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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know a lot of ink has been spilt over this question, but I haven't found any thread that collates the data and miscellaneous info. in a straightforward manner to document the pros and cons of each. I'm ready to pull the trigger on a HAQ and, from what I can tell, two of best options are the GS 9F movement and the Citizen A660, both thermocompensated quartz movements. If you're split between them, which should you choose?

I should disclose in advance that I've only handled the SBGX059 and SBGX061. I've never seen the Citizen Chronomaster in real life (for me it's like the Yeti or Bigfoot or something). That said, the observations presented below are mostly drawn from what I've read across the various forums and blogs, and not so much from first hand experience. I will say, however, that the SBGX061 is especially beautiful, and in person it surpassed my expectations in every way. Also, the Chronomaster is only available in titanium, though the Eco-Drive HAQ counterparts are available in stainless steel. Grand Seiko 9F quartz are available in both titanium and SS. If titanium is a deal-breaker for you, the Chronomaster won’t work.

First of all, fit and finish:

From different things I've read, the slight nod here goes to Grand Seiko. But this is definitely subjective in a lot of respects. In general, however, the GS line is renowned for its finishing. I own the SBGH005 Hi-beat and other Rolex watches (the DJ and Milgauss) and I can confidently say that unquestionably the GS surpasses Rolex with respect to finishing (but this thread isn't GS vs Rolex, so I digress). I think, therefore, that even if the Citizen is superb in this respect, it's hard to imagine it surpasses GS.

Accuracy:

Specs and real-world tests across the internet give the nod to Citizen. The A660 is one of the most accurate quartz movements commercially available. See this thread for an excellent analysis:
TimeZone : Public Forum » Is the Citizen A010 Movement the Best High-Precision Quartz Movement to Date?

Servicing:

I am quite intrigued and compelled by the theoretical 50-Year service interval for the GS; and I haven’t read anything that suggests that the Citizen movement is vacuum sealed in the same way to promote a similar service interval. Thus, nod goes to the GS.

Features:

The A660 movement facilitates independent hour-hand movements when changing time zones (or fall forward, spring back) and contains a perpetual calendar. This is a BIG deal to a lot of people. Nod to Citizen.

Warranty:

Citizen offers 10-year warranty with two free battery changes, one at year 3 and one at year 8. GS provides a 2-year warranty. Nod to Citizen again.

Second Hand & Dial Alignment:

For some, it’s extremely important that the second hand hit the dial markers on each tick. Lots of conflicting reports on this, however. The standard narrative is that, as part of the twin pulse step motor, GS developed a backlash auto-adjust mechanism designed to mitigate vibration of the second hand and ensure the second hand directly aligns with the dial markers. The problem is that real-life performance is sketchy. Some people swear GS excels in this respect. Others say that it’s a luck-of-the-draw kind of thing; some examples perform well in this regard right out of the box, others don’t. A few reports I’ve seen say that if you view the GS second hand under a 10x loupe, it’s all over the place. Sometimes it will hit the marker, sometimes it will hit either side. For my part, I’ll call this a draw, since there is no consensus across the various reports, and since it seems very likely the mileage will vary between examples. Though I think it’s important to note that Grand Seiko specifically designed tech to promote highest second hand performance, and I’m not sure the same is true of Citizen.

Movement Noise:

Neither watch makes an especially audible tick. Most say that the GS 9F is silent unless you put the watch to your ear in a quiet room and listen closely. A few have signaled that the Chronomaster is even more quiet, that if even if you listen intently you’ll be hard-pressed to hear the ticking sound. This reviewer calls The Chronomaster "completely silent":

https://www.watchuseek.com/f9/citizen-ctq57-0961-review-398027.html

Still, not enough valid data to render an objective verdict on this one. Draw.

Luminescence:

Citizen has it, GS doesn’t. This is a draw because it’s purely preference. Some absolutely require lume; others prefer the elegant simplicity of the GS markers.


Conclusion:

Fit and Finish: GS
Accuracy: Citizen
Servicing: GS
Features: Citizen
Warranty: Citizen
Second Hand Alignment: Draw
Movement Noise: Draw
Lume: Draw

Summary:

I’ve tried to outline all the most salient criteria to aid in making the decision. A few final comments, though:

GS just has that “look” that everyone digs. Not sure if Chronomaster can compete in sheer sexiness, though it definitely has its own charm and dignity that grows on you. If you can’t take your eye off the GS and think the 50-year service interval is compelling, then the Grand Seiko is for you. But if you want to know that you’re wearing one of the most accurate commercial quartz watches on planet earth with a good warranty and independent hour hand and perpetual calendar, then The Citizen Chronomaster is for you.


Personal Verdict:

Since I already own the GS SBGH005, I’m almost certainly going to scoop up The Chronomaster. But if I didn’t already own a GS, I can say that the decision would be well nigh impossible. This is one dilemma in which you seriously can't go wrong.

Neither pic is mine. But what's a thread without pics?

sbgx061_d_1024x1024.jpeg
citizen1.jpg
 

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I will be interested in the consensus among the collective here. Thanks for some interesting observations and homework you've assembled. (for me, zero Lume on the GS is a positive..I love the way the hands are finished)
 

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I wouldn't read too much into the 50 year service interval, pretty much any quartz can go an extremely long time and there's a good chance of needing new gaskets, crystal, or case refinishing long before the movement develops issues.

That said, I'm all for the 9F. Seiko invented quartz, the 9F is THE quartz. Citizen may have a leg up in some regards, but all that is meaningless to me when the designs of the watches don't speak to me, and so far all the chronomaster models I have seen look great but too understated for their price IMO
 

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ImageUploadedByTapatalk1442346269.555720.jpg

Both are excellent choices. I prefer the cleaner look of the GS with no lume for wearing to work. I have sport watches with stellar lume for non-office hours.

