In Person: Citizen’s New Chronograph

Citizen jumps back in the good-looking chrono game.

Citizen CA033 Chronograph series: Black Dial – $243.75 | White Dial – $225

Citizen has been in a style slump the last couple of years.  A little too much chunk, a bunch of “mneh”, and a drift towards futuristic styling (think Cadillac’s harsh angles) left a lot of guys looking to Timex for a subtle but still eye catching watch before Citizen.  Yes a Timex costs much less, but for awhile there they were also looking, on average, much better.

These might start shifting the momentum back Citizen’s way.

One’s all sport, the other’s all class, and it’s just a matter of changing the color scheme to get the desired effect.  The White Dial will be a little stark to some (would love to see a silver face option at some point) but that contrast gives it a modern meets antique look.  The font looks terrific and resembles a rail-station or old schoolroom clock.  Sub dials are nicely proportioned, and the easy curves at 12 and 6 that make room for them look great.  This thing could look even better if you swapped out the black strap for a brown or even burgundy.  Or, throw a racing style strap on there and you’ve got a dressed up looking dial, subtle chronograph, on a fast looking band.

The black dial isn’t quite a black-out version because the hour, minute, second, and sub-dial hands are white.  It certainly makes it easier to tell what time it is, but not everyone is going to like the look.  They partnered it with a tan strap, which is becoming an awfully familiar color pairing for an ion-plated watch.  Some of the case is matte, some of it has some shine to it.

Equipped with the powered-by-light Eco-Drive movement, they’re a quartz that’s north of $200 but will never need a battery.  Only the staunchest of automatic heads don’t appreciate Citizen’s solar power-plant.  It’s worth the extra cost and the watches are just built well.  Leather straps feel good right out of the box, and the case diameter is a perfect for most 42 mm.  It’s not a tiny field watch, and it’s not some obnoxious saucer either.  Has some good weight to it but it won’t ride too high on your wrist.  Water resistance rating is 100 m.

Part of a group of new releases from Citizen, which feature a busy moon-phase, a thicker perpetual calendar, and an under $200 day-date that looks a lot like these, only it uses a cream (or is it silver?) dial with blue hands.

Thoughts on these and Citizen as a brand?  It all goes in the comments section…