Citizen Unveils their Latest Washi Paper Dials from “The Citizen” Collection

As I’ve gotten more and more involved in the watch world over the years, something that’s become a great interest to me is accessible craft in watchmaking. We all know that you can spend five figures (or more) on a watch and get a movement with meticulously hand finished and polished bevels, for instance, but what I’m really drawn to is the brands that are able to do impressive things the old fashioned way at more accessible price points. Think of anOrdain’s enamel dials, for instance, or the handmade silver cases from James Lamb. We frequently look to smaller operations for this kind of work, but large brands are capable of surprising us with unusual craft techniques as well, and we were reminded of that a few weeks with the introduction of a pair of new watches by Citizen using their impressive Washi paper dials. 

These watches fall into The Citizen collection from Citizen, one of my favorite names for a collection, even as it drives my editor brain kind of insane. Yes, the watches are called “The Citizen” in the same way the iconic diver made by Rolex is the “Submariner.” I’ll be honest, I don’t know the origin of the use of the definite article in the collection’s name, or anything about the decision to name these watches after the brand itself. Frankly, I don’t want to know, because I like the story I’ve created in my head of Citizen creating a collection that they feel perfectly defines their brand to such a degree that you could call it The Citizen. It is the essential Citizen, the Citizen to rule them all. That makes sense to me. 


Watches in The Citizen collection are always special, and these new additions to the Iconic Nature series are no exception. These two new references are inspired by flowers and birds, which Citizen points out have been used as motifs for traditional Japanese artwork going back centuries. They are made with Tosa Washi paper, an incredibly thin paper traditionally used in Japan as screens to bring soft, natural light into interior living spaces. They are handmade by artisans who specialize in working with the material, and both the teal and brownish green dials seen here feature gradient effects and textures that are meant to come alive in the light. Each dial is also adorned with the classic Citizen eagle logo near the 6:00 position, and features subtle patterns and textures in the paper that are meant to evoke the natural world. 

While the dials have an outward, craft centered beauty that is impossible to ignore, the cases and movements used in these watches are classic Citizen in the sense that they leverage the brand’s industrial watchmaking prowess to the highest degree. Each 38.3mm case is crafted from Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium material, which they claim is five times harder than stainless steel and largely scratch and corrosion resistant. The reference AQ4100-22W (the teal dial) has been given a platinum Duratect coating, while the AQ4106-00W (with the brown gradient dial) has a “Sakura Pink” gold Duratect application. 

The movement is Citizen’s high end A060 caliber, an Eco-Drive movement that runs on solar power (the Washi paper has real functionality here, naturally allowing light to pass through the dial and charge the movement) and is accurate to +/- 5 seconds per year. That’s just about as accurate as you can expect a quartz movement to get, and this movement is also a perpetual calendar and features a travel friendly independently adjustable hour hand.

These watches are a fascinating reflection of how a large brand (one of the largest there is) can go big with a tech forward, best-in-class movement, and also still focus on traditional aspects of watchmaking with a beautifully intricate dial. Each is a limited edition of 300 pieces, with the teal dial carrying a retail price of $3,925 and the brown dialed version coming in at $4,125. Citizen

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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.

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