Monday, February 21, 2011

Review of Citizen Skyhawk AT JY0000-53E

If you are a gadget person, this is the watch for you. It does everything, and it does everything well. This model is the third generation of the Skyhawk model and includes the following features:

Atomic time keeping. Automatic and manual.
Stainless steel case and bracelet.
Eco drive technology. 2.5 year power reserve.
Power reserve indicator with low charge warning.
World Time with 43 cities.
2 World time Alarms
1/100 Second Chronograph Measures up to 24 Hours
99 Minute Countdown Timer
Perpetual calendar.
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) display.
Black dial with silver tone hands and markers. Digital display.
Digital display back-light.
Luminous hands and markers.
Rotating Slide Rule Bezel.
Non-reflective scratch resistant mineral crystal.
Push-button deployment clasp.
Water resistant to 200m.
Weight is 175 grams.

The manual for the U600 module can be found here.


Crystal 34mm
Bezel/case 45mm
To Crown 48mm
Lug to lug 50mm
Lug width 22mm
Thickness 15mm


There is a lot of stuff on the dial, but most of it is used for reference only and does not require constant attention, so it fades into the background. The 10 oclock subdial shows the power reserve meter and also indicates the source of the last atomic sync. The 12 oclock subdial shows UTC time on a 24 hour scale and cannot be adjusted. The 2 oclock subdial is simply an AM/PM indicator for the time shown on the main hands. The 6 oclock subdial is important because it displays the mode the watch is in. The indicator in this subdial is manipulated by pulling the crown out to the first position and then rotated in either direction.

The LCD window at 9 oclock doesn’t do much. It is an indicator of the time zone on the main hands and also has some indicator modes for the various functions. The larger LCD window at 3 oclock is where all the action is at. It can display a second time zone, timer, stopwatch, calendar, and setting window for the programmable aspects of the watch.

The hands are a sword style trimmed in chrome and filled with lume. The index markers are also trimmed in chrome and filled with lume. The second hand is painted orange and has a cool emblem on the tail. Second hand ticks in 1 second increments.

The dial is a very dark blue and sometimes looks black. Unlike other Citizen models that I have owned, I cannot see any solar panel underneath the dial.


The crystal is AR coated mineral glass and has a gentle dome shape. The bezel is the same very dark blue/black as the dial. The bezel functions as an E6B slide rule and works with the time index on the chapter ring as well.

The bezel is lined with little stainless steel nubs which provide a good grip. A nice little design touch is the nubs line up at the 12, 6, 3, and 9 positions when the numbers on the two slide rules are aligned. The bezel smoothly rotated in both directions and has a nice instrument feel to it.


The case is nice and heavy. The whole watch with bracelet weighs 175 grams. The case is completely brushed. The shape is relatively simple, but nicely finished. The lugs have a gentle curve which helps balance the watch, especially on those like myself with smaller wrists. The profile of the case has a slight angle such that the foot of the case that sits on the wrist is slightly wider than the upper part at the bezel.

The knurled crown is signed with the Promaster symbol and is protected by crown guards. The pushers on either side are polished, are a good size and have a good spring loaded feel to them when engaged. The case back has a simple laser etching that is characteristic of US Citizen models.


The bracelet on this model is exceptional. Lug width is 22mm. The first link flares out to 24mm and then tapers to a 20mm clasp. The links are almost completely brushed on the top and sides with some subtle polished accents. The middle lines of the link are elevated about 1mm above the rest of the link. Between the height change and the polished accents, a lot of depth is present on the surface of the bracelet. In some ways this bracelet look more Swiss than Japanese to me. Two partial links are included on the bracelet. End links are solid. My only issue with the bracelet is the rigid positioning of the first link does not allow the watch to sit flat.

The clasp is a minor disappointment. It has 2 push buttons which sit flush to the edge of the clasp which is nice. There are no adjustment holes in the clasp. The clasp is of a stamped metal construction which when compared to the scissor style forged clasps that are becoming more common, has a cheap feel to it. Functionally, the clasp is fine and my issue is a minor, cosmetic one.


If you are looking for a multi-function quartz of good construction and an affordable price, look no further as this is the model for you. This is a nice watch with great looks and great functions. I will make a comment on the reception of the atomic signal as in my experience it is superior to that of the atomic Casios I have owned. Where my Casios require the searching of the house for a hotspot, this Citizen will sync in areas in my house where the Casio will not even get a signal in a side by side test.

In closing I will include some pictures of the case on some Nato straps as well as some side by side pictures with some other common Seikos.


jgbuckeye31 said...

Well done review!

Anonymous said...

Just a FYI,

When the Mineral crystal gets scratched, Citizen can replace the crystal with a sapphire for about $100.

Spin Doctor said...

Yes, your're correct. Thanks for the input. I know for sure that Citizen US will replace the crystal with sapphire. Maybe Citizen UK will do as well, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

Anonymous said...

What's the width of the NATO bands you used? The first one (black) looks a tad small whilst the others looks a good (maybe tight) fit. The bands are not sold in 21 cm width AFAIK.Also, anyone knows where you can get a Maratac NATO in the UK, and whether this would be a good fit?

Anonymous said...

correction, I meant 21 mm not 21 cm above.

Spin Doctor said...

Good eyes you have!

Well they are all supposed to be 22mm, but the black one happens to measure closer to 21mm. I guess there is some variance in width in the manufacturing. BTW the black one is actually a Maratac while the others are generics I bought from a seller on a forum.

The Skyhawk AT has 22mm lugs. I just measured again to double check.

I believe some of the US dealers of Maratac will ship internationally. You can check with them. I've also seen good feedback for the straps sold by Timefactors in the UK, although I have no personal experience.


mag1119 said...

Excellent review, great pics.! This is my third Citizen, my 2nd Skyhawk, the line speaks for itself.! Just had an issue with the timepiece, dropped it a the Regional Service Center in my state, and within days the watch was in California, COA headquarters. Within 2 weeks they had diagnosed, repaired and returned my watch to me, even had it resized right on the spot. Thanks to Mitch and the staff at Hurley Roberts in GA.

Spin Doctor said...

Thanks bro. Yep Citizen US offers very good customer service. Wear it in good health!

peter said...

I have contacted Citizen servicing and they don't fit the sapphire glass because this watch does not come with it when new. Its a shame and i think they are missing out on some sales.

watcher said...

would you know the current price of this watch?

Spin Doctor said...

Price depends on the model, where you live and who you are buying from.

Full list price in the US for the steel model shown here is $650 US. You can expect a discount of 25-30% without much trouble from an authorized dealer. Discount is greater if you hunt around on the gray market.

Doing a quick internet search can provide more information.

Spin Doctor said...


AFAIK only US customer service will replace the original crystal with sapphire. I don't know if that has changed in the last year or so.

Anonymous said...

Skyhawk at titanium