I love the great outdoors and was looking for something a bit less bulky than my G-Shock. I like simples and this watch Citizen BM8180-03E ticks all the boxes – no maintenance, no batteries, rugged and reliable and so far VERY accurate.
Tip for you and anyone else – to soften the strap up warm the strap gently then smear a bit of little dubbin in on the leather inner side. Gently rub a small amount of the dubbin into the strap and just leave overnight, wipe off any excess. It will soften the strap and make breaking it in a little easier.
Product Description Citizen BM8180-03E
On paper, this is almost the perfect EDC watch. It’s made by a respected watchmaker, it’s solar-powered, and it’s waterproof with a strap type band. Citizen touts the Eco-Drive line as never needing a battery. In reality, it uses a battery internally to store the charge from the solar cell, so it will need a battery someday, just not for a really long time.
- LIGHT-POWERED ECO-DRIVE: Converts any light, whether natural or artificial, into energy.
- WATER RESISTANT TO 100M
Setting The Time
To set the time, pull the crown out one click to set the day or date, and two clicks to set the time. With the crown pulled out one click, turn it clockwise to set the day of the week and counter-clockwise to set the numeric date.
Dial Citizen BM8180-03E
The dial features nice, high-contrast white markings on a black background. It’s my favorite part about the watch since I’m getting older and it’s harder to read a watch without my reading glasses. The dial also has tick marks for the seconds. I’m not a big fan of the tick marks but it doesn’t bother me that much since the hour numbers stand out so well. There’s a window at 3 O’Clock which shows the day and date.
This model uses the typical Citizen BM8180-03E high-quality Japanese Quartz movement. The only twist is that it uses a solar cell with a small internal battery instead of having a disposable battery that needs to be replaced often.
Because the hour markers are inset, the hands are abnormally short, which looks fine at first glance but takes some getting used day to day. In my opinion, some of the benefits of having high-contrast markers are lost by making the hands shorter.
The second hand is red, with a bit of luminescent material at the tip so you can see it in the dark. Some users have reported that the second-hand does not line up with the tick marks when it ticks, but mine seems lined up perfectly.
The date window shows the day of the week (Sunday in red) and the date. It also features alternating days of the week in Spanish, which is a pain because you have to turn past the ones you don’t want. I wish they just made separate English and Spanish versions as it’s an inconvenience for users of both languages.
This watch uses a good quality luminescence material, which makes it easy to read in the dark. It’s fairly liberal with the material on the hour and minute hands, and has a little taste at the tip of the second hand, too.
The shorter hands don’t make it ideal to read in the dark, but they compensated by putting significantly more material on the minute hand. What I’ve found is that it’s not quite as intuitive as some other watches to read at first glance in the dark.
This is a sub $100-150 watch with a high-quality movement, so they had to cut corners somewhere. The stainless steel case is decent but still a budget. The crown also feels a little cheap. We will see how it stands up over time. Overall the case appears to be perfectly adequate.
Just about the only reason, most reviewers have taken off a star is because of the canvas band. They are right, the band is awful. It’s too stiff, it retains water, and the rivets are not only hideous but uncomfortable as well.
However, the band isn’t a deal-breaker. I knew its shortcomings before I bought the watch and factored that into my purchase. I am still deciding on a new band, but it will probably be nylon or possibly leather.
Even if you factor in the cost of a new band, this watch is still a good deal. This cut corner can be replaced.
The packaging is fairly standard for a Citizen watch.
I like this watch and I’m happy with my purchase. But it’s not as easy to read without my glasses as I thought it would be. But overall, the excellent Eco-Drive movement makes up for the few annoyances I have. It’s a sharp-looking watch with clean lines. It is currently sharing EDC duties with the Seiko Automatic 5 which I bought at the same time.
I’ve got the watch wet a few times, and so far none of the reported problems with the band smelling. Maybe because I set it out to dry before I wear it again. That’s OK, the canvas band is getting replaced soon.