Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E Review – The Stylish Military Solar Watch


Hi guys. Today I’m writing about the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E review, one of the most affordable Eco-Drive models from the Japanese brand.

Citizen’s Eco-Drive is one of the most robust and well-respected solar watch movement right now. But the cost of such cool technology is more expensive than a normal quartz watch.

Fortunately, they know there is a good market in low priced watches and this is where the Citizen BM8180-03E watch comes in the picture.

The watch is priced at the more affordable sub-$100 price (if you get it from online stores, especially on Amazon, as compared to the normal more than $200 price tag of the other Eco-Drives.

What’s surprising is the Citizen BM8180-03E watch does not feel cheap at all.


Citizen BM8180-03E watch


It’s a handsome military style watch but the highly polished and small case (at 37 mm diameter) gives it a more dressy look.

In short, it’s a gorgeous little timepiece with a highly convenient solar powered movement – just perfect as an everyday beater watch for multiple uses and events.

Now, let’s go to the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E review shall we.


Citizen BM8180-03E Watch Specification

Diameter: 37 mm
Thickness: 9 mm
Lug Width: 18 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Green canvas strap
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal

Dial: Black dial with day/date display
Hands: Skeleton sword hands with lume
Markers: Numeral markers with lume

Movement: Eco-Drive E100
Movement Features: Citizen’s Eco-Drive quartz movement with Solar/light powered
Power Reserve: 6 months
Accuracy: +-15 seconds per month

Water Resistance: 100 m
Eco-Drive User Manual: Download the user manual HERE

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Stylish Military Style Dial/Watch Face

On top of the Citizen BM8180-03E watch is a stylish military dial design that’s just looks good to look at. Citizen has done a good job here with the dial design in my opinion.

The key lies in how outstandingly well-balanced the dial is.

Just take a look at it and you’ll realize that the proportions of the elements are just “right”.

The markers, hands, signature, day/date etc are just in harmony with each other. You just can’t find any fault with the dial at all. It’s truly a well-designed watch!

The dial is black in color, with white hands and markers on top of it for a nice contrast.

The hour and minute hands are skeleton hands with the bottom half empty while the seconds hand is red in color that just pops up from the black/white dial.

The numeral markers are fully numeral without any index markers – this makes the watch very easy to read as compared to other wrist watches.

At the outer edge are the minute markers for easy to read information on the minutes.

On the right side of the dial is a day/date window display for additional functionality which I truly love.

No more tinkering with your smartphone to know what date/day today is. Just a simple check on your wrist will help you get this info easily.

All in all, the dial is the element that I love the most on this watch.

It’s so sublimely done, with simple but well-executed styling. It also looks really handsome and dressy unlike other military watch.

This makes the Citizen BM8180-03E very versatile as you can use it for casual and more formal use. Due to this, I believe this watch is just perfect for everyday use.

Full Lume On The Hands And Markers

Another outstanding feature of the Citizen BM8180-03E watch dial is the full lume on its hands and markers.

Actually, I was really surprised that Citizen would do such a thing, especially at a sub-$100 watch.

Watches about twice its price rarely gives something like this, mind you.


Citizen BM8180-03E watch lume shot

The Citizen BM8180-03E has a full lume on its hands and markers which is usually seen on watches more expensive than it =)


Rather than just the hands, the numeral markers of the watch is also filled with lume, giving a really cool blue lume in the dark.

Nothing beats a well illuminated watch for its coolness =)


Small And Highly Polished Case

The Citizen BM8180-03E watch has a small case with just 37 mm diameter, which is about the smallest size for a man’s watch nowadays.

This size is becoming rarer with the current trend that is shifting towards big bulky watches .

I’m not too fond of big watches, no less since my wrist is a bit small but also because I feel that smaller watches exudes a sleek and stylish look.

And this is exactly what I found with this watch too!

Having said that, I know there are some guys out there that dislike small watches and prefer big bulky watches for its manly look.


Citizen BM8180-03E watch side


Thus, I need to warn that if you guys are within that group, then this Citizen BM8180-03E is NOT the one for you (unless you like having a buyer’s remorse lol!).

The 9 mm thick stainless steel case is also highly polished which further increased its good looks. It has short lugs which is strapped to a 18 mm green canvas strap.

On top of the watch is a mineral crystal that is befitting for a watch at this price.

In my opinion, anything other than sapphire crystal will require a conscious effort in our part as watch owners to care for it to prevent heartbreaking scratches on its surface.

Mineral crystals are just really really bad in scratch resistance =(

Lastly, the case also has 100 m water resistance rating on it which is quite good for a watch.

With this high rating, we can use the watch for water activities though I’d not use it for frequent swimming or diving.


Citizen BM8180-03E watch side


Even though the Citizen BM8180-03E watch can withstand 100 m water pressure, but the gaskets are not designed for sustained and frequent water exposure (as opposed with diver’s watches).

Thus, I’d recommend to be careful when using the watch in water.


Eco-Friendly Eco-Drive Solar Watch

Last but not least, the biggest selling point of the Citizen BM8180-03E watch is its solar powered movement.

The Eco-Drive movement is a respected solar watch engine that’s been proven for more than 20 years.

So what does it do?

Well, it simply convert light energy (sunlight or any artificial light) into electrical energy via photo-voltaic cells (solar cells or PV cells) underneath its dial.

This electrical energy is then stored in a small rechargeable battery cell. The cell will then powers up the quartz watch movement like in a normal watch.

So what are its advantage over normal watches?

First of all, there is no need to change the battery every year or so. Citizen claimed that the Eco-Drive battery can lasts up to 10 years (or even more).


