Citizen Promaster Nighthawk Pilot’s watch: 4 sides to the NH story

The Citizen Nighthawk models are often dreaded by casual watch-wearers, who kind of dread its very intense and info-laden dials and slide-rule bezels. So the story goes like either you love it or you hate it; there’s nothing like going the middle path. But a suggestion here isIf you find the Promaster Nighthawk bewildering at first glance, look closer and you’ll slowly discover the beauty of it. All will become clear and easy; just that you need the week-long patience.

The Citizen Nighthawk sports many faces; its unique form and harsh geometry go hand-in-glove with their strong, faceted shapes. You might call the NightHawk has interesting forms, which is its aviation roots staring back at you. Be it the U.S version Nighthawk or its European version, the latter sporting a wonderful caseback.

The next thing that immediately catches the attention of an onlooker is the large, sunken dial. There’s also a GMT hour scale besides a highly detailed, internally rotating E6B flight rule bezel, which are quite visible under low light conditions because of the blue lume.

Now the question arises: Should it be the U.S. Nighthawk or its Euro or Asian versions that you must go for? Or, the JDM? There’s no straight answer to it; instead, let’s talk about what they are and you’ll be able to choose the one that tickles your fancy the most.

Th U.S. Nighthawk models (BJ7000-52E, BJ7020-55E, BJ7005-59E and BJ7000-01E) are popular even in the U.K. You come to know readily about these Nighthawks from the Nighthawk text on the dial; the fully lumed indices and the framed Arabic numerals. Other versions of Nighthawks don’t have these. However, despite all that, it is also the plainest one with its highly polished caseback and laser-etched text. The European and Asian variants come with highly detailed and engraved, satin caseback; if you are serious about your watch, the U.S. version doesn’t stand a chance. Not even the PVD'ed black stainless steel and titanium.

Whereas the Asian Nighthawks (BJ7010-59E, BJ7005-54E, BJ7010-24W, BJ7010-16F), though missing the Nighthawk text on the dial and with partially lumed metal indices, got a classier look. They also don’t have 12 and 6 raised like in the U.S. versions. But, there’s a wonderfully engraved caseback, which turns things more interesting.

But the Euro (model number preceeded by AS ) and Japanese Nighthawks (PMD56-2771m, PMD56-2774 & PMD56-2775; with Made in Japan and W.R. 20 Bar written on the dial, albeit in very small fonts) feature the Radio-Control mechanism within but at the cost of the 24-hr GMT scale. But it scores with its richly detailed caseback; moreover, the titanium versions get the Duratect plating, adding to the titanium’s strength. However, the European Nighthawks lack the W.R. 20 Bar text; instead, it is Sapphire that’s written on the dial.

Is that all? NO, for we didn’t talk about the ULTIMATE Nighthawks so far; these belong to the PMP56 series (PMP56-2901 and PMP56-2902) and come with all the bells and whistles that buyers long for. These are obviously more costly and definitely a hell lot different from the usual Nighthawk designs. The reason? Well, there’s a dedicated GMT subdial, an alarm, a Citizen Aqualand Promaster and shows the time in three main cities, namely London, Paris and New York.