My Personal Attachment To Citizen Watches
By Daniel Yong
In my opinion, Japanese watches are awesome because they generally provide well built pieces at reasonable prices. In most cases, the movements used in them are also in-house. But there’s one particular manufacturer that stands out for me emotionally and no I’m not talking about Seiko or Grand Seiko. It’s true, those brands hold a very special place in my heart, but I’m actually referring to Citizen and I’ll explain why.
A reminder of my grandmother
One of the strongest women I have ever known in my life was my grandmother, a Chinese woman living in Cambodia, who passed away in 2016. Ever since I became aware of watches, I've always remembered her wearing a gold-plated, quartz Citizen. This rectangular little thing looked elegant on her and I remember admiring it on her wrist, even though at the time I was unfortunately still ignorant towards quartz watches (ah look at me now, I've come a long way). After multiple failed attempts to convince her to take my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso to wear at the time, she would always politely tell me to fuck off. Note, she didn’t actually tell me to fuck off, that’s more of my appreciation for profanity coming through. Finally, one day she told me that she didn't need to wear an expensive watch as she just needed one that looked good, was affordable and performed well. She added on by explaining that she wouldn’t want to wear an expensive watch when she visited the temple or brought gifts to orphanages in Cambodia, as it wouldn’t feel right in her conscious. “How can I wear expensive things in front of these children when they are barely receiving enough food or education?” I loved that about her, that she didn't give a shit about these materialistic things and instead spent her energy helping others. If a badass midwife with an enormous heart and mental strength, who by the way also successfully evaded death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, could be satisfied with a Citizen, why can’t we all be?
A trip down memory lane with my father
Straight up, this is a man I measure myself against. He worked two jobs to ensure my mother, sister and I had a roof, clean clothes and food to eat. Similarly to most adults in my life, he's also a survivor of the Khmer Rouge and a man who values family and freedom (as I’m sure you do too). But I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to depress you. Instead, let's get straight to his watch story. It was a family trip to Thailand in the 90s and my dad decided to hit up the local watch store based in one of their shopping centres. He obviously wanted a watch for a while and begged my mother to give him the green light to pick up this two-tone Citizen. To be honest, now that I think about it, that watch was one ugly piece of shit. But as a kid, this was the watch my hero wore and ever since then, I've always been a big fan of bicolour watches (they have to be designed right though).
My father was protective of this watch and I remember asking him to let me wear it for a day while attending school (I was in high school during this time). After putting up with my irritating requests for months, he finally succumbed and allowed me to wear it. Before I could even rock it at school, I dropped it onto the tiles of our old Sydney home and completely shattered the glass. I wish I could say I learnt from that experience, but recently I repeated the same mistake with my beloved Nomos. Anyway, he ended up getting it fixed and wore it for another decade until he couldn't be bothered wearing it. Apparently he said the battery leaked and destroyed the circuit, I think the watchmaker lied to him... so my dad being my dad, decided to dump it in the bin and use his Iphone instead (haha).