Citizen BM8180-03E watch caseback


This will save some time on your part as well as reducing the amount of disposable batteries in the world (think Eco-Friendly here).

The best part about these solar watches are how it’s very convenient and easy to use. There is no need to be worried about a sudden “dead” battery at all.

The Eco-Drive E100 movement inside it has a 6 months power reserve from a full charge and it only takes about 12-45 hours of exposure under sunlight, depending on its intensity.

Besides sunlight, it can also be charged with normal lighting in our office or home.


Citizen BM8180-03E Eco-Drive E100 recharging table

Above is a table detailing how long it takes to recharge the Citizen BM8180-0E under different lighting conditions


This means the solar watch is easily charged simply by wearing them. And you don’t have to wear them everyday like an automatic watch since the power reserve has a large capacity.

Once a week of use is even enough to charge it! Now that’s total convenience to me.

And not to mention, nobody can deny how cool it is to own a high technology timepiece that uses solar power instead of the boring normal ol’ battery =)


Click HERE to download the Citizen Eco-Drive E100 user manual


Who Is This Watch For?

The Citizen BM8180-03E watch is perfect for those that want a really good looking military watch with a more traditional smaller watch size.

Despite it’s sleek looks, it’s also quite rugged (it’s a military watch after all) and can be used as a daily beater watch.

Having a solar powered movement means the watch is really convenient to use – no need to wind or change battery every year.


Citizen BM8180-03E watch on hand 2


A once a week use is sufficient enough to recharge the watch.

Last but not least, it has a cool full dial lume on it that’s hard to find in this price range. One of the things that we should get from an analog watch is a brightly lit lumes (unless its a dress watch of course).

It looks soo cool and functional in the dark due to this great feature.


Who Should Not Get It?

My view is those that prefer a bigger watch should not consider the Citizen BM8180-03E watch.

It’s very small in today’s standard (at 37 mm diameter) and I can imagine those guys will be frustrated at how “un-manly” this watch is.

So if you’re looking at a big and bulky watch, you might need to look elsewhere (the Citizen Nighthawk and Citizen Promaster Altichron are good choices with 42 mm and 50 mm case diameter respectively).


Watch the video above to see the unboxing of the Citizen BM8180-03E watch


Citizen BM8180-03E Watch Pros and Cons


  • A handsome watch with well-balanced dial design
  • Easy to read dial with full numeral markers
  • Super cool lume on all of its hands and markers
  • Sleek and stylish small 37 mm diameter case
  • Total convenience with Eco-Drive solar powered watch movement


  • 37 mm diameter case can be too small for some people
  • Mineral crystal is not scratch resistant


Like This Watch? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

If you like this Citizen BM8180-03E watch, get it cheapest on Amazon! Amazon has the largest selection of watches at the best prices. Click the link below to check out the watch on Amazon.


->Click Here To Check Out The Citizen BM8180-03E Watch On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Citizen BM8180-03E watch is one good looking watch for sure.

I really love how Citizen managed to create such a well-balanced dial where all its elements are rightly proportioned to each other.

It really looks great, and the overall craftsmanship is just fantastic.

Citizen’s Eco-Drive solar movement also make this watch a true workhorse – there is no need to tinker about anything.

Just wear it and the watch will take care of itself. The solar mechanism will recharge the watch without you even noticing it.

Now that’s a whole new level of convenience.

For a good looking daily beater watch with a cool solar powered movement, the Citizen BM8180-03E watch is definitely a great choice.




I hope you guys enjoy my Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E review. Let me know if you guys have any questions or comments about the watch.

Drop your comments in the section below =)


8 thoughts on “Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E Review – The Stylish Military Solar Watch”

  1. This watch I have and I find it very accurate it loses about a second every five or six days maybe, I also have the Sekio 5SNZG09J1 and it’s an automatic movement this watch is unbelievable if you’re looking for a sekio You’ll be surprised to know this watch loses less than one second per day put that in your pipe and smoke it Rolex

  2. I have been eyeing this model for years. It reminds me of my favorite Timex that I bought while in college in 1971. Fantistic review. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for the review. Very well written and informative.
    I’ve had my BM8180 for about a year. It’s my every day watch and am VERY happy with it. I prefer an analog watch, but still want the day/date display. I also prefer numerals over dashes or dots. I don’t like metal bands and usually have to change them, so the fabric band works for me. The only thing I don’t like is how the adjustment knob feels when I pull it out to set the time or date. It feels a little flimsy when pulled out and the hands/dials seem very sensitive. I would prefer a solid “click” when I pull the knob out, especially when pulling out only halfway to adjust the date. This is a minor complaint and I’m otherwise very happy with it, especially for the price!

  4. Isaac: I really like this review so much so that I am tempted to buy this Eco-drive watch. The lume shot is the one that sealed the deal. I was saving for a Seiko SARG009 (perfect lume!) until this… You are a watch guru as far as I am concerned, keep writing more reviews. It may be good to incorporate where these watches are actually made as opposed to their place of origin, e.g. this Citizen everyone knows is a Japanese brand, but assembled or made in China? Singapore? etc… Thank you for doing this; you’ve helped me and a lot of people with their purchase decisions!

    • Hi Vonn. Thanks for visiting and the kind words. Ahh the SARG009. It’s definitely a great lumed watch and one of my favorite =)

      A full lume on an explorer dial watch is just phenomenal and something different than the usual diver’s watch lume type.

      I’ll definitely look on the place of origin in future posts whenever do-able. Thanks for your feedback Vonn. I feel honored to be able to help you with your purchase decisions. Watches are an expensive investments (to most of us at least lol!) and some consideration should be in place prior to buying one.

      Stay tuned for more awesome watch reviews buddy!


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