Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?
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  1. #1
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    Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    First-time poster but I've been collecting mechanical watches for a while, I have a number of Orient and Orient Star models and like them a lot.

    I spied a Citizen Signature Grand Classic (NB0046-51L with rose gold accents) and got it for my birthday (bought new from a reputable source). Unfortunately, I've found that no matter what I do (i.e. no matter what position I put it in overnight) this watch gains between 10 and 20 seconds per day. So I contacted Citizen and gave them the Case#, Serial#, Movement, etc., thinking I might have gotten a defective sample (or, extremely unlikely, a phony Citizen Signature). Unfortunately, Citizen service responded by saying that 10-20 seconds per day is the expected level of accuracy of a Citizen Signature and they would not look at the watch or do anything else.

    Of course now I'm stuck (except I've gained the experience to stay away from Citizen, I guess) but I was wondering: I see a lot of reviews of Citizen Signature and people are generally happy with them. Even my plain Orient (to say nothing of the Orient Star) is expected to maintain about +- 5 sec. per day and I have no problem doing that. Am I being too ambitious in expecting a Citizen Signature to be of at least this quality? I DO have a watch repair guy and I'll bring it to him to see what can be done but this is quite disappointing treatment from a company supposedly making quality watches.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    Welcome to the forums! I think that the Citizen Signature is a nice watch. It sounds like they don't have very tight specs for movement accuracy. It seems like regulation would be in order to meet your needs.
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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by mpalmer View Post
    Welcome to the forums! I think that the Citizen Signature is a nice watch. It sounds like they don't have very tight specs for movement accuracy. It seems like regulation would be in order to meet your needs.
    Well, thanks for responding. I guess movement accuracy is only one part of being a "good, high-end watch". It's unfortunate that, for me at least, accuracy is one of the most important characteristics. I mean, if I knew a Citizen Signature, according to Citizen itself, should not be expected to even be as accurate as a $200 Orient then I would not have purchased it.

    I'll take a trip to my watch guy (after Christmas, I'm not crazy) and see what he says.

    Again, thanks for the response and welcome.

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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    My NB0040-07A typically runs -1/day. At night I leave it face up. It does vary a little dependent upon usage, but the biggest swing I've seen is about +4 which happens if I don't remember to wind it in the morning, and the spring gets towards the end of the reserve. When I wear it daily, it maintains enough accuracy where I can go 1-2 weeks without feeling like I really must reset the time. My Accutron runs roughly +20/day and when I wear it I'll reset it every 1-2 days. Sounds like your particular watch might need regulation though +10 - 20 is technically within spec isn't it?

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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper994 View Post
    My NB0040-07A typically runs -1/day. At night I leave it face up. It does vary a little dependent upon usage, but the biggest swing I've seen is about +4 which happens if I don't remember to wind it in the morning, and the spring gets towards the end of the reserve. When I wear it daily, it maintains enough accuracy where I can go 1-2 weeks without feeling like I really must reset the time. My Accutron runs roughly +20/day and when I wear it I'll reset it every 1-2 days. Sounds like your particular watch might need regulation though +10 - 20 is technically within spec isn't it?
    I have no doubt that there are people who've gotten good examples of Citizen Signature, the point is that before-the-fact, when you're going to buy, you never really know what kind of a sample you'll draw (stipulating to the fact that there is a time period during which you can return the watch). So when considering various brands one of the things you look at is the company itself, what it thinks of its products and how it stands behind them (or doesn't).

    This experience has demonstrated, to me at least, that Citizen doesn't think much of its Signature line and isn't willing to stand behind it. When I actually mentioned to them that a "standard" of +- 20 sec./day was very low end they basically said that was the accuracy they expected the watch to maintain. This was a brand new watch, my only mistake was not checking it out as soon as I bought it; rather, for various reasons, I waited a few months and now Citizen is telling me: "Tough luck, we won't look at it, we got you to buy it and now it's your problem".

    As to what the watch needs, well, it needs to run reasonably accurately. 20 seconds/day is going to necessitate my resetting it no less than once or twice a week. I will take it to be checked out and to see what can be done. Perhaps I'll luck out and a regulation will work; on the other hand, it might turn out that nothing can be done and then I'm stuck.

    Thanks for taking the time to post, Jasper. If I had your luck with this brand of watch I might not hesitate to buy another. I just wanted to point out that it's quite POSSIBLE that if you buy a Citizen Signature and don't check it out thoroughly when you buy it (granted, something I certainly should have done) you won't get any help from the company, simply because it doesn't expect much from its watches. Frankly, even if you do check it out something can happen down the road and I'm not sure you'll get any help.

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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by nlk10010 View Post
    I have no doubt that there are people who've gotten good examples of Citizen Signature, the point is that before-the-fact, when you're going to buy, you never really know what kind of a sample you'll draw (stipulating to the fact that there is a time period during which you can return the watch). So when considering various brands one of the things you look at is the company itself, what it thinks of its products and how it stands behind them (or doesn't).

    This experience has demonstrated, to me at least, that Citizen doesn't think much of its Signature line and isn't willing to stand behind it. When I actually mentioned to them that a "standard" of +- 20 sec./day was very low end they basically said that was the accuracy they expected the watch to maintain. This was a brand new watch, my only mistake was not checking it out as soon as I bought it; rather, for various reasons, I waited a few months and now Citizen is telling me: "Tough luck, we won't look at it, we got you to buy it and now it's your problem".

