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The importance of change: The resurgence of Citizen


Citizen’s coil motor line is responsible for the technology behind its Eco-Drive, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

For almost a century, Citizen has been a forward-thinking company, an innovator in watchmaking with many ‘world’s firsts’ accredited to its name. One of these pioneering technologies, Eco-Drive, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Eco-Drive is a process first developed in 1974 whereby light—natural or artificial—is captured through the watch face, converted into energy, and stored in a rechargeable battery to power the watch for up to six months (for most models). Since then, strenuous development efforts have contributed to the evolution of light-powered watches. Take for instance, Citizen’s patented surface coating treatment, Super Titaniumâ„•, which ensures its watches are five times harder and 40 per cent lighter than stainless steel. Being future-oriented separates Citizen from its Swiss competitors in the most obvious way; while Swiss watchmakers marvel at their long history and tradition, Citizen prefers to look ahead rather than behind.

A second drastic change has come in the form of Citizen Watch Manufacturing Co. Ltd., a new company that has reorganized watch factory operations. Instilling a ‘factory-first’ approach through the new company has created an emphasis on streamlined production, ensured co-operation on research, and enhanced the speed of product innovation. This is seen as the largest change since Tokura’s appointment to CEO. Ultimately, this change comes in the pursuit of combining the technology aspects of a watch with its esthetic beauty. Citizen’s belief is a watch must be beautiful, and the technology is present only to augment its magnificence. To bring this belief to life, Citizen utilizes a multitude of technologies to enhance the beauty of its watches. Some of its timepieces incorporate the use of GPS satellite technology, radio-controlled atomic timekeeping, the aforementioned Super Titanium, and Bluetooth connectivity. Remarkably, the design possibilities of its watches are not limited by Eco-Drive’s need to absorb light through the dial; 40 years ago, this may have been something hindering the watch’s design.

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