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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It seems that compared to Grand Seiko’s quartz lineup, The Citizen Chronomaster has barely seen any attention/recognition. On top of that, the model that I have doesn’t seem to have any reviews online, and thus today I would like to share my thoughts on the AQ4020-54Z.

Simply called “The Citizen” (and some given the “Chronomaster” label as well), these HAQ watches are offered in either standard battery-operated movements or with eco-drive movements. What attracted me the most were the models which have “washi” paper dials. These dials are nothing short of beautiful, only rivaled by GS snowflake dials. There was one Chronomaster in particular that stood out to me.

The AQ4020-54Z
Released in August 2019, this was a limited edition JDM release with only 200 made, making it a challenge to purchase (more on that later). The watch is 37.5mm in diameter and 10.6mm thick. As someone who has 6-inch wrists (no watch above 40mm will fit me), I found the size to be perfect. Even though I purchased it used, the condition was nice overall and there were only a few minor scuff marks on the bracelet. You can immediately tell that it’s a titanium case based on how light it is.

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The Chronomaster in brightly lit conditions. What I noticed immediately was faint line streaking across the left side of the dial. At first I thought the dial was damaged, or there was a hair stuck inside the dial, but upon closer inspection I think it might just be an imperfection from the washi paper. Either way, it's barely noticeable. You can also see how the case and indices have zaratsu polishing to them, giving a watch a beautiful reflective shine. (Also it looks like the second hand is offset, but I assure you it's just the camera angle. The second hand hits the minute markers perfectly when looking at the watch straight on).

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Here's a photo in dimmer-lit conditions. As you can see, the dial texture changes depending on the angle and amount of light.


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A "macro" shot of the dial. You can see how the text appears to be slightly floating. The second hand reflects off the dial face, which is likely due to the fact that there's a plastic coating on top of the washi paper to protect it from damage and is how all the indices and markers are attached.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the AQ4020-54Z. Red-dials aren’t a common occurrence, but thankfully Citizen did not disappoint with this watch. My only complaints are that the crown isn’t signed, there’s no micro-adjust on the bracelet, and there’s only a 1-year international warranty. But besides that, the dial is beautiful, it fits comfortably, and I think its worthy of the title “Chronomaster".

Where I purchased it, and how much it cost
I used FromJapan, which is a proxy service that lets you bid on Yahoo Japan Auction items. The watch itself cost 250,000 yen, with fees and shipping costing another 10,000. At the time, this translated to around 3450CAD (2500 USD). It wasn’t cheap, but given the fact that it costs 360,000yen (w/taxes) brand new, and the fact that I wasn’t charged any import fees, it definitely could’ve cost more!

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The AQ4020s are nice. The red dial & gold "accuracy" eagle of the -54Z are a bit too much for me (I have the plain black dial -03E), but I enjoyed your review & agree w/your other assessments of the model line.
 

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Nice review and beautiful watch! Aesthetically, these Citizen HAQ's with washi dials call to me more than Grand Seikos for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The AQ4020s are nice. The red dial & gold "accuracy" eagle of the -54Z are a bit too much for me (I have the plain black dial -03E), but I enjoyed your review & agree w/your other assessments of the model line.
I was actually tempted to buy the -03E a little while ago (there was one for sale on the private sellers forum). It definitely has a subtle subtle theme to it, which is a lot different compared to the -54Z.
 

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Congrats on a cool watch :)

A "macro" shot of the dial. You can see how the text appears to be slightly floating. The second hand reflects off the dial face, which is likely due to the fact that there's a plastic coating on top of the washi paper to protect it from damage and is how all the indices and markers are attached.

It´s a "sandwich" dial with a glass disk that the indices and text are on, so it´s not a plastic coating
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Discussion Starter #7
It´s a "sandwich" dial with a glass disk that the indices and text are on, so it´s not a plastic coating
View attachment 15325048
Are you sure? Time and Tide Watches posted an article about the paper dials, and they said it was a plastic layer (I guess plastic coating isn't the best way to describe it)


also same with this review article
 

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Two beautiful watches there chaps. Nice being 'proper' limited editions too. Not 10,000 of each! ;)
 

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Are you sure? Time and Tide Watches posted an article about the paper dials, and they said it was a plastic layer (I guess plastic coating isn't the best way to describe it)


also same with this review article
When I was in the flagship store in Ginza, they had stands with different movements and watches in pieces and parts on display. The guy who fitted my wifes watch said it was "crystal" on the 54Y that was on display. My eco-drive ONE also have a dial in saphire crystal with the solar panel glued on the back side of it. I can´t be 100% sure if he only used the term crystal instead of plastic if that´s the case, but it makes more sense its made of glass than plastic I think :)
 

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When I was in the flagship store in Ginza, they had stands with different movements and watches in pieces and parts on display. The guy who fitted my wifes watch said it was "crystal" on the 54Y that was on display. My eco-drive ONE also have a dial in saphire crystal with the solar panel glued on the back side of it. I can´t be 100% sure if he only used the term crystal instead of plastic if that´s the case, but it makes more sense its made of glass than plastic I think :)
I have generally read plastic, too. Not really a concern for me, just saying I’ve read the same thing.

OP, I have to say the red looks way better in your pics than the renderings I let saw of this LE that left me underwhelmed. Wow. One thing I’ve always wondered about on the Chronomaster models is the indices. They look a lot thinner than GS’s. How do they compare?
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I have generally read plastic, too. Not really a concern for me, just saying I’ve read the same thing.

OP, I have to say the red looks way better in your pics than the renderings I let saw of this LE that left me underwhelmed. Wow. One thing I’ve always wondered about on the Chronomaster models is the indices. They look a lot thinner than GS’s. How do they compare?
Yeah it frustrates me how a lot of watches aren't given enough credit simply because the photos online don't do them justice. As for the indices, I haven't owned or seen a GS in real life unfortunately so I can't make the best comparison. The indices on the chronomaster are definitely on the thin side, but it is a smaller watch so I have no issues with it. And the polishing makes them catch the light even in dimly lit conditions, which makes up for the lack of lume imo.
 

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The red -54Z is absolutely my favorite of The Citizen limited editions I have seen, and from what I have seen you got it for a steal at $2500. My wife and I are talking about going to Japan next year (assuming international travel is ok by then) and I plan to buy a paper dial Chronomaster while I am there. If I can find a 54Z at that point I will definitely jump on it. There is another red dial limited edition for this year but it isn’t washi paper and to my eye it doesn’t look as good (although the lume is a plus)

The only thing I would change about the 54z is the text color. The Citizen logo is silver, the eagle is gold, and “Chronomaster” is white. Pick a color!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The red -54Z is absolutely my favorite of The Citizen limited editions I have seen, and from what I have seen you got it for a steal at $2500. My wife and I are talking about going to Japan next year (assuming international travel is ok by then) and I plan to buy a paper dial Chronomaster while I am there. If I can find a 54Z at that point I will definitely jump on it. There is another red dial limited edition for this year but it isn’t washi paper and to my eye it doesn’t look as good (although the lume is a plus)

The only thing I would change about the 54z is the text color. The Citizen logo is silver, the eagle is gold, and “Chronomaster” is white. Pick a color!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That never occurred to me how many colors they have on the dial, but good point! I definitely wish the Citizen logo was white instead of silver, it can be hard to see when it's dark out.
 
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