Seiko vs Citizen: Is There A Clear Winner? –

Photo of author
Written by:

Jacky Chou

Citizen is a Japanese watch brand that launched in 2008. The Citizen Eco-Drive technology uses light to power the quartz movement and never needs batteries or winding, so it never stops working. Seiko on the other hand has been producing watches since 1881 and they have won accolades for their quality timepieces with worldwide recognition.

Citizen and Seiko are two of the most popular watch brands in the world. There is a lot of debate over which one is better, but there is no clear winner. Read more in detail here: citizen vs seiko vs tissot.

Is There A Clear Winner In The Seiko vs. Citizen Battle?

It's difficult to decide between the Seiko Sumo and Turtle models from the Prospex line of fashionable diving watches.

Yes, as you can see from the photographs above, there are some glaring discrepancies in size, style, and form. The devil, in my view, is in the details, however.

Therefore, in this comparative study, I'll delve in-depth (gotta love a good pun) and examine what, if anything, separates the two models beyond their appealing titles. 

The Differences Between Seiko & Citizen

When comparing Seiko with Citizen, there are a few things to consider. 

Technology and motions come first. Because many consumers base their watch purchases on the components and features of the timepiece.

I'll next look at how their styles vary from one another. When it comes to style, Seiko is a touch more traditional, but it's still a close call.

Third, quality and lifespan are the most difficult to compare. But I'll give it a go nonetheless.

Technology & Movements

The choice of technology between Seiko and Citizen is one of the greatest distinctions.

There aren't many mechanical watches available from Citizen since they have decided to concentrate nearly entirely on Quartz movements. Their Eco-Drive technology, which is essentially solar-powered timepieces, is another area in which they have a lot of investment. 

Although Seiko also makes solar watches, neither their quality nor their selection compares well to Citizen's.

With the use of Astron and Satellite Wave technology, Seiko and Citizen both produce watches that retain accurate time. This is one of their most cutting-edge inventions that also incorporates solar, and they both like pushing the envelope.

Seiko likewise utilizes a lot of quartz, but the largest technological distinction may be in their use of automatic (mechanical) movements (apart from the Solar offerings).

Seiko is thus your best option if you desire a mechanical or self-winding watch. Just bear in mind that even if you meet the Swiss Chronometer criteria (-4 to +6 seconds each day), the accuracy will suffer greatly since you just cannot compete with a Quartz watch.

Oh, and Citizen does produce automatic timepieces, but not a lot of them.

Seiko vs Citizen Style & Design

It's difficult to compare, but most people will agree that Citizen appears to push the envelope a little bit more than Seiko, who prefers to stick with more tried-and-true (or "old school") designs.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the norm, but in general, this is unquestionably the case.

Here are a few examples of their usual timepieces to prove this. The first three are iconic Seiko models and many of the most well-known. 

The first is the SNK 809, a nylon-banded daily beater watch that is very inexpensive. This watch is popular because it is affordable and dependable.

Aside from the very expensive Seiko Grand brand watches, Seiko also produces various fashionable and reasonably priced dress watches. 

One such instance is the SNK793 listed below. Another is the well-known Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time, which you can see in this article I did on well-known Seikos for under $500.

Seiko Timepieces

Field Watch, Seiko 5 SNK809

SEIKO Men's SNK809 SEIKO 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Black Canvas Strap
  • To the start the watch initially, swing from side to side in a...
  • 37 mm stainless steel case and Hardlex mineral dial window and...

Seiko Dress Watch SNK793

SEIKO 5 Men's SNK793 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Dial
  • Classic stainless steel bracelet watch with exhibition back...
  • Age Group : Adult ; 36 mm stainless steel case with Hardlex dial...
  • Automatic movement with analog display. Assembled product...
  • Silver-tone bracelet with deployment-clasp closure
  • Water resistant to 30m: In general, suitable for swimming and...

SKX007-Dive Watch by Seiko

SEIKO Men's Automatic Analogue Watch with Rubber Strap SKX007K
  • Quality Japanese Automatic movement; Functions without a battery;...
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Case diameter: 42 mm
  • Stainless-steel case; Black dial; Date-and-day functions
  • Water resistant to 660 feet (200 M): suitable for recreational...

Compared to Seiko, Citizen offers fewer models that are well-known, however there are few. One is their Nighhawk model, which is seen below and is somewhat similar to Seiko's Flightmaster but yet distinctive. 

