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Citizen Tourbillon Y01 Watch With Brand’s First Tourbillon

Citizen Tourbillon Y01 Watch With Brand's First Tourbillon Watch Releases

Citizen has unveiled a new watch featuring the brand’s first tourbillon that will be available next month, in June 2017. Called the Citizen Tourbillon Y01 and priced around $90,000, it is unexpected in a couple ways – and not just because it is a rare example of a Japanese tourbillon. The Citizen sub-brand Campanola would be a less surprising home for a tourbillon, and we might have expected a movement produced by Swiss movement maker and Citizen subsidiary La Joux-Perret. But, no, this is a tourbillon designed and made by Citizen with a logo on the dial that is much more commonly associated with mass-produced, value-for-money, often solar-powered watches.

First, a plea to Japanese watch brands: for the sake of your customers and fans, please get your act together regarding communicating with media and at the very least sending us decent hi-res images! Information on the Citizen Tourbillon Y01 has slowly trickled from the Japanese media to international sites, but for now, we will share what we know. The Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is designed and manufactured by Citizen and it has been under development since 2014. It will be limited to only two pieces and available only in Japan at the Daimaru department store as an anniversary special edition for the retail chain.

Citizen Tourbillon Y01 Watch With Brand's First Tourbillon Watch Releases

Citizen has, in the past, largely stuck to their sub-brand Campanola for their most high-end offerings. As Citizen acquired a number of Swiss brands including movement maker La Joux-Perret, we started to see things like Swiss movements in Campanola watches (hands-on here). This was all somewhat confusing from a branding perspective, but Citizen has once again pulled the rug out from under us just as we thought we were getting to know them. As the white cloisonne dial proudly indicates (in English, naturally) below the Citizen logo, the Citizen Tourbillon Y01 watch is “designed & manufactured in Tokyo.”

The traditional-looking case of the Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is 42mm wide and 12.2mm thick in polished 18k white gold with sapphire crystals front and back. The screws are titanium and the tourbillon carriage uses a titanium alloy for lightness. At 6 o’clock on the dial, the rather large aperture displays a tourbillon that might remind some of another Japanese tourbillon, that from independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka that we wrote about here. The vertical striping of the movement along with the tourbillon’s presentation do look similar, but we have no confirmation he was involved in the development. The movement is called the Caliber M001-Y01, and it operates at 3Hz (21,600vph), boasts 100 hours of power reserve, and contains 19 jewels. We are told that each component is polished individually and important parts have been polished using techniques meant to strengthen them. Even the plates concealed by the dial are decorated with perlage.

Citizen Tourbillon Y01 Watch With Brand's First Tourbillon Watch Releases

Citizen has given some typically esoteric explanations of the design inspiration. The design of the black and white monotone dial, along with other elements of the watch, is supposed to reflect some Japanese values and aesthetics – which I think I can see, but won’t attempt to dissect too much. And while the caseback’s vertical Geneva stripes may look lovely, you might not guess that they are intended to represent “wet trees in the rainy season.” The movement does look very good from what we can see, and I would say the most “Japanese-looking” part is the maple leaf (or maybe ninja star, depending on your point of view) shape formed by one of the visible wheels. We’ll withhold judgment about its quality of finishing until seeing it in person – or at least better pictures.


Arguably, no one was asking when Citizen would finally make a tourbillon. Though Citizen’s “Better Starts Now” campaign is one of our favorite modern watch advertising campaigns, the large group sometimes lacks a coherent personality that consumers can easily understand. Different collections, technologies, and price levels make it seem as if Citizen is trying to be everything to everyone, all at once – a strategy (or lack thereof) shared by other Japanese watch makers. It’s not as if the world needed more expensive tourbillon watches either, but it is at least interesting to see Citizen making and proudly putting their name on such a halo product.

Citizen Tourbillon Y01 Watch With Brand's First Tourbillon Watch Releases

The Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is said to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Japanese department store giant Daimaru (Citizen itself will turn 100 in 2018) where it will be sold exclusively. The reference NZ2000-06A Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is limited to only two pieces and will have a retail price of ¥10,000,000 JPY (currently about $90,000 USD).

