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Thread: Will Citizen become the new Seiko?

  1. #1
    Master
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    Question Will Citizen become the new Seiko?

    With its upward price trend, is Seiko risking what made it such a great brand? Sure, I know that top-end pieces like the Grand Seiko stand apart. But entry- and mid-range prices for Seiko creep ever onwards and upwards, and I wonder if it risks what made Seiko terrific.

    The latest Seiko 5 Sports watches are £250 or more, yet this range used to be an accessible gateway to a decent mechanical timepiece. In contrast, Citizen automatics remain incredible value. I’ve been looking at Seiko Prospex and Citizen Promaster auto divers – for the same money, Citizen appears to offer far more watch. I know Seiko has a cult-like following, but with a finite budget, the world of Citizen looks more and more appealing. For under £400, I can find a Citizen watch with the same spec as a Seiko Shogun! (Fancy scratch-resistant titanium, automatic, ISO diver, etc.)

    Could Citizen become the new Seiko?
    Last edited by Dougal; 30th November 2020 at 13:53.

  2. #2
    Master
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    Hmmm...I must say in the last few years I've gone from zero Citizens to 4, so maybe there is something in what you say!

    There again, both Seiko and Citizen have very wide ranges. You say Citizen are cheap(ish), but they have a range of highs spec EcoDrive chronos, with radio timing etc, sometimes with dubious military associations, which are great but the RRP is £500+. Of course, if something similar was available from a Swiss Prestige brand it would 10 or 20 times as much!

    Seiko do sell pricey watches, especially Grand Seiko, but they also see watches in the sub £100 bracket as well. I think both are trying to cover every corner of the market, except the Stupidly expensive one!

  3. #3
    They could but the Citizen equivalent to the SKX has jumped in recent years from around £80 retail to over £200

    I think more likely Orient is the better option. Much better spec watch at a cheaper price.

  4. #4
    Grand Master
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    Citizen do make high end stuff too.
    https://www.citizenwatch.com/us/en/p...Q1040-53A.html
    ktmog6uk
    marchingontogether!



  5. #5
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktmog6uk View Post
    Citizen do make high end stuff too.
    Here you go:

    https://ocarat.com/montre-eco-drive-...zen-68758.html

  6. #6
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    To me, Orient is the new Seiko. In the same way that Tudor is the new Rolex. Citizen is its own confused entity that owns so many brands, all over the world, and never knows what to do next. Bless them.

  7. #7
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    I agree, Orient are the new Seiko.

    Great dive watches at inexpensive prices.

    Here's mine.

    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    I agree, Orient are the new Seiko.

    Great dive watches at inexpensive prices.

    Here's mine.


    Even back in the not too distant past when the Seiko SKX was about £80 on a rubber strap and £110 on a bracelet the Orient Mako was about £55 on a rubber strap and £80 on a bracelet and was the better watch.

  9. #9
    Master
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    Orient could be the new Seiko rather than Citizen for the likes of us guys on watch forums, but to the general public no, most are blissfully unaware of their existence. Citizen is sold in virtually every high street jewellers around my way. I've never ever seen Orient watches in a shop.

    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    It depends on what defines the new seiko.

    Celebrated watch manufacturer with an iconic model line going back 50 to 60 years and a history of mechanical watch-making innovations?

    Affordable Japanese diver manufacturer?

    Seiko prices are exploding, true. Citizen and orient are decent brands, but I donít think they carry the same cache as Seiko, even if they are filling the sub £500 Japanese diver niche.

  11. #11
    Master
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    Among watch fans, I guess Seiko either has a certain cachť or, in some cases, a cult following. But I'm not fussed about the brand name on my watches; things like their design and quality feel matter more to me. Hence I'd be equally happy with an Orient, Citizen or Seiko.

    However, I am convinced that one element of Seiko's brand equity has been its high bang-for-buck. At many price points, Seiko used to offer a lot of watch for the money. And it's this part of Seiko's brand that I wonder if it's diminishing? In contrast, my impression of Citizen (and Orient) is that their bang-for-buck is now comparatively higher. If Seiko watches becomes increasingly 'Veblen goods', then this difference could increase.

  12. #12
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    ....

    Citizen is sold in virtually every high street jewellers around my way. ...
    Citizen is the biggest watch maker on the planet.

    I am amazed how quickly they basically took over the micro market.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Among watch fans, I guess Seiko either has a certain cachť or, in some cases, a cult following. But I'm not fussed about the brand name on my watches; things like their design and quality feel matter more to me. Hence I'd be equally happy with an Orient, Citizen or Seiko.

