Citizen is mostly known by a larger audience for its fairly-priced yet in-house produced mechanical and Eco-Drive watches. However, this would be reductive to the watchmaking capacities of the Japanese brand that has shown in the past proper expertise, with for instance the Eco-Drive Caliber 0100 (one of the most precise watches in the world) or a more traditional watch with a tourbillon. Today marks a new step in Citizen’s path for high-end watchmaking, with the unveiling of The Citizen Mechanical Model NC0200-90E, equipped with a new automatic movement, the Caliber 0200 made in collaboration with La Joux-Perret S.A. in Switzerland.
A new movement, the fusion of Japanese and Swiss watchmaking
Before even talking about the watch itself – and believe us, there’s a lot to love here – the mechanics are to be mentioned, as they represent an important step forward for the brand. As some of you might know, the Citizen Watch Group produces watches under the Citizen brand but also owns multiple other manufactures and watch names, such as Frederique Constant, Alpina, Bulova, Arnold & Son, as well as a manufacture of Haute Horlogerie in Switzerland, La Joux-Perret S.A.
Benefiting from the experience of this renowned Swiss movement maker, Citizen had a view to developing new mechanical watches, with a focus on reliability, precision, high accuracy and more appealing decoration. The result of this close collaboration and technical exchange, made possible by this merger, is today being unveiled to the public, in the name of the Caliber 0200, a movement that shows a fusion of Japanese and Swiss watchmaking cultures. This new automatic movement is still entirely Citizen, as being designed and assembled in-house in Japan, but also most of the wide range of decorative finishing techniques utilized by La Joux-Perret can now be performed by the Japanese watchmakers.
The movement you see today, this new Caliber 0200, is a strong departure over the reliable yet entry-level automatic movements produced by Citizen for their accessible watches, for instance, the Promaster and its caliber 8203. The 0200 is state-of-the-art watchmaking that is meant to meet (and in fact exceed) chronometer standards, as well as pleasing the eye of watch enthusiasts with strong mechanical content and higher-end decoration.
The Caliber 0200 is a classic time-only movement, with seconds displayed in a subsidiary dial, wound by a centrally-positioned oscillating weight. The movement is equipped with a free-sprung balance wheel, making it highly shock resistant as well as resistant to wear over time – with a better ability to maintain its stability of rate over time. The regulating organ has been created thanks to a new manufacturing process to ensure the necessary precision. Also, to achieve superior precision, the escapement is executed with LIGA fabrication process (a technology using photolithography and electro-casting, suitable for manufacturing of ultra-precise parts and microstructure parts). As such, the Caliber 0200 can achieve an average daily accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds, thus surpassing chronometric standards. Additionally, once the movement encased, the fully-assembled watch heads are tested for 17 days to ensure superior performance – testing at six positions and three temperature levels – and a Certificate of Compliance is included with each watch to certify the results.
In addition to this focus on chronometry, the Citizen Caliber 0200 received the attention of watchmakers regarding decoration. Thanks to expertise brought by La Joux-Perret S.A. the movement has been finished with great attention to details, with bridges decorated with satinage – a multitude of hairlines to create a matte finish – and diamond-cut finish on the edges for great contrast. In the same vein, the gear train, the oscillating weight and the main plate are decorated. The movement itself runs at a 4Hz frequency, comprises 26 jewels and stores up to 60 hours of power reserve.
A Japanese take on the integrated bracelet
Besides the introduction of this new Caliber 0200, there’s also a new watch… and quite an impressive one, to be honest. Indeed, this new automatic movement is encased in a watch that marks a Japanese take on one of the most revered categories currently, the steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet. Thankfully, the brand has managed here to give this new “The Citizen” Mechanical Model NC0200-90E its own identity, respecting some of the classic codes but without copying existing icons. Just like the movement, the habillage of these new mechanical model is manufactured and hand-assembled in-house.
The case, made of stainless steel, shows brushed surfaces highlighted by strong facets with polished accents. Angular, yet not aggressive in shape, the NC0200-90E is a nice combination of sportiness and casual elegance. Proportions seem – as of now we haven’t seen the watch in the metal – relatively compact, with a 40mm diameter and a height of 10.9mm. The bezel is simple, yet protrudes from the central container with a nice polished facet on the side. The case has a dynamic feeling and does have a certain Japanese style that is really not disappointing. It features sapphire crystals front and caseback and is water-resistant to 50 metres.
The dial of “The Citizen” Mechanical Model Caliber 0200 is also showing great attention to details and greatly matches the angular case. Its black colour is adorned by a subtle texture, obtained by electroforming and creating a distinctive sand-ripple pattern. The display is classic, with central hours and minutes, yet with a small seconds nicely proportioned at 6 o’clock. And no date to distract from this sporty-chic look. In the same vein, the hands and indexes are nicely executed, with strong polished facets and matte or striped patterns on the upper surfaces. The dial also features the Eagle Mark depicting an eagle with its wings spread wide as well as an applied Citizen logo.
Finally, the NC0200-90E is worn on an integrated stainless steel bracelet, with H-shaped links and a combination of brushed surfaces and polished accents, which blends greatly with the design of the case.
Availability & Price
The Citizen Mechanical Model Caliber 0200 reference NC0200-90E will be released as part of the permanent collection this Autumn. The official price isn’t yet revealed but it will be around USD 6,000. We clearly look forward to spending some hands-on time with this new “The Citizen” and to experience what this unprecedented level of watchmaking and execution “a la Citizen” means in the metal. We should have the watch for a review around June 2021.
More details about “The Citizen” here, on the dedicated page at citizenwatch-global.com.