Reviewing the Citizen Eco-Drive

This line of Citizen watches is more of a family than just one single product because the Citizen Eco-Drive refers to the movement inside a wide variety of items. That being said, it is reasonable to discuss them all at once, as Citizen crafts each product with an incredible level of quality. Below, I’ll review the various aspects of this Citizen collection and will share a few of my favorite models in it.


Citizen Brand

While Swiss manufacturers get the most praise in the watch industry, Japanese companies are a close second. One of the best of them is Citizen, which began as a pocket watch producer in 1924. The brand really started to hit its stride in the 1970s due to its adoption of quartz technology and became an industry powerhouse. In the modern age, consumers see Citizen as an affordable manufacturer that gives you excellent value for your money.

History of the Citizen Eco-Drive

front view of Citizen Eco-Drive Chronomaster white dial watch

Citizen didn’t just master quartz in the 1970s, though. Instead, they also began working with solar-powered movements. This technology innovated the watch world because it created somewhat of a hybrid between conventional and new age machinery. On the one hand, these watches were battery-powered, making them incredibly cheap and accurate. On the other, you could go many years without changing that battery, making them behave a bit like an automatic watch. Citizen saw the fantastic opportunity that solar-powered quartz presented, and they went all-in on the Eco-Drive. They are now synonymous with solar.


Despite Citizen’s low prices, they definitely don’t skimp on materials. Each Eco-Drive watch has a thick case, is made from stainless steel, and has a scratch-resistant crystal. The one issue that you might run into is that some of their budget options do not have real leather straps. That said, you can spend a bit extra and get a genuine one if that is important to you.


You have a ton of options when it comes to the appearance of your Citizen Eco-Drive.

front view of Citizen Attesa Eco-Drive Ref. AT9091-51H watch

Common aesthetics include dress, aviation, diving, and field pieces. The one thing I will say to group them all together is that Citizen clearly puts a substantial amount of money into the design. These watches are absolutely gorgeous, classic-looking, and totally original. You’ll ultimately have to choose which style suits you best, but no matter what, you’ll be getting a really good-looking timepiece.


So, how exactly does the Citizen Eco-Drive work? Let’s start by explaining quartz pieces. These watches have a battery, a quartz crystal, and a bit of machinery to make the hands move. The basic chain of events is as follows:

  • The battery sends a wave of energy to vibrate the quartz crystal.
  • A regulator senses the vibrations of the quartz.
  • Once it hits a certain number of vibrations, that regulator tells the second hand to tick.

Adding a solar component is actually quite simple. All Citizen does is add a solar cell to the dial and connect it to the battery with a tiny wire. The cell captures energy from light sources, gives it to the battery, and keeps the watch running for far longer than conventional quartz pieces.

General Craftsmanship

front view of Citizen Eco-Drive Chronograph blue dial watch

Every watch in this collection has its own set of specifications, but I can tell you that the craftsmanship is exceptional throughout. These pieces are the right weight, they are sturdy, and each has enough water resistance to give you peace of mind. I especially recommend the chronographs, as you can feel their quality when you press in the pushers.

Overall Impression

Citizen is a fantastic brand, and each of their Citizen Eco-Drive watches lives up to the hype. If you decide to choose this brand over the others in its price range, you’ve made an excellent selection. Your next step will be deciding on an aesthetic. My personal favorites are their dress and field watches, but you might find yourself falling in love with a different look. Regardless, you’re going to end up with a great watch.

Three Excellent Choices


front view of  Citizen Eco-Drive  Chandler Ref. BM8180-03E watch

1: Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E – This simple field watch might be the most popular item in Citizen’s catalog. It is well built, very affordable, and looks great. Add in the fact that it has a day-date complication, and you have a clear winner. I can’t recommend this piece enough.

front view of Citizen Eco-Drice Avion Ref. CA4210-24E watch

2: Citizen Eco-Drive CA4210-24E – If you’re a fan of the aviation style, then this is the watch for you. I especially love its timeless design and multiple chronographs. While you might not use those little timers much, it is always satisfying to have them at your disposal.

front view of Citizen Eco-Drive Corso Ref. AU1040-08E watch

3: Citizen Eco-Drive AU1040-08E – Everybody needs a classy-looking dress watch, but not all of us have the money for the most expensive brands. Citizen gives these people an alternative with the CA4210-24E. While it lacks the materials of luxury options, it looks and feels just like them, and comes in at a significantly lower price.

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