The new movement was developed at Citizen headquarters in Japan with technical and finishing input from Manufacture La Joux-Perret, a Citizen-owned Swiss movement company.
Caliber 0200, which features a free-sprung balance, chronometer-level accuracy and sixty hours of power reserve, will make its debut inside The Citizen, a 40mm steel watch characterized by a new, integrated (lug-free) steel bracelet and a subtly sparkling, electroformed black dial depicting a ‘rippled sand’ effect.
Citizen says the new watch’s design was inspired by a 1924 pocket watch made by Citizen’s predecessor, the Shokosha Watch Research Institute. That 1924 design, which was named ‘Citizen,’ also displays a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock.
Caliber 0200 is designed to exceed the Chronometer standard (ISO 3159) benchmark for accuracy. Citizen says the movement achieves an average daily accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds. By utilizing a free-sprung balance wheel, Citizen has also created a highly shock resistant caliber since watches with free-sprung balance wheels are known for their ability to maintain stability of rate over time. Citizen utilized the LIGA fabrication process (photolithography) to enhance the precision of escape wheel and the pallet fork.
For Citizen, the look of the movement was as important as the technical aspects.
“We made countless layouts of the gears – the barrel, the balance wheel, the escapement – to create a beautiful movement,” according to Taro Nakagawa, who works in Citizen’s mechanical watch element development department. “Eventually we arrived at a layout that shows off the balance wheel, with its beautifully finished overlapping gears, to maximum advantage.”
The results of this aesthetic focus are clearly visible through the clear sapphire caseback. From the back the viewer can see polished gears and decorative finishing of all gear train components, including the rotor, the main plate and the bridges, which are satin-finished and feature diamond-cut edges.
Citizen explains that its manufacturing facility tested the cased movement for a full seventeen days, under various conditions, and in six positions at three different temperature levels, before its watchmakers manually attach each The Citizen bracelet.
As noted, that bracelet is decidedly contemporary and fully integrated into the steel case of The Citizen. Technicians complete the bracelet and case by applying hairline and mirror-finishes, meant to capture the light at varying degrees as the watch sits on the wrist. Similarly, the sand-ripple-pattern electroformed black dial is also designed to reflect light in novel patterns.
At first look, finishing on the dial, movement and bracelet are exciting, and likely superior to Citizen’s previous mechanical models. As sample models become available, we’ll offer an ‘on the wrist’ assessment of The Citizen’s finish and fit.
Finally, Citizen adds a stylized eagle icon, with wings spread, to the top of The Citizen’s dial. The symbol marks The Citizen collection for the brand and is meant to depict “foresight and action based on a clear vision of the future.”
With the enhanced mechanical focus represented by the new Caliber 0200, and this eye-catching debut watch, Citizen seems well prepared for that future.
Price: $6,000, available in September.
Specifications: Citizen “The Citizen” (Model NC0200-90E)
Case: 40mm by 10.9mm steel, sapphire caseback and crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 50 meters.
Movement: Automatic Caliber 0200, accuracy of average -3 to +5 seconds per day, running time of approx. 60 hours when fully wound, 28,800 vph, Certificate of Compliance included.
Dial: Electroformed black to create sand-ripple pattern, hour, minute and small seconds indications.
Bracelet: Steel, integrated into case.
Price: $6,000, available in September.