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The Citizen of today may be best known for its pioneering use of technologies such as Eco-Drive, Super Titanium, and Atomic Timekeeping, but back in 1924, when the first Citizen watch was produced, the brand began with a modest hand-winding pocket watch meant to be cherished and enjoyed by all. To celebrate a century of watchmaking, Citizen just proudly announced a modern recreation of its first watch in the form of the 100th Anniversary of the First Citizen Watch Special Limited-Edition Pocket Watch.

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In 1868, the Edo period ended, along with the era of the samurai, and Japan became a constitutional monarchy, ushering in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and with it, an age of industrialization and technological advancement. By the 1920s, various industries, including the electric power industry, were flourishing. Pocket watches imported from overseas were widespread, as global trade soared and citizens embraced new fashions and technology from around the world. Against this backdrop, Kamekichi Yamazaki, who ran a precious metals store in Ginza, became aware of the mass production of American pocket watches during an overseas inspection. He decided to create domestic watches in Japan and train Japanese watchmakers by establishing the Shokosha Watch Research Institute in 1918. The goal was to create Japanese watches that would rival and surpass the imports.

The watch that resulted was a white-dialed, hand-wound caliber 16 pocket watch. Clean, simple, and elegant, it was designed to be worn and loved by everyone. Yet, this was a watch without a name. The Shokosha Watch Research Institute reached out to Tokyo Mayor Count Shinpei Goto and asked him to suggest a name for the watch. He put forth the name “Citizen” with the idea that citizens from Japan and around the world would use and cherish the watches they produced. A few short years later, in 1930,  Citizen Watch Company would adopt that name and spirit for the brand itself.

In celebrating 100 years since the launch of that original timepiece, Citizen is creating a limited run of just 100 pocket watches to usher in the next century of the brand. The anniversary pocket watch pays its respects to the forebear while showcasing advancements made over the past century, bridging the past and present, and ushering in the future.

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Citizen is renowned for its use of titanium in horology. Titanium is an ideal material for watchmaking, being lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and hypoallergenic. Though certainly not the only brand to embrace titanium, few, if any, brands have innovated on the material to the same extent. It’s fitting, then, that this limited-edition pocket watch features a titanium case, fitted front and back with anti-reflective-coated sapphire glass.

The case measures in at 43.5mm in diameter and just 13.4mm in thickness — a perfect size for slipping into your pocket and holding in your hand. There’s a tactile pleasure in interacting with a pocket watch that can’t be replicated with a wristwatch, part of what made pocket watches so treasured at the height of their popularity. The dial on the anniversary pocket watch stays faithful to the original with elegant numerals, a broad and legible sub-seconds register at 6 o’clock, and blued hands. Even the Citizen text at 12 o’clock stays true to the original. Where the new pocket watch deviates, however, is on the white of the dial. Here, Citizen created an electroformed dial finished with clear coating and polishing to produce a dynamic and three-dimensional texture.

The dial on the pocket watch is certainly gorgeous, and the movement powering the piece is equally stunning. Using a free-sprung balance wheel that brings this pocket watch into the modern era, the hand-wound movement provides an accuracy of -3/+5 seconds/day and a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. The movement is finished with gentle curves and features Côtes de Genève and diamond-cut edges. The difficult decision will be choosing which side to admire first. Before the watch is delivered, each goes through 17 days of in-house testing and inspection, including regulation in six positions and three temperatures. Each watch is then provided with an inspection certificate.

The Citizen Watch Special Limited-Edition Pocket Watch is limited to only 100 pieces and priced at $9,000 USD; each comes with a limited-edition number engraved on the case. Each watch also includes a pure Jaapanese silk braided cord that’s dyed an indigo charcoal color created especially for this watch. To learn more about Citizen and its anniversary pocket watch, please visit the brand’s website.

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