Comprehensive review: New Citizen Series 8 870 – the affordable alternative

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We have previously covered the new mechanical Citizens in these pages in much detail. These watches are to launch in September 2021, and as the launch nears, we feature the second international model – the Series 8 Model 870.

This year has been an interesting year for Citizen. They have beefed up their mechanical lineup, and seemed to be ready to challenge Grand Seiko in the global turf. Not only is their flagship The Citizen Chronometer launched with a new self-winding mechanical model, it is also now available to the international market. The earlier renditions, including the magnificent AQ 4020 was powered by a truly superior quartz movement, but was only officially available in the Japan domestic market.

The review subject, Model 870 on the left, and the Model 830 reviewed earlier on the right.

The company also introduced a new series of mechanical watches targeting a lower end of the market, also available worldwide (with some limitations as the Model 830 reviewed earlier will not be available in the US). This is the Series 8, where three new models were announced. The Model 830 which we covered in detail earlier. And the Model 870 and the entry level Model 831. Both the 870 and 831 will be available in the US. We will discuss the Model 870 in this article.

Comprehensive review: Citizen Series 8 Model 870 Mechanical NA1004-87E

Retail price is USD 2,000 before taxes, approx SGD 2,900 inclusive of GST. This pricing is a slight premium over the Model 830 discussed previously.

The case, dial and hands

The case maintains the similar angular, 70s inspired design of the Model 830, but as the dial is simpler and do not require the lattice metal work over the mother of pearl, the case is slightly thinner at 10.9mm compared to 11.7mm. It is interesting that Citizen has chosen to pay attention to this small detail to reduce the case thickness because the dial has reduced in thickness. Most other manufacturers, including the big Swiss and German brands do not bother to reduce the case thickness when using mother of pearl or enamel dials, which are thicker. As a side note, the pinions carrying the hands of the watch also needed lengthening, and Citizen does not call attention to this, though in this case it is rather standard practice.

Other than the lack of the lattice metal structure over mother pearl dial, the Model 870 has a monotone black dial with applied indices. the indices and hands selected for the 870 is thicker than those used for the 830. The rehaut is vertical instead of sloped, and is largely not visible when looking at the face of the watch. The hands for the hour and minute indication are not pierced as in the 830, but large, thick and prominent, with an infilling of SuperLuminova. The indices are faceted and quite beautifully polished. A framed date window appears at 3 o’clock.

The dial is black, but appears to have streaks of blue due to the double sided anti-reflective coating applied to the crystal.

Interestingly, none of the marvelous faceted zaratsu finishing used extensively on the appliqués is not applied to the Citizen logo. As we understand it, this logo is stamped. Perhaps meant to be a reminder of the humble beginnings of the brand, which was created to be the watch for the citizens, and not the gentry.

The bezel is a two piece construction, made of stainless steel, with the inner portion extending as wings at 3 and 9 o’clock. This carries a darker shade made by a grey Ionic Plating process. This gives the watch a bold look, and the impression of a strong character.

The same bracelet is fitted on both the 830 and 870. This is three link affair, with links which are faceted and also contrastingly finished in mirror polish on the chamfers and matte hairline brushed finish on the large sections. It is pliable and comfortable on the wrist, and is held securely by a deployant buckle which is released by pushing two side buttons.

The overall look of the Model 870 is one which is sportier, and bolder than the 830, which tend to feel more refined and delicate, though they are both equally as robust.

A single tone model, the Ref. NA1000-88, silver coloured steel case, bezel and bracelet with a white dial is available as a more understated option.

The movement: Caliber 0950

This movement used in the Model 870 is the same as that that is powering the Model 830. Citizen has chosen not to use a sapphire case back for the entire Series 8 watches. A screw down back is used to seal the movement to a water resistance of 10ATM.

As indicated in our Model 830 review, the price point that Citizen is offering the watch at is very competitive. And we do not expect the finishing to win any haute horlogerie finishing beauty contests. We will be fully satisfied with a reliable and rugged timepiece keeping to the stated performance of -5~+10sec/day. The following photograph was received from Citizen after numerous requests for a movement photograph.

The caliber 0950. Photo: supplied by Citizen.

