Seeing how Switzerland has become the mecca of the timepiece industry, it’s a rare gem to find a world-renowned watch brand making waves in the industry from a different place, much more from a country on the other side of the world like Japan. That is exactly what Citizen represents.
We know Japan to be one of the most advanced in the world in terms of technology and it sure did a great recovery to be one of the most evolved countries in general. Citizen, with a history dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, has witnessed and has benefited from the flow of developments and applied them to the craft of watchmaking. It’s evident in the production of revolutionary pieces like the slimmest LCD watch, the first professional dive watch with electronic depth sensor, and the first voice recognition watch.
Kamekichi Yakamazi, a jeweler from Tokyo, started off with the Shokosha Watch Research Institute and the production of pocketwatches. The first pocket watch model was the caliber 16 pocket watch, which was made in 1924. By 1930, the business was officially made into a corporation called Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. led by President Yosaburo Nakajima. The name was taken from what Shinpei Gotoh, the mayor of Tokyo at the time, called the first Shokosha timepieces: Citizen watches. This made the products relatable to every person everywhere.
Bringing Japanese timepieces to the world market
As early as 1936, selling has already expanded to Southeast Asia and South Pacific with a new production facility built in Tokyo and Citizen has become one of the major producers of watches in the area. However, what momentum that’s been built by the business and the Japanese watchmaking industry as a whole was broken by the war, where most of Japan’s focus turned towards.
After the war, the production of machine tools was what’s left of the business. Fortunately, under the new president, Eiichi Yamada, Citizen once again tackled the expansion to a global scale with the establishment of Citizen Trading Company, which was for reaching out to an international market. This recovery time after the war was also the time Japan started taking a turn towards making a lot of technological developments, which meant the production of more mechanical watches.
In the 1960s, expansion to the rest of the world finally happened. Exporting to Southeast Asia and South Pacific was given the go signal again. Beyond that, America was first via Bulova to whom Citizen sent watch parts to be assembled and sold in the United States. Next, they opened a sales office in Germany to be the home base for exportations to Europe.
Within Japan, Citizen becomes one of the four companies that dominated the timepiece industry, one of the two brands that accounted for 80 percent of the watches produced in the country. Additionally, Citizen became even more renowned for the creation of Japan’s first shock-resistant watch, first water-resistant watch, and alarm wristwatch.
From the years 1975 through to 1981, Citizen released a new watch every year that had a world-first feature built into it. This is in time with the quartz-watch revolution of the ’70s.
The Atomic clock is the primary guide for the most accurate time. With Citizen’s Atomic Timekeeping, there’s no way your watch ever wounds up behind or ahead of real time. The watches’ internal receiver gets the signal from a transmitting tower that sends time signals, so your watch can synchronize with the Atomic clock. The world’s first Atomic Timekeeping watch was launched by Citizen in 1993.
The Satellite Wave – world time GPS makes use of four GPS satellites. This means watches with the Satellite Wave adjusts to the time zone you’re physically in through a 3-second signal reception. This way, your watch is always on the right time wherever you are in the world. Frequent travelers will benefit most from this precise timekeeping technology.
The titanium-processing technology already provides impeccable features with the material that’s five times harder than normal stainless steel and 40 times lighter in weight. This means there’s more room to focus on the design and appearance.
Probably Citizen’s most revolutionary feature, the Eco-Drive technology has really brought them to a superior position in watchmaking no other brand has gone to yet. This technology, which allows Citizen watches to run without the need for replacing batteries, shows the brand’s ethos about advancing the timepiece industry while serving to save the environment where both ends benefit. The watches draw energy from any light source, from natural to artificial light, to be able to run for hundreds of hours and, in turn, there are no discarded batteries being thrown to landfills.
At the forefront of this technology is the Crystron Solar Cell watch, which was the world’s first solar-powered analog quartz watch.
“Citizen of the world”
The brand’s name is deeply rooted in the origins of the brand from the research institute, but it’s come to have a more evolved meaning that now means a lot more about the brand’s ethos of inclusivity and multi-cultural spirit. Their timepieces are made for any “citizen of the world” which means it’s for every person in the world no matter their associations. At the same time, it’s made use of the combo of excellence and creativity to invent technologies that halt further destruction of nature, which goes by their tagline, “Better Starts Now.”
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