I recently reviewed the Citizen Promaster NB6021-68L "Fujutsubo" and said I chose this model because I believed it could be Citizen's answer to the Seiko "62MAS" diver. I really missed the SBDC101/SPB143 that I owned and reviewed a few years ago and believed at the time that it was the best all-around dive watch for around $1000. The Fujitsubo looks very similar, has similar dimensions, and even undercuts the Seiko in price.
Since I had already purchased the Citizen, I decided to pick up another 62MAS and decide once and for all which one I preferred. I chose the Seiko Save the Ocean SPB297 version because it is blue like the Citizen.
Seiko did make a Japan-only version of the 62MAS with a dark blue dial under reference number SBDC163. This would have been the better model to compare as it looks most similar to the Citizen, but they are much more difficult to find. I chose the SPB297 for this reason, but also because it's the version I wanted for my personal collection.
Hopefully, you've already read the reviews of each in the links above and know what they are all about individually. With that out of the way, how do they compare?
Comparing Citizen vs. Seiko
The watches will be compared in a number of categories, and then total scores out of ten will be added up at the end.
Now, on to the review!
If you find the weight of a watch to be a critical part of its comfort, the Citizen wins here automatically. Its titanium construction is significantly lighter than the all-steel Seiko.
Some people don't mind (or actually prefer) a heavier watch. In that case, the two watches wear similarly. Despite being almost 1mm thicker, the Seiko appears thinner on the wrist due to the shape of its case and its slightly sloped bezel.
The Seiko also is slightly narrower and has a short lug-to-lug distance. It would be the better choice for someone who prefers a smaller-looking watch, but the Citizen takes the overall win here due to its weight.
The Citizen uses a 60-click bezel, while the Seiko has 120 clicks. Despite this, the Citizen has less play and has a more positive feel to the clicks. Both are quite easy to grip, as both overhang their cases slightly.
The Citizen's blue bezel insert reflects light nicely, but overall the Seiko's machined stainless steel insert looks more unique and expensive. Additionally, I prefer the look of its sharp coin edge, vs. the Citizen's polished bezel with softer flutes. Neither bezel is the clear winner here.
During the day, the legibility of both watches is similar due to their similar dial layouts and sizes. The Citizen has a more distinctive hour hand being easier to distinguish from the minute hand. But the lume on Seiko's minute hand extends longer, making it easier to spot.
The Citizen is also easier to view at extreme angles, due to its crystal design, so it takes the slight edge here.
I'm accustomed to Seikos having great lume. The 62MAS is no disappointment, but I was surprised to find that the Citizen's lume is quite a bit brighter. Its markers are larger, and the application appears thicker, but I believe that it is also a more powerful compound.
Case Design and Finishing
The Seiko's case and bracelet feature better finishing, with more facets and polished surfaces compared to the Citizen. This is likely because the titanium of the Citizen is more difficult to polish than the Seiko's stainless steel.
The 62MAS has more sculpted case sides, a sloped bezel, and a domed crystal which give it a more elegant look. Its larger crown is also easier to grip and looks proportionally better compared to its case.
I prefer the way that the sharper edges and contours of the Seiko's lugs look. The straight edge between the lugs also lends itself better to a clean look when installing a strap. Despite being made from a less expensive material, the Seiko looks like the more expensive watch. It takes the win here.
It's worth noting that both watches are advertised as having a hardening process applied to their cases. While I did not test either of them, I felt less worried about scratching the brushed Citizen while I had it on my wrist. I expect its case and bracelet to be more resistant to scratching.
The limited edition Save the Oceans Seiko takes the win for the appearance of its dial. To be fair, even the standard versions such as SPB143 have more expensive-looking dials than the Citizen. That being said, the longer that I wore the Citizen, the more I enjoyed staring into its deep blue dial
It's worth noting that Citizen offers only the Fujitsubo as a dive watch in this price range, and only in blue, black, or gray/all-black. Seiko offers a variety of dial and bezel colors, as well as a number of other models in this price range.
The hands used on the Seiko are cleaner and more elegant and feature an attractive polished and brushed finish.
Both watches use sapphire crystals with AR coating. Seiko's crystal is double-domed, while the Citizen has a flat top surface with a thick chamfer at the edges, and an inner dome, similar to that of the Seiko M300. The Seiko has less distortion and reflection when viewed from straight on, but the Citizen's crystal is more dramatic to look at.
Annoyingly, Seiko doesn't put logos on the crowns of its midrange models, whereas Citizen does.
I had a tough time choosing a winner for this category. While the Seiko looks like the more expensive and cohesive watch, the Citizen's crystal and hardware underneath play with the light very pleasingly.
A small bump for the Citizen, but Seiko takes the overall win in this category.