Also as noted earlier, this is a brand new movement, it remains to be seen whether it will prove to be reliable, trustworthy, and accurate. But we are assuaged and feel comfortable that there is little room for doubt given that it is designed and manufactured by Citizen, who are well known for their engineering excellence.

Competitive landscape

We refer you to the Competitive Landscape section on the Comprehensive Hands-on Review of the Model 830. The landscape in which the Model 870 lies is exactly the same.

Concluding thoughts

What we said in the review of the Model 830, we can say for the Model 870. This is a remarkable watch. Well conceived and superbly built. The attention to detail to the case, dial, bracelet is excellent. The pricing is very fair, just below SGD 3,000 is a particularly sweet entry level positioning.

As we said, the Citizen Series 8 Model 870 is a benchmark of what a good mid level mechanical watch should be. Citizen gets just about everything right. The design. The build. The finish. All beyond reproach. Should you chose the Model 830 or the 870? The price differences is minimal. The 830 excels due to the beauty of the dial, while the 870 is the more traditional steel sporty mechanical watch. Both watches have very different vibes, but both wear equally nicely on the wrist. Cannot lose with either.

We do think the new Series 8 is set to rock the world at its roots – the affordable, entry to mid level mechanical watches. It remains to be seen if Citizen is up to the marketing task at hand to make this grand entry, as the product is already world class.

Photo Notes

All photographs marked with the Deployant logo are taken in our studio with the Fujifilm GFX 100S, with the GF120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro and GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR, with the MCEX 45 and MCEX 18 exension tubes. Strobes by Profoto as usual.


Series 8 / 870 Mechanical
Model NA1004-87E
Launch Early autumn
Case / Band Stainless / Stainless
Glass Spherical sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
Case diameter / thickness 40.0mm / 10.9mm design specification only
Cal.0950 / Automatic & Manual winding / Accuracy of average -5~+10sec/day */ Running time of approx. 50 hours (when fully wound)/ Frequency : 28,800 vph / 24 jewels / Water resistant to 10 BAR



  1. Eugenio Demmenie on

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the review. I think the strongest design point of the watch is the dial and the anti-reflective coating. I would have to see and feel the watch in reality, to appreciate the complete watch. However looking at a watch from an other brand in the same price range (in Europe), the ORIS Aquis Date looks very nice from the pictures at their website (but perhaps the pictures are just to nice to be true 😉 ). I therefor think one must compare the Citizen and Oris side by side in reality.

    Thanks again for the review and the great realistic photos.

    Kind regards,


  2. ARB CuentaTiempos on

    En gustos y belleza de diseño nadie tiene la ultima palabra. Considero que saliendo a la palestra con este segmento de precios, Citizen traiciona sus fundamentos. Es justo que el reloj cueste por encima de sus gamas normales pero me parece que ae les ha ido un poco la mano. Por lo demás para mi es un reloj miy bonito y bien diseñado.

  3. Looking at the new movement, it definitely looks like a relative of the Miyota 9 series. The biggest difference I can see is a difference in the regulator, which may have something to do with the better accuracy specifications. I imagine they went for a thinner mainspring as well to get the extra power reserve.

  4. Sorry. But all the mass-produced mechanical watches just don’t work for me. A Bulova with a 262 Khz movement can be had for around US 300. Accurate within 10 secs a year (mine, that is). Citizen has the most accurate movement for watches in the world. They’re not very good in design. Japanese, go with the flow, salaryman design. And I’m not interested in mechanical watches with a salaryman design, sorry. Now, Citizen. Please put your real movement in a nice watch. This thing is rubbish and (worse) un-necessary. Can do so much better. But please take note of design and stop worrying about “mechanical”. The cheapest reasonably accurate mechanical watch is from Omega or Tudor. Less than that won’t do, especially in this non-design.

    • Thanks for your comment and totally opposite view from my own. Which is totally fine as we can agree to disagree.

      To me, the new Citizen is not only an excellent design – both mechanically and aesthetics, but also pitched at a totally appropriate price point. They do have a superb quartz as well as mechanical The Citizen series which are equal to any mid-priced watches from Japan, Switzerland (rivalling Omega and Tudor as they two examples you picked) or Germany. Vive la difference!