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I cannot understand the withdrawal of a lucrative product from a market without replacing it. Are they (Swatch) just giving up that revenue stream?
It seems like a nonsensical thing to do...
Right now, they're forced by the Swiss government to sell their products to competitors, so that their competitors can compete against Swatch in the watch marketplace. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that Swatch wouldn't want to do that. ETA may have cornered the movement market, but think how much of the overall retail watch market they lose by doing so.

The real problem is that the Swiss watch industry doesn't seem to be self-sustaining. If the absence of ETA movements brings down the Swiss watch industry, then there was never a "Swiss watch industry" to begin with -- just Swatch. There's a vacuum in the Swiss movement industry, and no Swiss company is stepping up to fill it. Growing market demand and no takers? That's a pretty strong sign of an unhealthy industry.
 

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Right now, they're forced by the Swiss government to sell their products to competitors, so that their competitors can compete against Swatch in the watch marketplace. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that Swatch wouldn't want to do that. ETA may have cornered the movement market, but think how much of the overall retail watch market they lose by doing so.
They should have thought of that before buying all the production. They wanted a monopoly, they got one. Guess what: monopolies, while the eventual ending place of all unregulated markets, are unhealthy and get regulated.

The real problem is that the Swiss watch industry doesn't seem to be self-sustaining. If the absence of ETA movements brings down the Swiss watch industry, then there was never a "Swiss watch industry" to begin with -- just Swatch. There's a vacuum in the Swiss movement industry, and no Swiss company is stepping up to fill it. Growing market demand and no takers? That's a pretty strong sign of an unhealthy industry.
They're making money hand over fist in Asia right now. Is this the last wave of monetization before the crash, the same way Microsoft is getting record profits while teetering on the brink of irrelevance? I don't feel bad about the Swiss, they sat on their asses while the Japanese out-innovated them in every way. They're like the last horse-and-buggy makers as the Model T rolled out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
It seems like they'll do ok, and if anything, prosper, because by all accounts these new Miyota movements are cheaper than their ETA equivalents. And then you've got Sellita and some other ETA clone makers (also Chinese ETA clones) out there as well. It'll shake up the industry, and there's more to movements than just the 2824 and 2982, so some of these companies will have to "invent" Valjoux chronograph competition and so on.

What's striking, I think, is the prevalence of this simple design across multiple continents. It appears that smooth balances are THE definitive choice of entry and mid level movements, and even some higher end ones (Seiko, Nomos, IWC 80111, Zenith, Breitling B01). I'd expect to see more diversity in design approach, but it seems like the industry has spoken, be they Japanese, German or Swiss. We're sort of in the golden age of the regulated mechanical.
 

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They should have thought of that before buying all the production. They wanted a monopoly, they got one. Guess what: monopolies, while the eventual ending place of all unregulated markets, are unhealthy and get regulated.
Eh, this strikes me as an unfair simplification. What happened in the Swiss watch industry wasn't simply regulation, but an aggressive government-controlled effort to keep the industry from collapsing. That's hardly a standard example of the "eventual" consequences of a monopoly. Moreover, Swatch has been making their intention about reducing ETA shipments known for YEARS. If other Swiss companies haven't stepped in to profit off that market vacuum, then I'm inclined to blame the other companies, and not Swatch.
I don't feel bad about the Swiss, they sat on their asses while the Japanese out-innovated them in every way. They're like the last horse-and-buggy makers as the Model T rolled out.
Yeah, that's kinda my feeling, too. I'm desperately fighting off the urge to by a $7000 watch (my most expensive by a fair margin)... and it's NOT a Swiss watch I'm obsessing over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Yeah, that's kinda my feeling, too. I'm desperately fighting off the urge to by a $7000 watch (my most expensive by a fair margin)... and it's NOT a Swiss watch I'm obsessing over.
That number seems remarkably identical to the MSRP of a Snowflake. A coincidence, no doubt.
 

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I like that citizen, but having only recently gotten my head around the idea of spending $1000+ on a Seiko, it seems like a stretch to spend $1k on a Citizen, which has the same problem Seiko has in that it's known for its mass-market cheap (I didn't say bad, just cheap) watches.

Still, that watch aside, it seems that we'd all benefit from Miyota gaining ground. I also can't help but wonder why Seiko doesn't make a push into selling its movements.

