The company was founded in 1930 by Japanese and Swiss investors. It took over Shokosha Watch Research Institute (founded in 1918) and some facilities of the assembly plant opened in Yokohama in 1912 by the Swiss watchmaker Rodolphe Schmid.
The brand Citizen was first registered in Switzerland by Schmid in 1918 for watches he sold in Japan. The development of this brand was supported in the 1920s by Count Goto Senpai with his hope that watches could become affordable to the general public. The growth of Citizen until World War II relied on technology transfer from Switzerland.
Citizen Brand Products
Citizen launched the world’s first multi-band atomic timekeeping watch in 1993 and has remained a pioneer of this field. Synchronized to atomic clocks, these watches are accurate to within one second in one hundred thousand years.
The Skyhawk A-T line features radio-controlled timekeeping. The watches can synchronize with radio clock in Japan, North America, and Europe, automatically selecting the correct frequency by location. The watch actually tracks two time-zone—home and world—but synchronizes to the ‘home’ zone. When traveling, the user may swap the ‘home’ and ‘world’ zones, thereby enabling proper time signal reception on a different continent while retaining the other time. The day, date, and daylight saving time settings are set automatically when the watch is synchronized. These features are comparable to the synchronization with atomic clocks found in Casio Wave Captor watches.
The Perpetual Chrono A-T synchronizes with the atomic clocks in Colorado or Germany, depending on signal strength and location, and incorporates Eco-Drive technology, so it does not require a battery
Accurate to within five seconds per year, the Chronomaster line is unofficially the most accurate quartz-crystal watch ever made. They are currently sold only in the Japanese domestic market but can be obtained internationally if ordered online. The chronograph citizen AG8348-56E watch, chronograph citizen AG8351-86A watch and chronograph citizen AN3600-59E watch, are one of their finest watches to wear for a perfect personality looking watch.
Why Citizen is Called Citizen?
No matter how long you write about something (in my case, watches, and for quite a while) there will always be things that have slipped under the radar, and some cases for an almost incredibly long time. (I read Charlotte’s Web in third grade but I didn’t realize until five or so decades later why the farmer’s family was called “Arable” – chez Forster we now call those long delayed realizations of the obvious “Arable moments.”)
Take, for example, the venerable institution that is the Citizen watch company of Japan. I’ve been a Citizen owner for many years (a Skyhawk, an Eco-Drive Tough, and one of the recent Bullhead mecha-quartz chronographs) and I’ve written about the company on a number of occasions. Most memorably, in recent years, there was the release of the Eco-Drive Caliber 0100, a watch worth looking at again.
The Eco-Drive debuted at Baselworld in 2019 and I have always wondered why the watch world didn’t make more of a fuss over it. It’s a light-powered watch with a precision of ±1 second a year – one second. Perhaps it didn’t make more of an impact because we more or less take atomic clock precision in mobile devices for granted, but those are parasitic devices, relying on a time signal originating from a national time service atomic clock – the Caliber 0100 doesn’t depend on a radio or any other external time signal.
This is all by way of saying that Citizen has, maybe because of its long history as an innovator in technical watchmaking, felt like a recent presence. This includes some firsts that are not particularly well-known, probably outside Citizen enthusiast circles – including the first titanium-cased watch. This was the Citizen X8 Titanium Chronometer from 1970 – an electronic but not a quartz watch, that used a magnetically impulsed balance driven by a silver oxide button cell.