The Citizen Promaster Diver range encompasses a varied selection of interesting and useful watches. Today I’m reviewing the most affordable diver in the range, the Citizen Promaster Diver BN0151-09L. It’s extremely popular for several reasons – solar powered movement, great looking dial, and of course the low price.
About Citizen Watch
Citizen Watch Co. started in 1918 as the Shokosha Watch Research Institute, changing the name to Citizen in 1930. It was founded as a joint venture between Japanese and Swiss investors.
They’re currently most well known for the Eco-Drive solar powered watch movement, which never needs a battery change, and for their radio-synced atomic watches such as the Skyhawk A-T.
After buying the Bulova Watch Company in 2008, Citizen Watch became the worlds largest watchmaker.
Citizen Promaster Diver BN0151-09L Specifications
- Citizen Eco-Drive quartz movement
- Solar-powered – no battery changes needed
- Aluminum unidirectional divers timing bezel
- 200 meters water resistance
- Mineral crystal with anti-reflective coating
- 43mm case diameter (48mm including crown)
- 12mm thick
- 20mm lug width
- Polyurethane band featuring diving no-decompression limits
- Date function at 4 o’clock
The version I’m reviewing here is the blue dialed BN0151-09L, which comes with a blue polyurethane diving strap. The BN0150-28E is also available, which is the same watch except with a black dial and black strap.
The Citizen Promaster Diver range has quite a few interesting watches included in it, in many different styles which you can check out in the table below.
Citizen Promaster Divers
Citizen Promaster Diver Review – The BN0151-09L
With all the specifications and introduction out of the way, let’s get into the watch I have here – the Citizen Promaster Diver BN0151-09L.
Also, I wrote a separate blog post about the unboxing process, be sure to check that out if you care about packaging, I won’t cover it in this review.
Wrist Presence & Feel
The Citizen BN0151-09L is a light-weight watch (at least for a diver) and it’s easy to forget it’s on your wrist as you’re going about your day.
At only 12mm thick it has a pretty slim profile, especially when wearing with the stock strap. Putting a NATO under it would make it stand up more.
I find it very comfortable on my 6.75″ wrist, but at a 43mm case diameter it’s about the limit size wise of what I can pull off. The lug to lug length is relatively short though which helps.
Looking at the dial closely, I think you’ll be impressed that this is a watch that commonly sells for less than $150. The dial is clean and arranged well, with the only the date window at 4 o’clock breaking symmetry.
All the markers are applied, lined in chrome, and generously filled with lume. While I didn’t manage to get a good lume shot, I have gotten up at 4 AM in the dark and still been able to read the time, 6 hours after the watch was last exposed to light.
Most of the markers are simple circles, but the distinctly shaped markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 will help to ensure it’s easy to quickly read the time at a glance, no matter the orientation of the watch.
A seemingly minor detail that bugs a lot of people when companies get it wrong (looking at you, Seiko) is the alignment of the 12 o’clock marker, chapter ring, and bezel. No worries about that here – they’re aligned perfectly.
While this is just one BN0151-09L out of thousands produced, I haven’t heard anything about alignment problems on any of the Citizen Promaster Divers.
The date window is set at 4 o’clock, and breaks half-way into one of the circular hour markers. Nothing spectacular here, it’s pretty small but still readable. The black text on white date wheel centers well. The cutout in the dial is framed by a printed white square.
I know some people complain about date windows at anywhere but 3 o’clock, but I’m glad Citizen decided to place it where they did. It would have been a shame to cut into the nice looking marker at 3.
The hands on the Citizen Promaster Diver are both distinctively shaped and colored from each other, ensuring no confusion when reading the time. They’re also quite large and completely filled with luminous paint, so checking the time in the dark is not an issue.
The hour hand is wide, short, and sword shaped with a black outline and tip protruding from the end. The minute hand is about the same width as the hour hand, but longer and ends in a thick arrow point. The orange outline also helps it stand out.
The second hand is pure white, long, and ends in a narrow arrow point. The arrow point has enough lume filled into it so you can easily see it in the dark, allowing you to quickly check that the watch is still running during a dive.
The bezel is pretty simple on the BN0151-09L. The markings are painted directly onto the aluminum of the bezel, and in my few short months I’ve managed to put a few small scratches through the paint already.
