Baselworld 2018 – 100 years of CITIZEN


Citizen is having its 100th anniversary this year and we all know what a major event this is, a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a look at the past century of fine watchmaking and still have a glimpse at the next one. I couldn’t have missed it for the world!

Our trip to Baselworld trip story started a few months ago when visiting the Citizen Headquarters in Tokyo Japan. Our host Wakaba Kuroshima said she was looking forward to see us in Basel. Without even blinking I agreed: that would be lovely! So… fast forward to a few weeks ago when she sent us invitations for the Citizen 100th anniversary party. Thank you Wakaba! We were already accredited as press, to cover the event, but the official Citizen nominal invitations made me so proud to be there that nothing else really mattered those days. We booked a few hotels, cleared our schedule and fueled the car. Road trip to Basel! By the way, this is the first time I went to this well known world watch event and, I know it is hard to imagine, I only did it because of the Citizen party.

The trip was long but awesome! Five countries, 3000 km, 35 hours driving time, a few restaurants along the way and all this for just a two hours party?! Well, that is correct, it was not just a party, it was the Citizens 100th anniversary and there was not a chance I would have missed it. Sunny and snow, cold and rain, stuck in traffic on the highway and yet again doing 250km/h plus on German Autobahn… We made it in Switzerland just in time to meet a few on-line friends at the fair while taking a look at the new watch releases. Unfortunately, because of the tight schedule, I couldn’t meet all the friend I planned to. Hopefully next time.

So… we got our Press badges, entered the fair and took a short look at the Swiss watches. They were really cool and are covered on-line everywhere, but the main reason for our visit was Citizen, so finding the booth was the main goal. It was easy to find. We could’t linger, so back to the hotel we went for a shower and dressing up for the party. The watch I took with me was the first Citizen ever made, the pocket watch. It felt like the perfect choice and I was not wrong. I also had some original Citizen made accessories, with Citizen movements, tie pin and cufflinks that fitted the occasion and the location nicely. In fact, what you see in the pictures as shining little stars hanging from the Citizen booth ceiling were nothing else but thousands of Citizen movements. The design was spectacular and here it is what Tsuyoshi TaneAtelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects says about it:

“What is time?”
From prehistoric times until now, countless civilizations and tribal nations have asked this very question. The gears of time have been turning ever since humanity first became conscious of the concept, and it is no doubt that we will continue to contemplate time inthe future.

Born alongside time, we have it to thank for human emotions: joy, sorrow, and at times, even suffering. It has created our history and engraved our memories.

Entering the 20th century, however, time was presented with an additional element: speed. Thanks to a revolution in technology, time accelerated – or at least this was the illusion we were under. Before we knew it, humanity had begun to consume time until it had lost its very soul. And now, time has become digital, smart, and taken on a most cold and mechanical nature.

Consequently, CITIZEN has decided to focus on “What time means to the 21st century”.
The question that we have been posed with now – as citizens of the 21st century – is “What is time for?” The answer will depend on our meaning of happiness.

At the CITIZEN Watch Group booth at Basel world 2018, we will be paying homage to this elusive concept under the theme, “We Celebrate Time.” As we approach our 100th year anniversary, the CITIZEN Group as a whole will be holding a special watch exhibition and performance at what we have named Time Theatre. It will also feature the dazzling installation that “turns” light into time, LIGHT is TIME. We will be surrounding our visitors in 21st century-light through an installation of wrist watch main plates meticulously positioned to form a spectacular geometrical space. Bulova will also be holding an exhibition reflecting on time, “History of First” is a visual representation of the brand through the time span of its 143 year history.

Join us in our homage to time in the 21st century, as We Celebrate Time for the sake of the future.

Back at the party I was so pleased to meet Wakaba again and I had the opportunity to meet for the first time in real life my friend Hiroyuki Ohta, manager at Citizen Watch Co., who gave me a lot of support in the last years. Thank you my friend! Hope to see you soon and keep in touch!

 

The music was nice, perfect for the occasion and the light show was awesome, we had a Sushi bar with Japanese chefs and fine drinks. There was a beautiful dance moment “Light is time’ but the highlight of the party was the speech of mr. Toshio Tokura – President and CEO of Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd. Here it is a part of it:

What is Time?

The Citizen Watch Group encompasses six unique brands: CITIZEN, Bulova, Arnold & Son, Frederique Constant, Alpina and CAMPANOLA-each proclaiming its individual achievements in innovative style and technology, which they have cultivated throughout their respective histories. By celebrating time, which includes understanding and acknowledging the time each brand has invested to reach this moment, we believe together as a group, we are better equipped to pioneer the next great advancements in the world of watches.

