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Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Citizen Signature line slowly transitioned from relatively high-end quartz watches to mechanical offerings that are more affordable than the highest end Campanola line from the Japanese watchmaker. “Casually-dressy” could be used to describe the collection, as the watches show some refinement and qualities that aren’t present in most Citizen watches. These pieces hover around the $1,000 mark and they’re nice enough to wear with a suit but won’t drive you crazy if you scratch them a little or wear them out socially. Here are two new pieces, the Citizen Signature Octavia Automatic watches on a steel bracelet as well as a rubber and steel bracelet. With a polarizing dial cutout revealing the balance wheel, the watch is distinctly Japanese in style and execution.

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Named for their eight sided bezels, the Citizen Octavia collection up to this point includes both men’s and women’s models and has been thus far powered by Citizen’s excellent Eco-Drive quartz calibers. The new Signature Collection Octavia, powered by Citizen’s own automatic winding caliber 9040, represents a step up for the growing collection. Additional refinements do not stop with the movement. The new Signature Collection Octavia also presents a new larger case with a 44mm width as well as a black ion coated, engraved bezel on the black dialed, rubber strap variant. The other version features a two tone color scheme with gold plated portions contrasting with stainless steel throughout the case, bezel, and bracelet. Case finishing is also up a notch or two compared to many Citizens. In particular, the lugs, case sides, and crown guards on the new Octavia Automatic are neatly beveled and make use of alternating brushing and polishing finishing techniques.

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Additional finishing like what we’re seeing here as well as the inclusion of an automatic movement indicate Citizen’s very intentional luxury design concept. The new case size, while larger than its predecessors, should still fit the majority of watch wearers and is in keeping with the lingering large watch movement. Above the dial, I’m pleasantly surprised to see an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Case back duties are handled by a mineral crystal exhibition case back, which shows off the new 42 hour power reserve caliber oscillating within.

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I really like the dials on the new Citizen Signature Collection Automatic. Both are black with applied indices and Citizen signatures. The rubber-strap version has silver colored outlines for the hour markers with a sharp red seconds hand, while the two tone predictably has indices outlined in gold with a more demure seconds hand. Hour markers also feature a reasonable helping of lume as do the excellent hands including the second hand which has a tip outlined in red. There is a lot to like here and the dial as well as the brushed bezel look and feel quite high-end especially when one considers the $1,000-ish price point. It would be tough to get all this from one of the Swiss brands. In that same vein, though, there are some distinctly Japanese design elements that I am personally just not a fan of.

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In addition to the text reading “automatic” on the dial, both dials take full visual advantage of the automatic movement by making it visible via a large aperture strangely oriented between the 4 and 6 o’clock positions on the dial. The balance wheel is clearly visible through this little window but my neurotic sense of symmetry makes me feel like the whole thing should be centered around the six o’clock position. I also feel like this is an unnecessary feature of this otherwise clean and well executed dial. A watch showing off the fact that it has an automatic movement is a little bit silly when you already have an exhibition case back. For most, a sweeping second hand is enough to indicate you aren’t dealing with a quartz watch and the text indicating the automatic movement, as well as the exhibition case back, is more than enough to communicate this. The display window is just overkill in my opinion.


Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Although the steel in the integrated rubber/steel strap undoubtedly adds some strength and aggressive style, I’m still finding myself in favor of the two-tone steel bracelet. The two tone version benefits from a mostly brushed stainless steel bracelet with small gold accents on the outsides of its center links which I like a lot better. Citizen bracelets tend to be well done and comfortable and this one is no different. Clasp duties are handled with a small, signed butterfly clasp which is also functional, comfortable, and well-finished.

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Citizen Signature Octavia Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Viewed together, the features of the new Citizen Signature Collection Automatic combine to create a high quality watch which is as well appointed as many other expensive options. I can’t get over the decision to include the exhibition cutout on the dial and that’s just my opinion but I have a feeling more than a few people will agree. The rubber strap model is priced at $1,095 and the two-tone is priced at $1,295.

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  • Bozzor

    Some nice elements overall, but a little jarring indeed with that cutout. But the price is excellent and Citizen robustness is legendary. Tempting…

  • This would be a handsome watch on the bracelet were it not for that awful aperture. The slightly off-center position, the overkill frame and ‘bridge’ and the underwhelming view immediately cheapens the look. This was all going so well until they swerved off the road.

    • Moonraker

      They had it! They were so close…

      • BNABOD

        While at citizen HQ….
        ” boss: team, we got something really good here, yeah we really really got it this time.
        Minions: Great, so what do we do boss.
        Boss: Hum hum, team any ideas…got it….you heard me let’s open heart surgery this sucker
        Minions: perfect boss that way we keep them all for ourselves , brilliant…

  • Pete Pete

    great example how to make a $1200 watch look like a $120 watch: just add a gratuitous small cutout. immediately and very effectively gives any watch that distinctive lowest-end-chinese look.

  • Craig A Clark

    Totally agree with everyone else, so close.

  • Mikita

    These are so striking for 1k watch! But why, damn why did they make this ugly hole.. Facepalm.

  • BrJean

    Oh look, a THURBEEON!!

  • Yan Fin

    Tried to do better, came out as usual.

  • Keep the two tone bracelet (very GS), the hands, the crown, the nicely decorated movement — scrap everything else and start over.