    However, I am convinced that one element of Seiko's brand equity has been its high bang-for-buck. At many price points, Seiko used to offer a lot of watch for the money. And it's this part of Seiko's brand that I wonder if it's diminishing? In contrast, my impression of Citizen (and Orient) is that their bang-for-buck is now comparatively higher. If Seiko watches becomes increasingly 'Veblen goods', then this difference could increase.
    Orient used to have its royal watches which were just slightly below GS in quality. They had a lovely sterling silver hand wind watch that was just over a grand not long ago. Seiko were always good as they were inexpensive, robust movements and easy to mod. Of late they seem to be churning out one limited edition after another, problems with bezels lining up (When your AD puts on his website if you want a watch with the bezel lining up buy a Swiss watch it doesnt fill a customer with confidence)

    Citizen seem to have focused more on quartz and eco drive watches which is probably why they dont have the same love amongst WIS, that being said they seem to have realised there is a market there because there seems to be a lot more automatic Citizen watches coming out of late.

  14. #14
    In my opinion Citizen do not need to become the new Seiko because now as in the past they have always been a quality watch in there own right, many of there vintage models where the equal of the Seiko models of the time and many of the modern Citizens can live easily with Seiko and I tend to collect Seiko but I really respect Citizen.

  15. #15
    Master gregory's Avatar
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    I definitely have a lot of time for Orient.

    I have an older model Mako on a Pepsi and currently I have a WTB up there for the Orient Disk on a 'rainbow' dial.

    The Mako that I got on this very forum has a great build quality for its price.


    An interesting thread.

  16. #16
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Over the years I've had a few orients including the Rainbow Disc!

    The real problem compared to a Seiko or a Citizen - very difficult (impossible?) to service in the UK?

  17. #17
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    ... Citizen is its own confused entity that owns so many brands, all over the world, and never knows what to do next.
    This, more than anything else, is where Citizen is very much an alternative to Seiko! Both are hopelessly confusing, with a welter of confusing brand-names, and bewildering overlaps.

    FWLIW I own no Seikos, and am unlikley to do so, wheras I do own two Citizen watches that I am very taken with - a perfect fit with the direction my collecting has taken in recent times, and available absurdly cheaply for the quality of build:




  18. #18
    when Seiko started to realize that selling cheap benefits no one including its bottom line, its brand name or even customer's recognition, it is a natural move to top up their price tags for new models. It seems Seiko doesn't revise the listed prices for their existing models so variations after variations after....the only exception I notice is the SKX diver line and it price nearly doubled over recent couple of years ever since the 5 Sports was launched.

    Price might be a key to some, but the overall design also plays a lot, therefore, I never have any Citizen / Orient diver so far.

  19. #19
    The three Japanese giantsí rankings in terms of sales are:
    1. Casio
    2. Citizen
    3. Seiko
    So no, Citizen doesnít need to become the new Seiko. It is happy where it is.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by seikomatic View Post
    when Seiko started to realize that selling cheap benefits no one including its bottom line, its brand name or even customer's recognition, it is a natural move to top up their price tags for new models. It seems Seiko doesn't revise the listed prices for their existing models so variations after variations after....the only exception I notice is the SKX diver line and it price nearly doubled over recent couple of years ever since the 5 Sports was launched.

    Price might be a key to some, but the overall design also plays a lot, therefore, I never have any Citizen / Orient diver so far.
    I'm not sure of that, the Seiko 5 can still be bought for £60 - £100 and there are still plenty of Seiko quartz watches in high street shops. Why would Seiko want to miss out on those sales for the benefit of a small number of people willing to pay several thousand for a Grand Seiko?

  21. #21
    Master
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    The Seiko price creep is not a new thing, it has been happening for a very long time.

    When i first started getting into watches the 007 / 009 i could buy for £125.

    Now they are double that price from the same place and the Orient prices barely budged but they still are not popular.

    I think Orient are lacking something in the design and marketing departments, the watches are too boring and generic maybe, im not sure but for me they are lacking something.

  22. #22
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    Volume vs reputation.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    The three Japanese giantsí rankings in terms of sales are:
    1. Casio
    2. Citizen
    3. Seiko
    So no, Citizen doesnít need to become the new Seiko. It is happy where it is.
    Yeah, there's a big difference between the brands watch people laud vs those that people buy.

    Seiko, like Honda, has a lot of reputation for a smaller (volume) company.

    Citizen's reputation, IMO, is too diverse for fanboys to get behind.

    Casio? Don't they make calculators?

  23. #23
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    ...

    I think Orient are lacking something in the design and marketing departments, the watches are too boring and generic maybe, im not sure but for me they are lacking something.
    I agree. There is/was another Japanese company called Ricoh... and I've always felt the same about them. I am not sure if they still exist.

