Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Much more than just a producer of their own Citizen watches and Miyota movements, if you didn't already know, Japanese Citizen is becoming a player among luxury watch holding groups, technically with more watch brands under it now than LVMH. After adding movement maker La Joux-Perret, among other Swiss brand acquisitions, it was interesting and somewhat unexpected to begin seeing the Swiss movements appear in Campanola's Mechanical collection (that we debuted here and later went hands-on with here). These Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph models are new to the collection for 2016.

Where to begin? We'll remind you first that Campanola is Citizen's high-end sub-brand, kind of akin to Grand Seiko for Seiko in terms of positioning. And La Joux-Perret makes movements for some of the most respected Swiss brands along with their own haute horology brands Arnold & Son and Angelus (also now under Citizen). Like Seiko, but probably even more so, Citizen still has a far way to climb to be perceived by many consumers as deserving the luxury dollars that go mostly to Swiss watches.

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

What Citizen does best is quartz (and particularly light-powered Eco-Drive) watches mostly aimed at mainstream consumers more than enthusiasts. So does putting a La Joux-Perret movement in an admittedly well-made and attractive package help them achieve greater prestige and recognition among snobby mechanical watch "aficionados?" The Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph demonstrates 1) that Citizen can produce high-quality hardware (as we can expect quality along the lines that we saw hands-on with models linked to above) and 2) they can purchase fancy mechanical movements. But also that they are doing more interesting and experimental things aimed at enthusiasts. I'm not necessarily criticizing their decision, but rather still just trying to wrap my head around it.

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

Back to the Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph watch itself. Citizen calls the La Joux-Perret movement we are talking about the Y150, and the display caseback proudly advertises that it is a "Swiss movement assembled in Japan." The automatic caliber Y150 has a 12-hour flyback chronograph and big date display, operates at 4Hz with a power reserve of 42 hours, and promises accuracy of -5/+10 seconds per day. The Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph watch is a nice and chunky 44mm wide by 17mm thick in steel (water-resistant to 30 meters). I'm a big fan of big dates, and further of this 3-6-9 subdial layout for chronographs - think about it: what "great" chronographs out there do not use this layout?

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

The white (cream?) dial Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph model has arabic numerals, blued hands for a nice contrast, and a brown alligator leather strap; while the black dial has Roman numerals and a bracelet. Citizen talks about the dial's texture and design being inspired by both Japanese paper and Japanese rock gardens, as well as stuff about the nature of time... Try not to go cross-eyed looking too hard for that. An improvement on the skeletonized hands of the earlier Campanola Mechanical models, there seems to be some lume for the hands here and, hopefully, the hour markers too. The Campanola Mechanical watches very much fit in among Citizen design personality but in a more technical and refined way that does succeed in elevating the brand, at least in my mind. Some people are not going to like the prominent screws on the dial.

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

So who will buy a Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph? Even the most avant-garde watches we cover on aBlogtoWatch generally fit into a coherent world view for watch lovers, but Japanese brands often exist on another plane altogether. It doesn't seem like they are breaking the rules on purpose - and, in fact, trying very hard to conform - but often ending up with a mishmash of borrowed elements. That kind of describes the country of Japan - a cocktail of contradictions as soon as you try to start analyzing it. For more than $7,000, people will probably not be buying this as their first high-end chronograph, but there is quite literally nothing else like it out there. Seiko has done a good job of convincing enthusiasts that their Japanese-made high-end movements are worthy competitors to the Swiss, but Citizen's approach forces you to ask some different questions.

Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph Watch Watch Releases

For me, the Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph watches are wonderfully weird as an overall package, but you wouldn't know how quite how weird they are just by glancing at them. At the very least, they offer you a lot to talk about. While these are not "cheap" watches, Swiss flyback chronographs are often (not always) more expensive, so the big date further adds to the value proposition of the Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph. Price for the white-dial Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph (NZ1001-09A) is JPY750,000 (about US$7,200 at time of writing) and the black-dial version Citizen Campanola Mechanical Chronograph (NZ1000-61E) is JPY780,000 (about US$7,500). campanola.jp

What do you think?
  • I want it! (4)
  • Thumbs up (3)
  • Interesting (3)
  • I love it! (1)
  • Classy (0)
  • Bulgarian

    Where is the annoying h.dinkee guy?

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      You called?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Don’t encourage him.

        • Dinkee, H. O.

          Why shouldn’t I encourage him?

  • Sheez Gagoo

    A good and good looking watch. I`m just not a fan of European names of Japanese Companies.

  • “For more than $7,000, people will probably not be buying this as their
    first high-end chronograph, but there is quite literally nothing else
    like it out there.”

    There isn’t? What exactly sets this apart from other three-register flyback chronos in the $5-10K range?

    “think about it: what “great” chronographs out there do not use this layout?”

    VC 1955? Tag Monaco? IWC Portugieser? Any two-register Autavia?

