Wearables

Classy solar-powered GPS watch for frequent fliers

The watch has sub-dials to show functions such as the time of a second city and battery reserve.
The watch has sub-dials to show functions such as the time of a second city and battery reserve.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

Citizen's ProMaster Satellite Wave -GPS has all the markings of having been designed for pilots

The Citizen ProMaster Satellite Wave -GPS is a new sleek and hardy version of the 2011 pioneering Satellite Wave watch by Citizen.

The new model is positioned as a pilot's watch, as it can quickly switch to local time and date via GPS, when pilots traverse time zones.

It comes in two colours - silver ($2,953.20) and black ($3,103). Both models have the same handsome and sophisticated looks with a 47mm watch case. I reviewed the silver version.

There are two buttons on its right with a rotating crown in the middle. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

The aviation theme is quite evident from its looks of the watch. The dial ring has all the city abbreviations representing the different time zones.

The outer rotatable bezel and inner fixed bezel have markings that allow users to do aviation-related calculations, such as fuel consumption of an airplane or conversion of distance.

Say you want to know the distance travelled by an aircraft when its speed is 210 knots (390kmh) and with a flight time of 40 minutes.

Move and align the 21 marking of the outer bezel with the Up arrow next to the KM sign of the inner bezel. Then look at the 40 marking on the inner bezel. It will point to 14, representing 140 nautical miles (260km).

The watch has three sub-dials for various functions. The dial at the three o'clock position displays the current mode. The dial at six o'clock displays time of a second city. And the dial at nine o'clock displays day and battery reserve.

Both the case and band are made of Super Titanium - Citizen's own titanium crafted using Duratect, its proprietary surface-hardening technology. The metal is said to be hardened to a depth of 20 to 30 microns for durability under the harshest of conditions.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: From $2,953.20

    MATERIAL: Super Titanium case and band with sapphire glass

    WATER RESISTANCE: 200m

    CONNECTIVITY: GPS

    WEIGHT: 118g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

I am nowhere near any harsh conditions. But I found it is quite resistant to scratches, unlike my stainless steel Apple Watch and Casio MT-G G-Shock.

In fact, I tried scratching the case with the sharp tip of a paper clip, and I couldn't find any markings. In addition, the band feels really comfortable on the skin.

Despite the ProMaster looking big and sturdy, the watch actually feels really light on the wrist.

To get the GPS signal fix to synchronise the time and date when you are in a new place, go to an open area.

Make sure the watch is in Time mode, press and hold the top right button for 2sec.

In my tests in an open space, I found the ProMaster to take at least 50sec to change to local time. A tad long but it is still amazing to see the watch turning the hands back to change the time and date automatically.

The ProMaster uses Eco-Drive - Citizen's watch movement that is powered by solar energy.

So you never have to change batteries as long as the watch receives enough light.

Citizen recommends putting the watch under bright light - natural or artificial - for five to six hours every two weeks.

•Verdict: The Citizen ProMaster Satellite Wave - GPS might be a bit expensive, but you are getting a classic timepiece with modern technology that excels in both form and functionality.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Classy solar-powered GPS watch for frequent fliers'. Print Edition | Subscribe