    As to what the watch needs, well, it needs to run reasonably accurately. 20 seconds/day is going to necessitate my resetting it no less than once or twice a week. I will take it to be checked out and to see what can be done. Perhaps I'll luck out and a regulation will work; on the other hand, it might turn out that nothing can be done and then I'm stuck.

    Thanks for taking the time to post, Jasper. If I had your luck with this brand of watch I might not hesitate to buy another. I just wanted to point out that it's quite POSSIBLE that if you buy a Citizen Signature and don't check it out thoroughly when you buy it (granted, something I certainly should have done) you won't get any help from the company, simply because it doesn't expect much from its watches. Frankly, even if you do check it out something can happen down the road and I'm not sure you'll get any help.
    No arguments from me there.

    On the other hand, it's not very likely that you would get a better response from any company if the watch was running within their stated specs. The Accutron I mentioned above has an ETA 2824-2 movement in it, with most folks reporting better accuracy out of their 2824-2 watches. However, if I went to Bulova/Accutron and said "hey, your watch isn't running better than the stated specs, I want you to fix it", I'm unlikely to get a different response than you did from Citizen. Maybe from a boutique watchmaker on a much more expensive piece, but from a company as large as Citizen, Seiko, Bulova, etc. it's unlikely. From what I've heard of Orient's customer service you wouldn't fair better with them either.

    Best of luck with your watch. I hope you're able to get it running better.

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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    I agree with you totally, at least in theory. I may have not made myself clear, though. My main point is with the stated specs of the Citizen Signature: +- 20 sec/day. To me, those are not the specs of a quality $1000+ watch. Maybe I'm wrong, wouldn't be the first time. But even IF those are the specs, IMO, a reputable company should realize that's a worst case scenario and be curious why a brand new sample would exhibit that behavior. But that would be a reputable company. :) I would probably agree with you that Orient might be just as intractable, but then again, they sent me a watch that cost $300 and keeps time +- 3 seconds/day.

    Thanks again for commiserating (at least in part).

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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    To get stated specs better than +- 20 sec/day in an automatic I believe you would need to spend around 5K. Of course I could be mistaken on that, but I don't recall seeing any watches for less than $5k with stated specs better than +-20. For what it's worth, I just gave my younger brother a Seiko 5 that cost me around $55 which ran tighter than +- 20. Also, the Accutron that I keep referring to had an MSRP of around $900 IIRC, and they certainly use the ETA 2824-2 in many watches costing well over $1000. It's not that they can't commonly get an automatic movement to run better than +- 20 sec/day, it's that it would be very expensive to ensure ALL examples of the movement in that casing stay tighter than that.
    Last edited by Jasper994; December 31st, 2015 at 04:41.

  10. #9
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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    My ultimately useless thoughts....

    All of your experiences are one-off situations. Generally speaking a Citizen signature line watch is of notably higher quality than a typical Orient (and probably most all Orient Stars). It is great to hear that your Orient experience has been positive, many here share the same positive experiences.

    If you spent some time reading, you would learn that the acceptable range as stated by Citizen is not dissimilar to standard ETA Swiss movements. -10 to +30 is similar to saying "+/- 20", which is the maximum accepted for even the second level of the ETA 2824. 10-20 seconds/day is fairly common from the posts I have seen here on WUS, especially the 10 second range.

    40 seconds a day is 0.05% accurate, that is 5/100th's of 1 percent. Something to think about....

    The gain/loss of many automatics (especially the affordable automatics) is heavily dependent on the level of activity while they are worn, how they sit when at idle, and how they sit when they are removed from the wrist.

    With affordable automatic watches you will often find that they are "less accurate" mid-day, after significant activity, than they may appear to be at the end of 24 hours.

    My grand classic has been accurate enough that it never caused me concern, but then again 15 seconds/day would not really impact me because I rarely wear an automatic more than 1-2 days in a row. What has disappointed me (in my single experience) is that the great looking watch is SOOOOO scratch prone. The watch looks outstanding, but everything outside of the sapphire seems to have new scratches each time I even consider wearing it. It would have been better off with a brushed finish. It would not have looked as good initially, but the long-term appearance would have been better.

    It is a nice watch that wears well/comfortable, has a quality feel vs other watches in a similar price range, the movement looks nice through the caseback, and the initial finish is impressive.
    Do something exceptionally mediocre today

  11. #10
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    Re: Is Citizen Grand Classic A Low-End Watch?

    Well, I understand your point of view, you are certainly entitled to it. But it is born of your experience, as mine is opposite yours I guess I would be justified in saying that a typical Orient (including Star) is of notably higher quality than Citizen Signature (at least from an accuracy standpoint). Again, my experience bears this out, although again, there are those (like you) who have had better experiences with Signature.

    Regardless, I certainly would recommend, to anyone who might be foolish enough to ask me, to avoid Citizen Signature, just as you might advise them to avoid Orient or to try a Signature.

    You know, I bought a Rolex GMT-Master in the late 60s/early 70s (can't remember exactly). Cost me $255, I remember the price exactly. After a year or so of wearing it, and bringing it into Rolex factory service in Manhattan, I got disgusted with its accuracy and put it away in a safe deposit box. It's been there ever since (I always meant to sell it, just never got around to doing so). Maybe I ought to dig the Rolex out and start wearing it again.

    Thanks for your thoughts, they were informative and interesting (really, just because I may disagree with someone doesn't mean I don't want to hear what they have to say).

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