We deep dive into the new Citizen Series 8 Model 830 Mechanical with a unique 3 layer metal and mother of pearl dial, as we get our hands on a loan sample for possibly the world’s first hands-on and in-depth review of this new release. Is this a game changer in the prestige mechanical watch arena?
We mentioned in the closing paragraphs of our The Citizen Mechanical detailed review that Citizen is embarking on a brave new journey, and in response to one of the comments, we said that we see the company at the same threshold that Grand Seiko was some 10 or 15 years ago, as they began their journey to internationalize and conquer the global stage.
We are very excited for the brand, having experienced and seen the behind the scenes tour we took of the manufactory, the first ever done in the brand’s 100 year history in 2019. Read our notes on the key takeaways from that trip here.
The new collection – Series 8 Mechanical movements
The series is launched recently with three new mechanical models – 870, 830, and 831. The new watches offer a contemporary case design which is clean with straight lines and an uncluttered layout. This combination of simple styling with surfaces in matte hairline and high polish in juxtaposition offer an interesting take on the aesthetics. To us, it looks very modern and sporty while at the same time carries visual DNA cues of the 1970s and 1980s.
These models feature the Caliber 0950 and Caliber 9051 launched with the series. The Caliber 0950 is a higher end movement, rated to an average daily deviation of -5～+10sec/day, while the 9051 is rated to -10～+20sec/day.
The Citizen literature makes it a point to talk about high magnetic resistance, but there is no discussion on how it is achieved, nor any published data on the standards met by the watches. The only detail provided is that the design goal is to provide protection against magnetic fields generated by smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can affect the accuracy of the watch. We have written to them to ask for technical details, and will update when we get their response.
In-depth and hands-on: Citizen Series 8 Model 830 Mechanical NA1010-84X
Reference NA1010-84X. Retail price is SGD 2,782 inclusive of GST.
This is the top of the line of the new Series 8, and we understand the 830 Mechanical model will not be available in the US. The model comprise of two versions, both in stainless steel. Our review sample is a bright polished silver finish, and the other version is a grey finish. Both models are pitched at the same price, and both share all other components. Our review sample is the silver model NA1010-84X.
The case, dial and hands
The case has a styling which is similar to the broad strokes offered by The Citizen Mechanical flagship. The case middle is an octagonal shape with a flat upper surface in a matte hairline brushed finishing. The edges are faceted with a high mirror polish. Angular crown protectors extending on both sides of the crown also feature a similar contrasting finish of matte and polish. A sloped, high polished circular bezel sits on top of this case middle. This juxtaposition of this high mirror like polished surface with the matte upper surface of the case middle creates a depth to the structure of the case which we find particularly pleasing.
At first glance, the dial surface stands out with a magnificent, yet delicate lattice work of multicolour on the main dial body. The hour markers are polished, faceted appliqués with a thin luminous infill, extending from the peripheral annular ring which carries the minute markers. These indices are thick and hover over the center of the dial, giving credence to the 3 dimensional look of the watch face. The rehaut is in a high polish mirror finish, and reflects the ring’s markers adding to impression of good depth. The large, arrow shaped hands are faceted and finished in a mirror polish It features a skeletonized middle so as not to appear too heavy. Towards the tip a sector in-filled with Superluminova. The central seconds hand is long and sleek.
But it is the center of the dial which captivates the attention. It is made from a metal frame, which is pierced to show a triangular geometric matrix with an annular ring for the minutes at the peripheral. This lattice dial structure sits over a mother of pearl disc which is attached to a metal base. The play of the blue lattice work, with the multi-colour hues of the mother of pearl peeking through the openings makes for a breathtaking and visually captivating aesthetic.
The effect of the lattice dial evokes in us a feeling not dis-similar to the Daizoh Makihara Kikutonagimon Sakura, though of course as this is a Citizen offering is not hand made by an artisan, nor does it carry the associated price tag. This Citizen is less than 1/20th the asking price of Daizoh’s handmade marvel.