  • Ariel Adams

    I want to add that when I was in Japan recently I got to see these in person. Pretty good value for the money in a still very distinctive package. Ultra-niche of course, but that is where Campanola shines….

    • Joe0000

      “Pretty good value for the money…” No. Just no.

      For $7,000 I can get THE chrono an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch AND a Tudor Black Bay. Not a good value at all.

      • SuperStrapper

        Probably the most popular and certainly the most inane argument in watches today. I imagine that Marius is upset that you jumped in front of him to announce the prices of other unrelated watches.

      • ??????

        And so what? They have totally different style. This comment has same relevance as “I can get 1400 nice staplers for the price of this watch.”

  • Raymond Wilkie

    My guesstimate was waaaay out ! . Talk about ideas above your station. .

  • funkright

    Several years ago I owned a Citizen Campanola and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful time pieces I had the pleasure to have worn (finishing was amazing, as good or better than watches costs 10X its cost). It would be the only quartz watch (over a few 100 $s that I would consider purchasing again). The attached picture is not mine, but it is of the watch I owned. You can find them for sub $2KUS, probably even less if you’re patient.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/02c235dbc5078ce2e0795cc81462857332a76bbaf0c08567dac2f9784adb9d08.jpg

  • SuperStrapper

    Nice. Undeniably Campanula, it certainly follows the design language of the line. I prefer the champagne dial and Arabic numerals, but I wonder if the handset is too short? The separation of inner and outer dials creates more visual space that is not reached by the hands.

    Regardless, lovely offerings. I loves me a nice mechanical chronograph.

  • Marius

    I found this article extremely amusing. High-end brand, high-end watch, and high-end chronograph movement. Are you serious?! Campanola is a high-end brand? Maybe when compared to Vostock or Janis Trading.

    High-end watch? Sure, it might have a well-made case and dial, but the movement is a pedestrian and ubiquitous 7750-based caliber. Also, I don’t understand why this article compares Campanola with Grand Seiko, given that the latter actually uses high-quality in-house movements that wipe the floor with this one.

    High-end chronograph movement? Why, because it has a flyback function? This watch uses a 7750-based or inspired caliber, which is one of the most basic chrono movements in existence, being used in millions of watches. If this is a high-end movement, then what about JLC, Lange, or Patek chronograph calibers?

    • Ian john horwood

      7753 calibre haha with an extra couple of jewels than 7750

  • DanW94

    I prefer the tachy scale on the bezel or at least on the rehaut as opposed to the inner ring. I also don’t like the screws on the dial. They look functional as they appear to be holding the ring in place, but possibly they’re just cosmetic? I’d take the new Seiko Presage chrono with the urushi dial over this at about 4 grand less.

  • Erik Pendleton

    You need a better editor. This is almost inchorent.

    • SuperStrapper

      That’s pretty cute coming from someone that can’t even spell coherent. It’s a grade-school level difficult word.

      • Erik Pendleton

        There is a difference between a phone typo in the comment section and and “incoherent” editorial content, asswipe.

        • Raymond Wilkie

          Now now, play nice.

        • SuperStrapper

          Whatever you say, cocksucker.

          • Erik Pendleton

            There is a difference between a phone typo in the comment section.

          • SuperStrapper

            It only took you a year to come up with that? Youre good! Almost…. too good.

    • A_watches

      Have to agree

  • Jeffrey Chang

    Always passionate responses about retail prices when we all suspect a low % of sales are done at retail prices even at the higher end manufacturers.

    This watch looks great and you should expect the typical Citizen markdown of 50%+. Can’t wait for a hands on review.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i have a feeling that this watch is going to appeal to the Japanese. westerners, not so much.

    • Chaz

      Actually, having a little insight on what most Japanese guys like when it comes to watches, I can say this AIN’T it.

  • otaking241

    GS has been winning over serious watch lovers because they’ve succeeded in creating a Japanese aesthetic that is broadly appealing and distinctly separate from the traditional Swiss houses. It doesn’t hurt that they’re mechanically solid and the fit and finish makes you think they were forged from a diamond by the hand of God Almighty.

    Citizen is going to have to do more than snap up a few mid-tier Swiss companies and mix them in the blender if they want to compete on the same level. This design is way too busy, trying to do too much with too little and no clear direction. Would be ho-hum at any price, and certainly at the asking.

  • A_watches

    There seems little care in the design here, I’ll thought out, why does it need to look this complicated. The size is really ludicrous at 44mm and 17mm thick, too big for an average Westerner let alone Japanese. Citizens need to stick to what they are good at, leave the high end watch making to the Europeans or own some high end watch companies but let them do their own thing like A&S.

  • Antjay

    Very attractive but as a fan of Japanese watches and Japanese engineering in general , I would be more interested if the used a Japanese movement .

