The 2013 Citizen Eco-Drive Military Sub-Seconds (Ref. BV1085-22H) updates the military-themed solar-powered family with a new, pilot-style dial. Although not looking terribly original, the new version is designed to win thousands of customers that look for a gadget that combines a slightly modernized look of a classic pilot’s watch with a high-tech Eco-Drive movement.
Like the previous iteration, the new member of the family is delivered in a mildly over-sized body around 43 millimeters in diameter. Crafted from black ion-plated steel, the case is equipped with short lugs that increase its overall length to just over 48 millimeters (less than a standard European box of matches,) so there is a good chance that it will fit even an extremely skinny wrist quite nicely. Still, you must understand that, even by today’s standards, the watch can be considered mildly oversized, so you should probably try one or similarly designed pieces from the Japanese brand on your own wrist before pulling the proverbial trigger.
Luckily, being equipped by what is essentially a solar-powered quartz mechanism, and sporting a design of its flat stainless steel body similar to those of modern field watches, the Eco-Drive Military Sub-Seconds is rather thin measuring just 11 millimeters top to bottom, so it will be comfortable with most kinds of jackets and shirts.
Judging by the timekeeper’s looks and specs (the Japanese brand is traditionally brief when it comes to specifications), the dial is basically the only major design element that differs the BV1085-22H from the rest of the family. As you can see in the picture above, the new watch has a B-Uhr-style face with two rings: minutes and hours printed in white and orange lume respectively. Styling wise the setting crown, even the “WR 100” inscription below the date aperture is the same, but that’s something one might expect from a watch priced only slightly above $160 mark.
The nylon NATO strap (it is now military green, a must for those wearing khaki) will probably have to go after the first year only to be replaced by a proper Cordura strap (some may find it a bit too expensive compared to the timekeeper’s sub-$200 price tag,) but otherwise I would say that this watch will not force you into any more expenses than to service it in intervals that are specified by the manufacturer.
Although the watch doesn’t offer much in terms of style or originality, it is still a good choice if you simply look for an inexpensive beater that just works always telling you correct time and not requiring changing batteries. Ever.
Of course, in this price range the watch will be inevitably assembled in China, but Citizen’s quality control there is reasonably good, so it’s not a problem.
Build quality: 4/5
Value for money: 5/5
Citizen Eco-Drive Military Sub-Seconds (Ref. BV1085-22H) specification
Movement: Quartz, Eco-Drive, solar-powered, Made in Japan
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case, Bezel & Crown: Stainless steel, black ion-plated
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Green nylon NATO-styled textile strap
Crystal: Mineral, antireflective