Citizen Brycen (AW1590-55E) review

So, I finally got my grail watch, a Tudor Black Bay, and was happy. I wasn’t 100% happy because it was the GMT rather than the Black Bay Black, but because the waiting lists are so long to get the GMT it made sense to take it when offered and to see if I would grow to love it.

I grew to love it.

It was a tough buy because I always wanted the gold hands of the Black Bay Heritage, but when the jeweller emailed me to say that a GMT had come in and asked if I wanted it, I jumped. Besides, I can buy a Black Bay Black at any time because they are everywhere, the GMT is not.

And then we were hit by a huge medical bill for my son. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it until we know the full situation, but it’s fair to say that the NHS proved to be so under resourced that they were unable to help in the most potentially serious of cases and the delays could be potentially very serious.

We decided to go private, an experience which has also proved to be less than impressive, in order to save time and the end result is that the GMT has to be sold. It would be a horrible thing to do in normal times, but when it comes to the health of one of your children you start to realise what is important and having a £2,800 watch on my wrist fell way down the list.

I could go into the myriad thoughts I have had over the past two weeks concerning the important things in life and my temporary realisation that an expensive watch is not necessary, but I hope that the feeling for my grail watch comes back one day and that I can rebuild my watch fund to buy the one I want.

The GMT will be gone in a few days, potentially at a profit which will help contribute to the medical bills, and so I decided to pick up a watch that I have had my eye on for some time, one that could be bought 13 times before the cost of the GMT is reached. A watch that I know will not be of the same quality, a watch that no one aspires to, but also one that I do not have to worry about and which may just have enough personality to suffice until the grail returns.

It is a Citizen Eco-Drive and so I am expecting excellent accuracy, but of course there are particular quartz movements in each watch. To date I am on less than 1 second deviance per day which is what I have experienced with previous Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

The case shape is not deep at all and curves a little around the wrist when paired with the right bracelet. The included mesh bracelet is of OK quality, but it pulled hairs out of my arm immediately. I do not have particularly hairy arms and this is the first strap to do that so that is a downside. I changed it straight away and this watch pairs very well with almost any 22mm strap thanks to the muted colours. The gold hands and hour markers are extremely subtle and work well with the very very light green inner colouring. Only the hands are lumed, but Citizen has cleverly managed to match the green throughout the dial.

Talking of the lume, this is a Citizen and so it is exceptional. It is very bright and lasts throughout the night, and with just the hands painted the end result is not overwhelming at all. The pointed hands offer more than enough recognition to tell the time in total darkness and this is without doubt a highlight.

The bezel fits the design very well, but strangely is static. I have never seen a bezel with 60 markings that does not rotate and so it is purely there for aesthetic reasons, presumably to give the watch a ‘dive’ vibe. For me, and no doubt the majority of people who prefer dive watches, it all comes down to the styling rather than the likelihood of being under the sea for any length of time and Citizen seems to have embraced that. Citizen has actually embraced it to the point of only giving 100m of water resistance, only luming the hour and minute hands, and of course installing a static bezel. It looks like a dive watch, it feels like a dive watch, it most certainly is not a dive watch.

If I could change anything it would be the date window. Citizen has a habit of including date windows that are tiny, to the point that I wonder why they are even there. It would make more sense to either remove it altogether to offer a cleaner look or go the whole hog and put a big one on the dial. If you go half way you may as well not have bothered.

Overall I really like this watch and it was the particular model I was looking at above more expensive Seikos and Citizens. I suspect it was because I previously owned an Oris Divers Sixty Five (above) and there is a similar look going on here. I loved that watch, but not as much as the Tudor and so sold it to pay some of the Tudor. I love my son much more than both of them and so now have this Citizen on my wrist, and remarkably I really am liking it.

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