Citizen Chandler Chronograph Review : Solar on a Budget ( AT0200-05E )

Citizen Chandler Chronograph Review : Solar on a Budget ( AT0200-05E )

May 14, 2019

today we are taking a look at another citizen eco-drive now the solar-powered chronograph is part of their Chandler collection and I've actually had it for quite some time now but I've been waiting until November to actually review it and it's for a couple of reasons now the first is that it is by far the most affordable eco-drive chronograph around usually sitting at about 125 dollars on amazon so with the holidays coming up it could make a nice gift for someone but it's also a watch that frequently goes on sale especially around Black Friday in fact I think last June it was at its lowest point of $85 which at that point that's not much more than a regular Timex chronograph so I figured now is the time to take a look at it so that you can see if it's worth picking up for yourself or someone else the Chandler chronograph is a field style watch with a rather simple case it's stainless mostly in a brush texture except the top bezel area which is polished as it meets the crystal as typical of a chrono the pushers and the crown are at the right with very tiny nubs as crown guards I like the texture of the crown although it is a little small to manipulate now operating the chronograph is just like any other and I find these pushers to be a little Hollow and non-responsive as you push them but it's what you'd expect at this price point one thing I do like is the minute sub dial that it resets instantaneously rather than spinning around back to zero just like the second hand it's more reminiscent of a mechanical chronograph dimension wise the chandler's listed at 39 millimeters but I find it a little larger than that at thirty nine point three without the crown with the crown it's closer to forty three while lug the lug is forty six and a half and it's fairly thin sitting at ten point four millimeters so overall it's a nice tight little package lug with is 20 millimeters and it weighs a very light 60 grams and that's with the straps now there's a perception that when we pick up a watch its weight is directly proportional to its quality if it feels too light in the hand you start to think less of it regardless of its actual build quality and this watch is one that is rather light almost surprisingly light but it is a rather small case so it was never gonna weigh a lot anyways now the finishing is okay but you will notice that the underside of the lugs and even the pushers have some sharper angles on the back you have a closed screw down case back with the typical eco-drive markings since this watch is solar hopefully you never have to open it the crystal is mineral and below that is the dial and I find the dial to simultaneously be complex and rather simple at the same time which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense but let me explain the overall design seems rather busy at first it's a matte black texture with white paint just everywhere but once you get used to it it all just makes sense and is rather easy to use and just as a field watch should be but at the same time the dial is rather simple in its execution where everything is just painted on and nothing other than the Loon dots are applied but the dial design is complex enough on its own and at this price it doesn't really bother me as I said there are Arabic numeral indicators for hours across the dial and a train track chapter ring surrounding that with loom dots applied for each hour that same design is then applied on a smaller scale to the three sub dials with the sub dial at the two being for 24 hours and the one at the 10 name for minutes elapsed on the chronograph with the last style at the six o'clock position being a sub second dial for time which also means that this is more of a traditional cronograph with the center seconds ham being for time elapsed on the coronagraph I used to think 24 hour subdials weren't very useful but that was before I learned how to use one as a compass now I think it's a great option to have on a field watch and if you haven't seen my video on how to use one as a compass I suggest you go check it out now onto the hands overall they're more or less sword shaped and maybe a little short there's nothing wrong with them but with this particular dial I think citizen would have been better off using Cathedral style hands for a more traditional look although a Cathedral style our hand might be a little too much for this already busy dial the extra width could hide the sub dials now the second hand is a nice long red arrow with a loomed tip and I love how the red nicely contrasts against the rest of the dial which is also shared by the text highlighting a hundred metres water resistance on the dial a date window is also at the fore it's a little small but still usable and it has a painted frame in that same white overall I like the design especially the train track chapter ring it's reminiscent of some classic field watches yet still remaining distinct and for whatever reason it reminds me of being a kid and staring at a black chalkboard with everything written in white chalk now since this is an eco Drive watch it is a solar quartz wash so somewhere underneath that dial is a set of solar cells and if you ever see the second hand skip two seconds at a time that means the battery is low in which case give it some Sun and should be good now the strap this watch comes with is this one it's a green canvas on the top and leather on the bottom combination it's similar but nowhere near as good as what you'd get on the Hamilton kaki mechanical it's thinner leather and a bit stiff but it looks decent and should last although from being honest I really don't like the strap on this thing primarily due to the rivets on it I don't remember having this issue with the Hamilton maybe because the rivets here are a little bit bigger but on the citizen they just seem to get in the way of using it where the buckle would just seem to catch in between them whether you're putting it on or taking it off and would just drive me a little crazy perhaps if I wore it more I would get used to it or it would break in somehow but I just gave up and swapped it to a NATO regardless of what strap you wear it on it wears quite nicely it's a smaller platform and it's a very thin case make it so you never have to worry about it catching on anything in fact it's so light and so thin you just kind of forget it's there until you need it which really is the true function of a field watch as for the loom it's pretty good it's not Seiko diver good mind you but it's still pretty good it's on par if not better than some lower end divers now if you're wanting a quartz watch I don't think you can go wrong with a citizen eco-drive solar really is the way to go here and that's especially true a field watch there's something to be said for never having to change a battery as well as reducing the wear on the seals that protect the case back which should help maintain its integrity against water longer overall I think it's a decent simple field watch chronograph maybe a little boring compared to other options and there is some obvious room for improvement but ultimately it's got everything you need and nothing you don't personally I just change out that strap so at its normal price of 125 I'd say it's a good value but not exceptional so at that price range it's definitely a watch you should take a look at but I'd also recommend looking at some of the other eco drives for a little bit more and maybe even some of the nicer steel chronographs from Timex but if it drops down to $80 again that's an extreme value and easily worth picking up as you're getting a watch that you never have to worry about its batteries give it some sunshine and it should give you a good 10 to 20 years no problem but as always let me know in the comments what you think about the Chandler chronograph as well as if you have a favorite citizen eco-drive and if you enjoyed the video don't forget to like comment and subscribe thanks for joining me and I hope to see you next time

