Brand Review

Citizen Watches Review

Written by: Dave NartinMarch 14, 2020Updated: March 14, 2020

Brand History

The story of the Citizen brand and the company that today owns it started in 1918. Back then, the company was called Shokosha Watch Research Institute, and the very first products were pocket watches (a luxury at the time). 

The first pocket watch they ever produced (in 1924) was named Citizen by the then Mayor of Tokyo, Mr. Shimpei Goto. Even more, one of their first products was purchased by a Prince Regent!     

In the 1930s, the brand grew and improved under the leadership of Yosaburo Nakajima. Its reputation grew during World War II when Citizen started producing chronometers, igniters, and other components for the military.

The 1950s were marked by innovations as Citizen launched the first men’s wristwatch with date display in Japan, the first shockproof Japanese watch, and its first automatic-winding wristwatch. Lastly, in 1959, Citizen launched Parawater, their first water-resistant wristwatch. 

As we move forward through their history, we can see the manufacturer was (and still is) extremely focused on creating high-quality watches. As such, by the late 1970s, they were producing both quartz and mechanical movements. In 1975, they released the Crystron Mega Quartz – a wristwatch that is still considered one of the world’s most accurate and most expensive timepieces ever.

By 1986, Citizen was the world’s largest single manufacturer of watch movements and even introduced the first watch with voice recognition in 1987 (the Voice Master model). In 1995, they released the Eco-Drive line, which quickly became their best-selling line. 

During the most recent years, the company focused on acquiring other brands (besides the Citizen watch brand) such as Q&Q, some Bulova lines, and others.

Technology

The current go-to Citizen watch movement is powered by quartz, but there was a time when they used to produce only mechanical movements. However, the technology that wows people the most is found in their Eco-Drive. This is a proprietary technology that uses light sources to power-up their movements. 

While there are other brands that use solar power, Eco-Drive stands out because it can turn both natural and artificial light into energy. The technology uses an amorphous silicon photocell to charge a titanium lithium-ion secondary battery (placed behind the dial). This battery is the one that keeps the Citizen watch quality moving without ever needing a battery change. 

Where Are Citizen Watches Made? 

The Citizen brand started in Japan and used to have their own factories where they produced all the pieces, including the movements that powered up the watches. However, as they expanded, the manufacturing process did as well and now various lines of products are being products in various countries all over the globe such as America, Switzerland, France, and more.   

The good news is that, regardless of their provenance, all parts must follow strict quality assurance rules, so the Citizen watch quality will be upheld.  

What Makes them Stand Out? 

Citizen watches stand out through their high-quality watches, innovative technologies, and a reputation that’s been unshaken for decades. In addition, all their products are visually pleasing and implement useful features for the target audience. 

Lastly, Citizen timepieces are durable, which is why many people consider it to be a good watch brand.

Citizen Watch Warranty, Return and Exchange Policy

Citizen offers a 5-year warranty for valid purchases made in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, the Caribbean, and Mexico from authorized retailers. However, the Citizen warranty doesn’t cover the bracelet and its components, the case and components, or the power cell.     

All Citizen watches, purchased from their site or from an authorized retailer come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This way, if the watch you received doesn’t meet your expectations, you can send it back for a full refund (as long as the return is according to the conditions specified by the retailer). 

They also allow for products to be exchanged, but users need to contact the retailer to learn more details about the procedure.

Related Posts

Rank
Image
Type
Name
Raiting
Shops
1
Citizen - Men's BM8180-03E
Quartz
4/5
2
Citizen - Eco-Drive Titanium
Quartz
5/5
3
Citizen - Eco-Drive World Time
Quartz
4.5/5
4
Citizen - Eco-Drive Avion
Quartz
4.5/5
5
Citizen - Eco-Drive Nighthawk
Quartz
4.5/5
6
Citizen - Eco-Drive Silhouette Crystal
Quartz
5/5
7
Citizen - Japanese-Quartz Watch
Quartz
4/5
8
Citizen - Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch
Quartz
4/5

Citizen Men Watches

Citizen – Men’s BM8180-03ECitizen - Men's BM8180-03E

Pros:

  • Slim & elegant design
  • Japanese quartz movement powered by Eco-Drive technology
  • Durable strap
  • Easy to read face
  • Luminosity for low-light conditions

Cons:

  • The strap is stiff and looks low-quality
  • Doesn’t have 24h time
  • Slim & elegant design
  • Japanese quartz movement powered by Eco-Drive technology
  • Durable strap
  • Easy to read face
  • Luminosity for low-light conditions
  • The strap is stiff and looks low-quality
  • Doesn’t have 24h time

With a slim and discrete design, this Citizen watch can be integrated into both casual and office scenarios. The stainless steel case and mineral crystal lens give a note of class and style, while the nylon strap talks about durability even in tough conditions. 

