Citizen Watches – Rugged and High Tech
Citizen watches may not be the first name you think of when you’re considering buying a designer watch, but perhaps they should be. This Japanese company, which makes both timepieces and industrial machinery, is one of the world’s most popular and successful manufacturers of watches.
Their product line is diverse, their styling is elegant and traditional, and their “under the hood” technology is quite innovative. For those who like gadgets, Citizen watches offer such unusual features as lunar phases and altitude display. Their basic product line is quite affordable, and their limited edition higher-end models are quite collectible and offer good investment potential for those so inclined.
Read on for the full Citizen watches review.
Like many modern Japanese products, Citizen watches are well built and reliable. Their models feature stainless steel and titanium cases, good shock handling, and good (30 meters) to great (100 meters or more) water resistance, depending on model. In addition, their Eco Drive models require far less maintenance than many other comparably priced watches, due to minimizing the need for battery replacement.
As is to be expected, the movements are Japanese-built quartz units, which offer good reliability. Despite the quartz internal workings, all of their current product line features analog displays. Most of their units feature Eco Drive, which means they should run for up to a decade without requiring repair.
Citizen watches feature a number of innovative design elements, the best known of which is their Eco Drive, designed to minimize the need to discard batteries. These watches, which now comprise some 80% of their product line, feature unobtrusive solar cells which charge an internal battery. These cells can be charged from both natural and artificial light, and some models are capable of storing a charge for up to six months without exposure to light.
Battery life is typically expected to be about ten years, which will keep both maintenance and the need to dispose of dead batteries to a minimum. Earlier watches in the Eco Drive series also included watches that were capable of charging via temperature variations between the wearer’s wrist and the surrounding environment. Newer models include the ability to automatically adjust for changes in time zones and the ability to synchronize with atomic clocks around the globe, enabling the timepiece to keep as close to perfect time as possible.
Styling for Citizen watches is fairly traditional, with dials ranging from Movado-esque simplicity to ultra-busy models for sports use. You won’t find flashy colors on Citizen watches, but you will find reserved, stylish elegance. Their models are suitable for daily wear, business wear, and evening wear. They also, of course, make heavy duty sports models that are suitable for all types of outdoor use. Men’s and women’s models are available.
While many models offer only the time, or time and date, other models, particularly in their sports line, offer considerably more features, including power reserve indicators, a compass, an altimeter, atomic clock synchronization, automatic time zone adjustment, perpetual calendars and lunar phases.
Due to the extensive use of battery-saving Eco Drive in most models, these watches are less likely to require maintenance than most similarly priced timepieces. It is recommended that you expose them to light periodically in order to keep the battery charged, and their sports models will require replacement of the cover gasket every 2-3 years in order to maintain their high-quality water resistance. Due to their unique charging mechanism, the batteries in Citizen watches should last at least ten years, keeping maintenance to a minimum.
The company offers a good warranty for U.S. buyers; at present, new models are warranted for five years from manufacturing defects. Based on what we have seen in our reviews of designer watch manufacturers, five years is a bit on the high side as warranties go. Of course, most problems resulting from manufacturing issues should appear long before your warranty expires.
Citizen Watch Prices
As designer timepieces go, prices tend to be in the middle of the spectrum. Prices for both men’s and women’s models start at about $100, and most of their product line is available in the $100-$600 range. Certain limited edition models are more expensive, and can run into the mid-four figure range.
These models feature more features, such as phases of the moon, atomic clock synchronization, titanium cases, extra water resistance and the appeal of being part of a limited edition series. Older models and out-of-production limited edition watches can sell for a great deal more on the second hand market, and some of their watches have been known to sell for $10,000 or more to collectors. While few consumers purchase watches with the intention of investment or with the hope that their purchase will increase in value over time, many older versions do, in fact, appreciate in value with proper care.
Where to Buy
If you’re interested in buying, the brand is available for purchase at fine department stores, selected fine jewelers, and from a number of online retailers. Prices and model selection will vary widely, as the company offers a large number of models – nearly 300 at the moment. Some are limited editions and are only available at select locations and only for a limited amount of time. If you’re interested in one of their limited offerings, it may be necessary to shop around a bit.
If edgy styling and bright colors are what you’re looking for, then this brand may not be for you. That’s about the only downside to their product line, however, as they ffer something for just about everyone:
- Great build quality
- Minimal maintenance
- Cutting edge Eco Drive technology
- Gadgets galore for those who want them
- Conservative, traditional design elements
- Inexpensive to moderate pricing
All in all, the p0roduct line offers a lot for the buyer who wants an attractive, all-purpose, reliable timepiece. You’ll find traditional elegance in a rugged timepiece that will require far less maintenance than other models in their price range. If good looks, diverse features and competitive pricing are important to you, then Citizen watches offer great value.