Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Citizen BL9000-59F Minute Repeater

Once again, my old pictures look better than my new ones, so I'm using those. I am wearing my Citizen BL9000-59F today, although it took a few hours on the windowsill to bring it back to life this morning, as well as tracking down the manual online and figuring out how to set the time and date. My watch storage cabinet doesn't get any direct sunlight, and this being an Eco-Drive (Citizen's fancy name for their solar-charged battery-powered quartz watches) it needs at least a little sun to keep running. This is possibly the only watch I own that has such a complicated setting routine, involving setting the hands to their default positions, then setting the main dial time, subdial time (making sure the AM/PM indicator is closest to the bottom,) then the year (represented as number of years since the last leap year, in this case, 3,) month and day. That all being said, it would be a non-issue if I wore the watch daily, or even monthly, but I probably haven't worn it in close to a year. I have a friend who rotates one of these along with a few other watches and he seems to never have an issue with needing to charge his watch and reset everything. Really, it's a great watch. The Citizen Calibre 9000 is an amazing piece of technology. First off, it's probably the only way a non-millionaire can possess a minute repeater. A quick glance at Google Shopping shows prices of non-Citizen minute repeaters range from $20,000 to $750,000. Even some more expensive Citizen minute repeaters run into the thousands of dollars. For those unfamiliar (as I was before I had this watch) a minute repeater tells the time through a series of tones. In the case of the Calibre 9000, it works as follows: "Press and hold the button at the 2 o'clock position until it starts to chime. First you will hear one long tone for each hour, then each quarter hour have a quick double chime, then each minute will have single short tones. For example, if the time is 2:48, you will hear two long chimes for the hour, then 3 quick double chimes to indicate 45 minutes (three 15 minute periods), bringing the time to 2:45, then 3 quick chimes for 3 minutes past the last quarter hour, indicating 48 minutes after 2." It also has a perpetual calendar that should keep the proper date through the year 2100, two daily alarms (one for the main time and one for the inset or "local" time) and an AM/PM indicator. Build quality is excellent, as is expected from Citizen. The front of the case and bracelet is highly polished with the exception of the bracelet center links which are brushed. The mineral glass crystal is slightly domed which does a good job of cutting down on reflections even without an anti-reflective coating. I find the dial quite attractive, although I could understand if some find it to busy. I think the color scheme of black, white and chrome with the orange accents works well, although I've seen other Calibre 9000 watches with more subdued dials that are also very nice. The case is 42mm in diameter ad 14mm thick and feels quite substantial but not overly large. The bracelet also feels very well built and is comfortable. Like many of my watches, I regret not giving this one more wrist time. It would make a great travel watch since it has the two time zones, alarm and would easily coordinate with dress clothes or casual clothes and everything in between.

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