This year at Baselworld 2018, Citizen Watch Group is pleased to introduce the new Time Theatre, created under this year’s corporate theme, “We Celebrate Time.” The Time Theatre is open to the public and is a place where we hope people can gather and honor the special moments in their lives, from the past to present, as well as gaze into the future and the many amazing experiences that have yet to be realized. The Time Theatre also showcases the latest watches by Citizen Watch Group brands for those who share a common passion for distinguished design and craftsmanship in watchmaking.

In 2018, CITIZEN is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and throughout our existence we have continually sought to define the meaning of “time.” Whether it’s an accumulation of seconds, minutes and hours, all accounted for on our wristwatches-or perhaps the very stream of our lives, “time,” it can be interpreted simply as a series of momentary events that occur. Time truly is precious, so the tools to measure and communicate time must be accurate, and CITIZEN’s unwavering mission and pursuit for accuracy has continued since its founding in 1918.

We are also proud this year to announce the “Cal.0100,” the world’s first light-powered Eco-Drive movement to deliver an accuracy within ± 1 second a year. The Cal.0100 is completely self-sustainable, relying only on a light source and the mechanics of its internal movement to deliver precise timekeeping, autonomously and continuously. The technology allows us a more efficient and honest appraisal of time, and with it, the ability to better manage time and enjoy the precious moments of our life.

Please join us as “We Celebrate Time” at CITIZEN’s Time Theatre, where we will be displaying a number of innovative new products by CITIZEN, Bulova and other Group brands. We thank you for your continued patronage and support, as we set forth into the next 100 years at Citizen Watch Group, and continue our pursuit of excellence while pushing the possibilities of watchmaking design and technology.

Toshio Tokura President and CEO
Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd

During his speech Mr. Toshio Tokura also announced the Citizen  – Disney collaboration and this is a major thing. They became the official timepiece of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Marvel new media’s creative space. Among other things, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort will begin offering Citizen timepieces featuring designs unique to Disney Parks. Citizen will also become a red-carpet sponsor for the highly anticipated Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War film in April 2018, creating experiences surrounding the release of this milestone movie.

So many good news and for sure the future is looking bright for Citizen and Eco Drive but somehow I feel a little bit disappointed in not having a mechanical watch as a 100th anniversary. Well.. every watch brand is doing an homage and at least a few vintage inspired modern reinterpretations, and they sell like crazy, but Citizen was not. Why? I know why but still, the hope is the one that dies last.

The answer is deep in the Citizen philosophy: Small-ER, Fast-ER, Thinn-ER.  

As a gift, when leaving the party we got the Essence of Citizen 2018 catalogue and two beautifully presented lollipops shaped and the first Citizen and the newest one. Amezaiku – is a traditional Japanese candy craft art. Thank you Citizen! Domo arigato!

The new 100 years will be better and better, that is for sure! They were always improving and innovating so they will not stop.

Better starts now.

The challenge:
Accurate to ± 1 second

CITIZEN has pursued the essence and further possibilities of the watch ever since the company’s founding. There is one challenge that we have actively confronted throughout that entire time: superior precision.
In 1924, we developed our first pocket watch, the “CITIZEN.”
We debuted our first quartz watch accurate to ± 10 seconds per month in 1973, and in 1975, we debuted Crystron Mega, the world’s first quartz watch accurate to ± 3 seconds per year.
We continued to produce even more accurate watches with longer running times incorporating our proprietary light-powered technology Eco-Drive.
This year, as we mark our 100th anniversary, we have achieved yet another milestone: Calibre 0100, an Eco-Drive movement with annual accuracy ± 1 second, which tells the world’s most precise time.*
Calibre 0100 tells the precise time autonomously based on an internal mechanism with no reliance on time signals from radio towers or GPS satellites.
It marks the individual seconds in their purest and most refined form.
Like a strong person who achieves his goals through sheer force of will, it uses its own rhythm to tell the precise time for everyone, wherever they are, without depending on anything outside itself.
The Calibre 0100 marks the start of the next one hundred years of watchmaking for CITIZEN.

Read more about this calibre and the future plans of Citizen HERE.

 

Bottom line: As a collector, am disappointed? No, I am not, in fact I am even more proud of Citizen and even though my heart still wants a vintage inspired Chrono Master 500m my mind knows that this is not the Citizen philosophy. They are respecting the past and are proud of it but they are always looking forward, better and better. It is us, the collectors who are at a certain level stuck in the past, protecting and preserving the wonderful world of  Vintage Citizen watches. What I can do is write, collect and share data and respect them. I will let Citizen do what Citizen does best: be better, evolve and innovate. And yes, a light powered watch, accurate to a a second per year, is way better than a mechanical one. Such an achievement! Every reason to go this way, except for the fact that the heart wants what the heart wants. I will keep on collecting VCW and keep on dreaming of a time long gone, before I was born…

Thank you Citizen! I am so proud and humble at the same time to be a part of this wonderful story that keeps on going!

Happy bithday!

お誕生日おめでとうございます。
Otanjoubi omedetou gozaiasu!

Citizen Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

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