The Next Moonwatch? How Citizen Is Shooting For The Stars With Its Latest Titanium Release
The Citizen Titanium Technology 50th Anniversary Limited Model SATELLITE WAVE GPS F950 pays respect to one of the brand’s past milestones and plans for a rather astronomical one in the future.
Here’s a bit of watch trivia for you: Who released the world’s first titanium timepiece? Based on the market today, you may think of a brand along the lines of Audemars Piguet, Hublot, or Panerai. In fact, it wasn’t the Swiss, or the Italians, or even the Germans. No, it was Japanese watchmaker Citizen that launched the titanium X-8 chronometer in 1970.
The name for the piece comes from a combination of “x” signifying the unknown and “8,” which is essentially the infinity symbol turned vertically. Together, “X-8” represents the seemingly infinite possibilities of titanium. Is it a bit hokey? Sure, but that’s marketing for ya. And besides, making the first titanium watch – 99.6% titanium purity at that – is bound to inspire some poetical thinking.
The Birth Of Super Titanium
In the decades following the release of the X-8, Citizen continued to improve upon its use of titanium. Through research & development, the manufacturer was able to minimize the metal’s shortcomings – namely its softness, vulnerability to scratching, and its resistance to machining and polishing. In the year 2000, three decades after the launch of the X-8, Citizen released the ASPEC World Time which debuted the use of the brand’s proprietary Super Titanium™.
The material uses Duratect to increase scratch resistance while maintaining titanium’s signature lightness. The other advantages of this new Super Titanium™? It, according to the brand, is significantly easier to machine and polish than its untreated counterpart, and it enables the application of a wide range of colors from silver to black, yellow gold, pink gold, brass, and bronze.
To Infinity and Beyond
Last year, Citizen announced its partnership with the Japanese space exploration startup, ispace. The company, which resembles a SpaceX for Asia, is competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, which will award a $20 million prize to the first private company to land a craft on the moon. The goal of the project is to encourage accessible space exploration business models and inspire future generations of STEM students.
Citizen, for its part of the collaboration, is lending its Super Titanium™ material for use in the project’s lunar lander and lunar rover vehicles. To be clear, this is an uncrewed mission, so no wristwatches will be required, but it does will represent a historic milestone for the brand should the mission prove successful.
A Big Watch With A Big Name (And A Big Price!)
To honor both the 50-year anniversary of the world’s first titanium watch and celebrate the upcoming lunar mission, Citizen is releasing the Titanium Technology 50th Anniversary Limited Model SATELLITE WAVE GPS F950.
The F950 (title shortened for brevity) uses the more easily machinable Super Titanium™ to create a highly angular case and bracelet. Adding to that, the black dial is comprised of six layers to mimic the depths of outer space.
The F950 uses the brand’s solar-powered Eco-Drive technology to continually recharge the battery-operated movement. As we saw with similar releases from the brand like the Promaster Tough, the Eco-Drive technology significantly bolsters the reliability of the watch. In the F950, for instance, the movement will never need a replacement battery and can operate within a range of 5 seconds per month with a “power reserve” of 5 years when fully charged.
Given that titanium is 60% lighter than steel, the watch will be diminutive in weight, but at 47mm x 14.67mm, it will be far from small. Another thing about this watch that is not small is the price tag. The watch, which will be offered in a U.S. limited run of 550 pieces in December of this year, is priced at $5,000.
Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
In addition to the 50th Anniversary F950 watch, Citizen will release a trio of timepieces in August of this year for a new collection called Citizen Super Titanium™ Armor. The three pieces feature similarly sharp lines as the F950 and the same Eco-Drive technology powering the movement.
The pieces feature quirky details such as hidden crowns on the chronograph models CA7058-55E and CA7050-57H and a crown at four o’clock on the time-and-date AW1660-51H. The cases come in more reasonable sizes from 41mm-44mm. And the prices? A reasonable and relieving range of $550-$650. And with that, we return safely back down to Earth.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)