Anyone looking towards buying a Citizen Eco-Drive with perpetual calendar shall be delighted with this 8700-calibre-housing, analog time computer. The perfectly round, silver-tone case and bezel are a true complement to the supple black leather faux-crocodile strap, making it an ideal piece to go with any formal setting from dinners to serious discussions to academic dissertations. There’s a 180-day power reserve fully chargeable with 4 hours of exposure to daylight, which kind of lets you worry about everything else other than being stuck at wrong places and odd spots.
It kind of comes as a surprise that the caliber supports retrograde functions (Month-Day-Date), which is exactly what drives the perpetual calendar. It is a good feature when you want to know what day a particular date is or was. There’s also an alarm, dual-time display and a 12/24-hours time display for both zones. Night time illumination is nice, if not remarkable and the rest of the arrangement is pretty plush. The only down side is, you need to be quite tech to utilize (and operate) all the functionalities. Changing modes change the function of the hands and that the first thing you need to understand. The learning continues from there.
The watch has a sleep mode. It operates in the dark but stops all motor activities when it doesn’t sense any light for a long time. When it does, the seconds-hand frantically runs to catch up with the time. In calendar mode, it shows the month.
One good thing about the alarm is it allows backtracking. The minutes-hand turns and makes the hour-hand advance till it finds the point. It’s very, very dim though; good for use only when you are awake.
The dual-time feature works like this: The second time zone is synced to primary time (user’s current time zone) through hour-increments. The secondary dial denoting am/pm shows for either time zone though it may take some time moving to the 2nd time-zone calculations when the watch is not fully charged.
That’s another point. The Eco-Drives are not automatic watches, so regular wearing won’t solve the problem. You need to wear in daylight instead (not direct sunlight; the brightness is desired, not prolonged heat), at least 4 hours a week for the basic timekeeping to go well. Using the functionalities drains the power reserves all the more; if you use them even moderately, you need recharging for 8 hours (best if 11 hours) every week. Indoor light sources merely provide the power to run basic timekeeping and contribute almost nothing to the power reserve. A close-by alternative is placing the watch directly under a very bright electric lamp that doesn’t produce heat. But that will require around 20 hours. Nevertheless, that’s the only option you get when the watch’s dials and readings get out of alignment. Fiddling with it further will only worsen the situation.