How it Works: Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS

Citizen launched the original Eco-Drive Satellite Wave, the first watch to feature light-powered satellite timekeeping, in 2011, and has released updated versions with new innovations in the years since. Last year, the Japanese brand introduced the Citizen Satellite Wave World Timer GPS, an ideal timepiece for frequent travelers. Here’s how it works.

The Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS represents, according to the brand, “a new level” of timekeeping technology, the latest in a parade of world-firsts that includes 2013’s Satellite Wave Air (the first light-powered satellite-timekeeping watch in a full metal case), 2014’s Satellite Wave F100 (the thinnest such watch ever, with the fastest GPS reception time), and the Satellite Wave F900, launched simultaneously with the World Time GPS model at Baselworld 2015, which includes a chronograph function. The World Time GPS, which combines the record-setting reception time with the ability to receive signals worldwide, is a more affordable alternative to the F900, as it lacks a chronograph but also incorporates a perpetual calendar and a power-reserve indicator.

Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World-Time GPS - frontThe watch requires as little as three seconds (that’s one full second less than the model that debuted in 2013) to receive a GPS signal from satellites and can receive them in 27 cities throughout 40 of the world’s time zones. As those familiar with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology are well aware, the watch’s movement is powered by light; on a full charge, this watch should not need recharging for two years. I recently had a chance to wear the watch for a few weeks and learn how exactly its technology worked, and am pleased to report that using the Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS is quite easy and intuitive, despite the complexity of its multiple functions.


Citizen Satellite Wave F150 - functions

First off, you’ll want to adjust your time and calendar settings using the GPS reception. The ideal scenario is to be outdoors, with an unobstructed view of the sky (tall buildings and trees may interfere with reception, as will electronic interference and other atmospheric conditions), and the watch positioned away from your body with the dial pointing straight upward toward the sky rather than at an angle. With the crown in the closed position, press and hold the upper right button for 4 to 5 seconds. The hands will first move to indicate the light level, then return to normal time, before the second hand move to the eight-second position (indicating ‘RX-GPS’), at which point you release the button and satellite GPS signal reception commences. Upon a successful update, the second hand will rotate to show the current time zone for two seconds, then the time and calender (including leap-year setting) will update, after which the watch resumes normal timekeeping operation. (If, for whatever reason, the update is unsuccessful, the second hand will rotate to the 57-second position, indicating ‘NO’.) The entire operation should complete within two minutes, as it indeed did during each of my usages.

One thing the watch won’t do for you automatically is adjust for Daylight Savings Time (“SMT”). If you’re in a region that’s currently observing SMT, here’s what to do: Pull the crown out one click, which will send the seconds hand to the current time zone, as indicated by the city abbreviations on the outer bezel and +/- GMT numerals on the inner bezel (if you need to change this indication first, simply rotate the crown in either direction), and the “function hand” on the subdial at 8 o’clock to the “SMT ON” or “SMT OFF” position. To change from ON to OFF or vice versa, simply press and release the lower right button. Push the crown back in one click to resume timekeeping.

Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS - window

Manually adjusting the time and calendar (let’s face it, many of us are indoors — perhaps in an airport or cab — and out of range of GPS satellite signals when we think to change the time on our watch) is fortunately also quite easy.

Start by pulling out the crown to its first position, as described above, and rotating it to move the seconds hand to the proper time zone, which will then move the hour and minute hands to the correct time in that zone. For example, if you’ve just arrived in London from New York or Boston, you’d rotate the seconds hand from NYC to LON. Turn Daylight Savings ON of OFF, as above. (An added bonus that few world-time watches offer: the date in the window at 3 o’clock also moves backward or forward as you move through time zones.)
To manually change any or all indications, from minute to day, date, month and leap year, press and hold the upper right button until the second hand moves to the 30-second position, then release. The function hand on the 8 o’clock subdial will rotate to indicate the current weekday set in the memory, indicating the watch is in manual setting mode. Pull the crown out to its second position, which will move the seconds hand to the 12:00 position, indicating that the minutes may now be set: this is done easily by rotating the crown in either direction. Afterward, press and release the lower right button, which will then nudge the hour hand slightly, indicating the watch is ready for you to set the hour.
To make sure you’re setting the correct 12-hour time (AM or PM), rotate the crown clockwise until the function hand starts to rotate. Using the time shown as “nighttime” reference, rotate the crown to set the current hour. For example, if the dial reads 12:00 as the function hand starts rotating, assume it is 12:00 AM and set accordingly. After again pressing and releasing the lower right button (as you’ll do between each of the steps), and seeing the function hand move  back and forth, re-set the month, leap year, date, and day of the week by means of the bidirectional rotating crown. (The months and leap years are indicated on the dial as shown below. The days of the week are on the 8 o’clock function subdial, along with the power-reserve display.) As a final step, you’ll want to rotate the crown a click or two to correct for the minutes that may have elapsed during the calendar settings. Push the crown back in two clicks to its closed position and your Citizen watch is good to go (Citizen says that the perpetual calendar is accurate until at least the year 2100) and attuned to wherever in the world your latest adventure has taken you.
Citizen Satellite Wave F150 - month-leap year settings

Despite its undeniable utility and sportiness, the Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS is a handsome watch that I found looked utterly at home peeking out from the cuffs of a dress shirt and suit jacket. It is quite comfortable on the wrist and surprisingly light — probably due to the lightweight materials in the dial that are necessary for the Eco-Drive system’s light absorption capability and also owing to the overall thinness of the case. I had to check to see that I was actually wearing steel rather than polished titanium. And in contrast to its big brother, the tri-compax, chronograph-enabled F900, this watch’s clean, less cluttered dial makes reading just about all of the functions at a glance quite simple. The Citizen Satellite Wave World Time GPS is available at retail in the fall and will sell for $1,150.

Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS - wrist
Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave World Time GPS - angle





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  1. robert gilbreath

    my citizen gps watch is moving forward 1 hr when turning daylight savings time on when it shouldn’t be , i did a reset and got the watch to pickup signal but when i turn ON savings time it moves up one hour ? what am i doing wrong ?

  2. Russell Cole

    Why does it wait for 24 hours to automatically change from and to daylight savings time?

  3. Mark Wells

    I have this….Wonderful watch.. 50th birthday present from my brother….mine is a bit more blingy than I like but it is a good watch

  4. Angel F. Monserrate

    I’m interested in the citizen eco-drive satellite weve watch.

  5. Ratheesh

    Thanks for the article..I have a satellite wave air CC1054-56E however syncing to gps is giving wrong time and date..what might be the issue and how to resolve it?

  6. Hi guys! I just bought it and I love it! It works really good!
    Does anyone know why there are two time zones in the watch with no cities description?

  7. Jim Symons

    I am unsure what the difference is between the Rx-Time and the RX-GPS setting is? Can anyone help me?

    • RX-TME sets the time only, I think it need to lock on only one satellite so that’s why it can do it in only 3 seconds. RX-GPS sets your timezone by getting a location fix. That will need a lock on at least 3 satellites. Although it must receive the time when it is doing a location fix, from reading the manual I don’t think it sets the time during this operation. Possibly because different receiver circuit systems are in use.

  8. You missed the capability the watch has to determine the time zone automatically – from the instruction manual:
    A time zone is set automatically by obtaining location information and time and
    calendar are consequently adjusted based on the chosen zone.
    • It may take 30 seconds – 2 minutes to obtain location information.
    1 Push the crown in to position .
    2 Press and hold the upper right button
    until the second hand points “RX-GPS”
    (about 4 seconds). The current time zone setting is indicated and
    signal reception starts.

  9. The instructions are too complicated for such an expensive watch. I expected this watch to change time automatically when I leave the plane. If I to follow so many steps, it’s easier to change time on a normal watch.

    • citizenguy

      It will. Just press the top button for 2-5 second to force a signal reception. hang out in one place. done.

      • Jackie Warren

        NO! It doesn’t just change time. I follow the convoluted instructions and it does not work. I end setting it manually every time!

  10. In order to change time zones you still need to tell the watch which time zone you are in. This appears to be in contrast to the Seiko Astron which doesn’t seem to require this. With the Astron all you need to do is apparently just push a button and the time changes automatically to the time zone you are in, With the Citizen Satellite wave you first have to pull the crown out one click and then move the second hand to the time zone you are in and then the watch will set. I would prefer it if the Satellite wave were just a push button operation to change time zones.

    • No – all you have to do when you arrive in a n ew timezone is press and hold the top button for 4 seconds, with the watch facing the sky. Works perfectly. I actually managed to find I out what time zone I was through the window of the plane, in flight.

  11. Well you need to enter the correct month to watch, so that it can keep years and leap years. So the watch knows the month we are in, but it does not want to show it to me?


  12. Re lack of chronograph – at least 99% of owners with watches that have chrono’ functions don’t use them after “playing” with when first buying the watch! You are only paying for functions not being used.

  13. Jim Stanley

    Do you still need to manually adjust the time zone or does the watch know where you are? For example, if I arrive in New York from L.A. will it automatically change to the eastern time zone?

    • You need to manually adjust the time zones by pulling out the crown once and then moving the second hand to the time zone desired listed on the bezel of the watch. The watch in other words needs you to tell it where you are located. It does not change automatically with a touch of a button

      • It does. Press and hold the top button for four seconds. It changes to local time.

      • I need a magnifying glass to see the stupid time zones. I absolutely hate this watch!

  14. Arizona Fine Time is taking advance orders for the 3 different executions. My favorite is the cc3000-89L. This version is the blue dial configuration. The advance order price is discounted to $843.

  15. Adrian Drummond-Hill

    Nice review Mark. This looks like a good alternative to the other models out there. Regarding the looks of the watch, I think the dial is a little unbalanced, the sub-dial between the 7 and 8 indicators looks strange. If it was at the 6 indicator, I think it would improve the looks tremendously. Of course, that’s just my personal view.

  16. Debashish

    I wish I could enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

    Anyway, found your write-up to be quite informative and enjoyed it, thanks!

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