The bracelet is three link affair, with links which are faceted and also contrastingly finished in mirror polish and matte hairline brushed. It is pliable and comfortable on the wrist, and is held securely by a deployant buckle which is released by pushing two side buttons.
When we first set eyes on the watch, it had a curious magnetic effect on us. Making us stare at the dial, and making small movements to see the play of light and colour on the surface. The lattice work in its interplay with the mother of pearl multi-colour luminescence is mesmerizing.
The movement: caliber 0950
This is a new movement developed by Citizen. The caseback of the watch is the screw-on type and is sealed to provide a water resistance of 100m, and is finished in a circular graining.
We were not able to see the movement to judge the finishing, unlike the C.0200 in The Citizen Mechanical which we were able to peruse and judge as excellent.
However, at the price point that Citizen is offering the watch at, it does not have to win any haute horlogerie finishing contests. We will be fully satisfied with a reliable and rugged timepiece keeping to the stated performance of -5～+10sec/day.
Perhaps it may not even warrant a mention, but as 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, which is well known for their engineering excellence.
The competitive landscape
As a sporty watch in steel with an integrated bracelet and a water resistance of 100m, it is somewhat in the genre of the proverbial stainless steel luxury sports watch. However, at a price point of about SGD 2,800, it significantly undercuts all the inhabitants in that arena. Add to that, the very nicely built and finished case and bracelet with the aesthetically engaging dial, this Citizen Series 8 830 screams excellent value.
The most obvious direct competition is probably the various Seiko models, like the Presage which is pitched at a similar price level. For example the Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Dial is offered at a very similar retail price of approx. SGD 2,900 (though frequently discounted). The Seiko has a leather strap instead of a bracelet, but has a porcelain dial made by Arita, which some may see as an added value. Though, in our view this is probably at the same level as the 3 layer metal lattice, mother of pearl dial offered by the 830. The Presage also offers a 100m water resistance rating, and an antimagnetic rating of 4,800 A/m, which is the minimum required to meet ISO 764 DIN / 8309.
The Swiss will probably field Longines Heritage Classic Sector Dial in the landscape. It is offered in a leather strap but can only muster 30m water resistance, so may be more a dress-up alternative. On the positive side it has a charmingly handsome dial, and priced similarly at SGD 3,180.
Perhaps the mechanical Tissot Powermatic 80 Silicium, review forthcoming soon, may be also a competitor, though considerably less expensive at SGD 1,140.
The Bell & Ross BR 05 might also be a candidate, with similar specifications. But its pricing at SGD 7,300 puts it in a different budget class.
This is an amazing watch. The entire watch is well conceived, superbly built to very high quality standards. We are impressed with the attention to detail and the superb final finishing lavished the case, dial, bracelet is excellent. Even without considering its modest pricing, we think its a great buy. But with the SGD 2,800 retail price in mind, it becomes an even better value proposition. The dial itself is an aesthetic marvel, and perhaps on its own is already worth the price of entry!
At 40mm case diameter and a height of 11.7mm, it sits on a nice sweet spot, and is very comfortable on the wrist.
The Citizen Series 8 Model 830 is the epitome of what a good mid level mechanical watch should be. Citizen seems to get everything right. The design. The build. The finish. All beyond reproach. Leaving the only parting thought is that perhaps people with trypophobia should stay away from this model and perhaps go for the other models in the Series. The 870, which we will review next, uses the same movement, and has a simpler dial, a more complex bezel and a slightly higher price point.
But to circle round to the question we asked at the beginning paragraph. Is this a game changer in the prestige mechanical watch arena? Perhaps not for the entire industry, but to us, this is an exciting entry by Citizen into a space previously reigned almost exclusively by Seiko. This is Citizen coming of age. Even though it has taken 100 years to do so, they have certainly arrived at the starting point. And as with The Citizen Mechanical, we are going to see more interesting overtures from them over the next few years.
All photographs marked with the Deployant logo are taken in our studio with the Fujifilm GFX 100S (review soon!), 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 / 830 Mechanical
Launch Early autumn
Case / Band Stainless / Stainless
Glass Spherical sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
Case diameter / thickness 40.0mm / 11.7mm 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