One of Citizen’s earlier dive watches, the Challenge Diver of 1977 is rated to 150 m – but it evidently can withstand more than pressure under water. In 1983, a long-submerged example was discovered at Long Reef Beach in Sydney, Australia. And despite being encrusted with barnacles, it was in working condition according to Citizen.
Now Citizen revisits the Challenge Diver – and memorialises the barnacle-covered watch – with the Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m “Fujitsubo”. The new watch retains the retro design and dimensions but has been thoroughly upgraded with modern materials and mechanics, including a titanium case and movement resistant to magnetic fields of up to 16,000 A/m (or about 200 Gauss).
While the new launch is headlined by an interesting story, the watch itself is appealing, especially for its slim proportions and affordability.
At 41 mm wide and 12.3 mm tall, the Fujitsubo is one of the thinnest dive watches in this price segment. In fact, it’s even thinner than the vintage original. And it’s also slimmer than its most obvious rival, the Seiko 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretations “62MAS”, which is about 1 mm taller.
And it will also be lightweight. As is convention for most of Citizen’s mid-range dive watches, the case is Super Titanium, the brand’s proprietary alloy that has undergone surface hardening, leaving it five times more scratch resistant than steel.
Visually, the Fujitsubo is simple and almost generic, but paradoxically that’s the appeal. The Fujitsubo is the most restrained mechanical dive watch in Citizen’s line up, both in terms of size and style – good news for anyone who wants something more minimal than its recent offerings.
It’s a faithful reproduction of the vintage original, right down to the bezel with its extra-large numerals. The markings on the bezel are wide enough they look exaggerated and almost comical, which is antithetical to the overall functional style. The bezel markings feel incongruent and are perhaps the only aspect I would change.
Overall, the Fujitsubo is one of the most compelling divers at this price considering the design, form, and specs.
Mix and match
At arm’s length, the Fujitsubo looks clean and traditional, but up close the dial and bezel reveals a few quirks. The hour hand is especially unusual with the familiar “Mercedes” tip that’s mostly associated with a famous Swiss brand. That said, the dial is faithful reproduction of that on the 1977 original, a period where brands borrowed liberally from each other – just look at the number of 1970s sports watches with integrated bracelets in every level of the price spectrum.
As a result, the minute hand and the “lollipop” seconds feels a bit derivative, but combined with the extra-wide, typically 1970s hour markers, the overall look still manages to be original and appealingly retro.
Inside the Fujitsubo is the cal. 9051. Compared to other Japanese movements at this price, the cal. 9051 is notable for its high frequency of 28,800 beats per hour that promises more stable timekeeping, instead of the more typical 21,600 beats per hour. However, it has a modest power reserve of only 42 hours.
Key facts and price
Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200 m “Fujitsubo”
Ref. NB6021-17E (black)
Ref. NB6021-68L (blue)
Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 12.3 mm
Material: Super Titanium with Duratect TiC treatment
Water resistance: 200 m
Movement: Cal. 9051
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet
Limited edition: No
Availability: From summer 2022 at Citizen boutiques and retailers
Price: Unavailable at press time
For more, visit Citizenwatch-global.com.
This was brought to you in partnership with Citizen.
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