A year ago, Citizen debuted its first all new, high-end mechanical watch in decades, The Citizen Caliber 0200. A wristwatch par excellence, the Caliber 0200 was so good that it was one of our tops watches of 2021.
Now Citizen is following up with the Caliber 0200 “Japanese Armour”, the first limited edition of the model that’s available globally. Topped with a black ceramic bezel and textured dial, the samurai-inspired Caliber 0200 has a low-key aesthetic that still distinguishes it from the all-steel models.
Even though production hasn’t yet caught up with demand – there’s still a waiting list for the watch – the Caliber 0200 is still a niche product, just because it is a high-end, mechanical offering from a brand better known for its solar-powered or quartz watches, and mostly affordable ones at that.
So a limited edition makes sense, since the small run will boost desirability and create buzz worldwide (Citizen did launch a 50-piece limited edition last year that was sold only in Japan).
That said, the new edition is still very much a restrained design that’s almost monochromatic. It’ll be one of those watches that are recognised only by those in the know.
Interestingly, both the new limited edition and the standard model stick to the same palette – grey, silver, and black – with the difference between the two being the quantity and intensity of each colour. On the limited edition, black becomes the dominant colour thanks to the ceramic bezel as well as the pebbled strap.
The highlight of the Caliber 0200 is the case and movement finish, which was uniform across all models. As a result, the key feature of the “Japanese Armor” is the dial, which gets a new texture.
Unlike typical textured dials that are fabricated via stamping, the dial of the Caliber 0200 is produced with a slightly more high-tech manner – metal deposition via an electrochemical process. This builds up the layers one by one, resulting in extra precision and complexity.
As a result, the dial of the “Japanese Armor” is actually comprised of three different textures. The most obvious are honeycomb-like forms, which are in turn made up of tiny dimples arranged horizontally. The pattern brings to mind the dial of Grand Seiko SLGA007 “Minamo” (and its siblings with similar dials), although those are stamped in a traditional manner.
Meanwhile, the small seconds register does away with the conventional concentric patterning and instead has a simple, grained texture that suits the overall minimalist feel.
To go with the masculine dial, the bezel is black ceramic finished with a brushed top and polished flank. And the metal bracelet has also been eliminated and replaced by a strap made of leather from Himeji Kurozan, a Japanese tannery that specialises in lacquered cowhide that’s more resilient that standard leather.
As far as mass-produced movements go, the cal. 0200 is one of the finest. Not only does it boast an elegant architecture that calls to mind a hand-wind movement, it is also precisely finished. The bridges sport wide, clean bevelling that is more often found in pricier haute horlogerie.
Arguably the biggest aesthetic weakness of the standard cal. 0200 is the rotor, which is somewhat plain compared to the rest of the movement. With the “Japanese Armor”, the rotor gets an upgrade: it’s solid 22k gold and bears the eagle emblem of The Citizen, the brand’s line of chronometers.
Key facts and price
Citizen The Citizen Caliber 0200 “Japanese Armor”
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10.9 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: Caliber 0200
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Himeji Kurozan leather
Limited edition: 90 pieces
Availability: Starting autumn or winter 2022 at Citizen boutiques and retailers
Price: Unavailable at press time
For more, visit citizenwatch-global.com.
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