The Citizen Promaster was re-introduced in 2018 after a hiatus of many years, and for 2019, gets an update to the design. The new model looks even more the part of a high precision timepiece operating with a high precision flight maneuvers of the US Navy’s Blue Angels. We get close up and see what the fuss is all about.
Citizen Promaster Skyhawk A-T Blue Angels
The Blue Angels are the US Navy’s elite flight demonstration squadron renowned for their precision and grace showcased in each of their flight maneuvers. Formed in 1946, the Blue Angels are wildly popular and instantly recognizable by their blue and yellow colours.
This Citizen Promaster Blue Angels A-T is a dedication to the team and is equipped with radio control signaling to provide precise atomic timekeeping in 43 cities.
The US model carries the name Skyhawk, and the model for the rest of the world omits this moniker.
The case, dial and hands
This Promaster Blue Angels A-T appears in a stainless steel case measuring 46mm diameter and comes with either a steel bracelet or a leather strap. We review the version with the steel bracelet. The case itself is round with a brushed finish, with massive lugs on either end.
The bezel carries yellow accents over the dark blue base with white inscriptions. The dial is also in a dark blue. The hour indices are large bars, with Arabic numerals for 3, 6, 9 and an arrowhead for 12. The dial is inspired by cockpit instrumentation, with the case having a resemblance to the fuselage.
The dial is rather busy, with a mixture of LCD windows and printed analog displays with hands to indicate the plethora of information it is required to show. A manually operated mechanical slide rule, makes the bezel look very complicated and along side the other features include a chronograph, perpetual calendar, dual time, alarms, countdown timer, digital backlight and UTC display, and power reserve indicator. Secondary indicators also crowd the dial to indicate the signal information from radio transmitters. The Blue Angels logo also adorns the printed nomenclature on the dial along side the brand name and model designations.
That said, because the hour and minute hands in combination with the indices are huge and high contrast to the dial, reading the time is surprisingly easy for such a busy dial.
The bracelet is in stainless steel, and is rather well finished in a matte surface which is faceted to give the design depth. The crowns are screw-in type, and protected by protusions on the case side which act as crown guard, and adding to the considerable gravitas of the overall look. The Promaster Blue Angels look very professional and befits its place among the other complicated instrumentation in the cockpit.
The movement is Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, and operates without a battery. The Caliber U680 is multi-functional, and displays a ton of information on the dial side.
The timing is synchronized by radio control with “Perfex Multi 3000” technology for high-sensitivity time signal reception in four global regions (Japan, China, U.S., Europe). For Singapore, this function will not be operational in-country.
The movement features an interesting mechanism to keep the hands from moving in a high shock environment, like the cockpit of a fighter aircraft. On sensing vibration, the motor is locked within a thousandth of a second, and automatically released when the shock disappears to prevent accidental moving of the hands in such situations. The sequence happens so fast that the watch seems to function normally.
Another mechanism senses that the hands are not in synchronization with each other and is able to automatically detect and correct for it.
We are not able to see the movement finish, but having visited the Citizen manufacture which makes these movements, we are assured that the movements are designed and manufactured to very high tolerances, and although these watches are not haute horlogerie to require the masterful assembly of their Super Meisters, they are nonetheless hand assembled with the aid of machines.
At an retail price of S$1096.75 with GST (US MRSP is US$695, and currently discounted on the Citizen USA site to US$556.00.), the Promaster Blue Angels is an impressive watch. It looks the part of a high precision instrument in line with the other instruments one might find in the cockpit of a demonstration airplane like the six F/A-18 Hornets used by the Blue Angels. In civilian use, it is a rather smart looking watch, suitable in a casual wear environment.
On the wrist, the large watch feels rather comfortable, and the lugs wrap around the wrist in combination to the pliable bracelet to be a nice fit. And we would highly recommend it for flight watch enthusiasts as well as Blue Angel fans.