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    I find this watch surprisingly attractive and at least interesting to a point. As Marius explains below (and once again, for perhaps the two hundredth time, demonstrates why he should be the leading horological journalist on this blog and Ariel Adams should get on knee to beg and bribe him to do so) the watch is not “high end” at all. Perhaps a low-mid level brand, this watch is priced at double its worth. And as other, much lesser commentators than Marius note, it seems like it should have a Japanese movement. I might suggest that Citizen should provide an ORIGINAL design for a very good Japanese chronograph movement and then have it manufactured in Switzerland by this company for such a watch. Now that would be interesting.

    The HO
    Official Horologist to President Trump

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Can you tell that halfwit to get off my land !

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        Very boring post.

    • Yojimbo

      sometimes small amounts of urine are uncontrollably excreted into my boxers when I read your posts

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        Yes. My posts are much like Donald Trump’s pronouncements: the left-fascists dribble themselves a little each time they hear his policies because they realize deep down inside that he is actually telling it like it is and has hard, no-nonsense, politically incorrect solutions to problems which have been dragging America down for decades — and they HATE him and can’t begin to admit to themselves that he’s right and they have been fools all this time following their blind political dogma. It’s okay, Yojimbo, at least you were the star of one timeless legendary Japanese movie. You’ve got something to be proud of. Unlike the Clinton supporters. They have got nothing to be proud of.

        And you’re welcome.

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Now, I don’t care who you are…That’s Funny !

  • BNABOD

    It looks nicely built but let’s be realistic who in there right mind will shell out 7k for this 17mm brick? The flyback is a nice function I had it on the same movement in my B&M capeland which I bought brand spanking new for 2.6k .

  • ??????

    The new offerings from Campanola division are speaking same design aesthetics as usual for this sub-brand of Citizen. It is kinda like it or hate it design language. I personally find it lacking Japanese traditional approach we may see in Grand Seiko, Orient Star and Royal Orient, The Citizen and Chronomaster. All of the above look way much more Japanese for me than Campanola and I like it. Campanola is a nice experiment, but has kinda Ulysse Nardin appeal ala luxury swiss. Look at the pic above and later at the Campanola again – which has more Japanese soul?

  • Yojimbo

    DAyum that is a fine looking watch

  • Not exactly a value proposition, the dial is cluttered and Chinese looking and the case is heavy handed (fat and blobby looking). I like the movement, but that’s it. Oh yeah, they say “Swiss movement assembled in Japan.” – like that’s adds anything to the value or prestige of the watch. Sort of like “Mercedes V8 engine assembled in South Korea”.

    • ??????

      Don’t remeber hearing such a critical comment from you before 🙂

      • I’ve made are lots of positive and negative comments over the years.

  • Ulysses31

    The Campanola brand. It’s hard to love. Not because of the quality, which is pretty damn good. It’s the identity of the brand. It’s a chimera of various Europe-inspired watch clichés ignominiously crammed into a single timepiece. Perhaps a Japanese explorer went to visit Europe one day and wrote some short-hand notes about what a “proper” watch looked like, and then the watch designer took those notes and interpreted them into something he imagined constituted a high-end watch. It’s like when the first explorers returned with descriptions of birds of paradise without the benefit of accurate drawings or photos – they got a lot of details wrong, sometimes laughably so. As Mark said, this is a fat, blobby-looking thing. No graceful lines or elegance. The hour chapter ring is horribly thick, a very clumsy way to make the watch seem larger and more substantial than the movement size should allow. It tries to be handsome and almost succeeds but is just “off”. The price is of course beyond reason for this brand. Citizen do know how to design nice watches, but their perception of haute-horology for this sub-brand is just wrong.

    • laup nomis

      I minded to agree. From the pictures it looks like an incoherent mash of good bits from other watches. I’d like to see one, as watches always look different in the metal. (Obviously).

    • Chaz

      Interesting comment. Actually very insightful on the “Asian take on what others will think is Olde World European Elegance”.

      I’ve lived in Asia over the years for a total of about 20-some years and definitely agree with you that there is a certain thinking of what constitutes “refined class” but what some in the west will consider garish opulence. Nouveau riche overcompensation, perhaps. In China they call it “tu hao”.

      Just look at the photos of Donald Trump’s estate in Florida and you’ll get an idea of what “tu hao” is.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    “Campanola”…that’s a kind of cannoli isn’t it? Some kind of Italian food item…?

    • In Italian, “Campagnolo” is slang for the Italian equivalent of “Hillbilly”.

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Those wily Japanese.
        Riddles wrapped in an enigma they are.

        Surrounded by moscapone and ricotta!

  • Jorge Robles

    This reviews are general in character. I would love to see a review where you dedicate more than a few sentences for the movement, like let’s say 2-3 paragraphs telling the origin, the quality and finishing of the movement and technical aspects of precision and accuracy as a minimun. And also post more pictures of it, not the ones provided by the company. And I concur with the majority of the people here, that is a very high/premium price to pay for this watch, although the external finish is pretty good, but that’s it. By the way, Campagnolo is also high end brand of cycling products located in Italy.