While I'm fantasizing, I'd love to see companies start to use RGM's movements. A company that can't swing making its own could still benefit from offering something like an RGM movement as an alternative to ETA, since everyone gripes about watches that cost a lot but use ETA rather than in-house movements.
 

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Well, Seiko does sell movements on occasion.

The thing that I really want to see is Citizen selling some eco-drives. That could really make for some interesting boutique watches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I may blow some minds here, but this is actually isn't new territory for Miyota, at least in terms of scale. Miyota is already one of the largest suppliers of automatic movements in the world.
 

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I may blow some minds here, but this is actually isn't new territory for Miyota, at least in terms of scale. Miyota is already one of the largest suppliers of automatic movements in the world.
Already knew that..... Thanks to you in a previous post a while ago lol.


Oh! And due to the fact I love Japanese movements (no, I'm not Asian)
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I am extremely tempted by this watch and its low price tag. I might have to get one...it's crazy to think that this costs LESS than 1/6th a new Aqua Terra. Yeah, I know, the AT is a better watch, but man, if this thing comes even close to fulfilling its potential, it'll be the bargain of the decade.

I lifted some of JoeAZFT's photos, the guy who runs Arizona Fine Time , from another post of his, so hopefully he's not upset by it. AZFT is an authorized Citizen Signature dealer, so if you get pumped by these photos, check them out.






They also have this less colorful model, but you know me, I'm all about color on my watches. One of the cool touches about this Citizen is that it'll no doubt use Citizen's excellent blue lume.





 

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Nice movement. Slightly anemic hands ruin the aesthetics, for me.
 

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Borderline horrendous aesthetics. That said, it's already on my list. For the OP- why use quotation marks with the word "Swiss"? Some Swiss watches are in fact Swiss. Just curious.
 

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I'd like to see a version with a micro regulator and silicon hair spring. Why not one-up ETA? Incremental cost would be trivial and performance would be enhanced.

Nothing like an arms race to really make us watch nuts wake up and take notice. It's gonna happen eventually anyway, so why not throw the first punch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Borderline horrendous aesthetics. That said, it's already on my list. For the OP- why use quotation marks with the word "Swiss"? Some Swiss watches are in fact Swiss. Just curious.
Not the ones that'll be receiving this Japanese movement, apparently. I don't even know if it's entirely made in Japan (the movement, that is). Miyota has movement factories all over.

It's all about the image for a lot of these brands, so they have no qualm about branding something Swiss made even if the most important part was designed and made in another continent.

*Written whilst ironically wearing an Omega.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I'd like to see a version with a micro regulator and silicon hair spring. Why not one-up ETA? Incremental cost would be trivial and performance would be enhanced.
At least within the Omega sphere of things, I haven't seen any improvement with SI-14. That might be Omega not taking full advantage of them, but from the data I've seen, silicon is quite sensitive to temperature. It's a complex subject, but I don't think we can write off the benefits of conventional hairsprings yet (some companies, like Rolex and UN had access to them and stopped using them or just chose not to begin with. Rolex claimed it was because they couldn't make a Breguet overcoil, but those existed when they claimed that, although they weren't in production until another 2 years...so it seems like that couldn't be the main reason). At any rate, it's apparent from Japanese movement design that they just don't like stuff like that. Each company finds a single approach to a problem, refines it endlessly, and that's all they will use for decades at a time. I can't imagine the sort of epic battle that ensued when the Grand Seiko guys decided to switch from the magic lever on the 9S6X and 9S8X. I'm betting their are heads on pikes or something outside Morioka to this day because of that.

Not sure why they're not using a micro regulator, or an adjustable mass balance. It appears that Japanese watchmakers just hate adjustable mass balances in general and have sworn them off. I guess the results were good enough. These are made to be the equivalent of ETA calibres: that is, to be as cheap as possible while reliably getting the job done. So these aren't attempting to set the bar or anything. I think they will just be a direct drop in to watches using 2824s and on up (depending on the Miyota cal.) and no one will be the wiser. Of course, the movements look totally different, so we can tell instantly.

The early data points on these are very positive...seems like most people are reporting under 5 seconds a day, but I've only heard from a few people, so it's too early to say. Also, we don't know if Miyota plans to make these in a sort of hierarchy the way ETA likes. Maybe this is the mid-grade and the high-grade will have the cool features.

I need to reiterate this isn't some 9S, 899 or 8500 competitor...this is probably going to be a great movement for the money, but don't expect this to be a world beater. I think we should probably be expecting chronometer-grade 2824ish territory on this one. What'll be interesting is if Citizen does decide to get into the high-end movement territory and how exactly they plan to approach that.

