Why The Citizen Series 8 Collection Is A Game Changer For The Brand
Discover the Japanese brand’s take on mechanical movements for the way we live now.
Sometimes we just want to live fully in the present moment. But when it comes to watches, it often feels like brands are focused on either retro-influenced heritage pieces or ultra-futuristic examples of haute horology – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we’re always happy to see timepieces that suit our needs in the here and now.
According to Citizen, its newly relaunched Series 8 family fits that bill. Launched originally as a Japan-only collection in 2008, the Series 8 is now available to the brand’s global audience. We recently got our hands on some of the new Series 8 models to find out, firsthand, just how well they match our current mood.
We’re living in an era of upheaval. Super spare design is out, but so is clutter. Yet, amazingly, the aesthetics of the Series 8 falls somewhere between stealth wealth and a statement watch. How does Citizen do it?
The answer is by combining two aesthetics.
These mechanical timekeepers have the angular chunkiness of a sports watch, but they also have the clean, contemporary layout of a more formal timepiece. But there’s no sport-chic frippery – no bezel, no tachymeter, no pushers, no valves. In fact, the focus is squarely on legibility with bold high-visibility markers, a trio of baton-shaped hands that taper off toward the outer edge of the dial, and a simple date marker at 3 o’clock.
And most recently, Citizen updated the Series 8 line with three new models: the 830, 831, and the 870. At first glance, the styling may seem simple, but upon closer inspection, you’ll note contrasting matte hairline finishes and high-polish surfaces.
A Quick Recap
In terms of finish, the 830 is the fanciest. As we discussed a few weeks ago, the Series 8 830 features a three-layered dial with mother-of-pearl peeking out behind metal latticework inspired by the Japanese Uroko, or “scales” motif – a pattern, usually found on fabric, that is believed to ward off bad luck. This model is available in both a stylish stainless steel case or a contemporary gray case.
The 831 is a subtler expression of the new Series 8 models. Specifically, with its restrained black lacquer dial, the 831 switches focus from the dial to the sculpted architecture of the octagonal case and the bold hairline finish of the bracelet.
The 870, however, is the most intriguing of the trio, in my opinion. The integrated bracelet is sleeker than the 830’s and 831’s bracelets. And, perhaps most significantly, although all the new Series 8 models share a 40mm case size, the mix of hairline and mirror-polish finishes on the case and bracelet of the 870 is just a little bit more sophisticated than on the others. Plus, for all of its sharp lines, it wears quite comfortably.
Infinity and Beyond
For Citizen, the goal of the Series 8 collection is to present the infinite possibilities of the brand’s craftsmanship – a vertical infinity symbol (∞) is even used as the “8” in the Series 8 logo. And after a closer inspection of this collection, we think Citizen more than succeeded. And one of the main reasons for that assessment is because not only do the fine finishes make the Series 8 models look much more luxe than their sub-$2,000 price point would suggest, but they are also powered by two new movements: The Calibre 0950 and the Calibre 0951.
The lone model in the collection powered by the 0951 – an automatic and manual winding mechanism with an accuracy of average -10~+20sec/day and a running time of 42 hours – is the 831. Considering that the 831 is more likely to be your everyday wear, this is a perfectly serviceable mechanism. Another selling point of this calibre is that although the watch’s silhouette is rather chunky, the total thickness is actually only 10mm, meaning that the 831 sits quite nicely on the wrist.
The 830 and 870 both run on Citizen’s more robust, in-house Calibre 0950 automatic and manual winding movement with an accuracy of average -5~+10sec/day and a 50-hour power reserve. Most importantly for the modern enthusiast, both the 0950 and 0951 have been engineered to address the effects of magnetic fields generated by smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can affect the accuracy of any watch.
The hairspring and escapement components of the Calibre 0950, for example, are made from non-magnetic alloys, a rarity in timepieces in this price range. This movement meets the requirements for Japan’s Type 2 magnetism-resistance rating of at least 16,000 A/m for peak performance.
Pricing & Availability
The Series 8 831 and 870 are available now via Citizen’s website, boutiques, and retailers. There are two versions of the 870 model - a steel and a gray-coated steel - both sell for $1,500. The 831 with a black lacquer dial and stainless steel bracelet is priced at $1000, while the 831 with a glossy blue dial, gold-tone stainless steel case, and blue calfskin leather strap for $950. Meanwhile, the two versions of the 830 - the silver-tone stainless steel and the gray-coated steel - are not yet available, with no word on pricing.