With its borrowed shape and an outrageously high price tag, the new Citizen Signature Grand Touring Automatic leaves, um, a very strange taste in your mouth. Although the Japanese brand’s desire to make some money on an easily recognizable design of a watch that many lust for, but only a few can actually afford is somewhat understandable, it is really a shame to see this sort of trick played by such a respectable manufacturer.
To be frank, I am experiencing a very unpleasant feat of cognitive dissonance right now. Although I respect the Japanese brand for the millions of inexpensive, yet high-quality watches that it makes opening the world of horology to literally millions of people who would otherwise have to make do with a lot less impressive plastic garbage from you-know-who, I can’t help but giggle hysterically just looking at this object. Probably made to support their push into the segment of entry-premium watches, the new Citizen Signature Grand Touring self-winding timekeeper looks more like a bastardized version of a Panerai, rather than a halo model that an enthusiast would pay around $1000 to lay his hands upon it.
I agree that it is really difficult to make an original-looking watch in a niche where just about any cushion-shaped timekeeper is constantly referenced to one of Panerai models. However, in this particular case the Japanese watchmaking brand looks like they didn’t even try to make something original.
On the contrary, the Signature Grand Touring looks like the main idea behind it was creating gadget that would look as close to a Panerai without inflicting any copyright charges from the Italian brand.
I am not just talking about main proportions. Look, for example, at the crown guards: although Citizen’s lawyers can always argue that the guards serve a certain function of protecting the setting crown from all sorts of shocks, it is clear that their main function is to look like the patented crown lock system that was designed by Panerai and used for years in their Luminor series.
The same goes to the deliberately vintage-looking, even crude leather strap, as well as to the black PVD-treated surface of its massive body 44 millimeters in diameter.
The only thing that clearly tells you that this watch is light years behind the Italian watchmaking giant is, of course, the dial that looks as tasteless as a gold-plated iPhone in a priest’s hand.
I may sound like a true hater here, but in all honesty I just can’t imagine a grown person shelling out from $995 to $1195 US dollars for this thing. I really do think that this watch needs to be refreshed for the next year with something that would make it look a bit more unique.
On a good side, the watch is equipped with a new Citizen/Miyota Caliber 9010. Made in Japan and featuring a hacking second hand (a very useful function for those who like their watches to keep good time), the mechanism seems to be reliable and precise. It is also finished quite nicely with the Japanese version of vertical Geneva stripes and a skeletonized oscillating weight, although here I, too, see poorly finished parts that sort of spoil the impression of a well-built movement.
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 0/5
Citizen Signature Grand Touring Automatic watch specification
Price: $1000 – $1200 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 9010, Made in Japan
Number of jewels: 24
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel (ref. NB0070-57E) / Black PVD steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.00 mm
Lug width: 23.00 mm
Hour markers: Applied, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap with steel or steel black PVD buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent