Grounded in Function: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Citizen Promaster Altichron

Grounded in Function: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Citizen Promaster Altichron

It’s no secret that Japan has a long and rich watchmaking tradition. Citizen stands very much at the center of that tradition, with a 100-year history of innovation in the field, and one of the most recognizable names in the watch world. They take their influence and presence in the watch space seriously, and, unlike a lot of brands, understand that their reach as a corporation can impact the world well beyond watches. 

Their Eco-Drive platform, which has been at the forefront of solar-powered watch technology for over 40 years, has served as a springboard to take on environmental initiatives and make the world a better place in a real and tangible way. The name of the brand speaks to an inclusion of all the world’s citizens in their cause, and serves to place an emphasis on the customers they serve. Their slogan, “Better Starts Now,” is a guiding principle that shapes new products with an emphasis on improving people’s lives. These are lofty goals for a watch company, but all you have to do is flip through the Citizen catalog to observe the novel ways their watches can make many of life’s activities easier, better, and more enjoyable.

The first Promaster Altichron made its debut in 1989.

The Promaster series, as much as any collection of watches in Citizen’s lineup, speaks to the idea of making our lives a little better through the use of functional technology. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Promaster, a continuing series of watches designed for exploration in all of its forms, whether that be underwater, in the air, or on dry land.

With watches for both professionals and more casual weekend-warrior types, the Promaster line encompasses an enormous range of styles, complications, innovative technologies, and features. With functions like atomic timekeeping, ISO diving certification coupled with extreme water resistance, and, of course, Eco-Drive technology, there’s a Promaster out there to suit any adventure.

Susan Chandler, Chief Merchandising Officer for Citizen in America, was recently able to give us some additional information about the Promaster collection, and its importance to Citizen as a brand, as well as their customers. “The collection features professional-grade sports watches for the passionate sports enthusiast,” she says, adding that the watches have “also captured the interest and passion of the everyday adventurer.”

The Promaster Altichron, seen here in appropriately rugged green and brown colorways, is inspired by mountaineering, and features a highly accurate altimeter (up to 32,000 feet) essential for tracking altitude gain on a climb. Watches like this in the Promaster Land series have always been as tough and durable as their counterparts in the Sea and Air categories, but with additional functionality for highly specific tasks and challenges. Impact resistance, for example, is a priority for land-bound adventurers in a way that it might not be for a diving enthusiast.

For a serious mountaineer, an altimeter is a tool whose importance can’t be overstated. Pairing this tool with a watch provides the wearer with additional layers of use, as it combines the ability to tell the time, and thus gauge elapsed time, with checking progress toward an elevation goal. Calculations can then be made on the fly, giving a mountaineer a sense of whether he or she is on course to reach their destination, perhaps before inclement weather moves in or darkness falls. The safety implications here are enormous. But even if you never go near an ice-covered peak in one of the planet’s most treacherous mountain ranges, using the altimeter on a purely recreational (and safer) level has its own pleasures, and is a definite conversation starter.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the Altichron is an attractive and well-made watch that’s a pleasure to wear whether at sea level or much, much higher. Though it’s made for conquering mountains, with 200 meters of water resistance, you won’t have to worry about taking it off if you find yourself about to get wet. The dial, though filled with information, remains highly legible thanks to ample real estate to lay it all out, and it takes cues from similarly styled diver and pilot’s watches, with large hands and easy-to-read numerals, all generously coated with luminescent material.

According to Chandler, the values that drive Promaster design are an adherence to functionality, durability, and safety. “Whether they are on land, in the air, or in the sea,” says Chandler, “we want our customers to know they have professional-grade technology supporting their sporting passion.” The Promaster Altichron, in the way it expertly fills its narrow niche, is a superb example of how Citizen makes good on this commitment.

Click here for a closer look at the Citizen Promaster Altichron collection

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