The story of titanium in watchmaking is the story of Citizen and the ATTESA. In 1970, Citizen introduced the world to the first pure titanium wristwatch, the X-8 Chronometer. Shockingly light, yet exceptionally strong, the X-8 Chronometer featured Citizen’s caliber 0820 — a battery-powered predecessor to quartz movements that used an electronic balance wheel and beat at 3Hz. This forward-thinking watch featured a case material that was as innovative as the movement beating beneath. In the ensuing decades, Citizen’s ATTESA line would take up the mantle, bringing titanium out of the 20th century and well into the 21st. Things have hardly slowed down for the ATTESA line, with the newest models featuring the brand’s proprietary ultra-durable Super TitaniumTM and everything from Eco-Drive Atomic Timekeeping and Satellite Wave GPS movements to innovative ink-jet printed dials that produce dynamic shifting hues.
After years of research and development, Citizen introduced watchmaking to titanium in 1970, utilizing the material’s remarkable properties that had long been recognized by the aerospace industry. Citizen’s decision to use the material came, in part, from the global fascination with the space race. Indeed, just a year before the Chronometer X-8 was launched, the space race had reached its apogee with the Apollo 11 moon landing. The extensive use of titanium in spacecraft captured the imagination of Citizen’s engineers and the Chronometer X-8 was born. It would take another 17 years before Citizen launched the ATTESA line in 1987, but they did so with a commitment to embracing titanium and seeing just what was possible with this metal.
Italian for “expectation” or “anticipation,” the ATTESA collection was introduced with an eye to the future, though it’s hard to imagine that even Citizen could have envisioned just how far they could take titanium watches and their movement technology.
The first ATTESA models were modern in their design and execution and featured the brand’s latest and greatest technologies. Over the years, ATTESA models would retain that philosophy — later models would house everything from Eco-Drive technology, the world’s first Eco-Drive radio-controlled watch, the first full metal radio-controlled watch, and even the first GPS satellite radio-controlled watch. Just like the movement technology, the ATTESA line would continue to embrace new case and material technologies, including full DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating and, of course, Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium.
While titanium is incredibly light (roughly 40% lighter than steel) and strong, scratches do appear easily on its surface. Using Duratect, their proprietary surface-hardening technology, Citizen’s Super Titanium is five times harder than stainless steel, virtually eliminating any concern of scratching. Meanwhile, Super Titanium retains all of titanium’s other properties, like being hypoallergenic and highly corrosion resistant. Citizen’s Super Titanium has even been used in space exploration, as it was used as a component in the legs of the HAKUTO-R lunar lander.
Since celebrating 35 years of ATTESA, Citizen has released a suite of new models, including the HAKUTO-R collaboration model, Power of Neptune, and the Eco-Drive Atomic Timekeeping Limited Edition, all paying tribute to Citizen’s long-standing passion for, and commitment to, space exploration.
The limited-edition ATTESA HAKUTO-R is a model produced in collaboration with a HAKUTO-R, a private lunar exploration program by ispace. The corporate partnership between Citizen and ispace goes well beyond watches, as the same Super Titanium found in the ATTESA HAKUTO-R is also featured in the legs of the lunar lander. With a dial produced from recycled polycarbonate printed with structural color ink from FUJIFILM, the HAKUTO-R’s dial is unlike anything you’ll find using traditional techniques. With the HAKUTO-R, light reflects and refracts off the dial, the colors shifting from purple to blue depending on the incidence of light. Interspersed with silver accents, the shifting stars and nebulae look like images captured from the James Webb Space Telescope. Coated with black Duratect DLC, the case and bracelet serve as the inky black darkness of space, accentuating the hues of the dial.
Equipped with Citizen’s light-powered Eco-Drive technology and featuring Atomic Timekeeping with Direct Flight, the HAKUTO-R is the ultimate travel companion, with simple adjustment across 26 time zones with just a twist of the crown. Plus, you get a chronograph, date function, AM/PM indicator, and even a Daylight Savings Time on/off switch. With 100m of water resistance, 10 months of power reserve on a full charge, and accuracy to within 15 seconds/month even without atomic timekeeping, the HAKUTO-R can take you to the stars…or on any of your more earthly pursuits.
The eighth, and furthest, planet from the sun, Neptune, serves as inspiration for the latest limited edition Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS watch, the Power of Neptune. Orbiting at the distant edge of our solar system, Neptune is an ice giant, nearly all of its mass made up of paradoxically hot, dense fluids of water, methane, and ammonia. With its dense atmosphere of hydrogen and helium Neptune radiates a vivid blue — a hue replicated on the dial and bezel of the Power of Neptune.
Crafted from Super Titanium, Citizen utilizes an almost transparent Duratect Platinum finish on the case and bracelet, along with a blue sapphire bezel. Playing off these icy blue tones is Duratect Gold on the edge of the bezel and accenting the dial. Featuring Citizen’s top-of-the-line F950 movement, you get near-instantaneous time regulation, as the Satellite Wave GPS can lock on to a signal in as little as three seconds, setting the time to wherever in the world you find yourself. The F950 movement enables a host of other functions including chronograph, world time in 27 cities (40 time zones), and perpetual calendar.
Citizen’s latest release is the new 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Atomic Timekeeping “Luna Program” — the world’s first fully automatic analog moon phase function. Atop the dial’s blue ink-jet printed dial with shimmering specs of silver, the moon phase adds an elegant, natural beauty to the watch.
Complemented by silver accents and Roman numerals, the newest Eco-Drive Atomic Timekeeping Limited Edition is elegant day and night. Yet, beneath that sophisticated exterior lies all the reliability and functionality that characterizes the entire Atessa line.
For over half a century, Citizen has been pioneering the use of titanium in horology, with the ATTESA line serving to showcase their innovative use of the material. When coupled with their movement technologies, Citizen’s ATTESA line was built for those who look to the stars and beyond. To learn more about Citizen and their ATTESA line, please visit the brand’s website.
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