The Citizen Mechanical: debuting a new caliber 0200. Hands-on review.

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Presenting full details and hands-on with The Citizen mechanical model features the newly-developed Caliber 0200 mechanical movement. This is a new mechanical movement, and the first to be developed by Citizen in-house since 2010, and the first developed in collaboration with their Swiss subsidiary Manufacture La Joux-Perret S. A.

As we understand it, Citizen has leveraged on the long expertise of their Swiss manufacture La Joux-Perret S.A. on the movement aesthetics and decorative techniques, as well the design of some components. One component mentioned in particular is the free sprung balance used in this new caliber is the same as the one used in the watches made by La Joux-Perret.

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Retail price is SGD9,500 inclusive of GST.

Review: The Citizen Mechanical caliber 0200

The Citizen model was debuted in 1995, and is the highest expression designed based on four ideals to reflect Citizen’s pursuit of the essence of the watch – ideal accuracy, ideal quality, ideal design, and reliability.

The first models of The Citizen have received acclaim for the technical achievements, and we are absolutely in awe of the watch, and hailed it as probably the best quartz watch in the made:

Detailed review: The Citizen Chronomaster AQ 4020-54Y.

Now the mechanical model is set to take the world’s stage. We examine it in detail.

The case, dial and hands

The case is a rather vintage like angular case crafted in stainless steel. The case is lugless and the integrated bracelet flows directly from the case middle to the links. The case middle is an angular slab, which is curved on the sides. It carries a polished bevel edge while the rest is a straight grained brushed finish. This alternate high polish and brushed finish provides a nice contrast and is mirrored by the chamfered bezel which sits on top of the case middle. The bracelet links are also faceted with alternate brushed and polished surfaces to complete the look.

The dial is a black textured surface with a matte finished subsidiary seconds sub-dial at 6. The indices are faceted bar markers, which are thicker at 3 and 9 and double at 12. The indices feature a brushed upper face, with zaratsu highly polished facets which catch the light. The hands are Dauphine shaped for the hours and minutes and are also faceted with high polished chamfers. The ends are finished to a sharp point. The dial also features the Eagle Mark, depicting an eagle with spread wings. This Eagle is also present in the quartz version.

The black dial has a very textured sand-rippled patterned surface made by electroforming. Shadows of the texture produce very subtle highlights and colour changes on the otherwise monotone dial. The effect is like a shimmer as light hits the surface and provides a visually interesting character. This textured dial contrasts nicely to the faceted, high polished indices and the hands.

On the wrist, the watch offers a multitude of contrasting finishes on its surfaces. And is a fascinating aesthetic. The overall effect is one which is at once sober and grounded in a gentle discreetness, but at the same time flickers in the light to catch one’s attention every once in a while.

The movement: Citizen Caliber 0200

Though the movement is designed in collaboration to their Swiss owned manufacture – La Joux-Perret, we understand the final work is undertaken in Japan. With all manufacture, final assembly and finishing activities for the Caliber 0200 being performed in Japan. This is done by the Super Meisters in Japan. For a more detailed look at this, please look at Point 4 in our article: Five Facts about Citizen which you may not know.

The Caliber 0200 exceeds the Chronometer standard ISO 3159 benchmark for timekeeping accuracy, achieving an average daily accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds. The movement features a free sprung balance wheel. The cased movement is subjected to rigorous in-house testing over a total of 17 days to ensure superior performance. Testing is carried out under various conditions, including testing at six positions and three temperature levels.

On examining the finnisage of the Caliber 0200, we find a superbly finished movement. The bridges have a satinage finish, and contrasts with the diamond-cut finish on the edges.

With a level of fineness which is very high. We do note that at first glance, the finishing seems to fall short of many haute horlogerie Swiss brands. But on close examination, this is not the case. All the finishing details are excuted par excellence, and without blemish. What we do note is that the cosmetic decorations lavished on high end Swiss and German brands are absent. What is present is the possibly the highest level of engineering finished we have ever seen. Every detail is catered for. And yet, no excessive cosmetics are applied.