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  • ??????

    Beatiful watch, I congratulate Citizen on their first tourbillon! But get rid of “DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED IN TOKIO”.

    Some other blogs suppose that Hajime Asaoka took part in creating of Citizen’s first tourbillon. But he said he didn’t.

  • CognacSocialist

    Who is going to spend US$90k on a Citizen?

    For that price, you can get a mint condition second-hand FP Journe Tourbillon Souverain. On any view, that is a better watch than this Citizen.

    On the lower end of the market, you can get a lovely JLC Master Tourbillion second-hand for under US$50k.

    • ??????

      You think there aren’t two rich guys in Japan?

    • Bozzor

      Think of it this way: Ford is not a cool, high end brand…but the Ford GT is a car that costs more than a Lamborghini Aventador, has a long wait list after a strict selection process to get in that line and a series of mind blowing reviews. It’s an amazing car, and in this case the badge is not a detriment to the car, but the car is a boost to the badge. I think Citizen are gunning for the same here.

      • An image builder/halo product for Citizen for sure. But a Ford GT (I’ve seen both the original and the factory replica from a few years back) and they are gorgeous and functional. Truly rolling works of art. This Citizen watch is costly and very limited but otherwise share nothing with Ford GTs. I find these watches uninspired. Just my opinion. Cheers.

        • Bozzor

          Ah, but there is one thing they do share…exclusivity. One of only two. And Citizen may not be a prestigious brand overall, there are a handful of their watches that resonate in the wider world. Besides, it’s for Japan, where things that cost a fortune tend to be more and more conservative. Grand Seiko being a prime example.

          • Sevenmack

            Honestly, I don’t think the watch is boring at all. The dial is well-balanced and legible. The text is spare and does its job well by letting you know with pride that this is a Japanese watch. The movement is well-polished. The entire aesthetic, in fact, is elegantly tool-like, similar to the general aesthetic of Citizen’s watches.

            I would proudly buy it if I had the coin.

        • Gokart Mozart

          On the plus side at least they do not look Japanese (apart from the text) like Grand Seikos, by adding unnecessary fussiness and details.

          I agree it is just a bit on the safe and boring side, but almost there.

          Nice looking case, but slightly too chunky and simple shaped crown.

          The hands are lovely (in the picture) but the applied indexs are boring. Needed something similar to Laurent Ferrier dagger style maybe hanging over the dial. Get rid of the black enamel ring and maybe just have a slight edge or curve to it to give it some depth and shape to the dial.

          Get rid of that silly bridge over the tourbillon, it just looks unrefined and basic, as if they did not have any tools to be able to shape the bridge. Give it something curvy like the Montblanc bridge over the tourbillon.

          Last but not least oven up the rear of the movement to show some more of the wheels. It is all hand finished and their first tourbillon, show it off a bit.

        • Phil leavell

          Funny I find a lot of Japanese art very tasteful and beautiful. A lot of their engineering is very graceful. I think they hired an unemployed Russian engineer from a Lada to design this

  • Word Merchant

    Count me in when Casio add one to a g-shock.

    • It will be a digital tourbillon but will withstand 1 million Gs and have a plastic case and buttons that require a manual to operate.

      • SuperStrapper

        You’re mistaking Casio with Richard Mille.

        • But wouldn’t that be, a tourbillon that is lost in the “bag of parts” look, costs a million bucks, and has a plastic case?

          • SuperStrapper

            Arent you just using different words to say the same thing?

          • Nope.

  • They would have been better off to sallow their pride and used a movement designed by LJP/Arnold & Son/Angelus. This is one boring tourbillon with an awkward looking tourbillon bridge on the front and a plate set-up on the back that a Chinese movement maker would be proud of. Happy to hear they will only be making 2 of these. And the “DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED IN TOKYO” is especially defensive sounding to say nothing of unnecessary and distracting – this ain’t a Rolex after all.

