26 Jan Citizen Nighthawk Watch Review
A Long-Term Watch Revie of The Citizen Promaster Nighthawk
Some may wonder why the internet needs another Citizen Nighthawk watch review. Well, the answer is simple. For most of the Nighthawk reviews out there, the reviewer didn’t actually own or have possession of the watch! As with most items you search the reviews for, most reviewers are just organizing a list of popular watches and telling you the best place to buy it.
So, how about a watch review from a guy that actually owns the Citizen Nighthawk and is into watches? I think that makes more sense too!
Today, I want to talk about why the Citizen Nighthawk is a good watch (in fact it’s a great watch!) and highlight what makes this a watch worthy of your money. If you are looking for a durable, good looking timepiece that won’t break the bank, then read on!
Why Take My Advice?
Why listen to me? First, I actually own the Nighthawk and have had it for well over two years. Second, I know what I’m talking about. As an avid watch nut, and a so-called “influencer,” I get the chance to check out a lot of watches. I also have a bunch of kids and a large family to support, so I hate wasting money on junk or fanfare. So, I am the perfect person to lay out the details and give you an honest answer as to whether a watch, knife, or any other EDC piece is worth the price they’re asking.
Initial Impressions of the Nighthawk
I put a lot of weight into the first impression of a watch when I open it. For the most part, the watch better wow me in the first 30 seconds, otherwise it can be a long road into my heart. This manner of judgement works pretty well, however, I have had a few watches that I thought were crap grow on me down the road. In this case, the Nighthawk is a beauty from the first time you crack open the box. Its complicated dial is striking, and the watch itself feels durable and high quality. This is a watch made for some serious business and you can tell from the first look.
Another reason the watch is so endearing to me is that the Nighthawk has a five-year warranty, definitely something you don’t see on many watches (in general or in this price range). This just adds to the overall appeal of the watch. It’s no wonder why so many people put the Nighthawk on their “best of” lists….it’s, for sure, a terrific EDC watch.
Plus, the Nighthawk’s Eco Drive movement means no batteries ever, something to think about as you read through this review!
The Nighthawk is the perfect size; the 42mm case diameter will fit a variety of wrists. Made from solid stainless steel, it has a screw down crown and caseback. The lugs are 22mm wide and my version comes on a decent stainless steel bracelet.
The case has some very angular cuts and shapes to it adding to the pilot/rugged feel it has. The case has a little polishing around the bezel and brushing in other spots which really gives it a unique and modern look without looking cheap.
I think one reason the Nighthawk is so popular is that the watch checks several boxes. First off, it’s a rugged looking watch with a really cool dial. After two years, I still don’t know how to use all the functions, but that doesn’t stop me from staring at all those beautiful markings. Second, the watch has a thin bezel making it wear smaller than the 42mm case diameter would have you think. On top of all of this, overall it has that great tool watch feel without being a dive watch.
This is a sporty watch and the brushed and slightly polished case and lugs lend this piece to look good in a variety of situations: from a business casual setting to out and about on the trail to a day at the beach. It’s definitely a do-it-all watch.
The heart of the Nighthawk is the awesome dial. It tracks two time zones, has a date window at three o’clock, and (one of the coolest features) a pilot’s slide rule built in. You will also notice another crown at the 8 o’clock marking. This crown controls an inner rotating bezel that has the ability to calculate several pilot’s functions. This video here gives a great demonstration on how to use the slide rule feature.
The Nighthawk has a very cool GMT/Dual Time Zone function. In the center of the dial are two semi circles with 24 hour time markings. There are a second set of smaller hands tipped in white and red airplanes that correspond to the 24 hour markers. In addition to tracking military time, you can use these to track a second time zone.
Most consumers buy a Nighthawk for the dial, and in this department Citizen does not disappoint in the least. All those markings are topped off by a piece of flat, mineral crystal with anti-reflective coating. If I have one complaint here, it’s the lume. In my opinion, it’s just mediocre and could use a few extra layers of whatever formula Citizen uses.
