BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660
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Thread: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

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  1. #1
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    Confused BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    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://forums.watchuseek.com/f9/citi...ew-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?

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    Last edited by bbuckbbuck; September 15th, 2015 at 01:54.

  2. #2
    Member Heljestrand's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    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)

    Mike

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    Member Domo's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    You may come to regret either. You already have a SBGH....Plain, simple 3 hander engineered and executed to perfection. My money's on "You'll look at either a few months down the track and say - I shoulda got a Spring drive"

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    Member bombora's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    If you can't decide, get both.
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    Ian

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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    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
    Truth has been spoken:
    Quote Originally Posted by javadave View Post
    Seiko divers are like crack. You start out with a monster or 007 and next thing you know you are selling your couch on Craigslist so that you can get a taste of a spring drive or marine master.
    WISH LIST: Omega 2221.80 / Grand Seiko SBGX115 / Rolex 16613

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    Member liwang22's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

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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.
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    Member Pee Dee's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    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!
    Last edited by Pee Dee; September 16th, 2015 at 10:16.
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    If you really can't decide then you can't fail by picking the GS.

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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    Quote Originally Posted by Pee Dee View Post

    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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    Member ShaggyDog's Avatar
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    Re: BATTLE ROYALE: Grand Seiko Quartz 9F vs The Citizen Chronomaster A660

    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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