The legendary fan-favorite Fugu is without a doubt one of Citizen's most well-known dive watches in history. The "Fugu," the first watch made by Citizen, had its debut in 1989. It has a long and interesting history, having served the Italian Navy and served as many people's first automatic watch. The Citizen Fugu, however, was brought back to life in 2018 and has since taken its place as one of the most notable and reasonably priced dive watches in the company's extensive collection.
The Fugu moniker, which translates to "pufferfish" from Japanese, refers to the watch's distinctive bezel, which alternates between grooved and smooth areas around its outer edge. Whether you're referring to the Seiko "Turtle" or the Rolex "Kermit" Submariner, the actual resemblance to a puffer fish is questionable (to put it mildly), but the same can be said of almost all watch nicknames. Watch nicknames are frequently completely unofficial, but the Citizen Fugu's nickname is so deeply ingrained in the model's history that it is even mentioned in the product descriptions on the Citizen website. Additionally, the caseback of the new watches themselves are engraved with stylized pufferfish. The Fugu has been available in a sizable variety of colours and configurations since Citizen reintroduced the model in 2018. However, the specific version I have in for review is the Fugu with a full-lume dial and a blacked-out case and bracelet, which is officially known as the Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic NY0155-58X. There isn't a nickname for this specific configuration that I'm aware of, but given that the "Fugu" moniker applies to the entire range and that there are other Fugu models with lume dials or black ion-plated cases, any nickname that the watch community comes up with will need to mention the fact that this particular configuration has both of those features.
Putting aside nicknames and nomenclature, the Citizen Fugu's 44mm case is 13mm thick, with a total lug-to-lug measurement of about 50mm when you account for the way the lugs taper inward to meet the edges of the bracelet. The underlying metal is given a matte brushed texture across all of its top surfaces while the sides of both the case and bracelet links are high-polished for a gloss black finish. The case and bracelet are both covered in a black ion-plated finish. The contemporary version, like the original Fugu model, has a left-handed crown arrangement that sets it at 8 o'clock on the case's side. This fairly odd design was chosen to keep the crown out of the way and safe from harm, not to appeal to left-handed people (who make up around 10% of the population). The crowns of many other Citizen dive watches are positioned on the left side of their casings, a practise that Citizen has been using for many years. The brand's Promaster emblem is stamped on the crown, which screws down to assist assure the watch's 200 metres of ISO-certified water resistance.
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Small but useful guards are created by the case extending past the crown on either side, and the pufferfish engraving on the caseback, which screws down, alludes to the watch's well-known moniker. A flat sapphire crystal that is scratch-resistant sits on top of the case, which is a pleasant addition and an improvement above the mineral glass crystals that are typically seen on Citizen's more affordable dive watches. The Fugu's distinctive bezel, which alternates between grooved and smooth parts, surrounds the crystal. It has 120-click unidirectional motion and is equipped with a black anodized aluminium inlay. The inlay has some legibility concerns, however the bezel itself is extremely comfortable to handle. The marks on the bezel insert are darkened past the first fifteen minutes, creating a stealthy smoked mirror appearance that is not visible when looking at Citizen's product photographs of the watch, as opposed to having silver numerals printed against a black surface. Although this insert looks good with the case's black ion plating, the darkened numerals significantly reduce overall legibility in dim light.
The full-lume dial, which, as you might assume, glows like an absolute torch in the dark, is probably one of the primary reasons someone would choose this specific version of the Fugu over one of its siblings. The day and date are shown through a single rectangular window at the three o'clock position, with a dual-language calendar disc that highlights its markings for Sunday in red characters. Black markings plainly indicate the time against its totally illuminated surface. The dial on this version of the Citizen Fugu, like other fully-luminous dials, isn't entirely white in daylight and kind of continuously has this greenish yellow tinge, giving the impression that your watch dial has jaundice. In light of this, the orange accents on the minute and seconds hands both work to reduce this impression by embracing their warmer tones and treating them as a colour on the watch rather than as something that should be white but isn't.
There is little way of mistaking the hands at first glance because they are so bold and distinctively designed, especially because the minute hand is completed in orange. For maximum contrast with the dial, the surfaces of the remaining hands are coated in black, and significant amounts of luminous material are applied to fill the crevices between their structural elements. On a dive watch, very luminous hands are typically a desirable feature, but since the Citizen Fugu's dial glows in this particular model, non-glowing hands would have likely provided better overall contrast in the dark. It's true that timepieces don't always just function, and this specific model doesn't really have a problem with vision in low light. The more lighting components a watch has, the more fun it is for the inner child in all of us. Owning a watch with a fully luminous dial is half the enjoyment since you get to see the entire face light up whenever you venture into the dark.
An angled chapter ring that is also totally luminous and has a minute track printed in black surrounds the dial itself. The dial is given more depth by the angled ring structure and the markings for the five-minute markers, which are printed in a heavier font than the other markings. Herein is a potential sticking point for the OCD-inclined among us: the chapter ring is a separate component from the dial surface, similar to what you will find on the different Seiko SKX watches. Alignment can be hit or miss, as it is with many watches with this two-piece structure, and the SKX line was infamously afflicted by this problem while it was still in production. The chapter ring alignment on the example I have isn't great, but it's important to keep in mind that it's a press sample that has probably been passed around a few times and might not be a perfect representation of what you will actually find among the watches that end up on store shelves and in the hands of dealers. In any case, it's a crucial factor to bear in mind since alignment can be a major source of contention for certain collectors and finally became a topic of intense discussion on numerous sites in relation to the now-discontinued Seiko SKX line.
The Miyota 8204 automatic movement, which supports hacking, hand winding, and a double quickset for both the day and date displays, powers this line of contemporary Citizen Promaster Fugu watches. The Miyota 8204, which has a frequency of 21,600 vph and a power reserve of about 42 hours, is a well-known component found in a vast array of self-winding watches used all over the world. The Miyota 8204 is known for delivering dependable and proven performance, and it promises to do the same for Citizen's contemporary Fugu dive watches. Despite being based on Miyota's entry-level movement platform and offering little horological intrigue with virtually no decorative finishing, it offers little horological intrigue.
A matching black ion-plated stainless steel bracelet is attached to this specific Fugu model. The bracelet links and end-links are all well-built, despite the fact that pins rather than screws connect them. The end-links fit better than other watches at this price point, but the clasp is undoubtedly the watch's weakest feature. High-quality watch clasps are sometimes one of the more challenging parts for manufacturers to make because they are rather intricate components by nature and require constant physical manipulation every day. Considering the Fugu's low price, expectations should be moderate, but given Citizen's excellent manufacturing skills, it would have been lovely to see something a little more complex than just a straightforward stamped metal fold-over clasp. Given that this watch is meant to be a diving watch, an extension mechanism that went beyond the two holes of micro-adjustment would have been a pleasant addition. When all is said and done, this is a small complaint.
The official retail price of the Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic NY0155-58X is $695 USD, which amounts to a $100 premium above the price of Citizen's otherwise identical Fugu model without a completely illuminated dial and a black ion-plated finish. Furthermore, it's critical to keep in mind that Citizen is among the biggest watch manufacturers in the world, so the Fugu isn't some boutique-only item for which you are required to pay full retail if you want to buy one. There is always a chance that you might be able to get a fantastic deal on this blacked-out lume dial Fugu during some holiday sale or seasonal discount event since Citizen watches are routinely offered for sale at neighbourhood malls and department stores. The Citizen Fugu delivers a distinctive appearance that is characteristic of the brand's design language and offers a tonne of fun on the wrist for considerably less than $1,000. Many dive watches can have similar general designs.
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