A New Citizen Challenge Timer for the Japanese Domestic Market Has Us Firing up the Translators and Currency Converters

From way, way across the pond, we have word through a series of automatically translated Instagram posts served up through the trusty algorithm that the much loved Citizen “Bullhead” Challenge Timer chrono is back, with a quartz movement and a slick straight link bracelet. If you’re a faithful reader of Worn & Wound, you no doubt remember Zach W’s story on how this very watch (the gold version) was miscast in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood. That film, quite famously, takes place in 1969, a year that this watch simply could not have existed. We’re unsure if the film caused a renewed interest in the Challenge Timer to the point that Citizen would decide to reproduce a modern version of it, but for watch lovers it was basically the third billed star of the movie, so it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if that’s the case. 


This is a release for the Japanese domestic market, and as such, we don’t have a ton of information on it. But from what we can piece together from social media posts Google-translated sales listings, what we have here is a fairly authentic recreation of the original Challenge Timer from the 70s in terms of the watch’s aesthetic. Dials in dark navy, panda, and reverse panda variations will be available, though it appears the reverse panda version might be a limited edition for specific Japanese retailers. The case size is a modest 38mm, which is the same as the original, and it appears that the curvy lines of the vintage Challenge Timer have been faithfully recreated. Bright orange accents are present on the sub-registers, and the bracelet appears to be straight out of the 70s as well, though after spending some time with this watch via Tarantino’s movie, it’s hard to see this on anything other than a bund strap. 

Dial text reveals the biggest change from the original watch to the recreation, and that’s that this new version uses a quartz movement. For a fun watch like this at a value oriented price point (it appears to sell for the equivalent of about $250), we’re more than OK with a quartz caliber. The fact that for an American collector these watches might be difficult to track down adds a bit to the mystique and negates any lingering disappointment that these don’t use mechanical movements. 

At this time, we have no indication from Citizen that this watch is going to be available in the United States anytime soon. But these things change all the time, and a decision to bring the Challenge Timer to US shores after a run in Japan wouldn’t be unprecedented. It’s also completely possible that it will simply never be sold through official channels in the United States, and the watch will develop a cult following among enthusiasts who are inclined to import them. If that’s you, check out this Japanese retail listing. And if you happen to bring one of these stateside, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’d love to hear your impressions of this reissue in the metal.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.