Citizen Eco-Drive Super Tough "Robert Swan"

This watch's title is a mouthful, but each part of the name tells part of its story. Citizen is of course the enormous Japanese watchmaking firm, and Eco-Drive is their specatcularly successful solar-powered quartz-controlled timekeeping technology. The descriptive Super Tough is applied to their watches providing special shock resistance, and Robert Swan is the English explorer famous as the first man to walk at both poles, organizer of the South Pole Challenge (1997), and creator of several related ecological organizations, at least one of which I imagine was partial beneficiary of proceeds from this eponymous watch.

Despite its very significant dimensions, the CEDSTRS seems remarkably at home on my rather smallish (6.5") wrist. It is about 47mm lug-to-lug and the same crown(?)-to-crown, and every bit of 14mm thick, but the rounded, sculptured features, curved caseback and recessed bracelet lend it a visually more modest scale.

In addition to significant (20 bars, about 200 meters) watertightness, "Super Tough" features include unusual magnetic (16,000 gauss, about the output of a large electromagnet) resistance, and design for exceptional shockproofing. This latter is the result of dual-case construction somewhat reminiscent of 1930s-era dive watches. This is perhaps more apparent when examining the standard examples of this watch, showing the steel inner case completely surrounded by a hard composite shroud (picture courtesy of Reto@PMWF):

As can be seen above, one version includes a steel bezel that matches the inner case, while both supply black composite main cases. The Robert Swan edition was apparently produced in 500 pieces in 1999, and is improved by replacing both the steel inner and composite outer cases with hardened titanium, retaining the black cushioning as filling in the sandwich. Not only does this (and the deletion of the huge PROMASTER logo) result in a much more handsome watch, it is likely even more super-tough!

Click the pictures for even larger!

The multi-layered plastic dial with luminous inserts over ultra-polished silicon solar cells creates a surprisingly artistic backdrop for the hands:

From the back one can see the resonant composite surrounding the inner case, and the hefty titanium outer case and bracelet links. The crown screws down seriously (with a screwdriver!)::

The bracelet is thick but smooth and very comfortable; length can be adjusted at the clasp without tools:

The luminous glow is superlative!

A crown unlike any other:

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I hope you enjoyed this!

March 31, 2008

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