They have several models in this manner, but don't be fooled; they also have others that are quite straightforward and have more basic looks.

Watches by Citizen

Promaster Nighthawk Citizen

Citizen Mens Promaster Nighthawk Black Stainless Steel Strap
  • With a 42mm three-piece case, the Promaster Nighthawk from...
  • Dual Time (Second Time Zone), Date
  • Black Stainless Steel
  • Luminous Hands and Markers and Mineral Crystal
  • 200 Meters Water Resistant and 5 Year Limited Warranty

Eco-Drive Chrono by Citizen

Citizen Eco-Drive Garrison Quartz Men's Watch, Stainless Steel with Nylon strap, Field watch, Green...
  • Military-inspired stainless steel watch with round dial, red...
  • Japanese quartz movement with analog display. Operating...
  • Charges in natural sunlight or indoor light;Case Size 39mm
  • Features include protective mineral crystal dial window, date...
  • Water resistant to 330 feet (100 M): suitable for snorkeling, as...

Seiko vs Citizen - Accuracy, Quality & Longevity

Many watch enthusiasts on forums will debate with you on either side of this highly contentious topic. Like with everything made, it depends on the model, the year, and a little bit of luck.

Seiko will struggle to maintain time since they provide a lot more mechanical timepieces. After all, a Quartz is unbeatably accurate. 

But outside of Switzerland, mechanical watches are the most reasonably priced and cutting-edge.

Some would argue that Citizen has an advantage in today's manufacturing quality, but I haven't seen any conclusive research on this, so I won't comment. 

They are both sizable businesses with a track record of producing high-quality timepieces at competitive prices.

The only significant distinction, in my opinion, is that Seiko manufactures watches under the Grand Seiko name that rival those made in Switzerland and are of remarkable beauty and craftsmanship. In this range, Citizen has nothing. However, they are pretty similar in the low to mid range.

Seiko vs Citizen - Company History & Brands

Examining the histories of these two well-known watch manufacturers is another method to compare them.

Seiko began making watches in Japan in the late 1800s, and their first wristwatch was released in 1913. Seiko has a somewhat longer history of manufacturing watches than Citizen. 

Via acquisitions made through its parent firm, Seiko Epson, they have continued to expand their scope and depth of knowledge. Orient, which creates the gorgeous Bambino series, is one of their most well-known sub-brands.  

They also have the Grand Seiko brand, which is developed separately to the rest of the Seiko Timepieces and produces very high-end watches that hold their value for decades.

Seiko's history is a touch longer than Citizen's, and Citizen's is also a little more intriguing in many aspects. Even though it was also established in Japan, Schmid, the owner, registered it first in Switzerland. 

Since then, they have maintained their Swiss-Japanese alliance, which makes a lot of sense considering the watchmaking skill in both nations.

In some aspects, Citizen has expanded its reach beyond Seiko, acquiring many more brands, including Bulova (and Caravelle), as well as certain Swiss brands, such Frederique Constant and Alpina. 

They are also widely known for producing mass-market Quartz movements that can be found in several watches on the market under the Miyoto brand, which is somewhat comparable to the Swatch brand of ETA in Switzerland.

Which brand should you choose: Citizen or Seiko?

Although there isn't an obvious victor in this contest between Japanese watchmakers, there are certain limitations that are worth being aware of.

1. Citizen offers a far wider selection and a longer lifespan with their Eco-Drive collection of watches if you're looking for a quartz and solar-powered watch.

2. Keep in mind that mechanical watches will never be as accurate as quartz watches, yet Seiko is the best option in this situation. Whether it's their very cost-effective Seiko 5 line or the opulent Grand Seikos.

Last but not least, both of their lines provide a broad variety of styles, with Seiko often being a touch less creative, albeit not always. 

Look around online or at your neighborhood dealer to see what catches your eye. You won't likely be dissatisfied either way, I think!

Citizen is a Japanese company that specializes in making high-quality watches. Seiko is an American company that has been around for over 100 years. The two companies have many similarities, but are also different in their own ways. Citizen offers a variety of watches, while seiko only makes one model. Reference: seiko vs citizen dive watch.

Related Tags

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the co-founder of Uberwrists and has gotten into watches from his father from a young age. His first watch was a black G Shock that was comedically large for his wrist. He appreciates watches from Seiko to a Patek Philippe.

Leave a Comment