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Review of Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8100-80L – Pilots but make it Japanese

Tags: Review | Citizen | Men's | Classic | Aerial

29.4.2022 | 7 MIN

Do you like practical and comfortable watches that you don't have to worry about too much? A watch that will not go unnoticed in the crowd with its imaginative design? If you answered yes to these questions, then you will surely like the Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8100-80LPilots that carry out these attributes just perfectly.

The first aviation or pilot watches were created for a simple reason – the very specific requirements of pilots. They were characterized mainly by a large and easy-to-read dial, hands and indexes equipped with luminescence, a large crown and a long strap, so that they can be worn over the sleeve of a flight suit. Of course, over time and with technology, these requirements have changed. However, what has not changed at all is their popularity, and not only among pilots. And so today we will talk about some modern pilots, such as the Japanese Citizen.

Nothing for minimalists

If we were to hold a competition for the most complicated look of the dial, these pilots would certainly win. The four subdials are complemented by two more digital displays, and to make matters worse, Citizen has also equipped these pilots with an internal bezel, which in cooperation with the outer bezel can (not only) serve pilots for all sorts of calculations.

At first glance, a bit of chaos. However, as soon as you get a little familiar with the blue dial, you will soon find that everything is actually simple and intuitive. At 12 o'clock you can find the biggest subdial displaying UTC – meaning the coordinated world time in 24 hour format, by which the aviation traffic abides by worldwide.

On its sides we find two smaller dials, where the right one serves as an AM / PM home time indicator, while the left one provides information about the watch's battery charge, or as an indicator of the transmitter from which the watch currently receives the exact time radio signal. The last, but no less important dial is in the "sixth" position and its task is to display the current mode of additional functions that this watch has.

Caliber U680

Inside the Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8100-80L we find an analog-digital movement called U680, which makes them one of the most loaded pilot watches in the world. They can pride themselves with features such as an automatic calendar, a 24-hour stopwatch, a timer with a range of 99 minutes, but also two alarms and, of course, the ability to display other time zones, including summer and winter time.

We have a choice of 43 preset places + one, which you can set up yourself. With Citizens in this price category, the management of precise time using a radio signal, which today covers the vast part of Europe, the USA, Japan and China, is a sure thing. The watch will try to detect it automatically three times a night, but synchronization can of course be triggered manually at any time if necessary.

However, if for some reason they still fail to receive the signal, nothing happens, because the quartz movement will still show the time with a maximum deviation of + -15 seconds per month. Alternatively, you can use this handy mobile app to sync time.

Eco-Drive – even without a battery

From the list of all these functions, it is clear that these pilots will be a bit more energy intensive. But even that will not be a problem for their owners. The Citizen brand is a leader in the field of solar-powering, and one of its biggest watchmaking successes is the launch of the very first analog watch with this technology.

It was back in 1976 and since then the development has, of course, gone only forward. Today, the brand's modern machines, which use light converted to electricity and stored in a rechargeable battery, run the Eco-Drive label.

In addition, the solar panel located under the dial powers the battery not only with sunlight, which is of course the fastest way, but it can also handle artificial lighting. Just to give you an idea: in clear weather, the watch only needs four minutes to charge for all-day operation, and if its battery is fully charged, the watch will last for six months without further recharging.

The Eco-Drive system can manage energy efficiently, and if the solar panel is not exposed to a light source for more than 30 minutes, the machine will recognize it and turn off the digital displays. If the watch is left without access to the light source for more than a week, the second stage of the power saving mode is activated, which immobilizes even the hands and the watch can "hibernate" like this for 42 months.

However, this is not recommended due to the lifespan of the battery, so if you plan to store the watch for a longer period of time, it is advisable to leave it in a place with constant access to light.

Light as a feather

We can also find a connection with aviation in the material from which these pilots are made. As the slightly grayish appearance suggests, the body of the watch, but also the bracelet and the folding clasp are made of Super Titanium, which is an exclusive material developed and used only by the Citizen brand.

Despite the relatively larger dimensions – 45 mm wide x 49 mm high and the depth of the case being 14 millimeters – the watch is very light thanks to the use of titanium. With an unshortened bracelet, they weigh only 119 grams, which is a respectable 40% less than if they were made of steel.

This material is also hypoallergenic, excellently corrosion resistant and does not get so cold on the hands, which you will especially appreciate in the morning. Another indisputable advantage over "ordinary" titanium is also scratch resistance. Super Titanium in combination with the special surface layer DURATEC TIC displays up to five times greater resistance to surface damage than stainless steel. These pilot Promasters will remain like new for a long time.

The same goes for their glass, which is made of durable sapphire crystal with an inner anti-reflective layer. This makes the watch easy to read even in direct sunlight. At night, the solid "Super-LumiNova" luminescence will be of help, and in the case of displays, they are backlighted with an orange LED. Unfortunately, this does not work in stopwatch and countdown mode. So keep in mind if you're used to these features at night.

It is also worth mentioning the resistance of the case to magnetism, namely 4800 Ampermeters, which is equivalent to 60 Gauss. While this is the minimum value when a watch can be considered magnetism-resistant at all, on the other hand, it will certainly suffice for the average user.

Despite the absence of a screw-down crown, the watch surprisingly has a water resistance of 200 meters, so they won't mind light diving. Just the perfect watch for carefree all-day wear. Thanks to their lightness, they are not uncomfortable on your wrist. They are perfectly balanced and they rate the overall processing in relation to the price as first-class.

This is applies to their bracelet, which does not emit any weird sounds and, more importantly, does not tend to depilate the wrist. In addition, from my point of view, the watch is visually brought to life with its middle pieces with polished edges, which is nicely complemented by the same edge of the case and it also gives the watch a certain degree of elegance.

However, if you prefer leather belts, or NATO and other straps, you will certainly enjoy the size between the lugs of the case, which is a standard 22 millimeters. The only thing I would perhaps reproach these pilots is the lack of micro-regulatory holes on the buckle. And only two setting options of tightness come to me as not enough, on the other hand better two than none…

Alternativa Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8085-14H na kůži s ocelovým pouzdrem.

Alternative Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8085-14H on skin with steel case.

Nothing to worry about...

Before the end of the review, I will only stop at their control. You will come across reports on the Internet about how complicated it is, and some do not hesitate to use a nightmare comparison. However, from my short personal experience, I must say that it is not such a horror.

Sure, this is not an intuitive Casio watch, but the basic controls are really simple, and after a while of "toying" with it, I had no problem controlling the watch even without looking at the instructions. However, there are features and some settings that can challenge the brain a bit.

On the other hand, if you do not plan to reset the watch to factory settings and the like, there is no reason to worry. And if so, the enclosed manual is simple and you will find everything you need, submitted in a form that is understandable to an amateur. However, if you believe that it is better to see once than read three times, you can also use the manual's video version.

Final verdict

The Citizen Promaster Sky Eco-Drive JY8100-80L is undoubtedly an excellent watch where you can only hardly find something to rebuke them for. They will impress with their distinctive appearance, but also first-class materials, workmanship and, last but not least, rich functional equipment, which will be appreciated not only by pilots.

They take care of their exact time by themselves, so they will not burden their owner with frequent battery changes - simply the ideal maintenance-free watch for everyday wear. As a bonus, we also get the standard five-year warranty, which is in itself a good proof of the quality of the Citizen brand. These watches have easily defended their price tag in my eyes, and if you are considering purchasing an aviator watch, this model absolute can't be missing from your list.

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