To the casual observer, classic dive watches can look pretty similar, save for the brand name printed on their dials. For watch enthusiasts, though, the pleasure is in the details, and no detail is too small to appreciate. Whether it’s cow horn lugs or a “beads of rice” bracelet, the right flourish—no matter how obscure—can be the difference between an everyday watch and a certifiable grail. Citizen’s new Promaster Dive Automatic has all of the things you’d expect to find in a legendary diver, from its rotating bezel to its chunky, arrow-tipped hands, plus a range of color combos from black-on-black to two-tone gold. But its “destro” winding crown puts it in the company of some of the most coveted timepieces on the planet.
Destro watches have been around for decades (Charlie Chaplin was a fan), and were initially designed so left-handed people could wind their watches with the same ease as their right-handed counterparts. Unlike shirts that say “I May Be Left-Handed But I’m Always RIGHT,” however, destros have recently transcended their usefulness to the southpaw community to become highly sought-after in their own right, even by collectors who don’t use specialty scissors. Panerai’s lefty Luminor is a flex among those in the know, as is Tudor’s Pelagos LHD, a left-handed version of their titanium-cased professional diver. And of course, there’s the star of this year’s Rolex lineup, the new left-handed GMT-Master II. The Promaster’s chief distinction from those Swiss grails (aside from a price that’s thousands of dollars cheaper)? A winding crown offset at eight o’clock rather than the more conventional nine, an even more unusual detail that makes it easily wearable on either wrist. And that’s to say nothing of its other key feature: an automatic movement.
As a budget-friendly dive watch in the vein of best-sellers like the Seiko Prospex and Casio Duro, the Citizen Promaster has been a staple of the sub-$1,000 watch world for decades. Previous versions of the Promaster had pretty much everything you could want in an everyday sports watch except for one thing: a mechanical powertrain. Until now. Equipped with a Japanese automatic movement featuring a 42-hour power reserve, the Promaster is officially among the best values on the market—no matter which wrist you choose to wear it on.