Seiko and Citizen are two Japanese powerhouses when it comes to watchmaking.
It was the Quartz revolution that helped put these brands on the map for their reliability and affordability, although they were already manufacturing watches long before such an upheaval in the watch industry.
Aside from sharing the same country of origin, these two watch brands also have similarities and differences that are worth appreciating. That’s what this in-depth comparison guide will be all about.
How do they bear up against one another? What makes each of these brands stand out? And what are the popular collections that Seiko and Citizen have?
On top of that, this Seiko vs Citizen comparison aims to help you determine which brand is better once and for all. So, let’s get started.
TLDR: Seiko vs Citizen (A Closer Look)
There are a few areas to consider when comparing Seiko and Citizen. It includes the technology used, the movements (yep, because some watch aficionados prefer a watch based on how it functions or what’s inside), the style, quality, and longevity.
Founded in 1881, Seiko was back then solely a watch and jewelry shop. But 11 years later, its owner started producing clocks.
During the Quartz revolution, all Japanese watch companies adopted the quartz technology yet Seiko was clearly the winner in this area. During those days, its cross-Tokyo rival Citizen was still much smaller with revenue that amounted to a quarter of Seiko.
Don’t get us wrong, though, Citizen watches should not be underestimated. It’s just that back then and still is, no other watch brand embraced quartz technology the way Seiko did in their analog watch and even in their digital.
For being more oriented on producing classic appearance watches, Seiko has wider dress watch options compared to Citizen. This is especially the case if we consider their Premier and Presage lines. Of course, the sports styles of Seiko Prospex and Seiko 5 collections have equivalents in Citizen, like the Brycen and Promaster lines.
Most notably, Seiko’s proficiency in automatic movements, genuine artistry, and quartz movements has given the world the beautiful Grand Seiko line. So, if you prefer a timeless high-quality watch, Seiko would be one of your best bets.
You might also like: Best Seiko Watches Of All Time
Compared to Seiko, Citizen’s history is less dramatic and shorter. It was initially registered in Switzerland by Swiss watchmaker Rudolf Schmid. And in the next hundred years since that registration in 1918, the company has been focused on creating sustainable watches.
Today, many of their watches are solar-powered and the brand has grown into one of the largest watchmakers worldwide.
Stylistically, Seiko tends to embrace the classic style while Citizen focused more on the use of solar-power technology.
For people who admire the convenience of solar power and the accuracy of quartz, you’ll get the best of both worlds when you choose a Citizen watch. Plus, most Citizen watches are affordable so they would suit the price-sensitive buyers.
In-DepthComparison of the Seiko vs Citizen
So, we’ve talked a little about the history of these two watch companies and covered technologies that made them stand out. Now, let’s compare some of the best Seiko and Citizen models. Good luck and we hope you’ll find your next favorite watch from this list!
Popular Seiko watches
1. Seiko Men’s SNK809K Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
The Seiko Men’s SNK809K Automatic Stainless Steel Watch is one of the best bang-for-your-buck watches that this Japanese brand offers. For about $100, you’ll already get an automatic movement watch with a water resistance feature, a durable stainless steel case, a mineral crystal window, and a day-date display.
Among other Seiko watches, this model is a definition of a beater watch because you can literally just take it about anywhere, whether to go camping, out to sea, or to the workplace.
Made in the USA, this model has precise 21 jewel Japanese automatic movement, a brushed stainless steel case and bracelet, a black dial with Arabic numerals, white hands, and hour markers, and it’s also luminous.
Looking for a Seiko solar watch? You might also like: Seiko Solar Watch Review
2. SEIKO PRESAGE Power Reserve Ice Blue Cocktail Time”Sky Diving” Watch
The SEIKO PRESAGE Power Reserve Ice Blue Cocktail Time “Sky Diving” watch is an excellent timepiece, especially for formal events. It has a more refined and classier aesthetic
It features a 40mm case, a black leather band, and an automatic movement that further enhances its prestige. However, it only has a 50-meter water resistance so it would be best to refrain from wearing it near the water.
This Seiko watch also has a transparent case back, and a pull/push crown. You may have watches that cost 10 times as much as the Presage, but this is comparable to those because everything about this is just beautifully done and well laid out.
If you prefer a silver-tone watch that you can wear for formal occasions like the Presage, we also encourage you to check out the Grand Seiko solar watch.
3. Seiko Men’s Prospex X Padi Diver
This Seiko vs citizen brand comparison wouldn’t be complete without introducing the beautiful Seiko Men’s Prospex X Padi Diver.
This is perfect for those who want a more colorful watch. It features a 44mm stainless steel, blue dial with splashes of red, 200 meters water resistance, Lumidbrite hands, Cal. 4R36 Movement, and a power reserve of up to 41 hours.
This watch is really good for its price. The design is very distinct and Seiko even partnered with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to create this watch so you know guarantee it’s a good quality timepiece.
4. SEIKO Men’s SNK803 SEIKO 5 Automatic Watch with Beige Canvas Strap
The SEIKO Men’s SNK803 SEIKO 5 Automatic Watch looks great for both men and women. The dial has a good deal of well-composed detail. It’s easy to read the time and features luminosity and a Hardlex crystal dial window.
