Photography by Ariel Adams

Ever since Miyota announced its automatic 9075 GMT caliber, I think we were all waiting for the moment when Citizen would finally use the movement. That time is now, with Citizen recently announcing the upcoming release of the Series 8 GMT models, with two standard editions and one limited edition that are sure to garner excitement and, for better or worse, criticism. The twist? These new GMT models don’t actually use the 9075 but instead rely on a heretofore unseen in-house automatic GMT movement.

Citizen is checking a lot of trend boxes with these releases: automatic GMT, integrated bracelet, textured dials, bi-color bezels. These watches will certainly garner some negative feedback from those reductive individuals who pick up on one or two similarities and start shouting “J’accuse!” with allegations of copying and lack of inspiration and on and on. But even a brief examination of the three models on offer reveals designs that, while certainly capitalizing on a lot of trends, seem to manage to do their own things.

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The new Series 8 GMT collection includes two stainless steel models, one with a blue dial (NB6031-56E) and one with a black dial (NB6030-59L), and one limited edition ion-plated two-tone gold model (NB6032-53P). The case form remains identical across all three, with a 41mm diameter and 13.5mm thickness. The cases are blocky and angular, with short lugs that turn down; along with the male endlink of the bracelet, no reprieve is afforded for the case’s chunky silhouette. While there is some accenting with polished chamfers, most of the case is brushed (Citizen hit for the cycle with horizontal, vertical, and circular brushing). The sum total of the case’s design is a sporty, robust watch that wears well in spite of its boxier shape.


The bracelets are, on balance, quite excellent. On the gold model, we see two shades of ion-plated gold-tone stainless steel: yellow predominates and is accented by what I would call rose tone on the case flanges and center links of the bracelet. The brand refers to the rose tone as “warm gold,” but I’d argue that all gold is warm, so this isn’t the best word choice. The contrast is subtle but meaningful, and it’s seldom seen on watches. The tapering of the bracelet makes a big difference in visually slimming the case and providing a great fit and feel on the wrist, while the beveled links offer continuity from the case. There are two downsides to the bracelet, though: The links are connected with a frustrating (albeit very secure) pin and collar system, and the push-button clasp doesn’t offer any sort of micro-adjustment. That said, the bracelet is fitted with two half-links, so finding a good fit shouldn’t be impossible.

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The case gets a flat, AR-coated sapphire crystal that does its job well, 100m of water resistance, and a bi-directional 24-hour bezel that is sure to cause a kerfuffle. The bezel action was impressively crisp across all 48 clicks (which allows for tracking a third time zone, including those that fall on half-hours), and the colors used in each model are fitting and, of course, familiar. Yes, they’re the Pepsi, Batman, and root beer bezels you’ve seen before. Citizen is bringing an entirely new model to the market in a challenging price segment, a not insignificant gamble for any brand; the company isn’t going to run wild right off the bat with colors that may not perform well. Whether you like it or not, there is a reason these are popular GMT bezel combos—they look good and they sell well. And come to think of it, that’s not even a traditional root beer bezel. More like a root beer float.

The basics of the dials are the same. Polished obeliskine hands are paired with brushed and polished applied indices to reinforce the bold design of the case. The GMT hand features a modestly sized but legible triangle—I for one favor this approach, as opposed to the massive GMT hands found on some watches. While the lume plots at the hours and the fill in the hands are treated with a more traditional color, the GMT lume glows orange to allow easy differentiation in low light. The dials all feature printed contrasting text and minute hashes, a mirror-finished rehaut, and a coordinated but not matched 3 o’clock date window.

What sets these models apart, though, is the colors used on the dial. The gold Series 8 GMT has a light gold dial (dare I say “cool gold” and disprove myself?) with a grassy texture that Citizen says is meant to recall “long autumn grasses illuminated by the warm glow of sunset.” To the brand’s credit, that’s an apt (if a bit romantic) description. For a machine-embossed dial (I’m sure you didn’t expect these to be hand-etched in a workshop in the Japanese foothills), the texture is rich, and the cooler tone of gold used on the dial adds yet another pleasing element to the model’s design. The markers on the dial are rose-gold tone, while the hands are yellow-gold tone, bringing the contrast from the case bracelet front and center.

For the black and blue dials, the texture is perhaps more familiar, with Citizen describing it as the “night sky of Tokyo featuring countless skyscrapers with windows of different sizes.” Once again, it’s apt if a bit romantic; a less flowery description might just call it thatched or checkered. Both dials get a pop of color in the orange GMT text and matching GMT triangle. While the black dial is just a black dial, the blue really pops off its dial and adds a bit of vibrancy. The blue in the bezel is not the same as the dial, though. Although it wasn’t something that distracted me while handling the watch, I wonder if having matched them might have further elevated the model above its peer.

When Miyota released its automatic 9075 GMT caliber, I assumed it would be Citizen that would get the first go at it. Instead, sister brand Bulova delivered the Wilton, which was not the big debut I was expecting or hoping for. The Citizen Series 8 GMTs, on the other hand, are exactly what I hoped the larger Citizen Watch Company would deliver — except I didn’t expect it to use a different movement. That’s right, instead of the 9075 you may have expected, the Citizen Series 8 GMT uses the new Citizen 9054 caliber, made by Miyota but exclusive to Citizen. Though the architecture is likely identical, the 9054 benefits from an increased 50-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph, improved accuracy of -10/+20 seconds per day, and bolstered magnetic resistance of 16,000 A/m (almost 4x the minimum to garner an “anti-magnetic” label). Of course, the main attraction is still here: The 9054, like the 9075, gives the watch “flyer GMT” functionality (sometimes snootily referred to as a “true GMT“) with an hour hand that can be set quickly and independently to display the local time.

The Series 8 GMT models are a strong debut that shows Citizen has a pulse on the market while still maintaining its knack for creating modern, good-looking timepieces. For me, the gold stands out from the rest with its blend of three different gold tones and its engaging dial texture. I’m excited to see how this line develops (and whether Citizen ever relents and let’s other brands to use the upgraded 9054 movement). The Citizen Series 8 GMT is priced at $1,695 USD for the stainless steel NB6031-56E and NB6030-59L and $1,795 USD for the gold-tone NB6032-53P, which is limited to 1,300 pieces. The watches will be available in Fall 2023. For more information, please visit the brand’s website

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