Review of a Citizen NaviSurf Quartz Chronograph Watch

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First Impressions   (images with borders enlarge when clicked)

In 2005, I bought a collection of six quartz chronograph watches, with the intention of selecting the best and re-selling the rest.  One of those watches was a Citizen NaviSurf analog/digital watch. Because I wanted a circular slide-rule bezel at the time, the NaviSurf got sold and I ended up keeping a Citizen Ecodrive NightHawk - a pretty good watch in it's own right. However, remembering the unusual features of the NaviSurf, I often regretted selling it. Recently, I was delighted to purchase one in as-new condition.

front This watch is all stainless steel, including the integral bracelet.  The original mainly brushed finish has been buffed, including the bracelet - but not to a fully polished state.  The effect is quite acceptable.  The case is nicely rounded and moulds itself nicely to the wrist. There is a 120-click bi-directional bezel with compass markings on it.

 The dial (what little you can see of it) has a radial satinĂ© (sunburst) blue finish, a good color for a seafaring tool watch.  It is cluttered with subdials, LCDs and logos.  An outer chapter ring, inclined at a steep angle to the dial, bears various legends and colors all having to do with the intricacies of sailing.  The hands and markers are substantial; the photo-luminous coating is bright and glows legibly for at least six hours in the dark.

pusherFour pushers are symmetrically arranged around the body.  They have capstan-style heads, thereby continuing the nautical theme.  The watch is 46 mm wide, 47 mm lug-to-lug and 13-1/2 mm deep.  It weighs a hefty 140 g (5 oz), including the bracelet.  Due to the comfortable bracelet and the curve of the body, it does not feel at all heavy on the wrist.

screw in back The screw-in back has a smooth rounded appearance with a large logo and stuff at center - with the rest around the periphery.  The center portion has the appearance of an inset medallion with polished characters on a satin-finish background.  Note that this watch is water-resistant to 20 bar, 10 bars more than other models in the Citizen 'Promaster" series.  The serial number indicates that it was manufactured in July, 1998.

side viewThe side view shows that this watch fits nicely to the wrist.  The pronounced downward curve of the lugs is continued in the bracelet wings and the links themselves.


There are three subdials at 12,6 and 9:

timer minutes The subdial @12 shows minutes during timing functions.
current mode The subdial @6 shows the current mode selection with a cool anchor-shaped pointer.  The cross pieces are actually shiny, not matte, and do show when viewed from most angles
24 hour The subdial @9 shows 24 hrs - it is permanently linked to the hour hand.

There are three LCDs at 3,5 and 7:

main LCD The LCD @3 is the main display, used in all modes.  The top line shows the currently set time zone.  The data on the second line depends on the mode, as does the double-sized third line.  The photo at left shows the display in CAL (calendar) mode, with "SUMMER" indicating that the time zone is set to show daylight savings time, a.k.a. summer time in the UK.  It is not automatic, you have to change it in every zone that you make available for display - quite a chore in spring and fall (but the main hands do adjust automatically when you make the change).
right LCD The LCD @5 shows the current function of the top right pusher on the top line, and that of the bottom right pusher on the bottom line.  As shown, "UP" means the next available time zone and "MODE" means change the mode of operation e.g. if in CAL mode (see photo above) it will click round to R-1.
left LCD parked The LCD @7 shows the current function of the top left pusher on the top line, and that of the bottom left pusher on the bottom line.As shown, "H.R." means retract (set at 12) the hands (see right) and "DOWN" means select the previous available time zone.

Modes and Functions

The movement is a Citizen Cal. C320, a highly entertaining variation of the well-known Navihawk Cal. C300.  To list all of the possible functions here would be a little too much to take in, so I will concentrate on the more unsual features of this watch.  You'll find full instructions here.  The various modes mentioned below are selected by repeatedly pushing the mode (bottom right) button until the anchor points to the desired mode.  So, starting from the top . . .

TME means normal time display.  The main LCD can show the time in any of 24 preset time zones and can be set to show summer time and either 12 hr time or 24-hr time, my favorite being eBay time (LAX) in 24 hr style.  The larger digits on the seconds display are perfect for sniping competing bidders - much better than the smaller digits found on many other digital watches.

CAL means date mode.  Some caution is needed here - if Sydney, Australia is selected as the time zone then it will show the date there, and not necessarily (in my case) the date in Texas.

R-1 means "Race timer #1" and replaces the countdown function found on other watches.  There are two 60-minute timers on this watch, both equally entertaining.  When the timer R-1 is selected, the sweep seconds and the small minutes hands rotate to the zero position, or wherever they ended up last time if the timer was not reset.  The totally cool thing is that these two hands turn backwards as they proceed towards timeout!  As if that were not enough, with 10 minutes to go, it beeps every minute; with 1 minute to go, every 10 seconds; with 5 secs to go, every second - culminating with a 5-second long beep.  Quite a battery drain, but fun and sometimes useful if you're busy looking at something important like an approaching oil tanker - or television. For some reason this timer repeats two more times before stopping, I have no idea why.

R-2 means "Race timer #2" which works the same as R-1, but it does not repeat.  Instead, when it times out, the chronograph function self-starts - presumably to tell you how badly you underestimated the time to the first mark!  Both timers have a flyback/instant restart function, and can also be stopped and started during timing.

CHR means the chronograph function which, unlike the race timers, is conventional in operation.  However, as the digital chrono display is whizzing around on the main LCD, both the sweep seconds and the small minutes hand start to run (forwards) allowing short times (less than 1 hr) to be seen at a glance.  The split time function is very useful when regulating mechanical watches.

AL-1 & AL-2 obviously mean alarms.  This watch has two of them, which I personally find preferable to the NaviHawk which has no less than three alarms but only one countdown timer.

SET has to do with setting which zones are displayed when the zone selector buttons are pushed.  By the way, time zones that are not multiples of one hour can not be set on this watch - and this is also true of most, if not all, Citizen "Worldtime" watches. Sorry, Adelaide dwellers!

Use of the compass bezel

front The bezel is easy to operate, in spite of having been buffed.  It looks like all the numbers and markers were originally filled with black, but many of them are now devoid of enamel.  To a landlubber like me, there are few uses, if any, for the compass points as such.  Furthermore, the instructions in the operating manual seem a little trivial for real seafarers.  However, if the 30 degree markers were filled in more colorfully with special emphasis on the 360 degree position, the bezel could be used as a simple timer or a second time zone indicator.  I may just do that!

The colorful outer chapter ring appears to be of use only to yachtsmen, so I will not comment on it other than to say that it looks real pretty.


bracelet clasp bracelet adjustment The bracelet is clean and very comfortable for one who prefers nylon or leather.  The clasp has a security lock and length adjustment is instantly available by pressing two buttons on the sides of the clasp, in additional to the usual removable links.  An invaluable feature for those whose wrist size changes with the weather or whatever!


This watch is a nice example of Citizen's dedication to the provision of a wide variety of relatively inexpensive tool watches for all purposes through their Promaster and other series.  They are especially suitable for daily wear, and still somehow look acceptable even when beaten up to a considerable degree.

Thanks for looking!