We also haven't adequately gauged the implications on the Japanese market. In this price segment, Seiko is really pushing the 6R15 and has recently upgraded it with a 60 hour power reserve, about 50% more than this Miyota. Still, it is not seen as a full-featured movement, suitable for their nicer watches, because of its low beat rate. In all "nice" modern Seikos, they feature 28k or 36k, and the 6R15 beats at only 21k. Reserving judgment for low-beat movements for another discussion, it's apparent that the Japanese have decided that high-beat movements are the way to go. So this line of Miyota calibres is interesting because it hits right where the 6R15 drops off in terms of price (at least, in the watches that contain them...I can't isolate the price of the movement itself) but can be seen, in the world's eyes and certainly the Japanese industry's eyes, as a "full featured movement." This is a really long way of saying that Citizen has a real shot at displacing Seiko's $400-$800 line of watches if they produce a good overall product. The 6R15 has been a terrific performer, way outperforming its specs, great power reserve and very reliable, and the Miyota has yet to prove itself, but if I were to buy only one of them right now, I'd actually take the Miyota/Citizen. Granted, I figure the most comparable watch to this particular Citizen is probably something like an Alpina or Cocktail Time, which cost about $400 less, so that's not really a fair fight.

As I've said above, the Miyota and ETA variations look completely different. Some people will already recognize ETA calibres right off the bat, so anything different than that in the future can be expected to be this Miyota (in a normally ETA-bearing automatic watch that is). But for those who don't, just look for Citizen's weird shock:



Really easy to recognize that. ETA (and most watch movements in general) will look like this:



Lastly, I wanted to share JoeAZFT's youtube video on this watch. The appearance is apparently very divisive, but I personally love it and can't wait to try one on. I'm not sure if it's a must buy for me yet, but the low price point is just begging me to take it for a spin. And I had a good experience with my last Citizen Signature, a Grand Complication.


I sort of see it as a poor man's Aqua Terra 2500...take a look:


*Checked to make sure it's not Dixan's



I'm definitely not saying it's an homage or anything, but there are a ton of people out there looking for a great blue hand/silver/white dial watch in about this size and the AT2500 isn't made anymore, so this might fill a small WIS void.
 

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Some thoughts:

First, thank you CitizenM for once again writing highly informative posts. I love learning about watches; that's why I keep coming back to this forum.
Second, I think CitizenM's right about the potential for these movements, and I wish Citizen/Miyota good luck in opening up competition against ETA. I have nothing against ETA, but competition's good, especially if it translates to some downward movement in prices. Already a few ETA users offer Miyota-based, lower cost options, and I thank that's fantastic. I'd like to see Citizen (and Seiko) launch a full campaign to market their movements. I'd start by cold calling the owners of the smaller watch companies and anyone who can be assessed as being overly dependent on ETA and its hiccups.
Third, these watches are nice looking, but Citizen definitely needs to up its game, design wise. There's a bit too much Precista here. I think it's the broad chapter ring and the big markers. I'd like to see the ring narrowed if not removed altogether, and the markers moved out toward the bezel. I also think that blue hands can be garrish; blued hands are nice because of the subtelty. My Stowa's hands look blue sometimes, black others, but either way, it's subtle. I like that. I can't tell from these pics if the hands are blued rather than blue...the black dial watch looks better because the hands are straight polished steel.
Fourth, people joke about these pics being "watch p0rn," but watching the AZFT videos, well, the bit where Joe or whomever shakes the watch so that you can see the rotor spin reminded me immediately of something... :)

PS: Joe, if you read this, see if you can rotate the watches in your vids so that we get a good sense of light effects as well as see the watch at different angles. The master at this is whomever does the vids at "watch tanaka."
 

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I think the 9015 and Citizen's recent purchase of Swiss movement maker La Joux Perret (http://justwatchingwithjamesdowling.blogspot.com/) show that Citizen is serious about:

1) Being a competitor/alternative to ETA with the 9015
2) Actually manufacturing Swiss made movements (using La Joux Perret), for those companies for whom it's important to have the Swiss made designation

Overall, it seems Citizen has assessed the Swiss made market, and is ready to get all up in their business (figuratively and literally), which is tremendously exciting.

It's also great to see their Signature line competing in that middle ground that the Seiko Spirits currently occupy.
 
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