H Samuel has teamed up with one of the world’s biggest watchmakers to produce the exclusive Citizen Automatic Sport Diver.

Citizen Automatic Sport Diver Review

High Street watches rarely feature on this website, because most often the best designs, value for money and innovation come from the independent sector. Hot on the heels of the Watch Nation/Rotary Super 7 collaboration comes this watch from Citizen: exclusively available from H Samuel.

At a glance

Citizen Automatic Sport Diver

£399 (offer price £199)
Case size
Water Resistance
Miyota 8200

My first impressions were strong: I’d expected a flimsy cardboard box, but was pleasantly surprised to see a plastic pelican case. It’s strong and closes securely. Inside is a rubberised insert that holds a strap change fork tool and a rubber strap – as well as the watch itself on a steel bracelet. You get a 5-year warranty with the watch, which is excellent at any price – few manufacturers offer anything close (a notable exception being Christopher Ward’s 60/60 guarantee)

Case and Movement

The Citizen Automatic Sport Diver is based around a Miyota 8200 movement. Given the price point, and the fact the Citizen owns Miyota, I’d expected a higher-end movement in the watch, perhaps a high-beat 9-series. They’ve made the most of the 8200, though, including its day+date feature which gives the watch the feel of a similarly-specced Seiko.

The case is really nicely designed, and well finished all-round. The crown at 4 (another nod to Seiko dive watches) is easy to operate, although the crown guards and absence of a screw-down feature means you’ll need to prise it from the case with a thumbnail. The crown itself is unsigned – a missed opportunity to add H Samuel’s H logo. Despite its 48mm case size, the Citizen Automatic Sport Diver is surprisingly wearable, with its 12.6mm thickness keeping it well balanced on the wrist. The stepped design from case to bezel to dial makes it wear much smaller than the numbers would suggest.

The absence of a screwed crown belies another unexpected feature of the watch: it has a mere 100m of water resistance. I’d expect a £400 dive watch to have at least 150m water resistance and whilst neither I nor the target audience of this watch is likely to take it deep sea diving, 100m is barely adequate for submersion in a swimming pool. I certainly wouldn’t take this watch into a body of water.

Dial and Hands

The dial is the highlight of the Citizen Automatic Sport Diver for me: a beautiful blue sunburst with applied metallic markers that would not look out of place on a watch twice the price. I love how the design takes a familiar template and twists it just enough to make it Citizen’s own. The day and date feature is very welcome, and the hands are easy to read, with excellent contrast against both the dial and each other thanks to the orange minute hand.

Strap & Buckle and Bracelet & Clasp

This exclusive set includes both a bracelet and a rubber strap – with H Samuel and Citizen even throwing in a tool to swap them over. For the amateur, this is quite a tricky process using the fork tool, and it would have been nice to have had quick-release pins on the strap and bracelet, as seen in the recent Christopher Ward divers.

Nevertheless, a choice is a great thing and both options are pretty good. The bracelet, despite its hollow end links and folded mid links (I’d expect solid links and end links in a microbrand at this price) it feels solid and is not in the least bit rattly. The clasp is thin, pressed steel (just like an equivalent Seiko) and has a push button release. The strap is made of quite a stiff rubber and looks like it will last, with a decent tang buckle.

Citizen Automatic Sport Diver – Video Review

At a glance…

  • Excellent package with Pelican box, spare strap and tool included
  • An automatic watch from a high street brand!
  • Dial and case both look brilliant, with an original design.
  • Unsigned crown does not screw down, hollow end-links and folded mid-links all scream “cost cutting”
  • I’d have preferred a 9-series high-beat movement at this price point
  • The RRP of £400 is expensive considering the specifications on offer

Citizen Automatic Sport Diver – The WRUK Verdict

Overall, the Citizen Automatic Sport Diver is a great-looking watch that, sadly, has a couple of missed opportunities that prevent it from challenging the Rotary Super 7 as the best-buy automatic dive watch from a high street brand. At £200-£250 this would get a glowing recommendation; at £400 I’d find it hard to recommend it over a better-specified Spinnaker or better-value Rotary dive watch. At the discounted price of £199, though, it’s a good buy for the money.

H Samuel and Citizen should be applauded for bringing automatic watches to the high street, and the minute this watch goes on offer I’d highly recommend picking one up for your collection.

Buy a Citizen Automatic Sport Diver

The Citizen Automatic Sport Diver is exclusively available from H Samuel for £399 – here’s a direct link to the watch.

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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