The endless challenge of Series 8
Series 8, a collection of modern sporty mechanical watches that debuted in 2021, has entered a new phase with its latest GMT model. HODINKEE Japan’s editor-in-chief Yu Sekiguchi interviewed Citizen’s Shigemi Itoh, the person in charge of product planning. While inheriting the concept of a “modern-style watch from Tokyo,” Series 8 takes a new perspective on the mechanical watch. The two men discussed what makes Series 8 special, Citizen’s goals for the collection, the innovative and experiment-driven design process, and the reasons for incorporating GMT into the latest model.
Series 8 is a reaffirmation of the mechanical watch within the context of the Citizen brand. (Citizen started out as a pocket watch manufacturer and has long been known for its Eco-Drive quartz watches.) The new collection clearly differentiates itself from the models of the same name that were discontinued in 2014.
Sekiguchi： These watches aren’t just replicas or reissues of the previous generation, are they?
Itoh： We designed these watches to complement and accentuate the lifestyle of the wearer.
Citizen retained the “modern” concept from previous models, while also incorporating a new sporty element into the design. The emphasis is on accuracy, durability, and high anti-magnetic resistance, all practical contemporary features suited to a watch designed for everyday use. The collection is designed to fit in with a free, cosmopolitan lifestyle unconstrained by stereotypes or meaningless formalities.
＜Creations Born of Meticulous Testing＞
One of the design details characteristic of the Series 8 is the two-piece bezel construction, which also serves as a design accent for the 870 Mechanical. The collection showcases Citizen's intricate craftsmanship of cutting and machining. Citizen went through a long process of trial and error to figure out what look would best align with the overall aesthetic of Series 8. In the end, they opted for an unusual, slightly coarse hairline finish as a counterpoint to the overall sharpness of the design. There is also a reason why they chose not to use titanium, despite their track record with the metal.
Itoh： We decided that stainless steel was the best choice to convey the weightiness peculiar to mechanical watches.
Sekiguchi： Some people want that certain weightiness, as it provides a sense of luxury.
All of the movements used in the Series 8 collection are based on the slim Caliber 90. Keeping case thickness down helps lower the overall center of gravity and improves comfort and wearability. All Citizen products display this harmony between craftsmanship, materials, and movement.
＜The Beauty of Sharp Edges＞
With the addition of the GMT model to the other three models in Series 8’s ever-evolving lineup, Citizen’s commitment to “sharpness” continues to permeate the design philosophy of the collection. Citizen deliberately designed mirror-finished surfaces that gleam at the edges to generate an interplay of light from bracelet to case, and vice versa.
The new 880 Mechanical pulls in symbolic features from the previous two models’ designs to create a sense of visual cohesion for the entire collection. Citizen also exploited the added thickness that comes with GMT by using a two-piece construction for the sculptural case.
Sekiguchi： Why did you incorporate GMT into these watches?
Itoh： Series 8 was already our global model, and GMT was a great way to communicate that borderless, globe-hopping functionality.
The watch dials feature distinctive designs inspired by aspects of Tokyo. One of these merges a pattern derived from the Tokyo nighttime cityscape of buildings’ lit and unlit windows with a traditional Japanese checkerboard pattern symbolic of prosperity.
＜The Future of Series 8 ＞
Sekiguchi： What are Citizen’s future plans for Series 8?
Itoh： Besides its being our global product, the really big issue is how we can take the mechanical watch to the next stage of evolution.
Going forward, Citizen is committed to making mechanical watches, because they are the most core and fundamental kind of timepiece. Through Series 8, Citizen aims to serve a wide market by offering products with just the right functionality and style for everyday life in today’s world.
Itoh： That’s definitely how we want to grow the brand.
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