The Citizen Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-07W Beniake (aka “KurenaiAkira”) is penned as the 15th Anniversary model, which doesn’t make it a strict limited edition, but I don’t think it will be produced as long as the above mentioned models. Here, we see hand-artistry at work, as the inner part of the dial is produced using a hand-polished and -painted Japanese Aizu lacquer technique. The reddish brown tones are distinctive of the craft and are also reminiscent of the original Citizen Campanola Grand Complication watch (aBlogtoWatch review here) which was the first model Citizen offered in the Campanola collection. It was a limited edition of 1000 pieces, and I feel pretty lucky to have one, acquiring it before even starting aBlogtoWatch. The Citizen Campanola Mechanical NZ000-07W comes on a matching brown crocodile strap.
I don’t know if I can explain the NZ0000-07W dial production technique better than Google’s translation of Japanese from Citizen’s website:
“KurenaiAkira (drilled in base) is first coated with a lacquer to five layers in the character plate produced by electro-forming precision. Plated silver powder, paint thinner lacquer red iridescent on it, contact the silver powder. The central portion polishing the silver using a charcoal, polishing the whole polishing powder. Yet again painted lacquer red iridescent on top of the silver, while the central part to smooth the surface sharpening the lacquer will produce a contrast of bright red. Deep red that contains silver, invites you to a crush of time.”
The two limited edition Citizen Campanola Mechanical models are the NZ0000-07F Ryuga and the NZ000-07P Juraku. Each includes their own stylized artistic techniques on the dials, and are both limited to just 50 pieces. It is quite rare for Japanese limited edition models to be that limited, in my experience, and most are produced in the hundreds at the least.
The most visually distinctive of the two is the NZ0000-07F Ryuga which has an organic-looking trail of lacquered shellfish (mother-of-pearl or similar, such as abalone) pieces against a black lacquered background. It looks as interesting in person as it does in pictures, actually, but many might feel that the look is more feminine than masculine (of course, that depends on your tastes). Here is how Citizen describes the Ryuga’s dial:
“Dial of Kanpanora [which, FYI, is the direct phonetic translation of how Campanola is written in the Japanese syllabary] is processed in a technique called electro-casting. Electrical casting can reproduce fine detail also faithfully that unevenness of from 0.05 to 0.1 micron, it is optimal to foundation for the lacquer to be very thin coating. ‘琉雅 (Liu)’ [Ryuga] is, lacquer paint in five layers on top of this, thin small shellfish pieces pasted piece piece, or coated with a lacquer on it. To smooth sharpening lacquer fine-grained, and finished while adjusting the sparkle and lacquer shades of shellfish. This Raden craft shine like a galaxy, will lead you to the time of eternity.“
Mixing black and gold powder, the Citizen Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-07P Juraku is a cool-looking model whose dial is, according to Citizen, produced like this:
“‘Juraku’ is painted black lacquer to five layers to the character plate produced by an electric casting of high precision, plated pure gold particles round on it, apply thin black lacquer from the top of the established gold powder. It washed out the lacquer with polishing powder and brush, polishing using charcoal. Carefully scraped the center of the dial at the time that, one should allow the luster. Sparkle of gold with glossy astringent, will guide you into the finest moments.”
I will be interested to see where Citizen takes the Campanola Mechanical watch collection in the future. I anticipate more models with new movements and additional unique design directions. Citizen should feel an enormous amount of freedom with the Campanola collection as their design and technical experimentation department. With small productions, limited availability, and a sub-brand name, Citizen can continue to use the now 15-year-old brand as a place to do interesting and unique things. Most Swiss brands don’t have anything close to this freedom, which is an enduring shame. Whether we like them or not, watch lovers continue to pay close attention to the more experimental and limited edition watches Japan produces (often for their own market only) as they result in many of the most interesting and thought-provoking timepieces around.
I’ll end with one final note on these Citizen Campanola Mechanical and other small-production JDM (Japanese domestic market) watches. Currently, traveling to Japan and buying them directly is the way to get the best prices. Even the dealers who offer these watches on eBay or other website do so at a premium (with mark-ups above retail prices) – so in the case of JDM watches, your best bet for getting them is still actually going to Japan!
Prices for the Citizen Campanola Mechanical NZ0000 collection watches begin at 500,000 Yen (currently about $4,440 USD) for the NZ0000-07E. The NZ0000-58W and NZ0000-58E are 530,000 Yen (currently about $4,700 USD) each. The NZ0000-07W is 750,000 Yen (currently about $6,660 USD), and the NZ0000-07P and NZ0000-07F limited edition models are priced at 800,000 Yen (currently about $7,105 USD). campanola.jp