After my recent review of the Citizen Super Titanium BN0228-06W "Land Mine," it seems that I caught a Citizen bug. I've been enjoying wearing that watch a lot and was interested to try out a more conventional-looking (and higher-end) watch from Citizen.
The model that had been catching my eye was reference number NB6021-68L, a.k.a. the Fujitsubo, a.k.a. the barnacle. Why do they call it the barnacle? According to Citizen, NB6021 is "inspired by a barnacle-covered 1977 Challenge Diver found on an Australian beach."
I chose this model as I believed it could be Citizen's answer to the Seiko "62MAS" diver. I really missed the SBDC101/SPB143 that I owned and reviewed. That watch was, in my opinion, the best all-around dive watch for around $1000. Since I was on a bit of a Citizen kick, I decided to try the Fujitsubo as a replacement.
Update: You can read a comparison to the Seiko here here and a review of the blue Seiko SPB297 62MAS Save the Ocean Special Edition here.
The Fujitsubo can doesn't pop as much as other watches in the press photos, but it has an attractive and restrained appearance in person.
The lugs appear a bit long, and the bezel has a wide, square edge, which makes it look a bit bigger than a 41mm watch.
It definitely doesn't feel big though. It is feather-light, thanks to its "Super Titanium case." Citizen applied a surface-hardening treatment to make it more scratch-resistant. The brand says it is five times harder, and 40% lighter than stainless steel.
Citizen Fujitsubo Details:
The crystal features an attractive chamfer and appears to have an inner dome. This creates a lot of visual interest as light reflects off it, and the polished hardware underneath. I found a few websites mentioning an AR coating, which I believe is only on the bottom side of the sapphire crystal.
The case, on the other hand, is more restrained. Other than the edge of the bezel, the entire case is brushed as is most of the bracelet. I would like to see some polished surfaces to give the watch some more visual punch but this is likely due to the complications with polishing titanium. This might be preferable to other customers as well.
I'm not typically a fan of the Mercedes-style hour hand design. This one has grown on me, but it still wouldn't be my first choice. Otherwise, the polished hands are attractive and quite legible.
The dial is a deep blue with a satin finish. It and the bezel insert look black in darker lighting, and a nice blue in bright light. You can see the differences in the photos taken using different lighting angles. Raised, polished hour markers and polished hands give it a bit of sparkle.
Normally I prefer a color-matched date wheel, but this one in white looks appropriate, as it blends in with the 3 o'clock hour marker. The dial has nice symmetry and minimal text.
The blue, anodized aluminum bezel insert features large, bold numerals at the 10s. While a more premium material would be nice, aluminum is typical at this price range from major brands.
The titanium bezel itself uses 60 clicks, which is something that I am used to seeing on more utilitarian watches like the BN0228 or Sinn U1. On the Fujitsubo, it is smother with less "chunky" clicks. It's not as distinct or fun to turn as the BN0228, but is precise with very little play between the positions. It does line up well at 60 on this example too.
Wearing the Citizen Fujitsubo:
The Fujitsubo is quite comfortable, in large part due to it being quite light. The shape of the lugs helps it to fit flush to your wrist, which is aided by a fairly slim caseback.
As mentioned, the substantial bezel makes it appear thicker on the wrist than the 12.3mm dimension might lead you to expect.
Despite being smaller, the signed crown is easy to grip due to its coin-edges, and lack of crown guards.
Daytime legibility is quite good. This is aided by large hour markers, and that hour hand is easy to distinguish from the minute hand.
As with the Land Mine, I'm very impressed by the lume on the Fujitsubo. It's on par or better than some of the best watches from Seiko's Prospex line.
Citizen Fujitsubo Bracelet and Straps:
The blue variant of the NB6021, the -68 reference comes with a super titanium bracelet. The design is similar to that of an oyster bracelet and is nearly fully brushed. Small polished surfaces inside the links add the only brightwork.
Links are secured with pins and collars. Not the easiest method to resize, but at least the collars are held captive in the centers of the links.
While the flip-lock clasp does not have any micro-adjust holes, it does come with two half-links to allow for fine-tuning of the size and position of the clasp.
Additionally, the bracelet has a built-in push-button ratcheting extension. It allows for a fairly large range of adjustment and is more useful in non-diving scenarios than Seiko's flip-out dive extension. It can also be adjusted while the watch is on your wrist, which is nice for situations where your wrist has expanded or contracted. The mechanism is quite handy, but it makes the clasp fairly long, especially while expanded.
As Seiko also tends to do, the other available color of this watch is not available with a bracelet. The black -17E reference comes mounted to a black urethane strap. I have not tried one in person, so I can't comment on it, other than to say that it looks appropriately vintage in photos, and has a nice flare out where it meets the case. Citizen, also charges $200 less for the black version on a strap. Something to consider if you're not a bracelet person.
I've also been wearing it on a number of StrapHabit 20mm straps. Of course, blue rubber looks great, but I've tried a bunch of other options as well. Scroll down to the end of the article to see and purchase other options.
Being a mid-range Citizen, the Fujitsubo is powered by the Citizen/Miyota 9 series movement, specifically the 9051.
It beats at a higher 28,800 vph rate than the entry-level 8 series which oscillates at 21,600 vph. Like the brand's entry-level movement, however, it does still use uni-directional winding. Thus you can occasionally feel the rotor free-spinning if you move your wrist quickly.
It runs on 24 jewels and is anti-magnetic to 16,000 A/M (200 gauss). This is more than is required to be an ISO-certified anti-magnetic dive watch, which requires a resistance of up to 4,800 A/m of magnetism.
While the anti-magnetism is nice, it would be nice to have a power reserve longer than 41 hours. Otherwise, it's a nice, thin, and reliable movement appropriate for a watch like this.
I'm thoroughly enjoying wearing the Fujitsubo. Citizen created an attractive and appealing dive watch with a solid spec sheet for under $1000. In both the blue and black colorways, it's a very versatile watch that could be worn in almost any situation, from wearing a semi-formal suit to going swimming or working out. It would be a great watch for a one watch collection (but where is the fun in that?).
If you value light weight in a watch, it becomes an even more compelling option. Fully titanium construction makes it feather-light, and the modest dimensions mean that the size will appeal to a lot of people as well. I'd like to see some nicer finishing on the case, but I believe this is a trade-off for it being an affordable titanium watch.
It especially seems like a good value when considering the actual transaction price. At this time of this writing, this watch is on sale on the Citizen website for $746.25. Pre-owned examples like this one are even less expensive, making it a great bargain. It's worth considering for anyone looking for an affordable, classically-styled dive watch.
Citizen Versus Seiko?
So how does it stack up to Seiko's 62MAS models, such as the SPB143? At this point, I'd say very favorably, especially when you factor in the specs and price. I do, however, prefer some of the Seiko's aesthetics. If you'd like to know which is my overall favorite, stay tuned. I'll be posting a side-by-side comparison soon!
Name: Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic Super Titanium
Reference Number: NB6021-68L
Lug Width: 20mm
Weight with Bracelet: 110g
Movement: Caliber 9051
Water Resistance: 200m
Power Reserve: 41 hours
Bezel: 60-click, unidirectional
Bracelet: Super Titanium with fold over clasp
Shop Replacement Straps for the Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic Super Titanium Fujitsubo Barnacle NB6021-68L: