Sometimes A Watch Is More Than A Watch

Today we have mechanical watches, battery-powered digital watches, and smartwatches (digital devices on the wrist linked to a cellphone). The first two types of watches mentioned are focused on telling time, while the smartwatch has many focuses, time being only one of them. The Citizen Blue Angles Chronograph, gadgets notwithstanding, represents another step in the evolution of time-telling watches. In fact, it is so evolved, it can arguably be one of the most accurate wristwatches in the world today. To accomplish this, it has to be pretty “smart” too. As well, the Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph doesn’t need to be wound and doesn’t need a battery. It just needs light, any light, to charge its capacitor. As you will soon see, this watch is packed with features.

What Are The Blue Angels?

Founded in 1946, the Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s demonstrative flying team. The team consists of 6 pilots (currently 5 Navy and 1 Marine) flying McDonnel-Douglas F-18s. The precision flying skills of the pilots and maneuvers of these planes far exceed the word “amazing”. Truly something that you have to see to believe.

Blue-Angels Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph AT8020-3L Review Product Reviews

The Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph is a commemorative watch of this flying team. The watch’s bezel and the outer watch band match the shade of blue as used on the planes, while the bezel is trimmed in the same yellow as the planes trim, as is the watch’s second hand and inner watch band. The back of the watch displays the team’s logo. Citizen initially claimed a limited production run of 2500 pieces for this watch.

Features of the Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph

From Citizen’s website:

Citizen Eco-Drive Radio-Controlled Chronograph World Timer; Blue Angels edition with caseback insignia. Atomic time in 26 world cities; radio-controlled accuracy in 5 zones. 1/20 second chrono up to 60 minutes, perpetual calendar, 12/24 hour time, power reserve, non-reflective sapphire crystal. Stainless steel, blue ion plating, leather strap. Featuring our Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, any light. Never needs a battery. Caliber number H800.

But wait, there’ more:

  • Water-Resistance – WR200/20Bar/666ft [Swimming, Showering & Snorkeling]
  • Goes into power-saving mode when in total darkness for 30 minutes or more

Here is a video explaining the Eco-Drive:

Some information about Atomic Timekeeping:

To get an even better view of the features of this watch, click HERE for the owner’s manual.

Using the Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph

As long as you can access one of the 5 Atomic Clocks in the world, setup is relatively painless. Help the watch get some charging done by setting the watch in some light until you go to bed. Then, pull out the watch’s stem one click. Notice that around the inside the bezel are the abbreviations for 26 airports around the world. Rotate the watch’s stem till you reach the airport in your time zone. Push in the stem. Now point the top of the watch (12:00) in the direction of the closest Atomic Clock. At 2:00 AM, contact between the Atomic Clock and your watch will be attempted. If successful, the clock will use the information from the Atomic Clock to set time, date, etc. on your watch. If there was a hiccup of some sort at 2:00 AM, the watch will try again at 3:00 AM. If that fails, see the instruction manual for an alternate setup process.

Citizen-Blue-Angels-Radio-Signal-Map-2-1-768x432-1 Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph AT8020-3L Review Product Reviews
Location of the Atomic Clock in the United States

I have owned my Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph for 5 months. When I don’t wear it during the day, it sits in a window sill where the watch can take advantage of charging in the sunlight. I have never had the watch even come close to being out of “juice”.

PROS: The sapphire crystal shows no signs of abuse. All buttons and functions work fine. The color scheme grew on me, – I do like it now. The face is beautiful. I admire the technology involved in making this a functional, reliable, and accurate timepiece. I have seen this watch priced at a high of $575 to a low of $306 on Amazon. The watch, especially at the lower price range, is a bargain considering its accuracy and the technology found inside.

CONS: The face is a bit of a double-edged sword. As I said, it is beautiful, but it is also very busy, often making a quick glance to see the date, or even tell the time challenging. Though I like the design of the band, the materials used seem awful flimsy. After 5 months, my band is beginning to show some wear. The watch’s style may not fit everyone’s taste.

Summary

Today’s smartwatch may be pretty smart overall, but as a time-telling device, when compared to the Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph, how smart is it? The Citizen Blue Angels Chronograph requires only two things from its owner: give it light, and at night, point it toward the nearest Atomic Clock. Beyond those two basic requirements, simply put it on and wear it. This watch is truly a totally evolved time-piece.

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