Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review of Citizen World Perpetual AT CB0010

In 2010 Citizen released to the US market a line of simple analog radio controlled models named the World Perpetual AT. This was an exciting time for enthusiasts of radio controlled watches because Citizen finally made this technology available to the US market in regular looking watches with no gadget overtones.


 I selected a model from the CB0010 group, CB0010-002E which Citizen has recently discontinued. Simply, it is a black dialed model with the internal city ring on a black leather strap. Model CB0010-53L which has a dark blue dial on a bracelet is still available. Two other lines are available. CB0000 has the same dial as CB0010 but has a external steel bezel with a city ring. CB0020 has a unique dial with a central waffle texture and also has an external bezel with a city ring in a black color. CB0010 seems to have the right balance of sport and dress that I was looking for at the time.

 Although the case measures 43mm in diameter, it wears larger because that dimension is nearly all dial and crystal with a very skinny bezel. The case is surprisingly thin at 10mm which does help balance out the feel of the large diameter. The case is finished in a spartan manner. I don’t necessarily think the case is poorly finished or designed. It is adequate, but just doesn’t have any pizazz. It is nearly completely brushed with a simple polished bevel on the shoulder. The lugs are short and measure 23mm. The crown and crown guards are proportionally sized and the recessed buttons above and below the crown are only visible when looking at the edge. The bezel is polished and has two steps to it. The crystal has a nice surprise in being anti-reflective sapphire which is not typical of US models from Citizen and certainly not at this price. Goon on you, Citizen.

 The dial and hands are nicely done. The dial is layered with an outer chapter ring over a central dial and the central dial is further layered with the reception indicator at 9 oclock and the SMT (summer time) indicator at 4 and 5 o’clock both of which have nice chromed accents. The dial has a smoky dark gray/black color which is typical of many Eco-Drives. Simple date window at 3 o’clock with white letters on a black background. The hands are the same sword style also seen on the 2100 chronographs and the second hand has a long elegant tapering shape styled like a rapier. Index markers are chrome trimmed with lume in the center. I do love the dial and hands on this model and think Citizen scored with their design, however, a major miss for me is the lack luster lume. Its terrible. Simply terrible. To the point I don’t know why Citizen bothered.

The stock strap is a cheap alligator printed leather with an unusual severe taper from 23mm at the lugs to 17mm at the buckle. Needless to say the stock strap did not stay on long and was replaced with a Hirsch Liberty which works a lot better. I did buy the stock bracelet and although I do not wear it much on it, the bracelet is well constructed with solid end links and the standard Citizen clasp.

 The World Perpetual AT all contain the H144 caliber inside. As far as reception goes, this is by far the best radio controlled caliber I have owned. Not only does it successfully sync each night, I’ve also had experience with it syncing as late in the day as noon and early in the evening as 6pm both of which are typically a challenge for receiving a successful sync. The caliber has a perpetual calendar which turns over exactly at midnight and only takes a few seconds as opposed to the lazy 90 minutes normally seen with analog date changes. The world timer feature simply works by pulling the crown out to the first stop which will cause the second hand to become an indicator and will point to the home city. Turning the crown will bounce the second hand to the next city. As you move from one city to the next the hour hand will adjust to new time zone and the date will even change as the cities advance into the next day. The caliber even includes the non conformist cities like Adelaide which insist on being 30 minutes different where the minute hand will adjust once the crown is pushed back in.

 In summary the World Perpetual is a good introduction to radio controlled analog models. Although I wish this model had a little more pizazz, it works for me now but if Citizen ever releases something else in the future, I have a feeling I will be trading up for that.

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Anonymous said...

Features are advanced but small/tiny date window as usual; always a strain to read the date from Citizen watches.

The pictures here are enlarged. When comes to the watch in actual size, the date window is tiny. Not always possible to have really good lighting to read the tiny date clearly.

Yet Citizen watch date are still tiny.

Again a failed design, for me.

Anonymous said...

Hello, thanks for the review !
Just a practical question, do have a 24mm Hirsch Liberty to fit the 23mm lugs?

Thanks - Arend

Spin Doctor said...

Many date windows on Citizens are tiny, I'll agree with you there, but I would say that the one on this model is a good size. Both the window and digits are larger than many of my non-EcoDrives. The dial is thick which makes the window look deeper than you would expect, so viewing at extreme angles can be a problem. I guess the white letter on a black date wheel may make legibility difficult for some too, but I'd rather have that to blend in well with the black dial.

I guess it depends on how critical viewing the date window is for the owner, but with all the things going for this model its a shame to consider it a failed design.

Spin Doctor said...

Yes the Hirsch Liberty is available in a 24mm size. That is what I have used in the pictures above. Fits in fine between the lugs although the strap will deform some, so I would not expect the strap to be able to properly fit a normal 24mm lugs after wearing on the 23mm lugs unless you don't mind seeing a little of the spring bar. It might be able to stretch out with some time, but I've never tried. I don't wear too many straps so they just get dedicated to the watch.

Maybe some day Citizen will stop this odd lug sized nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for confirming, I just ordered the Citizen CB0011-00E, which should have the same lug width - Arend

Spin Doctor said...

Congratulations. It seems that is the Japan model. Slightly different labeling on the dial but I would expect the case to be the same. Strange how the international models were released a good while before the Japan model. I guess we get lucky every once in a while.