The 1980s is an era that carries a lot of fond memories for me. I was born in 1977, so the ’80s made up a large part of my childhood. It’s also the decade that most people consider responsible for questionable style and design. In the watch universe, we have, for the most part, embraced the icons of the 1980s. I know I have. Even the quirky ones! One of the famous quirky watches of the decade is the Citizen Aqualand Depth Meter. Launched in 1985, it was the first watch to incorporate an electronic digital depth gauge. I always loved seeing these watches. Now, almost forty years later, Citizen has introduced two modern models based on that 1985 icon. I had a chance to try the Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W with a full-lume dial.

The new Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W is the more exhuberant of the two new models. It comes with a stainless steel case that has a gunmetal PVD coating and a fully luminescent dial. Add the characteristic black polyurethane strap, and you have a watch that is instantly recognizable. Additionally, this modern watch shows that this classic design is still as cool as it was back in 1985. The second of the two models is a far more traditional stainless steel version with a blue dial and bezel that comes on a bracelet. But I didn’t want to go traditional with this one. I have a thing for full-lume dials, so there was only one way to go.

The idea of the Aqualand Depth Meter

Before I dive into the story of the Aqualand Depth Meter, just have a look at the picture above. Now, you can debate the quirky shape all you want, but what Citizen has done with the gunmetal color and the full-lume dial is great. It gives the classic ’80s design relevance and makes it simply look cool. And that is what people will tell you as well. The number of great comments I received from random people that loved seeing this watch was amazing. Both people who know watches and people who don’t have a clue seem to appreciate this design a lot. Without a doubt, it is thanks to the “instant recognition” factor that this watch has had ever since it was introduced.

As mentioned, the Aqualand debuted in 1985 and was the first quartz watch with an electronic digital depth gauge. On top of that, it combined a digital and analog display for that typical ’80s look. Furthermore, it was a 200m water-resistant watch that paired a traditional diver style with cutting-edge technology. This unique combination made the Aqualand Depth Meter one of the most beloved watches all over the world. Four years later, Citizen introduced the Promaster brand for land, sea, and air professionals. The Promaster logo is an arrow design representing its ability to “go higher” and “go deeper”.

The Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W

Why do I mention the Promaster? Because you will see the Promaster arrow logo on the dial of this watch. Yes, this new model is part of the Promaster collection. A quick look at the Promaster lineup reveals that Citizen makes quite a few professional divers. And what they share is an almost intimidating amount of features that are well reflected in their designs. Often, the dials are busy — very busy. On top of that, there is a great variety of case shapes and sizes. While there are definitely other models that are instantly recognizable, the Aqualand Depth Meter is a definite standout in the collection.

The watch comes with a stainless steel case with a PVD coating. The diameter that Citizen gives for the watch is 50.7mm, but that’s including the depth gauge. While it’s hard to deny, it does not really have an effect on the watch’s wearability. But we’ll get to that later. Depending on whether you take the pushers into account, the diameter without the depth gauge is a very wearable 42.5-43mm. The case measures 14.8mm thick and it has a lug spacing of 24mm. The watch comes with a very comfortable polyurethane strap and an extension so you can wear it over your diving suit.

The full-lume dial is not what you expect

In the daylight, the dial appears bright neon yellow, as we have seen from other luminous dials. The hour markers are slightly lighter, as are the hands. I wouldn’t say they are white but slightly off-white. The dial and the hands are executed in a similar fashion as the original watch from the ’80s, and I love that. Without updates, it lives that ’80s glory to the fullest! And why should Citizen update what people have loved for almost four decades now? The rehaut features the minute markings, creating more space for the oversized hour indices. The black bezel fits the style perfectly and slopes downward slightly toward the crystal.

When I first tried out the magic of the full-lume dial, I was slightly disappointed. I expected it to light up in a bright neon hue, but to my surprise, the proprietary lume is actually plain yellow. Yes, you read that correctly — plain yellow, not neon yellow. The hour markers light up in bright blue, as you can see in the picture. They do their task perfectly by standing out from the background. But to be honest, that yellow background was a bit disappointing. Along with the limited impact and intensity of this lume color, the visual effect was somewhat underwhelming.

Still a Promaster dive watch

The digital display on the upper half of the dial shows a wide array of usable functions. As you’d guess, it shows how deep underwater you are and includes several dive alarms, including maximum dive time and maximum dive depth. Speaking of which, the watch is ISO-compliant with a water resistance of 200 meters. Additionally, the display includes a 60-minute stopwatch, shows the day and date, and has an ana-digi converter display.

As the watch was developed for professional divers, it served them perfectly with its wide array of functions. Nowadays, it is more of an iconic dive watch that most people will wear out of the water. But the fact that functionality is still at the core of this watch makes it so attractive. Responsible for all its functionality is the quartz Citizen caliber C520. Citizen guarantees accuracy to ±20 seconds per month as well as two years of battery life.

Wearing the lume-dialed Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter

There is no other way to put it: I absolutely loved wearing the Aqualand Depth Meter, starting with the incredibly comfortable strap. The 24mm-wide strap sits very well on my wrist and brings a lot of character to the piece. So straight out of the gates, wearing the watch felt great. However, the proportions of the case and the thick strap do make this a watch for people with larger wrists. Although it wears super comfortably, it does look big and bulky. The stock strap is also slightly longer than most straps out there.

Once on my wrist, the Aqualand Depth Meter looked awesome. As I said, quite a few people commented on the great style of the watch. Operating the pushers to activate the different functions is really simple too. The top-left pusher lets you “SELECT” a function, the bottom-left pusher changes the “MODE”, and the top-right one lets you “SET” it. To remind you, these markings are engraved on the case. Lastly, the crown at 4 o’clock changes the analog time display. Unlike a G-Shock, for instance, the analog and digital time displays are not connected, so you have to set both by hand. While not necessarily convenient, it fits the ’80s character, so let’s just say that it’s part of its charm.

Final thoughts on the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W

I was genuinely impressed by how much I liked wearing the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter. I know multiple people that own a regular version of the Aqualand Depth Meter, and they are always raving about how comfortable it is. And after wearing it for a week, I can say that it’s true. While I was already sold on the ’80s charm of the watch, this new look and the fact that it fit me really well made it an absolute joy to wear. This could easily be one of the affordable daily watches that I would wear out on road trips or out playing tennis. It’s a bulletproof dive watch that can take a beating and, over time, only gets more charming if it gets the proper wear and tear. At €429, the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W is simply a great watch and a brilliant 1980s statement!

For more information, check it out on Citizen’s official website, and do let us know what you think of this watch in the comments.