The black analog dial features a date window (in the 3 o’clock position) and a three-hand movement with a red sweeping second-hand. The face has Arabic numeral for hour markers and an outer ring for minutes. The entire mechanism is powered by a Japanese quartz movement that charges from natural or indoor light due to Eco-Drive technology (Citizen’s proprietary). This means you won’t ever have to replace the battery on this watch! 

Lastly, the watch is resistant to water (up to 330ft depth), has a textured crown for easy gripping, and luminosity for better view under low-light conditions.

Parameters

MaterialMineral Crystal Lens, Stainless Steel, Nylon Strap
Size37.2mm
Weight7.2oz
Waterproof330feet
Buy Now On Amazon
Citizen – Eco-Drive TitaniumCitizen - Eco-Drive Titanium

Pros:

  • Solid build & elegant design
  • Titanium case and good water resistance
  • Automatic time-keeping
  • Five different time zones
  • Lots of useful features

Cons:

  • The first setting is quite challenging
  • Changing for time to chronograph is a bit awkward
  • Solid build & elegant design
  • Titanium case and good water resistance
  • Automatic time-keeping
  • Five different time zones
  • Lots of useful features
  • The first setting is quite challenging
  • Changing for time to chronograph is a bit awkward

The reliable and accurate Japanese movement in this watch is fueled by Citizen’s proprietary Eco-Drive technology that transforms any light source into energy. In addition, it features atomic timekeeping, which makes this the most accurate watch in the world. 

Other cool features are the perpetual calendar, time and date for five different time zones via radio signal, tachymeter bezel, 24h time format, a one-second chronograph, alarm, and a power reserve indicator.    

Now, you may think that all these features will make the analog dial look crowded, especially since this is a 42mm titanium case. Luckily the manufacturer’s attention to detail is absolutely exemplary and everything is well-organized. As such, the black analog face features a three-hand movement, three subdials, and one date window. 

The watch is solidly built and looks great on a man’s wrist. It’s also water-resistant for up to 200m and has an anti-reflective sapphire dial window to improve visibility and provide extra protection.

Parameters

MaterialTitanium, Sapphire Crystal
Size42mm
Weight10.4oz
Waterproof660ft/200m
Buy Now On Amazon
Citizen – Eco-Drive World TimeCitizen - Eco-Drive World Time

Pros:

  • Beautiful face with elegant & contrasting elements
  • Radio-controlled world time
  • A lot of useful features
  • Eco-Drive technology for charging (no need for batteries)
  • Solid build

Cons:

  • The initial setup is a bit cumbersome
  • It takes a bit of time to charge
  • The luminous elements could be brighter
  • Beautiful face with elegant & contrasting elements
  • Radio-controlled world time
  • A lot of useful features
  • Eco-Drive technology for charging (no need for batteries)
  • Solid build
  • The initial setup is a bit cumbersome
  • It takes a bit of time to charge
  • The luminous elements could be brighter

Equipped with an internal receiver that communicates, via radio signal, with highly-accurate atomic clocks all over the world, this Citizen watch is reliable in displaying the accurate time and date regardless of your location in the world. This model has synchronized time adjustments for 26 time zones, perpetual calendar, 12/24-Hour Time, alarm, and power reserve indicator.  

It’s also durable and elegant, with a stainless steel case and bracelet. The analog dial has a black background adorned by a three-hand quartz movement and orange details that keep the information organized and easy to read. 

