The recently introduced Citizen Eco-Drive Signature Perpetual Calendar (ref. BL1258-53L) has immediately sparked controversy among enthusiasts and bloggers alike. The reason for the universal brouhaha was the decoration of the unidirectional rotating bezel that looked like it was blatantly ripped off the 2009 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500M Calibre 5 diver that went on sale two years prior to the introduction of this model.
The bezel features the same concentric streaks pattern and the typeface used for the minute markers looks almost the same as on the original. The decorative screws and the triangular marker at “00” are replaced with baton-shaped indexes and a rectangular plaque respectively, but the bezel still looks much like a shameless copy of TAG Heuer’s style.
Thankfully, the controversy ends here.
The dial, the luminous hands, and, of course, the satin-finished stainless steel case almost scream “Citizen.”
Although the Japanese watchmaker constantly experiments with different styles, it has its own design language. This particular model, for example, shares its styling elements with the rest of the Signature series, including the hand-made Grand Complication models.
The hour and minute hands, the shape of the case, and even the hour markers are clearly created by one team of designers.
However, as is often the case with Japanese watches, the design easily falls into the “love it or hate it” category.
The ref. BL1258-53L is powered by their Caliber E764 Eco-Drive movement that offers their trademark “perpetual calendar” technology.
Although the watch sports only one simple date window at 3 o’clock, there is still no need to manually correct the calendar five times a year: on the last day of February, April, June, September, and November the calendar wheel will automatically jump to the first day of the next month.
All you need is to correctly set the watch, so that it knows whether it is a leap year, or a first (second or third) year past leap year, and to tell it about the current month.
All the setting is done using the crown, which must be clicked in different positions, and the central seconds hand. It may sound somewhat complicated, but, in fact, is extremely easy.
As the rest of the Eco-Drive series, the Caliber E764 movement incorporates a secondary battery, which is recharged using a tiny, seamless photovoltaic cell, which is hidden behind the dial.
If you are not a nocturnal creature and will periodically subject the dial to sunlight, it will tick virtually forever or, at least, until the movement breaks down or the battery becomes non-operational due to natural wear.
The watch is available now at a price of about $800 USD.
Citizen Eco-Drive Signature Perpetual Calendar BL1258-53L specification
Price: Around $800
Movement: Eco-Drive, Caliber E764, Made in Japan
Movement decoration: Standard finish
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: Virtually limitless as long as external light is present
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 43.00 mm
Dial: Black, Blue, or Grey
Numerals: Luminous hour-markers
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet