The Citizen Promaster NY0080-12E – scratching an itch with a spiky bezel The Citizen Promaster NY0080-12E – scratching an itch with a spiky bezel

The Citizen Promaster NY0080-12E – scratching an itch with a spiky bezel

Sean Ding

It’s probably a bit generous to call me a ‘collector’, but as I continue on this journey, I’m discovering that I genuinely enjoy meaningful attempts by companies to do something different. In today’s expanded universe of microbrands and industry stalwarts, it can take a lot to stand out, but it takes even more to stand out in a good way. But that’s what I enjoy about the Citizen NY0080 line-up, the successor to the original NY0040 ‘Fugu’.

Citizen Promaster NY0080

To me, the Fugu line-up (in particular the black dial one that I own) is an excellent example of a watch that stands out from the pack in all the right ways. But much like actual puffer fish, the NY0080-12E might be an acquired taste. Many of the NY0080’s design elements can only be appreciated after some scrutiny. In this respect, the Fugu lives up to its namesake in a second way: you get a lot more than you bargain for once you get a bit closer.

Citizen Promaster NY0080

The combination of brushed and polished finishing interacts seamlessly to create curves that you swore were not there a second ago. The tapered lugs and case profile benefit the most from this effect, effectively bringing out their latent elegance. The bezel, which has alternating spiked-smooth edges, provides ample tactile interest and helps to narrow the case when viewed from above. The illusion of slimness is offset somewhat by the massive crown (seriously, that thing has enough knurling on it to be a barbell).

Citizen Promaster NY0080

The dial is relatively vanilla by comparison, however there are still interesting details: metallic trim borders each marker, which if you look closely enough, actually have a rough texture. All of this detail and deliberate attention to design gives the Fugu a very elegant feel. But the simple contrast of the white on black, accented by the red Promaster logo, minute and seconds hands, reminds you that the essence of this watch is still function over form. Legibility is key.

Citizen Promaster NY0080

Oh, and who could forget the puffer fish laser-etched into the caseback? Absolutely iconic.

Citizen Promaster NY0080 caseback
The Citizen Promaster Asia edition caseback with a laser-etched puffer fish. Image:

Having said all that, the Fugu’s relative petiteness makes it difficult to fill the voluminous boots worn by most Promaster dive watches, despite the rather intimidating spiky bezel. When you think of something from the Promaster line, you picture something that looks like Optimus Prime’s heart, but the Fugu just doesn’t have the same reassuring heft of something like a Turtle or Doxa Sub. This isn’t to say that the Fugu lacks substance or engineering chops: in true Citizen fashion, the movement beating on the inside definitely boosts its go-anywhere-do-anything credentials. The 8203A movement is one of Citizen’s oldest, most reliable calibres – built to go a long time without regular servicing.

Citizen NY0080-12E

Overall, the Fugu ticks a lot of my boxes, especially for it’s price (you can pick up the very similar NY0085-19E for AUD$550). It has an engrossing design with levels of detail you could spend hours poring over. It’s technically robust and a worthy heir to the Fugu moniker. It’s a beautiful little dive watch that wears like something much fancier but could undoubtedly take a beating if it needed to. If you’re into affordable dive watches, from a reliable brand, but looking for something a little different, then this is the one for you.