"The Citizen" solar-powered quartz wristwatch. Photo: Nikkei x Tech
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Citizen to sell 'world's most accurate' quartz wristwatch

11 Comments
By Yutaka Chikaoka

Citizen Watch Co Ltd will release what it claims is the world's most accurate quartz wristwatch in the fall of 2019.

It is a solar-powered wristwatch priced at ¥1.8 million (excluding tax). Its product name is "The Citizen."

"We employed a wristwatch technology that enables to most accurately mark the passage of time in the world," Citizen said in a statement.

By using parts that were formed with a high accuracy, Citizen developed the "Caliber 0100" watch movement, whose margin of error is only ±1 second per year. The annual margin of error of the company's existing solar-powered quartz wristwatches is ±5 seconds.

For the wristwatch, Citizen formed gears and springs by using UV-LIGA (Lithographie Galvanoformung und Abformung) process, a MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) technology. The company made molds of ultraviolet (UV) curing resin by photolithography using UV light. With the molds, minute parts having three-dimensional structures are made by electrocasting.

With this method, the "third gear," "fourth gear," "fifth gear" and "third return gear" were formed. The third return gear has a structure combining a gear and spring, and the spring is formed by using the UV-LIGA process. The process enables to make parts having small eccentrics with a high accuracy, compared with conventional parts made by cutting and pressing.

The third return gear is a part for reducing backlash (looseness between tooth planes when gears mesh with each other). The third return gear is pressed in the direction opposite to the moving direction of the gear by using the force of the spring so that the gap (backlash) is moved to one side. It prevents the hands of the wristwatch from shaking.

For the new quartz wristwatch, Citizen used a different oscillator. Specifically, it employed an "AT cut-type" quartz oscillator in place of a "tuning fork-type" quartz oscillator. The frequency of the AT cut-type quartz oscillator is 8.4MHz, which is 256 times higher than that of the tuning fork-type quartz oscillator (33kHz). The higher the frequency of quartz oscillator, the easier it becomes to improve accuracy.

Also, the AT cut-type quartz oscillator has excellent temperature properties and a high stability at a temperature of -5 to 40°C (it is not distorted much). Furthermore, it is not much affected by gravity, whose influence changes depending on the position of the arm, or aged deterioration.

The problem of power consumption was solved by combining low-power consumption technologies that Citizen has built up so far. With those measures, the new quartz wristwatch realizes a high accuracy, and its margin of error is less than one second (0.9855 seconds) even after one year of use.

Citizen will offer a limited number of the product (100 units), emphasizing its rarity. Its case is made of 18-karat gold (ratio of gold: 75%), and its band is made of alligator leather. The diameter and thickness of the case are 37.5 and 9.1mm, respectively.

© Nikkei x Tech

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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i wonder who would want to buy it LUL

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Although I have a ton of devices that tell the time, I'd love to get a proper watch someday. I've got so much respect for the watchmaking industry, it really is one of extreme precision and quality.

@Nobnaga

If you don't have anything meaningful to say, why bother at all?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have a nice Citizen watch that receives radio time signals. It is always accurate and far cheaper than the watch shown here.

Nobnaga: In recent years the prices of some mechanical watches have rapidly increased, reaching multiple millions of Yen. Some people buy them as investments. My friend makes good money buying and selling them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I bought a handful of analog watches from Daisho. They last for about year before the battery needs replacing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd love to get a proper watch someday.

I have two. I have my late father’s Omega ( his retirement present ) but I’m too scared to wear it as I’m too clumsy.

I bought a ¥30,000 Seiko automatic about 10 years ago. Great watch. Proper enough.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Jimizo

Yeah, there's something so beautiful and elegant about a watch. Sure, we have products that, among the other things they do, also tell the time, but there's something... just so sophisticated about a piece of hardware that's been (hand)made with extreme precision and its sole role being to track the... "passage of time". Me being a Japanophile, I'd love to get a Casio GShock or a Seiko one day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Me being a Japanophile, I'd love to get a Casio GShock or a Seiko one day.

You needn't hold off, they're very affordable. The cheapest G-Shocks are about 6000 yen, and the cheapest mechanical watches from Japanese brands are about 12000 yen. Seiko and Orient both have an excellent reputation for those. Orient is a bit more affordable, but don't take that as an indication of lower quality than Seiko.

Below G-Shock prices, Casio has a very large range of watches, both digital and analogue. They get a lot of respect, and even serious (non-snob) collectors are not above praising some of their very cheapest digitals. Just one example: can you beat a 10-year battery in a $25 watch?

https://www.casio.com/products/watches/classic/ae1200wh-1a

1 ( +1 / -0 )

John Harrison will be turning over in his grave!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@wipeout

You know I've actually never thought of getting a cheaper a cheaper non G Shock Casio. And now that I think about it, my colleague has one for the past, like, 12 years and it still works. Talk about quality. Oh and I've got nothing against the other J watch brands like Citizen or Orient. Seiko and Casio were the first 2 that popped up in my mind lol. Got respect and love for all these companies.

Well off I go to look for a nice little watch now haha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well off I go to look for a nice little watch

Good luck. The cheap Casios have their good points, and there are some out-and-out classics among them. Then the G-Shocks are in a class of their own for robustness. There's a reason they have been adopted so widely, and across a range of occupations, including the toughest. They can take a beating like no other watch.

Casio has a couple of other lines as well, the Edifice watches and the camping range (ProTrek, I think). Outdoor shops stock those, though why they favour them over G-Shock, which they seem not to stock at all, is a mystery; an ABC (altimeter barometer compass) G-Shock is as good as any of them, and I think better than many.

I've got nothing against the other J watch brands like Citizen or Orient. Seiko and Casio were the first 2 that popped up in my mind.

Same here. They're all companies with a well established reputation, an interesting history, and a strong following.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@wipeout

So sorry for the late reply! I actually completely forgot about Casio's Edifice line, and a quick Google search brings up some stunning looking watches that are also fairly affordable too. I think we might have a winner here. Thanks for reminding me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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