    • IG

      Boring tourbillon, a new subspecies in horology.

      • Yes – not all tourbillons are created equal.

  • Berndt Norten

    Newsflash! Citizen has just hired JC Biver and Alex Monopoly to help with a major rebrand. Let the word go forth, to friends and foes alike of Citizen, that henceforth our great company shall be named…

    Nonresident Alien

    We feel this will add a dangerous hipster-gangster vibe…

    • ??????

      Now all the watches will come skeletonized, full illegibile and smelling cheese. When may we expect a Citizen Berluti edition?

  • IG

    I’m actually surprised that it’s not a quartz movement with a faux balance wheel driven by electric motor, similar to their “minute repeater” with sound chip and piezo speaker… LOL Kudos to Citizen for dusting down the CNC machines, lathes and files to create handwound watches for two yakuza bosses!

  • Saul Sloota

    I WAS WRONG Bremont isn’t coming. Remind me to smite my soothsayer.

  • “The Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is said to commemorate the 300th anniversary
    of the Japanese department store giant Daimaru where it will be sold exclusively.”

    All two pieces? When you manufacture only two pieces, anywhere it is sold is exclusive. And if it is manufactured for Daimaru’s anniversary, why no co-branding? If you’re going to drop close to $100K on a watch created specifically for a department store’s birthday, one would think the buyer would want that acknowledged on the dial more than “Designed and Manufactured in Tokyo”.

    $90,000 for 18K white gold seems ludicrous; I would expect platinum at this price.

    • Or cheese (ala Moser & Cie)

    • ??????

      “$90,000 for 18K white gold seems ludicrous; I would expect platinum at this price.”

      I have a surprise for you:

      • Yeah, but white gold seems so pedestrian. For $90K, I want at least platinum, palladium, or unobtanium, smelted in the fires of a dwarven forge.

        • DanW94

          Just so happens I know a Dwarf blacksmith! Here he is at work. He once forged a talisman for me designed to summon and control the Lord of the Underworld. He’ll do a custom watch case for you. (He also makes metal knick-knacks and watering cans he sells down in the Shire on Sundays) You could probably check out his work on Etsy.

          • You sure he is not smithing that sword out of petrified troll crap?

          • DanW94

            LOL….I don’t think so, but now you’ve gone ahead and given Richard Mille a great idea for a new case material.

  • Those are NOT Geneva stripes but Tokyo ones. Can’t wait for a Kyoto Imperial Court Cherry Blossom stripes! Try saying that 5 times fast !
    In all honesty, it’s a clean, classical design that’s not bad looking in a Swiss sort of way.


    Daimaru are pretty cool stores actually but 90Gs wait a little second my Japanese comrades. Ok you made two watches which shows restraint but then you plaster the front w designed manufactured in Tokyo. I get it, rent in Tokyo is outrageous but this is one hell of a rip off. I am sure they will eventually sell but w 90Gs I would certainly look elsewhere tourbillon or not.

  • Ulysses31

    I think it’s a beautiful piece; modern and elegant. The dial text is unnecessary though, as is the extremely limited production and price. Hopefully this is an indication of renewed interest in purely mechanical pieces though. It’s certainly not boring – try looking at the new Biver-Tag tourbillons for truly ugly implementations of that complication.

  • SuperStrapper

    Lots of hate for the dial text, and while I might agree that it could have been implemented a little better aesthetically, I do believe it is important to have considering the extreme rarity of such a thing to say. That alone makes the watch quite special. Everything looks well thought out and balanced nicely. The tourbillon bridge might be a bit heavy, or maybe it just looks that way due to a bit of a blocky design. I actually really enjoy the snailed pearlage on the main plate, shame none of it is actually visible.

    • IG

      Yeah people should appreciate more the “polished” English title on a Japanese dial. No TOUGH SOLAR or WATER RESIST this time!

    • Mischa

      I’ve no problems with the text, except that the first line might be a bit too long. Like the tourbillon bridge. But put both together, and they surprisingly balance the dial.

      What a lovely watch.

    • Middle

      “TOKYO” should have been sufficient

      • awildermode

        Agree. “Tokyo” on the dial is enough, maybe a “Japan”, or a “Japan/Tokyo Made”.

        Put the “Designed & Manufactured in Tokyo” on the movement, the in back

  • commentator bob

    I’m surprised they think they can only move two, maybe they only had the qualified staff/partners to build two. But there is a lot of money in Japan.

    Not sure what the point of this is though. Am I supposed to think a Campanola is made by the same team? Because it obviously isn’t if it has a Swiss movement.

    Seiko has connections between the people and workshops that make its ~$100,000+ halo watches and its $3,000-$10,000 mainstream Credors and Grand Seikos. So its halo products give legitimate value to its mainline highend products.

    This on the other hand is not going to get me to buy an Eco-Drive.

    • Sevenmack

      Chances are that Citizen is only offering two because they are limited edition pieces. They are supposed to commemorate the anniversary of the Daimaru retail chain, therefore it makes sense not to do a full-on production.

      As for whether it will lead folks to buy an Eco-Drive? Sometimes, a brand does something just to prove that it has the chops to do it, not necessarily to immediately sell more watches.

      • commentator bob

        Hajime Asaoka might let me put my name on the dial also if I paid a $20,000 over the $70,000 he charges for a Tourbillon watch.

        This is one area where I have to give Biver a lot of credit, with his $15,000 COSC tourbillon plus chronograph Tag. It is both a big technical accomplishment and shut up the Swiss watch industry about basic tourbillons.

        I would bet that Seiko doing one was a big driver behind this.

        • Sevenmack

          The movement doesn’t look like anything done by Asaoka. The styles are similar, but in many ways, Asaoka’s style is rather derivative, pulling a little from Citizen’s own style for its mechanicals as well as from traditional Swiss design. Citizen has the chops to produce a tourbillon all on its own.

          As for Seiko? Of course, Seiko was a driver. Both are big brands and while Citizen is larger by a good bit (and the more-innovative of the two, especially with Eco-Drive and Campanola), Seiko is the one with the street cred among collectors (who only care about traditionalism and have no interest in innovation if it isn’t mechanical). Citizen has to step up. Smart to do so.

          • commentator bob

            Seiko has Solar watches, but also invented Spring Drive and Kinetic.

            Citizen is all of the place with Bulova, Alpina, Frederique Constant,

  • John Stevens

    If I was selling only a few watches at 90k a piece I think I would invent an exclusive one off name that sounded like it was expensive, as good as this is and I like it as well as Grand Seiko and Japanese watches in general, I cannot believe that creating a separate division with a different more exclusive name is less beneficial than running with the group name.

    • ??????

      As Mark Carson rightly mention – this is a HALO product for Citizen. If they make it under a different brand name – mass of people wouldn’t even know that Citizen’s manufacture is capable of doing such things.

  • Framlucasse

    No one will buy a Citizen at this price. Ever. Good idea to make only two pieces.

    • Simon_Hell

      Any watch, if only made in two pieces, has to cost 90 grand. Festina 99 dollar crap costs 99 dollars because they make thousands of them. If they only made two, than those 99 dollar watches would have to cost 90 grand each, to cover the cost of design and manufacturing cost.

      • Framlucasse

        You’re wrong. Plans for a watch by professionnals? 10 grand. A prototype in steel including an original dial, originals hands, 10 grand also. And less in brass. And all that in Swiss.

        I know what i’m talking about, since I’m working on creating my own brand. 😉

        • Even less for a Chinese made prototype. $500 to $1500 for a steel prototype case, throw in a Swiss (ETA) movement for a few hundred, production quantity dials (100) and hands (200) and all in you are still under $6K USD for 2 watches. Not tourbillons and not in gold of course.

    • BJ314

      People who don’t have the money guessing what people who do have the money would do with it.

      They will sell. Just not to you. Because you don’t have the money. lol

    • ??????

      You are obviously wrong. There would be easily two wealthy watch collectors from Japan who’d love to get a Japanese watch with such rare complication.

  • Pete L

    I’ll take three. Oh? never mind. Great for the brand to indulge themselves to prove that they can make this but not sure what they intend to gain from it.

  • Simon_Hell

    So how are the Chinese able to pull off tourbilons for 40 bucks, including a real calf leather strap?

    I do like that large sign on the dial, classy. If you include the read-between-the-lines text, it goes something like this: “Unlike all of our regular crap watches built in China, this one is made in Tokyo, and because our unions are strong and salaries uncompetitively high, you have to pay 90 000 USD for what is essentially a 170 dollar watch.”

    • Don’t know about $40, but I picked up a Chinese tourbillon about 7 years ago for $500. Steel, not white gold case and obviously not in the same league of finishing (and hopefully not in timekeeping either). But the back with straight geneva/tokyo/shenzhen stripes and minimal cut-outs puts the Citizen and this Seagull based movement in the same school of design. And my tourbillon is even flying (no top bridge) unlike the Citizen. And mine has a finely stamped guilloche dial and what I suspect are ion plated blue breguet style pom hands. I’m sure more than 2 were made but it cost me about 1/20 of the price of the Citizen. Please excuse the quick and dirty cell phone photos and don’t take this comparison too seriously. Cheers. ase

      • BJ314

        So glad you added “don’t take this comparison too seriously”. Because there is literally no comparison at all. lol Also completely shocked that you bought a Minorva.

        • I was young(er) and foolish then. But still the only tourbillon I could afford. And the comparison was not for quality – only movement design similarities (sadly). Cheers.

          • Berndt Norten

            Blame it on your youth

          • Well I was in my 50s at the time. But then I never grew up. Still have the sense of humor of a 13 year old. Women think men mature – I think they just learn to keep their mouths shut on occasion (but they still have the same juvenile/smutty thoughts developed at puberty).

          • Lincolnshire Poacher


          • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

            Too true – We never “grow-up.”

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        What’s its time keeping like. I’ve heard good things about the Seagull $1000 tourbillions. But then again I’ve heard terrible things about the Struhling (Chinese) $1000 tourbillions.

        • Never had it adjusted but I put it on a timing machine 3 years ago. As I recall it averaged within 30 seconds per day but not better than 10 for sure. So not that great. And going to face up or face down positions there was a lot of variation compared to the vertical positions (all of which were the same as this is a tourbillon after all).

          The funniest thing was watching the timing error during a full minute as the tourbillon cage rotated. Sure it averages out the effect of gravity over a minute (this was in a crown at 3 vertical position) but the weight of the cage made it run fast from 60 to 30 and slow from 30 to 60 as it had to haul most of the escapement uphill.

          So while seconds per day can be accurate for some tourbillons, the second-by-second accuracy within a minute may suck. I like the Arnold & Son UTTE tourbillon with what looks like an escapement & cage with good static balance. Cheers.

          • Lincolnshire Poacher

            Thanks, that’s interesting. It kind of confirms what I’ve always thought. They’re designed to increase accuracy, but don’t really. They’re the ultimate expensive useless complication.

          • They should make 4 of the 6 positions have the same results. But if you go to a 2nd axis of rotation you have the covered as well. Three axis tourbillons are just plain stupid as there is zero to be gained in terms of timekeeping.

      • egznyc

        Actually, more like 1/200 of the price.

        • Thanks – slipped a digit.

          • egznyc

            No problem.

            Switching topics (going to the micro brand discussion), your Crash of ’29 is certainly very attractive (and unique) — and it’s even more so with your special “frequent commenter” discount. Unfortunately, it’s a little larger than my sweet spot but more to the point, while I like micro-brands, my wife has a different view. She’d prefer it if I bought fewer watches but only from a brand she’s heard of (like Rolex, Omega, etc.). Nothing wrong with these brands but clearly she just doesn’t get it … oh well, nobody’s perfect. 😉

          • Yeah, a lot of people have a problem spending even $500 on any product (brand) that other people have never heard of. Gets back to are you buying it for your own enjoyment or the status/recognition reflected by others. We live in a social world, so there is no denying that factor is at work. To each his and her own I guess. Cheers.

          • egznyc

            Truer words were never spoken. I just love a cool-looking watch that has a cool-looking movement, and sure I like the history behind certain brands and certain models within a brand but that’s never enough to get me to pull the trigger. It’s just one factor among several.

            My desire for variety (because, hey, I’m just not a one-watch kind of guy and haven’t been ever since the watch addiction took hold) combined with the need to control my watch budget (and sure, I’ll blame both my wife and my not being a 1%-er) has led me to consider lots of sub-$1K (often sub-$500) watches, and the micro-brands often have some very interesting options.

            But I get that some people are concerned with what others may think. And hell, I’d certainly be plenty happy to wear an expensive watch from a big-name brand, though I might not be willing to pay for it ;-).

  • gadgety

    I like the clean look. It does remind me of Hajime Asaoka.

  • Raymond Wilkie


  • BJ314

    I wonder where it was designed and manufactured.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I like it. And those wavy lines on the back plates are the most beautiful I think I’ve ever seen on a watch.

  • mtnsicl

    Making only two pieces for a 300 year anniversary doesn’t make any sense. They should have made three of them. Actually, 300 numbered pieces would have been better.

  • Richard carroll

    About 3 times as expensive as it probably should be.

    • Hydra


      • Richard carroll

        That does have something to do with because in the sence that it is to do with brand and perceived value. All tourbillons are overpriced. I just don’t think Citizen is in a place where it can ask that much for a tourbillon, regardless of the quality of the actual watch, which I don’t doubt is superlative in this instance. Given it’s rarety I suppose they can ask and get what they like. If it were a production watch I think around $30k would make more sense to the market.

      • Richard carroll

        That does have something to do with it in that it has to do with brand and perceived value. All tourbillons are overpriced. I just don’t think Citizen is in a place where it can ask that much for a tourbillon, regardless of the quality of the actual watch, which I don’t doubt is superlative. Given it’s rarety I suppose they can ask and get what they like. If it were a production watch I think around $30k would make more sense to the market.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Is it nice? – Yes.
    Is it too expensive? – No.
    As an anniversary /celebration piece I think, and of course I could be wrong, that this was designed and built for gifting to the store owner and maybe one other high-up in the store.

    So, it was for a target client and will be a treasured momento.
    Seen only at shareholder meetings and award ceremonies.

  • Mike Darwin Brown

    Nice watch and another hit to the pricey pieces from the Swiss and German markets. I have my share (pricey pieces), but would like other options and would like to truly feel like I got a quality product for the price! Asian watches are slightly starting to be a threat and if Seiko or Grand Seiko came with a tourby other than their Credor brand; things could change!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I really would like to agree, but for me it seemes that the japanese are repeating exactly the same mistakes that the Swiss do. The results of Citizen and Seiko are as bad as the results of the major Swiss brands, except Casio. The GS price hikes are surely not helpful. Citizens Campagnola (means “redneck” in Italian by the way) brand is a joke, it doesn`t make any sense to put a Swiss movement in a watch assembled in Japan. I like Japanese brands more than Swiss brands (I`m Swiss by the way) due to their quality, technology and price but weird strategies, sensless acquisitions and also a certain arrogance towards smartwatches (except Casio) make me doubt, that they can fill the gap the Swiss are already causing. The Swiss and the Japanese Watch Industry are almost the same but different. Sometimes I think the Japanese suffer from some Inferiority complex and they are trying to do exactly what even doesn`t work for the Swiss anymore.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I really wanted to ike this watch but I can`t: The design of the watch is quite nice it looks dressy, so I don`t understand why the tourbi looks so crude and massive. Like to unnice contrasting design elements.

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