The hands and baguette-shape hour markers are luminous, which comes in handy in low-light conditions or underwater (up to 200m water resistance). Due to the anti-reflective sapphire dial window and solid built, this timepiece looks great on your wrist and does a fantastic job of providing useful information in any scenario.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal
Size44mm
Weight6oz
Waterproof660ft/200m
Buy Now On Amazon
Quartz
4.5/5
Citizen - Eco-Drive Avion
Citizen – Eco-Drive AvionCitizen - Eco-Drive Avion

Pros:

  • A vintage design that attracts everyone’s eye
  • The face is easy to read
  • Eco-Drive technology (no need to change the battery)
  • Accurate Japanese quartz movement
  • It is durable & reliable

Cons:

  • The face looks too big on small wrists
  • The strap is a bit too thick
  • A vintage design that attracts everyone’s eye
  • The face is easy to read
  • Eco-Drive technology (no need to change the battery)
  • Accurate Japanese quartz movement
  • It is durable & reliable
  • The face looks too big on small wrists
  • The strap is a bit too thick

This is a beautiful, vintage Citizen watch with Eco-Drive technology (charges from light sources) and a Japanese quartz movement. The face is clean, with large numbers and a complication for the date in the 3 o’clock position. 

The background of the analog dial is a dark-grey, which highlights the colors used to mark the 12h and 24h formats displayed around the main inner circle. The outer circle is perfect for keeping track of minutes (with an easy to follow second-hand). 

Lastly, the face of the watch is quite large and the numbers and hands are luminous in low-light conditions. The entire mechanism is protected by a stainless steel case and mineral crystal lens. Also, the watch stays comfortable on your wrist due to the brown leather strap with adjustable buckle closure.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Leather, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size45mm
Weight3oz
Waterproof330ft/100m
Buy Now On Amazon
Citizen – Eco-Drive NighthawkCitizen - Eco-Drive Nighthawk

Pros:

  • Beautiful, mechanic design
  • Impressive features, with an aviation theme
  • Reliable four-hand movement
  • Second Time Zone feature
  • Easy to set and comfortable to wear

Cons:

  • Not many people understand the bezel’s purpose
  • The date window is a bit small
  • Beautiful, mechanic design
  • Impressive features, with an aviation theme
  • Reliable four-hand movement
  • Second Time Zone feature
  • Easy to set and comfortable to wear
  • Not many people understand the bezel’s purpose
  • The date window is a bit small

If you’re looking for an advanced timepiece with a reliable movement and accurate timekeeping features, this Nighthawk model may be the right choice. 

The large face features a modern take on the classic pilot-style design with a Pilot’s Slide Rule bezel that’s controlled via the crown at 8 o’clock position. If you combine this with the overall industrial design and the mechanical-looking bracelet, you get a beautiful timepiece that looks more like a pilot’s equipment and less like a modern watch. It’s one of the reasons why so many people enjoy having this model in their collection – the design is quite unique. 

The hour markers are luminous and large enough to read at first glance. The hour and minute hands are also lumed. There’s also a date complication (by the 3 o’clock position) and a GMT hand that lets you read the time in AM and PM for a second Time Zone (the white plane tip reads the time in AM and the red plane tip is for the time in the evening). 

Overall, this Nighthawk model is amazing for anyone passionate about aviation or someone who can appreciate the purpose and functions of the bezel.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size42mm
Waterproof660ft/200m
Buy Now On Amazon

Citizen Women Watches

Citizen – Eco-Drive Silhouette CrystalCitizen - Eco-Drive Silhouette Crystal

Pros:

  • Elegant two-tone design that attracts compliments
  • Eco-Drive technology (no battery change needed)
  • Simple & easy to read face
  • Date window complication
  • Comfortable and easy to wear with other accessories

Cons:

  • The date window is a bit small for reading at first glance
  • Elegant two-tone design that attracts compliments
  • Eco-Drive technology (no battery change needed)
  • Simple & easy to read face
  • Date window complication
  • Comfortable and easy to wear with other accessories
  • The date window is a bit small for reading at first glance

This Citizen wristwatch was designed for women who want an elegant and practical accessory for office outfits. The combination of silver and gold tones is embellished by beautiful round crystals around the bezel, while the analog sunray dial features a pearly white background with stick indices and date window. 

Due to its size (28mm case) and stainless steel build, the Silhouette Crystal design looks like a piece of jewelry on a woman’s wrist. Furthermore, due to the two-tone style, you can accessorize it with both gold and silver jewelry. 

The face is large enough so it’s easy to read, and the watch is accurate (three-hand Japanese quartz movement) and runs on Eco-Drive technology (charges from exposure to light sources). We also liked the crown, which is easy to grab and rotate, and the fold-over clasp with single push-button safety that makes sure the watch stays on.

