How Tough Are Citizen Watches?

People, by default, think of G-Shocks as tough watches. However, not everyone likes their black, plasticky look. What about Citizen? How tough are Citizen watches? Can Citizen’s watches compete against G-Shocks?

Citizen has ultra-tough and durable watches yet still keeps an analog watch’s classical look. Citizen is also known to make watches with high water, scratch, and magnetic resistance. Citizen’s watches also have hard watch crystals and durable and reliable movement. 

How Tough Are Citizen Watches

This watch will first discuss what makes a watch tough, then pick a popular, regular Citizen watch and analyze how tough it is. 

We have discussed extensively about Citizen watches, so feel free to click on the titles below if you are keen to discover more. 

READ MORE: Citizen Watch Review

READ MORE: How To Tell A Genuine Citizen Watch

READ MORE: Are Citizen Watches Made In China?

What Makes A Watch Tough?

In general, a tough watch must be reliable and withstand scratches, knocks, and shocks. It also needs to handle exposure to elements such as water, dirt, temperature, and magnetic field. A tough watch also does not require frequent servicing and maintenance. 

To consider if a watch is tough, you may analyze the watch from the following areas:

  • Water resistance
  • Scratch and ding resistance
  • Crystals
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Movement

Water Resistance

A tough watch can survive exposure to water and at a depth deeper than usual. This is usually achieved by placing tough, durable water gaskets in the watch case to prevent water from seeping in. 

Some watches are given water protection so that they can dive deep. For example, a Seiko MarineMaster SBDX013 dive watch can dive as deep as 3280 feet (1000M). Some watches can go even deeper than that as well. 

However, as much as we should appreciate watches with excellent water resistance, very few of us would ever need 1000M water resistance. Perhaps as a start, you may consider a watch with 660 feet (200M) depth as tough. 

READ MORE: Best Dive Watches Under $100

Scratch and Ding Resistance

A tough watch should also not be made of soft metals to the point that they scratch or, at worst, develop dings quickly. 

Common watch cases made from stainless steel will be prone to scratches. This is because standard stainless steel used for watch cases, such as 316L, is soft. 

As such, watchmakers often use softer materials that can hide scratches, such as resin, or use it as a watch case. G-Shocks are a great example of this approach. The downside is that the watch will look plasticky and might not appeal to traditionalists.

Some went the other way, using even harder materials as watch cases. Many watchmakers use titanium to make ultra-hard watch cases that stand up to scratches and dings. However, as titanium is expensive and harder to work with, the watches also become expensive. 


A tough watch should also be given the most rigid and hardest watch crystals to help it become as scratch resistant as possible. 

There are three types of watch crystals commonly used in watchmaking. The first is acrylic. It is soft and least likely to shatter. However, it scratches easily. The best about acrylic crystals is that you can polish the scratches away. You tend to see acrylic crystals in lower-priced models. 

How Tough Are Citizen Watches

The second is mineral crystal. They are more scratch-resistant than acrylic and also more shatter-resistant. It also looks more elegant and appealing to the eye than acrylic crystals. 

The best watch crystals, however, are sapphire crystals. They are the most scratch-resistant, as synthetic sapphires are so hard only diamonds can scratch them. They are also much harder. 

Now that we can see which crystals are the hardest, It would be a great idea that a tough watch sports a sapphire crystal.

Magnetic Resistance

A tough watch should also have some magnetic resistance. Magnetic force can throw off the timing of a watch, especially in automatic movement. With quartz movements, the force may still affect the movement when it’s close by, but once removed, the watch operates back as usual. 

Watches with magnetic resistance usually comply with ISO’s standard for “magnetic resistant watches.” Some degree of magnetic resistance is enough for a watch to be tough. 


A strict watch needs to have a reliable movement. A reliable movement will continue ticking inconsistent and with good timing, despite exposure to things such as shock or extreme temperature. A reliable movement should also be able to perform well long term, without frequent maintenance. 

There are reasons why most of the toughest watches out there are quartz movements. It is a relatively reliable watch movement that keeps time very well and generally requires little maintenance, aside from battery change. 

However, there are very reliable automatic movements that keep time exceptionally well, such as from many Swiss watchmakers. 

How Tough Are Citizen Watches?

Citizen watches are, in general, tough watches. However, specific models are built for hard use, which means they are much tougher than the other Citizen models. These watches have high water, scratch, magnetic resistance, hard crystals, reliable movement, and durable straps. 

Here’s the thing, not all Citizen watches are created equal. Some models are created to be cheap daily beaters. These are to be worn, used hard, and take beatings without care for their outward appearance. These are the 

Some are designed to be worn with suits to look grand and fancy, and these watches have their externals polished up but with little water resistance.

But if there is a representative of a tough, reliable, affordable, and elegant watch from Citizen, the Citizen Promaster Land is probably it.

How Tough Are Citizen Watches

Citizen Promaster Land

You may see the Citizen Promaster Land Ref: PMD56-2951 as the ‘James Bond’ of watches. It is tough and reliable yet looks polished. It is far different from the super tough watches such as G-Shocks, which are plasticky and cheap.

You can wear this watch for swimming, diving, hiking, or even workshop work without worries. If you ever need to dress up in a suit, this watch will not be out of place. And at about $500, this is one of the best value-for-money JDM Citizen you can get. 

Water Resistance. The Citizen Promaster Land has a water resistance of 200M (660ft). This enables the watch to handle surface water activities and actual diving. 

Scratch and Ding Resistance. The Promaster Land comes in a titanium case to improve its scratch and ding resistance. Titanium is one of the most rigid materials for making watch cases. This means the watch should be able to handle many abuses you may put it through. The watch also features a crown guard, giving additional protection for your watch crown. 

Hard Crystals. The Promaster Land comes with sapphire crystal, with an anti-reflective coating underneath it. This means the watch crystal is very scratch resistant. The anti-reflective coating should allow you to view your watch dial from any angle without worrying about reflections from the sun. 

Magnetic Resistance. The Promaster Land is also given some magnetic resistance. However, there was no specification of how many Gauss it can handle. 

Reliable Movement. Ticking inside this watch is the Citizen Eco-Drive movement, the H100 variant that is also radio-controlled. This means the watch is charged by any light source and will require almost no servicing over its lifetime. 

With this watch, you worry no about keeping accurate time. Radio-controlled watches are so accurate that the margin of error is one-second every 100,000 years. 

However, this radio-controlled feature may not work outside Japan, as Japanese radio frequencies are different. Luckily, there are computer simulators that you can play online to emit the radio waves suitable for the watch, such as from JJY.

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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