As mentioned, the bracelet on the Seiko features better finishing. Polished edges and a 3-piece link design make it look and feel nicer.
The Citizen's clasp is a much more advanced design, however. Its ratcheting extension allows for more fine tuning compared to the Seiko's flip-out clasp. It is more functional for daily use, and also likely more expensive to produce. Half links are more difficult to install than Seiko's micro-adjust clasp, but it is also a cleaner appearance once completed.
Despite appearing to the of similar lengths, the Citizen's clasp wears bulkier than the Seiko's. Seiko adds a hinge where the dive extension attaches to the clasp making it effectively shorter. Overall though, Citizen wins for its more advanced design.
Of course, I've been wearing them on a number of different StrapHabit straps. Maybe because it's the newest strap, but I've been loving them on the Full Grain Leather Epsom Style Straps. Scroll to the end of the article to see and shop more different looks for these watches.
Both watches provide 200m of water resistance. It's the expected amount for a tool dive watch, and more than enough for any regular customer. Not much else to say here!
Both watches use in-house movements from their respective brands.
While Citizen gives the 9051 movement a better accuracy rating at +20/-10 s/day (compared to +25/-15 for the Seiko 6R35), in my experience, Seiko watches tend to exceed their rated accuracy, and I think both watches will perform well in this category.
The Citizen also has a higher resistance to magnetism. Maybe not important to most people, but worth considering. The higher beat rate of the Miyota movement will also give its second hand a smoother sweep than the Seiko's (8 vs. 6 beats per second).
The Seiko, on the other hand, offers a much longer power reserve at 70 hours vs. 41 for the Citizen. This should allow the watch to keep running over a weekend of being off the wrist.
The Seiko also uses bi-directional winding. Maybe not a spec upgrade, but it gives the watch a higher-quality feel because it avoids the free-spinning rotor feeling.
While each movement has its strength, I'm awarding the win here to the Seiko. Its spec improvements should be more practical during everyday use for most people.
Value for Money (Used Price)
Looking at MSRP, the Citizen starts out with a $255 advantage ($995 vs. $1250). At the time of this article, Citizen has it on sale for $796, stretching the difference even further.
Some of the 62MAS models can be found at a discount, but it's trickier with this special edition. The Citizen is also significantly less expensive when purchased second-hand.
You can' go wrong with either of these watches, and they are very popular for a reason. If you've already formed a preference for one over the other, I say go for it.
If you're having trouble choosing, there are a few key differences that might make or break either watch for a potential customer.
If weight is a factor, there is a big difference between these the titanium Citizen and the steel Seiko. Some people hate heavy watches, and like a watch to disappear on their wrist. The Citizen would be the choice in this case, especially on a strap. If, however, you think that a lightweight watch feels cheap, and that a bit of heft exudes quality, go for the Seiko.
If a quick-adjust clasp is a major selling point, that might sway you towards the Citizen. If you value power reserve and/or case finishing, choose the Seiko.
If you want a more toolish watch, choose the citizen. The Seiko has a slightly dressier appearance for people who prefer that.
Price is also an important consideration. The Citizen is a few hundred dollars less at MSRP and is significantly less expensive when purchased on sale or second-hand. To some people, this is going to be the most expensive watch they've ever bought and could make or break the purchase. To others, both watches are inexpensive enough that they'll choose their favorite based on other factors.
The Citizen wins on points, largely due to price and its bracelet clasp, but I had quite a tough time choosing my favorite.
I struggled to choose my favorite. I plan to keep both for a while, but if I could only have one, I'd probably go for the Seiko. I prefer it for its case finishing and beautiful dial, as well as its longer power reserve and bi-directional winding. I can stomach the price difference, and I'll be wearing them on straps. Thus, the Citizen's fancy bracelet clasp is less of a draw for me.
That being said, I've been enjoying the Citizen's deep blue dial, crystal design, and light weight.
Which one is your favorite? I'd love to hear in the comments.
|Promaster Dive Automatic Super Titanium
|Prospex 1965 Diver's Modern Re-interpretation Save the Ocean Special Edition
|$995 (on sale for $796)
|Stainless steel (super hard coating)
|Unidirectional, 120 click with aluminum insert
|Unidirectional, 120 click with stainless steel insert
|Flip lock, half links, ratcheting quick extension
|Flip lock, micro adjust, folded dive extension
|Accuracy Rating (s/day)
|Power Reserve (hr)
|Beat Rate (vph)
|Magnetic resistance (A/m)
|Water Resistance (m)
|Inner domed sapphire with clear AR coating on the inner side
|Domed sapphire with clear AR coating on the inner side
|Weight with bracelet (g)
Shop Replacement Straps for the Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic Super Titanium Fujitsubo Barnacle NB6021-68L and the Seiko SPB297 62MAS Save The Ocean: