Citizen of Japan has made it very clear that its higher-end wristwatch models are going to make a much larger splash across the globe in 2024. That includes more product availability in places such as Citizen’s new Group flagship boutique on 5th Avenue in New York City, as well as other planned retail outlets (in addition to online sales) in due course. Citizen is among the last of the major Japanese watchmakers to determine that its most elite watches need to be “world models,” as opposed to “domestic” Japanese market models. Expect to see a several-year shift as more previously unknown-to-many-enthusiast Citizen models show up on your radar, as well as brand-new high-end Citizen watches to debut which have places like the United States (as well as Japan) in mind for sales. One of those high-end Citizen collections is its Attesa model family, which aBlogtoWatch has covered many times. Until recently, however, it was rare to find Citizen Attesa watches officially for sale in places like the United States. That’s changing, but also pricing — for the better. Let’s take a hands-on look at the Citizen Attesa HAKUTO-R reference AT8285-68Z in DLC-coated Super Titanium.

To best appreciate this watch, you need to understand three things. The first is where Citizen’s Attesa collection falls into the brand’s larger assortment of wristwatch products. Second is Citizen’s relationship with HAKUTO-R, and third is what Citizen is trying to do with watches like this moving forward. Citizen’s first Attesa watch was debuted in 1987 as a higher-end “connected” watch that received radio signals from atomic clocks. Japan has its own atomic clock, and for a long time, commuters and citizens alike could benefit from the strong local signals of the atomic clock to synchronize their own timepieces with the “correct time.” I’ve not kept track, but all the Attesa models I can think of feature atomic clock radio signal receivers in them. Certain models even have GPS signal receivers (along with atomic clock radio signal antennas). I went hands-on with two different Citizen Attesa models (including a previous version of the HAKUTO-R model) in this aBlogtoWatch article.

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Attesa watches are always nice but rarely wild or particularly edgy. The basic models (without the more decorative elements such as the blue/purple Eco-Drive prism dial on this AT8282-68Z) are all about lightly sporty mega-practicality. They embody the Japanese dream of having a “set it and forget it watch,” the idea here being that the wristwatch is made of materials that barely age, that you don’t need to think about changing a battery, and that you never need to set or fiddle with to get the information you need. In this, Citizen has mostly succeeded, save for the pesky need of this timepiece to get some bright light (ideally sunlight) to keep the battery charged.

To those ends, the Attesa comes in a  Duratect (special Citizen process) DLC-coated Super Titanium case (very scratch-resistant and lightweight) and has a sapphire crystal, so the watch itself is very durable. It also has 100 meters of water resistance along with a well-designed matching Super Titanium bracelet. The mechanism inside the watch is Citizen’s H800 module. This Eco-Drive quartz movement is packed with features, but also relatively thin on the wrist. The main purpose of the H800 is to give travelers a convenient solution to knowing the local time accurately, having easy access to second time zones, including a worry-free perpetual calendar, and adding any other features that might be of use. Accordingly, the watch also has a power reserve indicator, and even a 1/20th of a second chronograph. I do encourage people to read the manual to understand the operation of the H800, but it isn’t a slouch. Best of all, if you keep it in enough light and have access to atomic clock radio signals, you really never need to set it or mess with it.

In 2019, Citizen was excited to announce a new relationship HAKUTO-R, a private Japanese initiative to create and land a moon rover. The HAKUTO-R missions have had mixed results so far, but it has been a success for Citizen since its Super Titanium material is used for parts of the HAKUTO-R rover. What makes this Attesa HAKUTO-R AT8282-68Z watch distinctive is the dark gray DLC-coated Super Titanium case, the color of the text for the city reference ring on the bezel, and the particular style of the watch’s attractive blue/purple dial. The case is 42mm wide and wears thin at just 10.8mm thick.

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Even though it is easy to appreciate the benefits of a product like this, it is still niche given the price point, competition in the space for traveler watches, and the fact that utility and not flair is the main selling point here. It might be hard to think about an Attesa watch rounding out your outfit, but when you wear these timepieces, their virtues become very clear, very quickly. It also appears that prices are going down as Citizen re-balances its global pricing strategy with models like this that are now meant to compete on a world stage. Let me give you an example: The very similar Citizen Attesa HAKUTO-R reference AT8188-64L was released a bit before the instant model and only really differs in that it has a slightly different face color and a non-DLC-coated natural-finished Super Titanium case. It also costs about $500 more than this AT8285-68Z model, which, in theory, should actually have a higher price because of the extra layer of case and bracelet material coating. I can’t entirely explain this price discrepancy outside of believing that Citizen is trying to position some of its high-end quartz models more competitively. At this time, Citizen’s high-end quartz watches can go up to nearly $4,000 in cost. Retail price for the Citizen Atesa HAKUTO-R (Ref. AT8285-68Z) watch is $1,495 USD. Learn more at the Citizen watches website.

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