Posted on: March 25, 2024 Posted by: mysun08481 Comments: 0

An Affordable Take On A Familiar Design

Earlier this year James Stacey covered Citizen’s Series 8 GMT entries into the brand’s collection of mechanical watches that punched way above their weight in a lot of ways. Now, that collection has grown with new dive-oriented releases out of Japan this week. As a bonus, we’ve got live pictures from our colleagues at Hodinkee Japan to help us go through these new pieces.
Let’s get this out of the way: it’s obvious that these watches have a similarity to the Royal Oak design language. First, there’s the octagonal bezel (though the bracelet reminds me a bit more of Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato), but what jumped out at me in pictures was the inner rotating bezel that looked unmistakably like the Royal Oak Offshore Divers. After handling them, that’s not wrong. But it’s also a very solid release at a completely different price point and gives buyers a taste of a good, hefty integrated bracelet watch for a fair price.

The watches measure 42.6mm by 11.7mm and have an integrated steel bracelet and come in either a blue dial, a limited-edition copper dial (limited to 1,700 pieces), or a gold-toned plating over steel with a dial that trends from grey to brown depending on the light. Even with a display caseback, Citizen has been able to get 200m of water resistance, even more impressive when you take into account the extra crown for the rotating inner dive bezel. The blue and grey dials are a geometric pattern inspired by the Tokyo skyline at night and are the same as on earlier 880 Series 8 releases from 2023. On the copper limited edition, the dial is meant to evoke clouds of cherry blossoms.
The watch is powered by the in-house Citizen workhorse Cal. 9051 automatic movement. It has a very simple finishing but you can at least see it ticking away through the display caseback, with the rotor spinning around there too. The movement runs at 4Hz and gets 42 hours of power reserve.
I mentioned it before, but the design cues are apparent and I wanted to say it early as I know that’s what audience feedback largely will remark on. I normally wouldn’t cover a watch if I thought it was too close of an homage, but there’s something about these new Citizens that felt like it was worth talking about. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that the vast majority of buyers (myself included) aren’t going to be able to pick up an Offshore Diver or something at that price on a whim, let alone at all. The experience of wearing this watch for a minute reminded me that people should be granted access to a solid option that “plays the hits,” so to speak, without being a direct copy.
At nearly 43mm by 12mm, the watch would be on the outside of my preferred size range lately. When I tried it on, I didn’t think it was too big at all – in fact, the comfort is actually the thing that pushed me over the edge into writing about them. The new tapered bracelet design makes the watch a bit more cohesive both visually and from a wearability standpoint. Sure, they feel substantial on the wrist but I’d argue that at the price point, that’s kind of what you want. These are watches for enthusiasts of all stripes, but especially for people who are getting into the hobby or enjoying the hobby on a more reasonable budget. For those wanting their first meaningful purchase, people usually think the watch should feel meaningful on the wrist – and steel gives that feeling far more than titanium.
The gold-toned watch is a fun option as well, though I’ve gone back and forth on the idea of gold watches on bracelet for my personal collection as of late. It’s just a very strong look. I think the blue seems the most versatile and frankly, it’s just an enjoyable, durable, and wearable watch by every metric I can think of.