The ten-minute increments are marked in Arabic numerals, with rectangular bars marking the 5 minute increments and small circles marking every minute. None of the markings are lumed except for the pip at 12 0’clock.
The outer bezel edge is different than many divers I’ve seen. It’s mostly smooth, with just 6 groupings of grooves to provide grip. Not sure what this style of edge is called, anybody know a common name for this type of edging?
It has a pleasant clicking action when turned, and turns easily even with thick diving gloves on. The bezel is definitely not a high-end, rock solid one but I found it to be great quality for this price range.
The case for the Citizen Promaster Diver is simply made. It’s basically a short smooth cylinder with lugs, crown, and crown guards stuck on. Not really any intricate detail to speak of.
There’s no fancy polishing on this case – it’s done in a consistent matte brushed finish.
I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves here. I find the overall finish of the case to be good, especially for the price range that the BN0151-09L sells for.
The lugs are short and slope downward slightly. The shaping of them is obviously done quickly, with a beveled edge that is just slightly rounded over.
I always wish more brands would offer drilled through lugs for ease of strap changes. I wouldn’t think it would be a complicated manufacturing step but must take something extra.
The spring bars are small but seem to be of decent quality.
On the case back of the Citizen BN0151-09L is the Citizen Eco-Drive globe logo big and centered. Surrounding that is a warning not to open it ( luckily you shouldn’t need to, no batteries to change. I have heard of the capacitor dying sometimes though ). Around that are the various specifications for the watch.
The design on the case back seems to be just printed, not engraved.
The screw-down crown is a good size and easy to operate. The Citizen Promaster arrow logo is engraved on the outer end which is a nice touch. The grooves on the crown are pretty shallow, not offering much grip but I never had any issues unscrewing it.
Operation is standard. Unscrewing it and pulling out to first position allows you to set the date. Pulling it out to the second click allows you to set the time. Like all quartz watches I know of, pulling it out to the second position stops the second hand.
The crown guards offer a bit of protection, but only extend out about half-way of the crown length. I can see a scenario where if you left the crown unscrewed and then managed to whack it on a corner you might damage the stem. With the crown screwed in I think this is very unlikely.
The stock blue silicone strap is supple and very comfortable to wear on bare skin. It’s also long enough (though just barely) to wear over the top of my dry gloves while diving. Someone with a bigger wrist may have problems wearing the stock strap over a drysuit or thick wet gloves – a strap extender would be useful.
Printed on the lower end of the strap is the no-decompression limits for air diving. Even though most people wearing this watch will never use it, I think it’s useful to include. I like to wear an analog watch as a backup while diving, and having the tables right there in case my computer died is helpful.
Of course, you don’t have to stick with the stock silicone diving band. The 20mm lugs are pretty standard and will accept just about any strap you have lying around. Below I’ve put it on a cheap leather NATO:
And here’s it on a black NATO:
Those are just two of the straps I’ve got here that fit it. I don’t know of anybody making bracelets specifically for this Citizen Promaster, but any straight-end bracelet should fit fine. I think the Strapcode Super Engineer would be an awesome match for this watch to dress it up a lot.
The BN0151-09L comes in at 43mm, making it a moderately sized diver (at least for modern dive watches). Here you can see it next to the Seiko SKX007, which at 41mm is noticeably smaller.
However, height-wise the Promaster Diver is thinner coming in at 12mm vs. the SKX007 at 13.25mm. When set on a flat surface the SKX007’s lugs curve down quite a bit more, exaggerating the height difference.
Diving with the Citizen Promaster BN0151-09L
Diving with the Citizen Promaster Diver BN0151-09L has been a pleasure. I wrote a whole blog post about it here – Diving with the BN0151-09L – but the short of it is that it’s a great, reliable, very readable watch to wear underwater. I even set a personal depth record while wearing this watch, going down to 156 feet deep to get a quick look at some rare cold water corals (not my dive, just a fun description of the coral).
Citizen Promaster Diver Review Conclusion
It really is a steal for a solar powered diver, as far as I’ve found no other brand is offering a similar watch in this price range. All of Seiko’s new solar powered models are going for $200+.
So get one. You know you want to.