In the two days it was with us, the watch performed admirably. Keeping well within the stated specifications.

The competitive landscape

The Citizen Mechanical is a well designed and executed mechanical watch in stainless steel with bracelet, somewhat encroaching into the hallowed grounds of the Luxury Sports Watch led by luminaries like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, the Lange Odysseus at the top end, and by the Moser Streamliner, the Czapek Antarctique and the Chopard Alpine Eagle as well as the Bell & Ross BR 05. Other than the BR 05, all the others are pitched at a much higher price level, but offer higher water resistance rating than Citizen does.

Of course, the elephant in the room are the various Grand Seiko offerings. Closest to home, both with Japanese aesthetics and craftsmanship. The two brands share the intense attention to detail of the Japanese mindset. Both lavish much detailed attention on the dial. Both feature zaratsu finishing on surfaces. And both offer similar water resistance ratings (the Grand Seikos are rated to 30m-100m vs 50m for The Citizen Mechanical). Citizen, perhaps being the newcomer undercuts Grand Seiko pricing by a bit, perhaps more than an insignificant amount. We do note that Grand Seiko has a more mature product lineup and offers many options from Hi-Beat to Spring Drive as well as standard mechanical movements. Also, with The Citizen, this Japanese mindset is tempered with the Swiss norms of La Joux-Perret, while Seiko goes alone.

But perhaps the 1970s styling cues of the angled lugless case, integrated bracelet points to the similarities to the original Vacheron Constantin 222 or the Czapek Antarctique, or even the Tissot PRQ (review coming in two days).

Concluding thoughts

This appears to us to be Citizen seeking new terrorities. And perhaps at SGD 9.500 is one of the more expensive Citizen watches ever made. Does the watch build, fit and finish, and the new mechanical movement meet this new pricing level? We think yes.

At a nominal diameter of 40m and 10.9mm thick, the watch wears very nicely on the wrist, and is comfortable.

The Citizen Mechanical is a very handsome watch, with a slightly vintage vibe, but with abundant details to captivate a collector’s attention for a long time. The dial is magnificent. The finishing on the dial, indices, hands, case and bracelet is exquisite. The movement is finished to a level of fineness that belongs to the haute horlogerie levels.

Photo Notes

The watch was with us for a few days for wear testing, and was photographed in our studio with the Leica SL2-S and Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH, Profoto studio strobes.

The Citizen Mechanical specifications

The CITIZEN / Mechanical model
Model NC0200-90E
Launch Early (Northern) Autumn
Price SGD 9,500

Case / Band Stainless
Glass Sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
Case diameter / thickness 40.0mm / 10.9mm( design specification only )
Specifications Cal.0200/ Automatic & Manual winding / Accuracy of average -3 to +5sec per day / Running time of approx. 60 hours when fully wound/ Frequency: 28,800 vph / 26 jewels /W.R. 5 BAR / Transparent case back / Cal.0200 Certificate of Compliance included



  1. Jan-Paul van Barneveld on

    5 atm is (approximately) 50m wr. Apart from that small error, great review. Thanks!

  2. I think this won’t work. Too expensive and no real USP. I’d buy a quartz 001 movement in a jiffy if I could afford it.

    • That’s what they said when Grand Seiko was doing its international launch some 12-15 years ago. When I bought my first GS 18 years ago, many other collectors thought I had gone mad.

      I think Citizen with this and other watches to come soon, is at the same portal as GS was more than a decade ago. And I think, they too will triumph, as the product is truly superb and will speak for itself.

  3. I love the dial, the hands and the movement finishing. I don’t love that it looks strikingly similar to the Zenith Defy line. Perhaps there’s lineage but I’m not aware of it.

    • I am also not sure if historically Citizen has this design, though they might. I think the angular styling was fashionable in the 1970s.

  4. Thanks for the review, Peter. I’m surprised at how much I like this, particularly that textured dial. I can just imagine them releasing a blue one soon…

    I feel that it loses out a bit to a GS pricewise, but it is certainly attractive at that price level (discounting Rolex, which will be hard to find in the shops anyway).