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  1. Sorry to destroy everyone's fun but… time, with the charging and discharging of the capacitator (reachargable battery) the watch won't hold charge that well to the point where it won't hold charge at all. So, eventually you will still have to service the watch and replace the capacitator.

  2. I'm of the mind that the 24-hour subdial is pointless, but I'm excited to check out your video about using it as a compass!

    I'm torn between my GMT Nighthawk and a field watch I can't remember the model of (I'll dig it up later) for favorite Citizen watch. Both have subtle details you'd normally expect in a more expensive watch. I don't like many of Citizen's designs, but when one hits: wow!

  3. I have the more basic Field Watch BM 8180-03E…..absolutely fantastic for all the same reasons… see the Nick Shabazz review here—> . Put a nice leather strap on it and bought a clear film crystal protector on it too ( to get the best of both worlds of mineral and sapphire)….and you have a perfect field or tool watch to take anywhere. Very under-rated.

  4. Great review! As a nurse, having a small watch that doesn’t get in the way of gloves and other lines, wires, etc is great. I just picked it up for Christmas at $85 on amazon and I’m still getting used to it, still new to the functionality of a chrono. Thanks again for a solid review! Lastly, where can I pick up that band you swapped it out for?

  5. I've owned the same watch for more years than I can remember (10+years). Purchased it specifically for work (bartender). I wanted an inexpensive watch I could beat up and if I break it, big deal, I only spent $89 on it. Water and alcohol kill watch bands so I've had to replace the band twice. I have beat/banged the snot out of it and it has never let me down. The design is simple, classic and timeless. It's a great chronograph and you will never find a better watch for the money.

  6. Love mine. 100m WR with a push pull crown speaks to its build quality and to its actual usefulness as a field watch. I paid a good bit more than $85 from an AD for mine, and still feel like I stole it.

  7. Spot on review! I am a Citizen fan and everything you said is correct. Totally agree on the "hollowness" of the pushers. This is common amongst the less expensive line, but goes away when you move up price ranges. I find the date hard to find but useable. And the strap is the first thing you should change when you buy the watch. This watch is a simple but great tool. The large numbers are easy to read in low light and it is extremely durable.

  8. I feel like you're always picking up the watches I've been keeping my eye on. Great review, and if I hadn't already blown my November budget on Gearbest 11.11 sale I might be looking at this one!

  9. Not a chronograph fan and I must admit im less than convinced on this one personally. But no doubt it's a good buy for those it does interest especially at this price. Great review too

  10. This Citizen isn't bad, for 80$ (?) it can be one of the best value for money rate 🙂
    But I preffer my K-34 chrono than this Citizen:
    I bought some chronos for a gift – a Benyar chrono and Torbollo from Aliexpress. Good, not budget-killers for people, who will wear the watch for the first time 🙂

  11. Like it's dimensions, not so much the legibility. Pushing 58 busy dials aren't my cup of tea, it would have been better off with no date and no writing at 9. Totally agree on the band, the 8180-03E Eco drive I have, has the same one in 18 mm and as you did I put it on a nato. Cheers!

  12. Didn't know about this one. Interesting. Once the ecodrives get into timex pricing, they're such a no brainer.

    Speaking of ecodrives, I've always thought the BJ6500-12L is a good alternative to a timex weekender.

  13. I've always preferred light, thin, and smaller diameter watches for the reason you state. That is, you forget it's there on the wrist. And for $80 when on sale it is a very good value.

    I have an early Pulsar solar watch that belonged to my father. It will still run when placed in direct sunlight but only for a few minutes if worn on the wrist. Unfortunately to replace the power cell inside is an expensive proposition.

  14. Good review!! I saw a smoking deal on a Chandler with beige dial and Khaki canvas strap. That combo looked way better to me, so I picked one up and just love it. Wears nice on the wrist and has become one of my favorite tool watches. Thanks for doing a review of this watch!!

  15. Great review & I agree about the value here! I was fortunate to pick one of these up for $83 bucks last year, and it's one of my favorites in my rotation. I love the simple, yet elegant, easy to read dial, 100m of WR, just enough lume, and being solar powered for the sale price I paid makes it almost perfect. I do hate the original strap, and replaced with a tan leather nato, so now it's perfect! 😉

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