exact to the second ), it will never ned a battery and it looks great ,simply the best watch I have ever owned.
Negatives are Orange hands they could have chosen a better colour and I have mine set to london and UTC, UTC replaced greenwich mean time but as we are in sumertime now the main display is correct and the UTC digital and 24 hour display are an hour behind which is slightly annoying but I am really pleased with it and its cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else