This Tourbillon Watch from Citizen Is Kind of Surreal

A brand known for its solar-powered watches is making one of mechanical watchmaking’s most complex movements.

This month, Citizen unveiled its first-ever tourbillon watch. Yes, the Japanese watchmaker most known for its line of affordable, solar-powered quartz watches is making a watch with one of the most expensive, tricky-to-master mechanical watch movements imaginable. The Citizen Tourbillon Y01 is, unsurprisingly, a limited-edition watch (as in, only two are being made) to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Daimaru, a Japanese department store that started way, way back in 1717 as a dry-goods store.

Given that Citizen’s entire lineup is made up of quartz, on the surface, it’s a surprising move. But Citizen is a company with serious resources. It has its own mechanical movement-making firm (Miyota), it sells its own luxury watches under its Campanola brand and, in recent years, it has bought up several watchmakers — notably Swiss mechanical watch manufacturers like La Joux Perret and Frederique Constant Group. While you’d think it’d be outsourced to Switzerland, the movement was purportedly designed and manufactured by Citizen in Tokyo and has been in the works since 2014. Regardless, seeing one of watchmaking’s most complex movements in a brand known for solar-power watches is kind of surreal.

Regardless, the hand-wound movement looks like a real gem. The tourbillon itself uses titanium, and the movement’s lovely Geneva stripes are visible through the exhibition case back. Beyond the movement, the dial is made from enamel and the 42mm case is white gold. Unsurprisingly, given its rarity and precious case and movement, the watch isn’t cheap — it’s approximately $90,000. It’s available for purchase June 17, through Daimaru.

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