Never Too Thin: Citizen Drops Five New Timepieces in Its Ultra-Svelte Eco-Drive One Collection
Today’s new releases in the maker’s next-gen movement line point to a wide avenue of possible styles and directions, all based on a singular, ground-breaking heart, the Eco-Drive.
When it comes to superlatives and “-est” category timepieces, the accolades invariably come with more couching qualifications than analagous icons in the music world. A la: “Jorma Kaukonan is the best living guitarist ever (who doesn’t use effects).”
But, if what you are fundamentally after is the sophistication and elegance of a very thin timepiece, do those qualification really matter that much? Don’t you just want to know: “How thin is it?” In the case of Citizen’s light-powered Eco-Drive Calibre 8826 movement, the answer is alarmingly easy: 1mm.
Of course, the Eco-Drive’s technical approach of using a ring-shaped solar cell feeding any light energy available to a 3.7V power cell to provide long-lasting (12 months at full charge) replaceable battery-less power to a wristwatch enables its artisans to produce the necessary movement components at heights under 1mm, but the results speak for themselves. The first Eco-Drive One debuted in 2016 as the thinnest analog, light-powered quartz watch in the word.
Light And Light Durability
Today, Citizen is following up the Eco-Drive One’s thin-with-something-extra product philosophy with no less than five new references that add visual and design oomph to the already prodigious capabilities of the collection. Three new models, the AR5050-51L, AR5054-51E, and AR5055-58E, add to the story not only with Citizen’s proprietary Duratect Alpha and Duratect DLC steel coating (which provides five times the hardness of untreated stainless steel with a minimum of added weight) but with some appealing new color ways.
The “51L” presents a deep blue dial surrounded by the motif of the solar cell on Duratect Alpha-coated steel; the “51E” offers a sophisticated pink-gold tone cermet bezel and a black dial on dark metallic Duratect DLC-coated steel; and the “58E” is similar to its pink gold-black sister on Duratect Alpha-coated steel that gives it a lighter true-steel tone.
All three share the Calibre 8826 movement, a 39mm case size, a bezel secured by four decorative screws and a sumptuous “beads of rice” steel bracelet. The blue-dial model lists for $3,495, with the darker pink-gold black model retailing for $3,995 and the lighter version for $3,750.
The inherent solidness of the Eco-Drive One construction grants a water resistance rating of 3 bars (about 66 feet) to the core collection. But in a more extreme execution for the sporty new AR5060-58E model, that rating has been jumped up to 5 bars (about 167 feet). A fitting robustness for a timepiece that Citizen describes as being inspired by luxury sports watches of the 1970s.
Slightly smaller than the other new models at 38mm, that vintage flavor is backed up even further with a period-appropriate pentagonal shape, classic three-link steel bracelet, Duratect Platinum steel coating, and an inky black dial framed by the solar cell motif. But I don’t think any sport watch fans in the 1970s could have predicted a watch in that style with only 3.88mm of case height. This timepiece retails for $4,750.
Touch and Feel
While the adventurous model above kind of breaks ranks with the typically elegant presentation of an Eco-Drive One timepiece, the new AR5075-69E doubles down on the collection’s signature sophistication. Duratect Platinum-coated steel adds to the luxe factor of a new ceramic bezel with an intriguing zirconia-enhanced etched texture.
A hobnail-textured dial adds to the stylish, classic nature of the presentation. While the solar cell may not be drawing in too much light at night, the watch itself will work double-time for your style quotient on your after-dark social excursions. This timepiece retails for $3,750.