  • jimf42

    the balance wheel hole looks bad…the rest is pretty nice

  • Framlucasse

    It could have been a nice watch, without the ugly hole called open heart.

    • Pete Pete

      reminds me more of a different body opening.

      • Mikita

        Uranus grape?

  • SuperStrapper

    Cant believe no one has yet to call out that awful open heart dial and eccentric placement.

  • Mischa

    There seems to be a lot of dislike towards the cutout. But then again, regular ABTW bloggers/readers surely aren’t part of the clientele this watch was made for. Which, in my opinion, is Japanese, and probably looking to buy their first mechanical watch. A bit of a show-off with the “ticking heart” gives bragging rights among all the millions of quartz watches around.

  • Richard Baptist

    I’m more interested in their camponala celestial offerings, which shows the galaxy rotating. This seems to be a basic watch for someone who is happy with that kind of offering.

  • TrevorXM

    Have they really put a fake diver bezel on this watch that doesn’t even rotate? It looks like it and there is no mention of the bezel rotating in this article. Any clarification on this?

  • OJ

    I agree with the comments, so close!

  • Han Cnx

    Minute hand is too short. Overall very meh. Orient do designs like this every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Also.. no comment on the bezel? A rotating bezel on a largely dressy watch is potentially interesting. But if it’s a fixed bezel then I really don’t like it. To be honest this is a design mess. No wonder people rate Seiko so much higher.

  • Pete Pete

    it might get remembered some day as the citizen goatse

    • joe Shmoe

      that’s just nasty.

  • John Stevens

    A none moving bezel ? How on earth am I going to get on with that whilst working at my desk on a daily basis ?

    • TrevorXM

      Used my diver bezel to time my pasta yesterday and to keep track of my clothes in the dryer that morning. Pretty much use it every day for one reason or another. Extremely useful feature on a watch.

  • Mikita

    Orient are also famous for making excellent watches (especially Orient Star and Royal Orient) and then ruining them with gaping holes:

  • Shinytoys

    Close up the peep hole on the front, then you would have an attractive watch. The price is a bit high for the 9040 movement, there are other watches to consider in this price range that offer a better value…

  • dennis

    I like the watch except the sink hole on the dial, replace it with automatic, cut the size to
    40-42mm and you now have a nice watch.


    Close but no cigar. Could have been a contender.

  • Nothing says “luxury” like an off-center hole in your dial, designed to almost look like a tourbillion. Looks like a Chinese vendor tried to knock off a real Citizen.

    • egznyc

      My thoughts exactly. Nothing like a hole designed to fool the uninitiated re: a tourbillon, and a bezel that looks like it should rotate but won’t.

    • Simon_Hell

      Best looking Rolex I have ever seen. Hands down. I kid you not. If Rolex actually made this, it would be a smash hit.

    • IG

      Shenzhen Watch Factory presents: The Rolex TimesSquare-Dweller

  • Ranchracer

    Lose the open heart and cut the price in half and I’d at least consider it. As is it’s a no-go, but will probably find lots of first time auto buyers who want to look at and show off the movement all day, especially when Macy’s piles on the pre-Christmas discounts! Too many other excellent autos in the $500 range that outshine this effort.

  • Simon_Hell

    The watch looks like it’s trying to cover way too many styles at once. I dislike it more than I like it. Especially the metal+rubber strap is just sooo cheap, working class looking.

    That said, much like Marius, I like all kinds of holes and I don’t share the dissing of the fake tourbilon hole here. I don’t even know what the difference is between this and the ‘real’ tourbilon. It’s a real hole, and it shows the real guts of the real mechanical watch. What the hell is wrong with that.

  • mtnsicl

    I like the watch and the visable balance wheel. I think it’s interesting. The Japanese sure like their two tone! Two tone is not for me in any way. The ’70s were not a design era that I want to ever revisit.

  • Phil leavell


  • Sheez Gagoo

    I’m sure, this watch will never let you down. It will run under the roughest circumstances and you can inherit it to your kids, like Patek claims. But this is is a goddamn ugly watch. It’s the Fiat Multipla of watches. The horological Roseanne Barr.

  • Middle

    seamaster 300M for cyborgs

  • Lawrence

    Looks better without the open heart

  • As much as I like Citizen — you can get this for around 1200 street price.

    • Pete Pete

      but you don’t get an unsightly hole with that one!

      • Well, you can always drill one yourself!

        • Pete Pete

          still wouldn’t have that priceless goatse look. and isn’t that what we’re all secretly looking for?

  • Richard carroll

    There is a certain sort of Japanese watch aesthetic you see in quite a few Citizen and Seiko models that I find fussy and unattractive. This watch is a fine example of that aesthetic. Over detailed, displaying what I assume is a cultural fondness for gold accents on black and managing to look cheap despite the apparent quality. I assume this really is a watch for the Asian market where this look must be appreciated. Quite a few of these designs end up in the windows of Australian jewelers and seem to sit there forever. BTW I wonder it there is a kind of manufacturer return deal for low-mid range ‘fashion forward’ watches that jewelers can’t sell?

  • Coert Welman

    This is a very handsome watch, except for the cutout. A pity.

  • William Turner

    Bought this watch specifically because of the open heart. I like the ability to see the mechanism without having to remove the watch to view an exhibition window on the back.

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