    PS https://thewatchforum.co.uk/index.ph...ricoh-watches/
    Last edited by abraxas; 1st December 2020 at 11:17.

  24. #24
    Master
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    Orient ... the watches are too boring and generic maybe
    Some Orients are boring, but not all. But it's also true for many Seikos (how many are merely minor variants on previous models?) and Citizen alike.


  25. #25
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Do Orient even sell watches in the UK? I've certainly never seen any for sale except on eBay or overseas sites.

    Do Citizen make any mechanical watches? Again, I struggle to think of any.

    If I'm right in that neither is true, how can they be compared to Seiko?

    I'm no Seiko fanboy, but they have a breadth of offering and presence in the UK market that put them in a unique position.

    I would agree, though, that their pricing is pushing them into areas that are hard to justify on spec, which is a shame.

    I have a Citizen 300M Eco-Drive diver that I regularly dive in - It's a great watch for the job, big, chunky and tough, but I never really look at Citizen watches when browsing around.

    Orient? Well, honestly, they always seem quirky to the point of oddness to me - A bit like a 1970s Datsun Cedric... (As the photo in the previous post demonstrates perfectly - I mean 'Weekly Auto Orient King Diver'?!?!??

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 1st December 2020 at 12:06.
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  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Do Orient even sell watches in the UK? I've certainly never seen any for sale except on eBay or overseas sites.

    Do Citizen make any mechanical watches? Again, I struggle to think of any.

    If I'm right in that neither is true, how can they be compared to Seiko?

    I'm no Seiko fanboy, but they have a breadth of offering and presence in the UK market that put them in a unique position.

    I would agree, though, that their pricing is pushing them into areas that are hard to justify on spec, which is a shame.

    I have a Citizen 300M Eco-Drive diver that I regularly dive in - It's a great watch for the job, big, chunky and tough, but I never really look at Citizen watches when browsing around.

    Orient? Well, honestly, they always seem quirky to the point of oddness to me - A bit like a 1970s Datsun Cedric... (As the photo in the previous post demonstrates perfectly - I mean 'Weekly Auto Orient King Diver'?!?!??

    M
    Citizen have lots of automatic watches their diver was a rival to the SKX and a few military around the world I believe used them. They can be found everywhere including Amazon.

    They have plenty of others a quick google search will bring them up. Iguana Sell UK have a few of them they are based in Spain.

    Orient, they are available on Amazon and have been for years, thatís where I picked up my Mako years ago for about £55

  27. #27
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    'Weekly Auto Orient King Diver'?!?!??
    Is it any better named than, for example, a Seiko SGG729P1 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Citizen have lots of automatic watches their diver was a rival to the SKX and a few military around the world I believe used them. They can be found everywhere including Amazon.
    Yes, Amazon can be surprisingly good for sourcing Citizen automatic (and Orient) watches. And if all else fails, eBay has them too.

  28. #28
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Never miss an opportunity to post an old pic. Sadly all gone now, but they are excellent watches for the money. No servicing costs either, just chuck them away and buy another



    At the same time I had a set of the three US dial Mark 1 as well.

  29. #29
    Master sish101's Avatar
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    One from my collection.


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  30. #30
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Orient have a connection to Seiko I believe.

    Orient is owned by Epson which IIRC is part of Seiko.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  31. #31
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    I agree. There is/was another Japanese company called Ricoh... and I've always felt the same about them. I am not sure if they still exist.

    PS https://thewatchforum.co.uk/index.ph...ricoh-watches/
    I haven't seen any new models from them, I guess they have packed in watch making.

    They had some interesting models but not seen too regularly.

    I have a weirdly named Spacer II from I guess the '70's by the style.

    It's a nice thing with a faceted crystal.

    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  32. #32
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Is it any better named than, for example, a Seiko SGG729P1 ?
    'better', no!

    'Worse', possibly, but then Seiko doesn't stick SGG729P1 on the front of their dial in a huge font.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Yes, Amazon can be surprisingly good for sourcing Citizen automatic (and Orient) watches. And if all else fails, eBay has them too.
    I stand corrected on Citizen then, but trawling the web for watches with no UK backup is not what the 'man in the street' is going to be doing.

    So, I don't think either will be the 'new Seiko' - Citizen already fill a niche of their own, I think. Orient probably do too, if they're owned by Epson as, as stated, that is part of the Seiko empire (or vice versa).

    I don't think Epson see Orient as a Euro-centric brand, so I don't see them taking over from Seiko in terms of brand awareness.

    To me, it looks like, worldwide, Seiko have decided to more or less abandon the budget market, relying on sales of the NH3* movements to make them shedloads of money while they push Seiko upmarket.