The Nighthawk uses Citizen’s proprietary, Eco-Drive, solar-powered movement B877. These solar powered movements can be charged from natural light or actual light bulbs. Citizen states the watch is accurate to +/- 15 seconds a month, I am getting almost +1 second per month on mine. I’ve yet to have the watch run down on me and a full charge seems to last well over six months.
Unlike many quartz watches, the Nighthawk with Eco Drive is almost silent….no Timex diesel ticking going on here. This is great if you want to leave it on a nightstand and you’re a finicky sleeper. I know a lot of folks move past quartz watches in their collection, but I think this is sometimes a mistake. A good quartz watch can be invaluable in your collection. You absolutely need a “grab n’ go” piece, something that you don’t need to take the time to set the date and time on before you rush out the door. That’s another great trait of the Nighthawk, it will be there waiting for you well over six months from now and still have the correct time!
For the most part, steel watch bracelets on watches under $300 are not much to talk about. In the case of the Nighthawk, the bracelet is surprisingly decent. For starters, it has solid end links and a milled clasp….right there the Nighthawk is ahead of the game. The other thing I like about the bracelet is that the links are shorter in length which helps you get a better fit when sizing the bracelet. There are more “in between” adjustments than many other bracelets I’ve had. The buckle has three micro adjustments to further get the fit just right. Overall, the bracelet tapers from the 22mm lugs down to 20mm at the clasp.
It should be noted the Nighthawk does suffer one weakness: the space between the case and spring bars is rather slim and thicker straps or natos have a tough time fitting. If you want to wear it on a nato strap (and you should want to, it looks awesome), buy one of the thinner weaves from Ritche Watch Bands or Clockwork Synergy.
The endlinks have wide openings right at the spring bars, so swapping from the bracelet to a strap is very easy with a spring bar tool and even the tip of a pocket knife can fit in there in a pinch.
Obviously, with a quartz watch, you know it’s going to be accurate, but that’s not the only thing I look at when it comes to performance. Wearability is a big factor and you get that with the Nighthawk. The Nighthawk is a real-world, do-it-all watch. When it’s on the bracelet it looks sharp as a sports watch, and if you throw it on a strap you get more of a rugged, outdoor adventure feel to it. On top of the accuracy, having the solar powered Eco Drive movement is a great addition to owning the watch.
If you take the time to learn how to use the slide rule and all the bezel functions, you could actually navigate a plane and get yourself unlost. Me? I just like the tool watch look. The lume is fair, but the large hands and indices make it easy to see the time. The watch wears fantastic on the wrist and is comfortable all around. The high quality bracelet definitely helps the case, too.
Like many Citizen watches, the price of the Nighthawk can vary. Amazon often has a “deal of the day” or a Black Friday special on it, and Jomashop seems to always have a Citizen Watch sales event. You can expect to pay around $300 or less for the watch. At that price, considering what you get, the watch is a solid value, especially considering you are getting something rugged that will be trouble free for almost a decade.
The other reason the Nighthawk is such a good value has to do with its versatility, some of which I mentioned above. The watch can accomplish a lot: you have the perfect tool watch that can easily be dressed up or down. When you have it on the bracelet, it looks super sporty, and it can look vastly different with a variety of different straps. Either way, it’s durable enough to not care if you bang it around. And that, right there, is why I give the watch such high marks: it’s a beast on the wrist and can do so many things. With 200m of water resistance you can swim, dive and even get shipwrecked with it.
Is The Citizen Nighthawk Worth It?
The Citizen Nighthawk is one of those rites of passage for anyone who’s into EDC or watch collecting. Talk to guys who love watches and chances are they have (or have had) a Nighthawk on their wrist. Having owned the watch for some time now, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. You get a ton of watch for the money, so that is the first appeal. While there are lots of watches in this price range, not many give you so much. Secondly, the excellent bracelet puts it over the top. Finally, you get a great looking watch that serves many purposes; from casual to adventure, it can be your daily companion.
The bottom line is that the Citizen Nighthawk is a worthy addition to your collection.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.