Citizen Watches: A Cut Above the Competition

grey and silver Citizen Eco-Drive analog watch at 12:23

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Was I too hard on Citizen watch? In December last year, I put out a little watch brands tier list video, and it’s fair to say that Citizen fans were not amused by the brand’s position.

Indeed, based on my limited knowledge of Citizen watches, I rated them B-tier. Was that a mistake? Should I have placed them higher, A or even S-tier? Well, after thinking about it for a bit, I decided to explore the topic today.

I’ve acquired eco drive Citizen watch to examine, owing to Amazon for covering the cost of it for me in return for this information. How does this comparison with my previous encounters?

Are Citizen Watches Good?

silver and black chronograph watch

I’ll start at the beginning, with my original explanation for their position.

 Sizing & Design

While I liked the physical build quality of the few watches I had handled until that point, Citizen didn’t have a wide catalogue of men’s watches below £200, which was the designated price point for that video.

I Own a Watch blog readers will be familiar with. I’ve been wearing watches since I was a toddler, but not just any timepiece; a few of them fitted my slim wrist, as the sub-41mm collection was quite restricted.

I’m sure for many of you, price and size aren’t everything, but I did say that their pieces had previously caused alignment issues. Something I neglected to mention was that I am not a fan of the company’s overall appearance, including the citizen eco drive watch. When browsing through their timepieces, I do not find myself drawn to them frequently; however, this is likely due to my personal preferences.

Accuracy & Service

Repairs and servicing were not something I had to worry about, as the watches were still under warranty. From what I’ve seen and heard, however, it would be a different story if you’re out of the 12-month period.

Citizen’s service centres are not as widespread as Seiko’s, so you might have to send your watch off for weeks or months, which is a big pain.

As for accuracy, I didn’t test any of the watches over an extended period. Based on my research, however, it seems like their average deviation is around +-20 seconds per day, which is not too shabby.

Watch Material

However, I did get to see a few of their pieces that contain some of my favorite characteristics, such as the one in front of me. This good watch brand is called the BM7360-82L and is part of their “Super Titanium” collection.

I chose this one because it is incredibly thin, and I’m a big fan of the material as well, so we’ll start there. This “Super titanium” is said to be titanium that has been treated with a proprietary coating to enhance scratch resistance.

This appears to be one of the more cost-effective alternatives with this unique surface, with some of the Citizen models retailing for far more than the £220 price point you may purchase this one for.

I’m quite taken with this material thus far, as it has the lightweight advantages of titanium that I’m used to, as well as a finer finishing than some of the titanium timepieces I’ve previously reviewed. It also appears to be scratch-resistant so far, as it has yet to acquire any scratches on the case.

The brushed look may help disguise it, and the fact that this timepiece has seen less wrist time than similar alternatives like the Casio LCW-M100TSE (my review to that watch here) is due to its inability to properly fit me.

Dimensions

Despite the beautiful 9.5mm side profile, it is still too large for my wrist with a 41mm diameter and a real-world lug to lug of 53.7mm owing to inflexible end-links.

I took the plunge, because it was the tiniest of the models I liked the look of. In fact, on a proper wrist, I believe this may be an attractive and versatile watch. Depending on what the circumstances demand, this one might be easily dressed up or down with a simple, uncluttered design.

Dial

The quartz movements is excellent vertically engraved, and despite the fact that it’s a cheap watch, it looks quite nice. It has almost the appearance of finely woven cloth, with the applied Citizen emblem sitting on top of it flawlessly. The lack of text is also appealing; the item is clean and succinct as a result.

While I adore the design, I’m not a fan of the rather short hour markers, which remind me of my cat’s teeth. That being said, the luminescent slices that dwell in each region do offer excellent low-light visibility, with a beautiful turquoise tint to boot.

Quality Control

Is there any proof of the QC concerns I’d had before? The handset appears to be free of dirt and dust particles in this price range, and there’s no indication of it under the crystal to the human eye.

