Japan’s Citizen continues to celebrate its proprietary Super Titanium material with ever more distinctive and also reasonably priced watches. 2020 sees the debut of the mid-range-priced Super Titanium Armor watches that debut with three models: references CA7050-57H, CA7058-55E, and AW1660-51H. That includes the two Citizen Super Titanium Armor Chronograph watches and the three-hand model. Each features a Citizen in-house-made Eco-Drive light-powered quartz movement, while the Armor Chronograph adds a 60-minute chronograph (with a sweeping seconds hand) to the mix.
Design-wise, the Super Titanium Armor is futuristic but in a classy way. It feels like what a scientist from the Capcom video game world of “Mega Man” would wear with a suit. The watches are also thoroughly placed in the “integrated bracelet” category, which is rather popular at the high-end in the world of wristwatches. Here, Citizen offers its own take not in steel, but in Super Titanium, which is both 50% more scratch-resistant than steel and 40% lighter. Super Titanium is made of specially formulated titanium that is both extra-hardened and coated for scratch-resistance in-house at Citizen. It makes for a truly excellent watch case material, in my opinion.
Citizen is not typically a master of watches with integrated bracelets, and likewise, the Super Titanium Armor feels novel. That said, the company certainly has a long history of making bracelets that seamlessly integrate with the case. The problem is that this ends up making watches a lot “longer” (lug-to-lug distance), and that makes for a larger wearing experience (proving a challenge to smaller wrists). I recall my very first Citizen watch that also had a sort of integrated bracelet, and even though it was just 38mm-wide, it filled my wrist. The Super Titanium Armor watches are about 40- and 45mm-wide, respectively, between the three-hand and chronograph models. The Chronograph especially wears large with its roughly 56mm-long lug-to-lug distance (53mm for the three-hand- model).
I love the shape of the case and the bracelet a lot. The Armor Chronograph wears like a Panerai in dimensions but offers a totally different and interesting look (it is also appreciably lighter). Assuming you had a snug fit with the bracelet, these are no doubt very comfortable watches. The single-link look of the bracelet is 1980s retro-futurism at its best right now. The bracelet is also not thicker than it needs to be, which makes it all the more pleasant to wear. The thin deployant buckle is nice, but I hunger for some micro-adjust sizing features.
The three-hand version of the Super Titanium Armor has a dial that is inspired by Citizen’s first light-powered watch known as the Crystron. The brand later continued to develop this technology into what would become Eco-Drive and make Citizen the world’s leader in light-powered watches (and the dials that fit over the movements, which allow light to discreetly enter to the photovoltaic cell below). Another interesting design feature is the unidirectional rotating bezel on just the Chronograph version of the Armor models. The bezel rotates in order to expose or hide the chronograph pushers and crown. It locks into position and works with a nice sliding motion. This feature is highly cosmetic but legitimately fun and interesting. You can switch between the cleaner look of the case without the pushers, or you can expose the pushers for sportier look. The bezel doubles as an adept fidget device, as well.
If you like the color gray, then you’ll really like this first lot of Citizen Super Titanium Armor watches. Citizen adds some color to one version of the Chronograph model with a hint of gold-tone in the reference CA7058-55E. The debut color palette of the 2020 models feels like both a celebration for the natural color of Super Titanium and a remark on how the watch is part of the armor worn by urban warriors. It’s a fitting message on a genuinely contemporary timepiece. That said, I’d like to see some slightly less glossy dials and more lively colors on future versions of the Armor — because this case design and concept is just too cool for Citizen to not continue exploring.
With an attractive integrated bracelet design, the appeal of the Super Titanium material, and the versatility of a sporty dress watch, the Citizen Super Titanium Armor watches are a welcome new flavor this year that offers a lot of mainstream consumer appeal and variety for timepiece enthusiasts. Price for the three-hand Citizen Super Titanium Armor reference AW1660-51H is $550 USD, and price for the Citizen Super Titanium Armor Chronograph reference CA7050-57H and CA7058-55E is $650 USD. Learn more or order at the Citizen website here.