Is Citizen Watch Swiss Made?


Citizen watches are known for their reliability and quality at an affordable price. However, many are unsure where the brand is from or where are Citizen watches made. It also does not help that the name Citizen does not tell its origin. So is Citizen watch Swiss Made?

Citizen watches are not Swiss-made, nor is it a Swiss brand. Citizen is a Japanese brand that makes its watches in Japan, China, Thailand and Brazil. Its Japanese workshops tend to make higher-priced models, while the other models are made outside Japan. 

Is Citizen Watch Swiss Made?

However, as a watch group, Citizen does own several Swiss Made brands, such as Frederique Constant and Alpina.

This article will discuss if Citizen watch is Swiss Made and its production location. This article will also discuss what the term ‘Made In Japan’ means and why Citizen does not qualify for it. 

We also have some articles about Citizen watches, so feel free to check them out if you are keen.

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Is Citizen A Swiss Brand?

Citizen watch is not Swiss. It does not originate from Switzerland but from Japan. Citizen watches started off in 1918 as a way to help bring wristwatches to the Japanese public. Today, Citizen is a watch group with many brands, including Swiss. 

Citizen was founded in 1918 to bring wristwatches to Japan for the public. It first imported Swiss watches for sale in Japan before producing its own in the 1930s. The Prince Regent of Japan (The Emperor Showa) even purchased a Citizen watch to help promote it to the public. 

Citizen made its name in the 60s before becoming a world player in watches in the 70s. It benefited mainly from the quartz crisis, as it could keep up with Seiko’s ability to mass-produce quartz watches. Citizen watches also became very popular worldwide during this time. 

The watch company is, however, most well known for its Eco-Drive movement. This quartz-based movement is powered by any source of light, natural or artificial. This makes Citizen’s watches incredibly accurate yet incredibly easy to maintain. 

Some of Citizen’s most popular models include the Promaster dive watches, Nighthawk pilot watches, and many of their Eco-Drive powered watches. 

Where Are Citizen Watches Made?

Citizen watches have production facilities in Japan, Thailand, China and Brazil. The Japanese facilities tend to be producing more premium watches, with the overseas facilities on either lower-priced models or parts. 

Citizen have many production facilities in Japan. Many of these plants produce parts for the watches. However, their Myoko and Iida Tonooka plant is the principal place where their watches are assembled.

Citizen can be a little less revealing about its overseas production facilities, like many other watch companies. Citizen is known to be making some of their watches in places such as China, Thailand, and Brazil. These places either produce fewer premium watches or produces only parts for assembly elsewhere. 

However, as a watch group, some brands under Citizen are made outside these countries. For example, Frederique Constant and Alpina are made in Switzerland.

How To Know If A Citizen Watch Is Made In Japan?

It can be hard to do so, as a product can still be ‘Made In Japan’, even if it is wholly manufactured outside Japan. The best chance to own a Citizen made from their Japanese production plants is to perhaps purchase JDM (Japanese Domestic Models) watches. 

The term ‘Made in Japan’ is quite loose within Japan’s trade laws. For a product to qualify as ‘Made in Japan’, the product needs to be produced in Japan. 

However, a product manufactured outside Japan can still qualify for the ‘Made in Japan’ label. The key is that the product is made by a Japanese firm under the supervision of a Japanese national. 

As a result, if you see the label ‘Made in Japan’ on a Citizen watch, you cannot assume that it is made in Citizen’s Japanese facilities. 

If you insist on models made in Japanese plants, your best bet is to purchase a JDM model. 

Like Seiko, Citizen also produces models only for sale in Japan and not elsewhere. In fact, some of Citizen’s most luxury and premium models are JDM models. Collections such as The Citizen and Campanola are great JDM Citizen watches.

Is Citizen Watch Swiss Made?

Are There Any Swiss Made Watches From Citizen?

Citizen watch group has many watch brands under it; some are Swiss Made. Frederique Constant and Alpina, for example, are Swiss brands that manufacture their watches in Switzerland. These brands also comply with the ‘Swiss Made’ standard.

Citizen as a watch group contains many other famous watch brands, for example, Bulova, Alpina, Frederique Constant and many more. 

Some of these brands are known to be Swiss Made, which means these watches:

⁃ Have at least 60% of its production value from Switzerland (design, parts, productions)

⁃ Uses a Swiss movement

⁃ Are assembled, encased and inspected in Switzerland. 

Some of these brands include Frederique Constant, Alpina, etc.

Is Citizen A Luxury Watch Brand?

Citizen cannot be considered a luxury watch brand, as most of its watches use regular materials and are priced under $1,000. Citizen also has a mass-market brand image. However, some premium Citizen watches may be considered entry-level luxury watches. 

Many Citizen watches are made with materials familiar to watchmakers, such as 316 stainless steel, quartz movement, and mineral crystal. You might see some models made with more premium materials, such as titanium or sapphire crystal, but they are not common. 

Citizen watches are also mass-produced and sold affordably to fit the watch company’s ethos – to bring watches to the public at an affordable price.  

As a result, it does not project an image of luxury and exclusivity, unlike brands such as Rolex or Panerai

However, some of the watches from Citizen can be considered entry-level luxury watches. For example, watches from the Citizen collection are given premium materials such as titanium and have Eco-Drive movement ticking inside them. The watch is also finely made, with hand assembly and premium workmanship by Citizen’s in-house master craftsman. 

These models could be priced up to over $3,000, and they are also more likely to be JDM watches.

READ MORE: Why Are Citizen Watches So Cheap? 

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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