Lastly, it resists being submerged underwater for up to 330ft, so it is quite durable.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size28mm
Weight2.82oz
Waterproof330ft/100m
Buy Now On Amazon
Citizen – Japanese-Quartz WatchCitizen - Japanese-Quartz Watch

Pros:

  • Elegant silver design with stylish rose gold accents
  • Big crown that’s easy to use
  • Eco-Drive technology that recharges the mechanism using light
  • Reliable and accurate movement
  • The build is solid and durable

Cons:

  • The mesh bracelet is not for everyone
  • Water-resistance is not that great
  • Elegant silver design with stylish rose gold accents
  • Big crown that’s easy to use
  • Eco-Drive technology that recharges the mechanism using light
  • Reliable and accurate movement
  • The build is solid and durable
  • The mesh bracelet is not for everyone
  • Water-resistance is not that great

If you’re looking for a watch that’s beautiful while promoting a simple and clean design, this Eco-Drive timepiece is a wonderful option! The textured, white dial blends nicely with the gold-toned stick hour markers and golden three-hands movement. Also, the golden crown is a beautiful and stylish element that makes it easy to set the time and date. 

The dial is protected by a mineral crystal lens and is easy to read due to its simple design (there is only one complication, at the 3 o’clock position). In addition, due to the Eco-Drive technology, the Japanese quartz movement will recharge from exposure to light sources (natural or artificial), so the watch doesn’t need a battery.

To make sure the timepiece fits most casual and formal scenarios, the stainless steel case is complemented by a stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet with buckle closure. This may be a bit confusing at first (especially for users who like leather straps), but the mesh bracelet looks amazing and keeps the watch safely on your wrist.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size34mm
Weight2.2oz
Waterproof100ft/30m
Buy Now On Amazon
Citizen – Eco-Drive Stainless Steel WatchCitizen - Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch

Pros:

  • Beautiful & classic design
  • Solid build
  • Comfortable leather strap
  • It doesn’t need batteries or winding
  • Setting it is easy and you only have to do it once

Cons:

  • It looks too big on small wrists
  • The date window is a bit small
  • Beautiful & classic design
  • Solid build
  • Comfortable leather strap
  • It doesn’t need batteries or winding
  • Setting it is easy and you only have to do it once
  • It looks too big on small wrists
  • The date window is a bit small

While it may look simple, this Eco-Drive Citizen watch features a sophisticated look based on attention to detail and incredible craftsmanship. The sunray dial features a silvery background with rose gold accents for hour markers and the three-hand movement. In addition, the date window (in the 3 o’clock position) is a well-integrated complication that keeps users up to date. 

The Japanese quartz mechanism is protected by a 29mm stainless steel case and a mineral crystal lens that improves visibility. Also, the leather calfskin band with buckle closure adds comfort to the experience of wearing this beautiful Citizen wrist watch. 

Overall, this is the perfect watch for women who want a professional and elegant look, while maintaining a classic appearance. It makes for the ideal gift (due to the elegant box) and it is quite durable.

Parameters

MaterialStainless Steel, Leather, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size29mm
Weight22.68g
Waterproof100ft/30m
Buy Now On Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Citizen watches good?
A:

People everywhere consider that Citizen watches are reliable and long-lasting. The watchmaker uses high-quality materials and features several product lines that promote various impressive characteristics. 

The brand is extremely popular for its Eco-Drive line of watches powered by light (both natural and artificial), but they also have several unique designs that have no match in the market. While these timepieces don’t feature the same high-end craftsmanship as a luxury Swiss watch brand, they are highly regarded for their level of quality. 

In addition, Citizen watches are accurate (some of their models are equipped with Atomic Timekeeping, which guarantees extreme accuracy), durable, and look amazing on your wrist. Not to mention that the brand received various awards over the years and is currently the official timekeeper of the US Open.

Q: Who makes Citizen watches?
A:

Citizen is a watchmaking brand that belongs to the Japanese conglomerate, Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. The company is based in Tokyo Japan and all their watches are produced in the country.

Dave Nartin
Dave interested in watchmaking and clockmaking started with his grandfather, who was a horologist. From a young age, he was fascinated with the mechanical intricacies of a beautiful machine. Nowadays, he spends his time understanding more modern watches, and reviewing them. So you know what to buy, and what to stay away from.