For some time, my collection was lacking a watch with a GMT complication. Unfortunately, mechanical watches with GMT complication are often quite expensive so due to limited budget my eyes steered towards Citizen’s offering and their popular Ecodrive movements. As a result of my search, I acquired Citizen BJ7081-51E, a 49mm in diameter monster which I’m going to present you today. Is the devil as black as he is painted? I hope you will find your answer in my review.

Packaging

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

Package from dutyfreeislandshop.com

The watch arrived at my doorstep from the popular online shop www.dutyfreeislandshop.com. The customer support was top notch, as usual. The packaged was shipped promptly, and after about 2 weeks I received my watch. As usual, everything was packed very well, secured with a bubble wrap. In the package, besides the watch of course, were also all the paperwork, a dutyfreeislandshop pouch, and two additional high quality nato straps! What a great touch from the customer support.

Case, crowns, caseback, crystal, bezel

In the introduction I mentioned that the watch was 49mm in diameter, and yes, it wasn’t a mistake. My first impression when I unpacked the watch was something like “holy cow, its big!” I must admit that while shopping for this watch I did not pay much attention to that 49mm listed in specification. In theory, it’s just 2mm more than my Seiko Tuna but in reality that watch is really huge and it’s the biggest watch I have ever owned. On the other hand, the huge diameter is somehow balanced but a relatively short lug-to-lug distance, which is about 52mm. As a result, the watch sits quite comfortably on the wrist and doesn’t wear as big as you would expect.

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

The massive case of the watch entirely made of brushed stainless steel. The only exception of this rule is a narrow ring on the external bezel and some parts of the crowns which are polished. It gives the watch a tool and aggressive look typical for diver’s watches.

The masculine character of the watch is further emphasized by two oversized crowns located at 2 and 4 o’clock. The crowns have a cone shape and their texture makes them easy to operate. On the lower crown you can find the Citizen Promaster logo, while the top of the second crown in completely polished. The upper crown doesn’t screw down and its function is to operate the internal bezel. The lower crown screws down, the same as is diver’s watches, its used to set up time, date, and the second time zone.

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

The caseback of this watch is also screw down but it’s not the most interesting caseback on in the world. On the brushed surface we can find some laser etched information about the model or a serial number.

Citizen BJ7081-51E belongs to a lower end segment of Citizen collection and has been equipped with a flat mineral crystal, which slightly protrudes from the case. The crystal takes most of the front surface of the watch and I’m afraid it will be prone to scratching. The fact that the crystal protrudes from the case doesn’t help here either.

The watch is equipped with an internal bezel with cardinal points, 360 degree scales and 24h markings essential to use the second time zone. The bezel is operated through the upper crown and, unlike diver’s watches, it’s bidirectional.

Dial, hands, lume

Dial of the reviewed timepiece has an interesting constructions and catches attention with red accents. The inner bezel along with the dial create an amazing 3d composition, which is further enhanced by applied hour markers with chrome borders. Undeniably, it’s an interesting change from the microbrands and their flat dials. Personally, I would like to see a similar type of dial in a typical diver’s watch.

At the 4 o’clock we can find a date window, which is emphasized by a frame and a small red accent. Those of you who have had Citizen’s watches before could have noticed that date window is often small and not easy to read. I’m glad to report that in this model it’s perfect, big enough to make the date easily readable and not too big that it would violate the dial’s proportions.

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

The next piece of the puzzle are hands. In my opinion, this is something that Citizen does very well most of the time. The hands are big and easy to read and the same time they are not clumsy due to open-work construction. It’s worth mentioning that the second time zone hand is almost invisible besides the red arrow at the top. My only complaint is towards the seconds hand, which could have been 2-3mm longer.

Lume

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE LUMESHOT

Hands, indices and the triangle on the inner bezel are equipped with lume. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they do not all glow with the same strength. Both hands and the triangle glow considerably stronger that indices. I’m not a huge fan of such a solution, I prefer when lume is equal on all elements. Lume on the hands is quite strong, similar to the previous Citizen model I review, BN0150-10E. Indices however, do not glow as strong, it’s quite a letdown to be honest.

Movement

Citizen BJ7081-51E is equipped with an Ecodrive movement with date and second time zone functions. It’s a quartz mechanism powered by solar energy, which does not require you to change batteries at all. The storage cell charges almost instantly and after full load it can power the watch for several months even if there is no light source at all. To give you a picture how efficient this thing is: I picked this watch from the post office in the evening and it was completely discharged. Next day morning I put it on my windowsill for an hour and the watch was fully charged and ready to use.

To resolve any doubts, the GMT hand can be set up independently from the hour hand – which might not be obvious if you look at the cheap GMT China made movements.

Bracelet and straps

Citizen BJ7081-51E is sold with a 22mm width stainless steel bracelet. It’s a solid construction made of full links, the same is true for endlinks. Next links of the bracelet are joint by pins which make the bracelet adjustments relatively easy. The claps is similar to the solution used by Seiko in their diver’s watches: double folded clasp with safety and two push buttons to release the lock. The only difference here is the lack of diver’s extension which is understandable as it’s not a diver’s watch.

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

I was quite surprised when I realized that strap options are quite limited on this model. It turns out that when you remove the bracelet the space between the case and the spring bar is extremely narrow. It makes it really hard to fit any thicker straps. I tried to install an Isofrane, while possible it was quite a tight fit, which could potentially damage my strap after some time. If you want to use a rubber strap on this piece, there is an alternative – a dedicated rubber strap sold with the twin model BJ7086-06E.

Conclusions

Citizen BJ7081-51E it’s an interesting model, which will not drain your pocket. Undoubtedly, it’s a controversial timepiece mainly due to its size. 49mm in diameter, despite good ergonomics, make it a no-no for many potential buyers with smaller wrists. Furthermore, the watch has its flaws such as mineral crystal instead of sapphire, uneven lume, or limited strap options. On the other hand, it offers an interesting design, a beautiful 3d dial, the inner rotation bezel, and the second time zone. Personally, for me it’s an interesting weekend watch, which also filled the niche in my watchbox as a timepiece with the GMT function.

What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below.

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

CITIZEN BJ7081-51E GMT ECODRIVE

6.0 Good

Citizen BJ7081-51E it’s an interesting model, which will not drain your pocket. Undoubtedly, it’s a controversial timepiece mainly due to its size. 49mm in diameter, despite good ergonomics, make it a no-no for many potential buyers with smaller wrists. Furthermore, the watch has its flaws such as mineral crystal instead of sapphire, uneven lume, or limited strap options. On the other hand, it offers an interesting design, a beautiful 3d dial, the inner rotation bezel, and the second time zone. Personally, for me it’s an interesting weekend watch, which also filled the niche in my watchbox as a timepiece with the GMT function.

  • Design 5
  • Quality 6
  • Value 7
  • User Ratings (3 Votes) 1
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About Author

Watch enthusiast who loves to take photos of his watches, blogger, and founder of Lug2Lug.