Citizen Promaster Dive “Orca:”Designed for Pressure

This article was originally published in the Design 2023 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.

Launched in 2006, the Citizen Promaster Dive — whose case and dial were directly inspired by the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (Orcinus orca) — quickly became a fan favorite, having successfully redesigned the design elements of a dive watch almost completely. Now, Citizen has updated its perhaps most modern tool watch with new features, including a redesigned, more ergonomic case, an improved bezel, and a new black rubber strap. Available with a blue (Ref. BN0231-01L) or black dial (Ref. BN0230-04E) or as an all-black special edition (Ref. BN0235-01E), the new Promaster Dive picks up where the original watch left off, paying homage to one of the most beloved animals in the sea.

The new Promaster Dive, much like the 2006 edition, echoes the orca whale’s black and white livery in its bezel and dial design. Housed in an ergonomic, 46-mm stainless-steel case whose gentle curves mimic those of the orca’s body and its sharply contrasted black-and-white colors, it features a redesigned, unidirectional stainless steel and aluminum bezel insert whose outer coin edge provides grip, and whose profile sits well above the watch to protect the convex mineral crystal from scratches. A luminous pip at 12 o’clock ensures easy measuring of elapsed time while underwater, the screwdown crown and solid case back provide up to 200 meters of ISO-certified water resistance. After all, orcas occasionally dive several hundred meters to catch their prey.

The bezel is designed with professional divers in mind — its design, which features metal “tabs” at each 5-minute demarcation, further recalls the orca’s black and white jaw as it emerges from the water. This theme continues on the dial, which features elliptical, white hour indexes in alternating small and large sizes, plus a pop of red at the 12 o’clock LumiNova marker. Joined by rounded arrow hands that also imitate the orca body’s shape, the indices are filled with LumiNova, making for a seriously bright package that glows brightly below or above the waves. The orangeframed minute hand and a fully graduated rehaut are particularly handy underwater, allowing a diver to track elapsed time or decompression stops.

The movement is the Eco-Drive Caliber E168, a light-powered caliber that provides a 180-day power reserve on a full charge. A solid, stainless-steel case back with a printed orca whale motif protects the movement from water, while a redesigned, black rubber PU strap mimics the design of the orca’s dorsal fin (an individual orca can often be identified from its dorsal fin and saddle patch). Both black- (BN0230-04E) and blue-dial (BN0231-01L) versions ship in SCUBA tank-inspired packaging, like the Fujitsubo. Even more living up to the “blackfish” theme is the slightly more expensive new Promaster Dive (BN0235-01E), that is available as part of a special-edition box set: Featuring a black-coated case, a black bezel, a matching black dial and a black PU rubber strap, it comes in a signature, neon yellow Citizen “tackle box” with a matching LED dive light. Waterproof to 60 meters, the shock-resistant light features 400 lumens of brightness, two modes, a magnetic switch, a stainless-steel head, an aluminum body and a matching wrist strap.

Perhaps even more importantly, the latest generation of Promaster dive watches continues to be a fitting tribute to a highly intelligent, charismatic animal that inspires people around the world to “protect what they love.” Therefore, as part of Citizen’s continuing commitment to 1 percent for the Planet, from June 8-9, 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of Promaster Dive collection watches purchased on the brand’s U.S. website went towards supporting the marine conservation activities of Conservation International (CI), an international NGO that is working to achieve a sustainable society through environmental conservation.

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