The features on The Citizen are admirable though. Difficult choice.
 

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Thanks for the excellent comparison between these 2 HAQ giants. I've had the pleasure of owning several examples of THE CITIZEN and GS models over the years and I hope you don't mind me weighing in on the part you weren't too sure about...

Between the 2 I generally like the overall GS design better than the Citizens BUT in terms of fit and finish you'll be surprised to discover that the Citizen Chronomasters and Eco Drive models hold their own quite well against the more publicized greatness of the GS finish. For me I'd call it a DRAW if the comparison is new vs. new or fresh out of the factory but with constant use the Citizen can maintain it's appearance longer because they all come duratect coated - even the Chronomasters steel variant - they are not all titanium, they have a steel variant too in the ctq57-1203. The typical GS SS models however are more prone to normal scratches and may lose it's luster faster than the citizen.

Both watches are great though so can't go wrong with either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
in terms of fit and finish you'll be surprised to discover that the Citizen Chronomasters and Eco Drive models hold their own quite well against the more publicized greatness of the GS finish. For me I'd call it a DRAW if the comparison is new vs. new or fresh out of the factory but with constant use the Citizen can maintain it's appearance longer because they all come duratect coated
That's really fascinating. I hadn't read that anywhere. Most Chronomaster owners aren't touting that as a perk. I mean, titanium metal with duratect coating seems like a major advantage goes to Citizen. If I was leaning hard that way already, you might have just pushed me over the edge.
 

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Honestly to me they look almost identical so personally between the two if I had to get one I'd just get whichever is least expensive, which I'm guessing will be the Citizen. Certainly the Duratect would be a bonus as well.
 

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I have an SBGX061 and love it but would love it more if it had an independently adjustable hour hard and a perpetual calendar. IMO, there are the two features that would sway me to Citizen if it were my only watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd just get whichever is least expensive said:
which I'm guessing will be the Citizen.[/B] Certainly the Duratect would be a bonus as well.
Citizen Chronomaster roughly $2100 USD and GS SBGX061 roughly $1700 USD. I think the Seiko might be a little bit more inexpensive.
 

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I had seen elsewhere that the Citizen date cuts over crisply at exactly midnight. The Seiko casually rolls over several minutes later.

Most people don't care but to me the precision and attention to detail are compelling.

Ti + Duratect + perpetual calendar are a plus too. Newer models are eco-drive with a PR indicated.
 

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i think i may prefer the chronomaster in the HAQ ( GS vs CTZ )

but not by a landslide

and yes 1750 gs and 2100 ctz is what i found as well
 

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Also consider including a bracelet comparo. The GS one is extremely comfortable but lacks the bling factor of the polished bits on the Citizen.
 

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Thanks for the comparison and food for thought. I have often thought which one Id go for if I were in a position to do so.


I like them both but what I dont like about GS is the lack of lume. So between the 2 Id get the Chronomaster.

The white / cream / champagne dial looks good but I prefer Black dials - then the only thing bothering me is that Citizen use a white date wheel on the Black chronomaster. Not really a deal breaker for me although I think a black date wheel would be more fitting.

Theres a Black date wheel on the eco drive variants I think - I like eco drive but I think the power reserve indicators on these models look unsightly and more to the point they are unnecessary on an eco drive watch...
 

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About the service:

After a long telephone call with the Citizen service center Europe (Hamburg). All Eco-Drive watches need the accumulator replaced after 10 - 15 years, 10 years recommended. (maybe Citizen will replace the accumulator for free in the free 8th years service of the current Chronomaster line?!)

Seiko: Every three years new Battery, lets say every 3th battery chance new gaskets.

So the main difference is

..................Seiko..................................................................................Citizen.....................

3. year Battery chance local watchmaker (1 hour) 10 €...................Back to Japan ( 3 - 5 months) free
6. year Battery chance local watchmaker (1 hour) 10 €..................................–– 0 ––
9. year National service center (2 - 3 weeks) 50 €..........................Back to Japan ( 3 - 5 months) free

Seiko additional cost in the first 10 years about 70 €......................Citizen no additional cost
Watch in service: 2 - 3 weeks......................................................Watch in service: 6 - 10 months

Yes, Citizen makes the better technology (independent hour hand, hands auto correction, Eco-Drive), but the GS will stay at home ;-)

So for me GS – Christmas is coming :)
 

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Both are excellent choices. I prefer the cleaner look of the GS with no lume for wearing to work. I have sport watches with stellar lume for non-office hours. The features on The Citizen are admirable though. Difficult choice.
There are some non-lume Citizens, discontinued but still in stock at a number of suppliers.



And quite a few Eco-Drive models without lume:



I like eco drive but I think the power reserve indicators on these models look unsightly and more to the point they are unnecessary on an eco drive watch...
I don't mind the power reserve indicators but they have now introduced Eco-Drive models without them:



I had seen elsewhere that the Citizen date cuts over crisply at exactly midnight. The Seiko casually rolls over several minutes later.
Not quite, The Citizen (A660, A010 & A060) rolls over smoothly at exactly midnight, all of the Seiko 9F movements snap over in the blink of an eye, usually at 5 to 7 minutes past midnight.
 

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Originally Posted by Glenno

I don't mind the power reserve indicators but they have now introduced Eco-Drive models without them:


Interesting - that looks nice but like the GS, wheres the lume ? - all I need is one with a black dial and black date wheel and lume ! and I might have to start saving! Is there such a beast ? I can do my own research but if you happen to know GlennO ?...
 
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