Image from Arizona Fine Time. All others from ablogtoread.com
Wow, just look at it. Those lumed, blued super cool shaped hands. Hour markers and date window perhaps slightly reminiscent of the AT8500. I think it looks awesome. In house movement, of course, and, most importantly, this watch is priced in the no-man's land of about $1000 before discount.
This is a significant piece. Citizen has shown no real interest in the mid-level mechanical market in a long time. They've had solid entry level offerings for as long as I've been looking at Citizens with some really attractive pieces. Although they were priced to reflect this, movement wise, they really weren't ready to play with the big dogs. But Citizen decided it wanted some of that sweet, sweet ETA 2824 and 2892 market and made the Cal. 9015 (around 2010). Now, I should note up front, I'm not totally sure this new Citizen is using a 9015, or if it is, is it modified. I think it's a high probability though.
She's a looker. For the price, anyway. It's a full featured movement too. 42 hour power reserve, 28.8k bph, 24 jewels, automatic, hacking and handwinding. Interestingly, like all other current Miyotas, this also features unidirectional winding. While Citizen/Miyota can't claim to have had the epiphany JLC did since it's always made unidirectional winders, the substantial group of WUS members who take JLC's claim as proof positive should be delighted to know they can get something similar here. I don't know if it uses any exotic materials for the interface, however.
One should look take a second look at that movement, actually. Then look down at your ETA-based "Swiss" watch. Finally, take a moment to mark this time in your mind. I predict that within 5-10 years, a large portion of the movement world occupied by ETA today will be occupied by this in the future, or its derivatives. It's probably not a coincidence that the various incarnations are made to meet or exceed the performance of the 2824, but is in fact almost the exact same size. Almost as if it was designed to simply drop in.
Naturally, these will have to be filtered through Citizen's new subsidiaries in Switzerland in order to satisfy the presumptions of luxury watch buyers who find it simply implausible than an Asian could make a passable watch, so the name on the rotor will be different, and even the source will, apparently, be different, but in the end, it'll probably be a variation on this 9015. I believe this is Citizen's intention in quietly buying existing Swiss companies. It'll be their job to take high-end (by their standard) Miyota parts, assemble them in Switzerland with perhaps whatever small amount of parts are needed to hit that magical 51% mark, and then rebadged for the third party.
So I bring this watch to your attention in two ways: 1, I think it's a very cool watch for the money and probably quite good, and 2, I think it represents a lot more than it at first lets on. It's the first volley, the first real one at any rate, to be fired after the pullout of ETA. This may very well be the most significant watch of the next decade in terms of what it symbolizes.
Or maybe not. I guess we'll see.