Friday, March 18, 2011

Citizen BM6400 -- Citizen's Field Watch

Well I have finally joined a club that I never thought I’d be a member of. I have bought a watch a second time after selling it off. It is the Citizen BM6400 which is the agent of this change. I have seen plenty of people on forums posting that they have done the same and I could never understand it. I sold my BM6400 a couple of years ago and I didn’t feel much regret initially, but recently I started to see pictures of other people’s and started to wonder why I sold it off in the first place. At the same time, a friend decided to flip one that he owned and next thing I know, its mine again...like it never left the watch box.






The BM6400 is an interesting model. Not necessarily in and of itself, but more so because of its design connection to several other previous models. The most popular model was probably PMU56-2373 popularized by the outdoor adventurer Ray Mears. This model featured a monococque case constructed of Duratect coated titanium.

Picture from WUS member sweets

Several other models showed similar design as the Ray Mears model as shown in the picture below from WUS member sweets. The model on the right had a perpetual calendar.



A recent model even featured a radio controlled caliber. Pict from TZUK member simonsev



The BM6400 was released in both a Promaster and non-Promaster versions. The Promaster version featured a sapphire crystal and a Promaster signed crown with emblem on the dial while the non-Promaster version featured a mineral crystal with a basic crown and no emblem on the dial. The Promaster model number is BM6407. I remember a similar model to the BM6407 having a nicely engraved case back, however I have not been able to find a model number on that one.

The stock BM6400 comes on a black cloth strap with some cool looking silver grommets. Looks nice, but I never found it to be comfortable, especially in the warm weather and when wet. So I kept mine on long enough for some pictures.





The stock model was also available on a stainless steel bracelet. Unfortunately this model was discontinued in the US recently, but as we recently discovered the bracelet is still available from Citizen so if you are interested give them a call or talk to your local AD.



The bracelet is a standard oyster style. It looks good, but I would say that the finishing could be a little better, particularly on the underside. The links are solid as are the end links. The clasp is quite nice with a safety latch and adjustment holes and a nicely forged hinge.









The dial is a basic glossy black field with chrome trimmed applied number markers. The Citizen branding is also applied to the dial while EcoDrive and 200M are printed on the dial. Under normal interior lighting the dial is perfectly black, however, in bright lighting, the solar panel can be observed underneath the dial. The numbers are large, almost cartoonish, but look cool and provide character to the watch.



The hands are a simple stick hand for the minute and arrow head for the hour hand and show a nice continuity of style with the previous models. The hands are silver and lumed in the center. The second hand is not lumed. Lume is present on the applied numbers as well and glows a light blue and is quite bright.



One common complaint is that the date window is too small. Although not a deal breaker for me, I admit it must be one of the smallest date windows I have seen. Its OK with me because I’d rather have more dial and less window, but some may not feel the same especially those with less than perfect vision.

Minute hash marks are present on a chapter ring. I’m not a fan of markers on the chapter rings as I’d rather have them on the dial. For a field watch I think having markers on the dial makes more sense for maximum legibility, however in this instance the dial is dominated by the size of the numbers so perhaps adding markers to the dial would make it too busy.

The BM6400 can be found new in the US for about $120-140 without much trouble. For that price you receive a very nicely finished case. The case is almost completely in a brushed finish with exception to a very small polished ring around the bezel and some minor polished details on the inner edge of the lugs.



The case has a sub style shape with some nice curves. There is a nice bevel on the edge of the case and the lugs curve in several dimensions with a nice sweep following the curve of the edge of the case along with a nice downward curve to hug the shape of the wrist. The case has a good sized screwed down crown with knurling around the exterior and is protected by crown guards.





Dimensions:
Crystal 32mm
Bezel 38mm
Case 41mm
Case including crown 45mm
Lug width 21mm
Lug to lug 49mm
Thickness 11.2mm

One complaint I have is that the crystal is completely unprotected and elevated above the bezel as can be seen in the above two pictures.  Although providing a nice profile, the crystal is very susceptible to nicks and scratches.

The thing I find the most amazing about the BM6400 besides the low sales price is that it is one of those watches that just looks good on any strap and this is coming from a guy who self admittedly sucks at choosing straps.   Below are some pictures of the various incarnations mine has gone through. I know there are a lot more pictures out there if you run your own searches.











In short, the BM6400 is a great little watch. Easy on the wallet. Unique styling with roots to previous models. Looks good on anything and goes with any attire. Solar charged quartz movement is no muss no fuss and mine is running very strong at about 1 second per week.


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