This time, second-hand alignment is also excellent, with it just missing or narrowly hitting the markers; something you wouldn’t notice from afar. The misalignment of some of the indexes may be observed, however.

When I learned about the issue with my eco drive watches that incorrectly showed “E E” on the dial, instead of “CITIZEN,” I immediately began searching for it. Several of them are slightly offset or skewed, and while not significant or unusual in a lower-cost watch, I had the same problem with the previous Citizen that I reviewed.

The day-date complication is straightforward, with English on the outermost track and numerals that line the inner circle. The date is quick-set and easy to change, which I appreciate.

Despite this, the competing £200 titanium Casio I tested earlier in the year had excellent alignment across the board. That one will be discussed later.

Water Resistance

Another distinction the Invicta has over other Casios is its water resistance. The screwback helps keep the watch in place for day-to-day usage, and it meets swimming standards. There should be no worry about water getting inside the movement, which is excellent for your peace of mind.

The crown isn’t screw-down, but it works well. The two ridged layers almost appear to be two crowns stacked on top of one another, and it clearly extends farther than I’d want it to. It’s a minor point.

Watch Crystal

As expected for the price, Citizen hasn’t cut corners on the crystal, which is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. This should continue to cement the long-lasting motif that this watch has established thus far.

Movement

The E111M eco-drive quartz movement is inside. Citizen’s pioneering solar-powered analogue timepiece was released in 1976, establishing them as one of the world’s most iconic brands. Now, nearly 50 years later, the majority of their items utilize this technology, which eliminates the need for ordinary battery replacements.

Other manufacturers have since developed their own solar-charging solutions, but they don’t imply that Eco-Drive isn’t worthwhile. This technology seems to be a great match for a quartz movement, which is supposed to be more functional than attractive. Of course, it is more cost-effective to buy batteries in the long run than purchasing them. Solar watches may also be purchased for a lot less elsewhere, but they always come with certain drawbacks. nOf course, you can get solar timepieces from other places for less money; however, they frequently have different problems.

 Bracelet

The Citizen Eco-Drive Pilot Watch’s bracelet is a sacrifice you may have to make with this model. The titanium band has solid links throughout, including the end links, which means it is both light and comfortable. However, the push-button clasp is effective, and although there are only two tiny adjustment holes, they may be inconvenient. My major complaint, on the other hand, is much more basic…the item’s color.

You see, while the case is a darker matte silver, this bracelet is a much lighter tone that does not match it. While it isn’t quite as apparent at certain angles or in low-light circumstances, it does often stand out and appear to have been ripped from a different watch. I’ve also seen this bracelet on a few of their other items, and it just looks cheap.

Is it possible that the bracelet is lacking the official Super Titanium coating, causing it to change color? It’s difficult to say without specialized equipment, but I’d guess it’s probably the case.

It’s not a deal-breaker in the big picture, and if you need to change it, you can do so. It is a strange selection by Citizen, though. It’s acceptable on a cheap Casio or Seiko 5 that sells for half the price, but £220 is an exorbitant amount to spend on a basic wristwatch.

Packaging

The Citizen packaging is a beautiful finishing touch, and the packaging varies depending on the model you pick. The most frequent style of cylindrical container isn’t particularly fancy but does provide a pleasant unboxing experience; it gives off an impression of quality versus some competing brands. I’m sure that receiving this as a present would make someone really happy.

Final Thoughts

Is it conceivable that my prior encounter with this one will influence where I’d put them on a tier list now? Not really. It’s tough for me to choose this above the likes of Casio, which packs more features into a smaller package at the same price. The finishing on the case and hands isn’t as good as the Citizen, however the alignment is considerably better, and it also has more capabilities. The sunburst dial is my favorite, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

Finally, I believe Citizen watches are excellent and the build quality is good…they just don’t have any of my favorite timepieces. They may be higher in some people’s tier lists, but that’s fine. Only a few tiny non-dress clocks would allow us to all test one.

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