While watches are inherently rather unisex items, the industry includes plenty of models that are specifically designed for women, and many of these timepieces offer incredibly interesting designs that you won’t find anywhere among the men’s side of their respective catalogs. Historically, “shrink it and pink it” has been the de facto way for companies to design women’s watches, although other brands create unique models that are specifically intended for a female audience, and a perfect example of this is the new Citizen L Arcly, which is one of the brand’s latest releases for 2024.

Available in either stainless steel with a red dial (ref. EM1091-67X) or the rose gold-finished version with a mother-of-pearl that is featured here (ref. EM1098-68D), the new Citizen L Arcly features a design inspired by the original Citizen Sunrise watch, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. While Citizen also produces a version of the Arcly that closely resembles the original Sunrise model, the latest two additions to the Citizen L Arcly series slightly reimagine this concept by relocating the trio of diamonds that appear on its case. Rather than being three separate free-floating diamonds that reside between the center case and outer band, the new Arcly watches have their diamonds set in a small fixed section mounted on the side of the case between the 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock hour markers.

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Similar to the original Citizen Sunrise watch, the case is the standout feature on the Citizen L Arcly models, and while its shape is still round (at least on a basic level), it represents a significant aesthetic departure compared to what you get from a classic circular wristwatch. The case of the Citizen L Arcly consists of a central section that is asymmetrically mounted inside of a round outer ring. The ring is larger than the center case, and rather than being set directly in the middle, the center case is positioned along the top side of the ring to create an arc-shaped open area on the lower side of the watch. The circular profile of the Arcly allows it to remain familiar and aesthetically versatile, although when you view the watch up close, it ultimately offers far more visual intrigue with its signature open space creating a highly unique and elegant appearance.

The top of the Citizen L Arcly’s case is fitted with a gently domed sapphire crystal with a large bevel running along its outer perimeter, while the reverse side of the watch is closed up by a solid snap-on stainless steel caseback. Water resistance comes in at a fairly standard 50 meters to protect against daily contact, and the use of a sapphire crystal on this particular model is a very welcome addition, as I could easily see women pairing the Arcly with other bracelets that would run the risk of scratching a traditional mineral glass crystal. At the 3 o’clock location is a crown that extends through the outer ring to reach the center case, and the tip of the Arcly’s crown is set with a translucent blue cabochon, which is rather reminiscent of what can be found on Cartier watches, and a detail that Citizen reserves exclusively for its various Citizen L models.

In terms of dimensions, the new Citizen L Arcly watches measure 31.2mm in diameter; however, the center case section is only about 26mm wide, which means that these models ultimately wear slightly smaller than what you might normally expect from a traditional round watch with the same on-paper measurements. Including its crystal, the Arcly measures a total of 8mm thick, while its lugs are set 14mm apart and extend to create an overall lug-to-lug profile of approximately 35mm. The unusual design of the case ultimately creates quite a lot of versatility in terms of sizing, and while it offers the footprint of a 31mm watch, the open space between the two sections of the case means that will not overwhelm the wrists of those who would typically wear smaller timepieces.

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On the Citizen L Arcly EM1098-68D, the dial surface is mother-of-pearl with a faint pink-colored tint to help accentuate the subtle hues and patterns of the material. While there are now quite a few different Citizen dials that are capable of entirely concealing the solar panels that are mounted below their surfaces, the dial fitted to the Arcly EM1098-68D appears just like any other mother-of-pearl dial, and aside from the “Eco-Drive” branding that is printed below the hands, there is no other indication that this watch runs on a solar-powered movement. The applied baton markers and dauphine-shaped hands are all finished in rose gold to match the case of the watch, and the counterweight on the seconds hand is shaped like a cursive L, which is a detail that it shares with other models from the Citizen L collection.

Powering the new Citizen L Arcly watches is the Eco-Drive Caliber E031 solar quartz movement, which can also be found inside a variety of the brand’s other three-handed models. Capable of charging itself with either natural or artificial light, the Citizen Eco-Drive Cal. E031 offers a simple time-only design, although it is also free from the hassles of daily winding and routine battery replacements, which means that it offers an incredibly convenient ownership experience. While it may not be all that horologically noteworthy or ornately decorated, the Citizen Cal. E031 is ultimately an incredibly practical option, and the autonomy provided by a solar-powered quartz movement is ideally suited for this style of wristwatch.

Both versions of the new Citizen L Arcly come as a set with a metal bracelet and an apple leather strap, and the two options include integrated quick-release springbars to facilitate tool-free changes. The reference EM1098-68D featured here is paired with a three-link bracelet that has a rose gold finish to match its case, and it comes with an additional white apple leather strap that features a signed folding clasp with a double push-button release. Both of the included options offer a decent degree of quality, and each one provides the Citizen L Arcly with a different overall appearance. The bracelet links are completely solid, although the links are secured by a pin and collar setup rather than single-sided screws; however, the strap and bracelet are both more than acceptable (especially at this price point), and I imagine that most owners will be entirely content with the two included options.

Although I am certainly not the target demographic when it comes to Citizen L Arcly wearers, I could easily see myself purchasing this watch for someone else in my life, especially a person who isn’t a full-blown watch enthusiast. The unique case design immediately sets the model apart from other watches in the industry, although its appearance isn’t so unconventional that it would alienate those who generally tend to have more mainstream preferences. Additionally, a solar quartz movement is ideally suited for those who may not wear a watch every single day, and the simple fact that the Arcly comes with both a strap and a bracelet means that owners will have an easier time working it into their existing wardrobe. Lastly, with an official retail price of $595 USD for the standard stainless steel model (ref. EM1091-67X) or $695 USD for the rose gold version that is featured here (EM1098-68D), the Citizen L Arcly is affordable enough to be a watch that you could reasonably gift to a person, although it is still elevated enough to feature premium materials and provide a satisfying experience on the wrist. For more information on the Citizen L Arcly collection, please visit the brand’s website.

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