    M
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  33. #33
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    ...
    It's a nice thing with a faceted crystal...
    Faceted crystals was their main quirk. Even Citizen played with faceted crystals for a while in the late 70s early 80s period.

  34. #34
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    I see a lot of Lorus around. They are also part of Seiko. So Seiko has not deserted the low end of the market, they are just covering it differently.

    I also see a lot of Seiko wall clocks.

  35. #35
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    I see a lot of Lorus around. They are also part of Seiko. So Seiko has not deserted the low end of the market, they are just covering it differently.

    I also see a lot of Seiko wall clocks.
    Fair point, I meant the Seiko brand name was being removed from the budget market.

    The OP said 'this range used to be an accessible gateway to a decent mechanical timepiece' and there's nothing in the Seiko (specifically) range that satisfies that these days.

    M
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  36. #36
    Master
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    I did and believe M is right about this.

  37. #37
    Master BSB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrGrumpy View Post

    Seiko do sell pricey watches, especially Grand Seiko, but they also see watches in the sub £100 bracket as well. I think both are trying to cover every corner of the market, except the Stupidly expensive one!
    Seiko do of course have the Credor brand to satisfy that end of the market with prices up to several hundred thousand GBP.

  38. #38
    Master BSB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    I see a lot of Lorus around. They are also part of Seiko. So Seiko has not deserted the low end of the market, they are just covering it differently.

    I also see a lot of Seiko wall clocks.
    They also own Pulsar which serves the more affordable end of the market.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Fair point, I meant the Seiko brand name was being removed from the budget market.

    The OP said 'this range used to be an accessible gateway to a decent mechanical timepiece' and there's nothing in the Seiko (specifically) range that satisfies that these days.

    M
    As I said, Seiko 5 watches are still readily available for under £100 pretty much everywhere.

  40. #40
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    I'd echo the general sentiment of the thread, Orient feels like the successor, but inaccessible for the average uninitiated high-street buyer.

    Seiko do still serve every price point, but it's clear that the traditionally more desirable models (or their successors) have been moving up the price ladder considerably over the past few years.

    As everyone else seems to be adding a photo of an Orient, here's my favourite from the one's I've owned. I don't own any Seiko, Citizen or Orient anymore after 'the great lockdown purge'


  41. #41
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    As I said, Seiko 5 watches are still readily available for under £100 pretty much everywhere.
    Not the new ones...

    M

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  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Not the new ones...

    M

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    You mean the Seiko 5 sports? Regular Seiko 5 watches are well under £100 there is one on Amazon for £68

  43. #43
    Master
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    Iím a big Seiko fan but will say citizen make a better watch for the money. Thereís very few citizens that appeal visually to me but if you like them Iíd honestly recommend getting one over a Seiko (take the cheap divers for example)

  44. #44
    Master
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    Admittedly in Goldsmiths, but prices for the new Seiko 5 Sports models go from £280 to £430!

  45. #45
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    Orient have a connection to Seiko I believe.

    Orient is owned by Epson which IIRC is part of Seiko.
    Orient itself no longer exists as a separate company it was dissolved about four years ago - I think (but have not seen) all Orients now say Epson on the back which is the actual company.

    Very short version of a complex subject - there are a lot of Businesses with Seiko with the name in them because of a conglomerate called Seiko Group- one of the companies we think of as Seiko is actually a subsidiary of another company called Seiko Holdings and another is Seiko-Epson. So Seiko (the one we know) does not own Epson - although a company with Seiko in the name owns both.

    Anyone want a drink?

  46. #46
    I've had a few Seiko's over the years and still have a few (80+) as I rate them especially ones from the 60s and 70s, I have a few Citizens as well and comparing compatible models I rate them both equal, I prefer some Seiko over Citizen and vice versa. I have also had a few of the low price range Orients and thats what they where, cheap IMO.

    My local AD is a H Samuel and when window shopping these days I always see a few Citizens I quite fancy and a few Casio even but I seldom see a Seiko I fancy but then again H Samuels stock range is pretty crap.

  47. #47
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Speaking of Epson - there is this oddity...

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Admittedly in Goldsmiths, but prices for the new Seiko 5 Sports models go from £280 to £430!
    Easily found for half that.

  49. #49
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    To me, Orient is the new Seiko. In the same way that Tudor is the new Rolex. Citizen is its own confused entity that owns so many brands, all over the world, and never knows what to do next. Bless them.
    Totally agree with this. Orient have some lovely cheap watches

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  50. #50
    I have two orient..

    (1) my cheapest screw-down-crown watch;



    (2) the mustard star


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