The Citizen Promaster NY0091-83E Fugu 2019 Asia Limited Edition Red
By Daniel Yong
I know that COVID’s been an absolute dick but just imagine this. You’re at a pub, it’s summer and the sun begins to set. The locals are starting to get louder as the countless alcoholic beverages being consumed starts to hijack their bloodstreams. As you walk over to the bartender you feel the buzz in the room, good friends singing horribly, your mate Dave’s trying to get that chick’s number and looking bloody miserable doing it. You smile to yourself feeling pretty content. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, out pops that little ray of sunshine on your wrist. Draped by the cuffs of your jacket (choose your colour), you bite your lip in a weird non-sexual satisfaction (because that’d be weird if you got off on watches, wink). I’d like to introduce you to a true underdog brand in the watch collecting world, the Citizen Promaster Fugu. A wrist companion that I’d wear to visit my friends on Friday and Saturday evenings at our local bar. I personally think that it has the qualities to compete against its more famous counterpart, the Seiko SKX. Some people might think I’m crazy pitting this one up against it. For example, one random dude on a forum told me I was dreaming, but he can get fucked. So read on friends!
Firstly, why is it called the Fugu? Well according to other sources, the bezel was inspired by the puffer fish that's eaten as a delicacy in Japan. Hence why there's a really cool etching of said fish on the caseback. I'm sure there's more meaning behind it but for now, let's just go with that. In terms of my example here, this was a limited edition piece to Asia in 2019. If you check out the used market, you could find some pretty sweet examples for great prices.
So the cool thing about Citizen is that they are a brand that's very Japanese in the way their competitors are as well. Seiko, another brand that I adore, has been well known to incorporate Japanese culture and arts into their timepieces, such as their demanding polishing methods (similar to that of sword making), themes of Japanese landscapes and the use of 'urushi' lacquer. Citizen on the other hand, takes a different approach in my opinion. Their focus is obsessing over the technology and engineering which the Japanese also pride themselves in. In 1959, Citizen launched the very first Japanese water-resistant piece, the bad ass Parawater. A few decades later, legend has it that the Italian Navy started officially wearing the original Citizen Fugu model in the 90s. Since then, it has been an icon in the Citizen watch collecting community.
Before I get into the specs, one of the most striking things I love about this watch is that the crown is positioned at 8 o’clock. I’m not entirely sure of the reasoning behind this… ergonomics? Aesthetics? Whatever the point was, I adore it to the point I bought two Promasters in the span of a month (haha). One is a Fugu and the other is a general diver that shares the Fugu DNA. Alright, so obviously you want to know how big the case is, my friend we’re looking at 42 mm here. 42 mm paired with 20 bars of water resistance for all your diving needs. I for one can’t swim for shit, so this bad boy will find itself mostly in the pool, the beach or somewhere in my underwear draws. But the beautiful thing about the design is that it hugs your wrist, so yes it does wear smaller. The slim 12 mm profile also helps! For you strap changing bipolar readers out there, the 2019 limited edition Fugu features 20 mm lugs.
The movement within is Citizen’s Caliber 8203, which is an automatic movement with 40 hours of power reserve. To be honest, I personally prefer hand winding movements. But in the case of sports watches, automatic movements totally make sense. This is a reliable movement that does the job and it also features hand winding… oh, so in a way it kind of is a hand winder too?
Why I like it
For me it’s simple, it’s a Citizen. I have a family history of Citizen watch wearing humans and this will always be why I have a soft spot for the brand. But obviously you won’t be able to relate to that so let me explain myself. The Fugu is different! From the top of my head, I can’t think of another brand that positions the crown at the 8 o’clock mark. It’s bloody annoying to change the time but damn it’s comfortable to wear. In addition, I love how slim it wears on my 6.8-inch wrist and those fat indices! Gosh, just look at them. Aren’t they beautiful? The European dive watches all seem to favour dot indices but the Japanese love these bars. For me, they evoke vintage aesthetics and that seems to be all the rage now. The final reason, despite most watch companies jacking up their prices, Citizen seems to still offer competitive value even amongst their Japanese counterparts. So if you’re looking for something tough, beautiful and value driven, this watch may be for you.
Citizen Promaster NY0091-83E Fugu 2019 Asia Limited Edition Red
Stainless steel, diameter 42 mm with height of 12 mm
Scratch resistant hardlex crystal
Citizen Caliber 8203 automatic, 40 hours of power reserve
Black, gilt dial
RRP as of publishing