Citizen Marks Centenary with Pocket Watch and New Calibre

Unusual, vintage inspired, but entirely new.

Twenty twenty-four marks the 100th anniversary of the first-ever Citizen watch – a pocket watch powered by the hand-wound cal. 16. To celebrate the centenary, Citizen looks towards the next century with an all-new calibre making its debut in the 100th Anniversary of the First Citizen Watch Special Limited Edition, a pocket watch with a pleasing vintage aesthetic but one that’s entirely modern in materials and manufacturing.

Initial thoughts

Pocket watches are uncommon today, which is perhaps why they are difficult to get right in terms of look and feel. Contemporary pocket watches often try to replicate the look and feel of their vintage counterparts, but usually end up seeming artificial and lacking in authenticity. As a result, the Citizen anniversary pocket watch is certainly an interesting proposition. 

The Citizen cal. 0270

At first sight, the watch is convincingly vintage in appearance. It is evidently carefully designed, with classical styling on both sides and well-chosen details in the movement, which lends it a genuine sense of timelessness. The dial design is evocative of railway pocket watches (which Citizen did supply to Japanese railway companies), while the movement has the elegant bridges and proportions characteristics of old-school calibres.

But on closer examination, many details in the dial and case reveal themselves to be modern, like the fact that the case is titanium or the balance wheel has Gyromax-style regulating weights. Even the seemingly aged dial is a modern creation made with metal deposition.

Like the The Citizen Caliber 0200 wristwatch, the pocket watch is simple in design but executed to a high level of quality. But arguably more interesting than the pocket watch itself is the potential of the movement.

At under 44 mm in diameter, the pocket watch is relatively compact, which also means the movement is small enough to fit in a large (but not oversized) wristwatch. A wristwatch with the same caliber – and the same price of US$9,000 – would certainly be a compelling proposition with a wider appeal than a pocket watch.

Classical aesthetics

The anniversary pocket watch is old school in terms of the case shape and overall silhouette. Fairly small for a pocket watch, the titanium case has a diameter of just 43.5 mm and a thickness of 13.4 mm.

Fully polished on all surfaces, the case has an onion crown at 12 o’clock and a horseshoe bow attached to a braided silk cord, a traditionally Japanese manner of securing a pocket watch.

Under the sapphire crystal is a dial that appears aged at a distance. But the surface pattern is actually electro-formed to creative a texture suggestive of crêpe paper. Achieving by depositing metal on the dial surface to form the pattern, the result is subtly modern and intriguing. A discernibly thick layer of cellulose varnish has been applied on the dial, leaving the printing markers appearing to float over the surface.

The Breguet numerals for both the hours and seconds are thickly printed, while the dial’s ivory colour contrasts well with the blued steel Breguet hands. The result is legible dial that is thoughtfully composed.

An appealing movement

Turning the watch around and a second cambered sapphire glass reveals the cal. 0270, a hand-wound movement developed specifically for this anniversary edition. Belonging to the 02 family of in-house movements (that includes the cals. 0200 and 0210), the movement nonetheless has a thoroughly classical layout unlike its self-winding cousins.

According to a Citizen spokesperson, the goal of the movement’s creators was “respecting the classical beauty of the original pocket watch, while also adding new elements to bring it into the modern era”. In fact, the constructors of the cal. 0270 retrieved the technical drawings for the cal. 16 of 1924 and used them as a reference.

As a result, the design and layout reminiscent of 19th and early-20th century pocket watch calibres. The bridges are elegantly shaped with long, sweeping lines and also widely spaced, allowing a glimpse at the fully-jewelled gear train.

But while the cal. 0270 is old school in style, it is 21st century in function and technique. The balance wheel runs at 28,800 beats per hour (or 4 Hz), instead of the slow 18,000 beats per hour of traditional pocket watch movements. And the balance itself is a four-armed affair with adjustable regulating weights on each of its arms – a detail characteristic of late 20th century and current watchmaking. Even the escapement components are produced via LIGA, an etching technique employed for its precision, fine tolerances, and consistency.

In terms of finishing, the cal. 0270 is more decorative than the automatic movements in the family. The bridges and balance cock are finished with striping, while the base plate is covered with perlage. All jewels and screws sit in polished countersinks.

The decoration appears to be done by machine, but is surprisingly fine. The mirror-polished bevels along the bridges, for example, do not reveal any milling marks.

The time-only caliber operates at a modern frequency of 4 Hz (28,000 beats per hour) and features a free-sprung balance wheel that appears identical to that in the cal. 0200. Right next to the balance wheel is an L-shaped lever that serves as the hacking mechanism.

According to Citizen, the cal. 0270 runs within -3/+5 seconds per day, which is backed up by the six position adjustment – one more than the five positions that are the norm in high-end Swiss watchmaking and also mandated by COSC.

Key facts and price

Citizen 100th Anniversary of the First Citizen Watch Special Limited Edition Pocket Watch
Ref. NC2990-94A

Diameter: 43.5 mm
Height: 13.4 mm
Material: Titanium alloy
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: yes

Movement: Cal. 0270
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Manual wind
Power reserve:
55 hours

Attachment: Braided cord of Japanese silk

Limited edition: 100 pieces
Availability: From fourth quarter of 2024 at Citizen boutiques and retailers
Price: US$9,000 or 1 million Japanese yen, excluding taxes

For more, visit

This was brought to you in partnership with Citizen.


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