Are Citizen Watches Made In China?


Citizen is probably one of the most well-known watch brands due to its reliability and low price. However, people are also wondering where Citizen watches are made. Are Citizen watches made in China?

Some Citizen watches are made in China, although most of their watches are made in several other countries, mainly Japan, Thailand and Brazil. It is known that premium Citizen watches are made in Japan. In contrast, Thailand, Brazil and China make lower-end watches or just watch parts. 

Are Citizen Watches Made In China

This article will discuss where Citizen watches are made and some other potential questions you may have about Citizen watches. We have also written extensively about Citizen watches as a brand, so feel free to check out our articles below:

READ MORE: Citizen Watch Review

READ MORE: Citizen vs Bulova

READ MORE: How To Spot a Fake Citizen

Are Citizen Watches Made In China?

Citizen watches are known to have production facilities in Japan, China, Thailand and Brazil. The Japanese factories are known to be making higher-end pieces, while the other factories make either entry-level pieces or watch parts. 

If you look at Citizen’s website, they do not mention that their watches are made elsewhere but in Japan. However, reports have emerged that Citizen do have production facilities in Thailand, China and Brazil

This practice is also followed by many watchmakers, not just Citizen. In fact, companies such as Seiko have production facilities in China, Singapore and Malaysia, but they rarely mention it. 

Some Swiss watch companies also have some manufacturing outsourced to Asia. Still, they also try to keep it under the radar. Perhaps this is to avoid ‘tarnishing’ their brands’ high-end and luxury image. 

In the case of Japanese brands, outsourcing to countries outside Japan is also a good idea, as they can do so while keeping the ‘Made In Japan’ label intact. 

Japanese ‘Made In Japan’ regulation is unique in one way that a product could be still labelled as ‘Made In Japan’ even if it’s made outside of Japan. You only need to ensure that the company is Japanese and that the production process is headed by a Japanese national.

Are Citizen Watches Made In China

Is Citizen Watch Made By Seiko?

Citizen watches are not made by Seiko. They are separate entities with no relation to each other aside from being Japanese. In fact, they are rival watch companies with separate histories, focuses and development. 

Seiko started in 1881 as the K. Hattori watch company, importing and selling clocks in the retail district of Ginza, Tokyo. It then grew into the Seiko watch company slowly over the years, before taking off after World War 2. 

Seiko’s golden moment was when it introduced the AstroQuartz in 1969, which started the Quartz revolution in the world of watches. People started abandoning mechanical watches in droves and purchasing quartz watches in the 1970s as they are cheaper and easier to maintain. 

This period is also known as the Quartz Crisis. Many Swiss watch companies struggled to survive as few were interested in their mechanical pieces. Seiko continued to make high-tech watches until today. 

Citizen started off in 1918 as a Swiss watch importing company. In 1930, it took over the Sokosha watch research institute and started producing its own watches. 

The goal is to bring watches to the Japanese public at an affordable price. Their effort was also supported by even the Prince Regent of Japan himself, later the Emperor Showa of Japan, who bought and wore a Citizen watch.

Like Seiko, Citizen took off after the war, with models such as the ParaShock, Diamond Flake and Cosmotron X-8. Citizen also grew exponentially in the 1970s, benefitting from the quartz crisis. 

Citizen released their crown jewel, the Eco-Drive movement, in 1995. This watch movement is powered by light, natural or artificial. It has since defined Citizen as a watch brand and is still offered in many of its watches today. 

Is Citizen Watch Luxury Watches?

Citizen may not be viewed as luxury watches, as most of their models are affordable, mass-produced watches. However, some of their most premium pieces could be considered entry-level luxuries, such as watches from The Citizen or Campanola collection. 

Citizen was founded to bring horology to the Japanese masses. The idea is to develop mass production, to bring down the price of watches so that the public can afford them. 

Citizen has stayed true to this cause by first learning to manufacture watches themselves and make quartz watches to further drive watch prices low. As a result, Citizen is one of the world’s most recognizable watch brands today.

However, such a strategy comes at a cost. People regard Citizen as a familiar mass-manufactured brand with no sense of exclusivity, class, and prestige. Almost all luxury watch brands bank on these images, such as Rolex, Panerai, Longines or Frederique Constant

However, some of Citizen’s best watches could be considered entry-level luxury watches. Some of their JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) models, such as those from The Citizen and Campanola collections, are great examples. These are some of the best-made Citizen watches in the market, rivalling even the Grand Seiko itself. 

Are Citizen Watches Made In China

Do Citizen Watches Wear Out?

Similar to other watches, Citizen watches do wear out. This is more likely if the watch was not serviced correctly or used in conditions that may prematurely wear it out. Extreme temperatures, rusts or dead batteries are common reasons that break a Citizen watch.

Citizen watches are probably as reliable and tough as they come. Some of their watches, such as the Promaster dive watches, can withstand high water pressure, knocks, and exposure. 

However, watches are still delicate, sensitive devices that may break down if neglected or used in ways not suggested by the watchmakers. 

Exposure to extreme temperatures may wear out a watch faster. For example, the grease and oil that lubricates the watches’ gears may freeze in cold temperatures, causing the watch to seize. Overly hot temperatures may not seize the grease and oil but water it so much that they fail to protect the gears. 

Rusts in the watch movements may form if the water gets into the movement. This usually happens when the rubber gasket fails. It can happen due to age and general lack of service. 

Finally, dead batteries could also break a Citizen watch. You may think the Eco-Drive movement does not require batteries, but they do. 

The Eco-Drive movement takes the energy source from lights. It then converts it into electricity before storing it in a battery. Citizen has mentioned that this Eco-Drive battery can last up to ten years, which means the movement may eventually stop working and require a battery swap.

READ MORE: Do Citizen Watches Have Batteries?

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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