This watch has a slightly smaller face (37mm case), not too big nor too small. It’s just comfortable to wear. It is also water-resistant for up to 30m or 99 ft. There’s a day and date window too.
As for its movement, it’s automatic (meaning self-winding) and not quarts or battery-operated.
Popular Citizen watches
1. Citizen Promaster Diver
The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Watch is comparable to Seiko’s 5 Sea Urchin. They are about the same price and almost have the same visual features, which is not a surprise since both watches borrow designs from the Rolex Submariner.
What we like about the Citizen eco-drive quartz watch is that it is light-powered. It converts any light, whether artificial or natural, into energy. The energy is just stored in its energy rechargeable power cell.
This is also water-resistant for up to 200M or 660 feet. So, in general, you can wear this watch in the shower or in other professional marine activities, such as snorkeling, swimming, and other surface water sports.
It is equipped with an anti-reflective mineral crystal window. Designed for men with an active lifestyle, this Citizen timepiece is sure to meet your expectations.
2. AW1361-10H Eco-Drive Citizen Watch
If you’re looking for a watch with casual styling, then we recommend you the AW1361-10H Eco-Drive watch model.
For people who are used to buying luxury watches because of their style and durability, the features of this watch model will be worth your time. Not only it is beautiful, but it is also durable.
This is powered by ultra-accurate Japanese quartz movements and is water-resistant for up to 330 Feet. Just with other eco-drive watches, you won’t need batteries to power this timepiece as it just uses the most renewable energy: light.
It has luminous hands, with a date window, and can run for months – even in darkness – without the need for battery replacement.
3. Citizen Men’s Satellite Wave F900 Blue
The Citizen Men’s Satellite Wave F900 Blue watch is a high-functionality timepiece with an eye-catching design that combines a smooth clean silhouette with a multi-layered busy face.
The case of this Citizen watch is made of lightweight yet durable titanium and some functions include a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, and satellite timekeeping for 40 time zones. We just love how the blue leather strap of this watch matches its exquisite hands and face, overall.
4. Citizen Eco-Drive GarrisonQuartz Unisex Watch
The Citizen Eco-Drive GarrisonQuartz Unisex Watch is designed for people with an active lifestyle. It has a comfortable fit and a rugged look with luminous hands, a date indicator, 100M water resistance, and a 37-mm screw-back.
Are these brands worth it?
Both Seiko and Citizen brands are surely worth buying. They are not really considered luxury watches (except the Grand Seiko perhaps) but they’re of good quality.
Since style is a personal preference, let us highlight here the watches based on how they function and what’s inside. To us reviewing these brands, we appreciate the technology and movements used in their watches.
The Citizen invested in eco-drive technology (solar-powered) while Seiko uses a lot of Quartz, though they have a range of watches with automatic movements too.
Some Citizen watches feature atomic timekeeping too although there are some models that rely on satellite technology. For exceptional watches that can stand the test of time, both Seiko and Citizen watches are worth great watches for their price.
What Do People Say About it?
An Amazon user who purchased a Seiko watch – Prospex X Padi, said, “This is a really good watch. Solid, well constructed, with [a] handsome appearance, adequate size, in one word: Excellent!”
One Amazon buyer who purchased the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch commented, “I love this watch! It was a Christmas gift and I have worn it every day since. It has a simple elegance that allows you to wear it down, or dress it up. The “Pilot Style” is new to me, but it is honestly really enjoyable and a great mix-up for my collection. Also, I have gone swimming, hot tubbing, you name it and it has done really well in the water too, no need to worry about getting it wet.”
TSG did a comparison of Seiko and Citizen. Specifically, he compared the BU2020-70E from Citizen and an auto-winding Seiko watch.
The Citizen watch, he said “got a mineral dial. They say it’s non-reflective, but that’s because it’s got a little dome to it. There is some reflectivity, but it’s diffused because of that dome feature… It has a world time feature, whereby using this dial, you turn the outer ring. You set the current time and it corresponds around the dial to all the times around the world. [It’s] kind of a cool feature.”
As for the Seiko watch, he said, “[It] has a much brighter loom and it lasts a long time. [The Citizen watches] are kind of a luxury watch[es] or dress watch[es]. This one’s more of a functional watch. Frankly, I like this one a lot. ” he added, referring to the Seiko watch.
Meanwhile, The Urban Gentry did a comparison on the automatic dive watches from the two brands. In particular, he reviewed the Seiko SKX009 and Citizen NY0040.
He said, “Both are at around the same price, but each with their own kind of legacy, and in my opinion, they’re two of the best entry-level automatic diver’s [watches] you can possibly get that are out there right now. At the end of the day, I think the bezel is better on the Citizen. It performs more solidly. [Still,] they both have mineral crystals. Both are extremely durable and can take a massive beating. In the category of ‘X-factor,’ there’s no doubt that Seiko has a little bit more. It’s got the mainstream appeal. It’s paired in movies. You see this pop up everywhere, even in collectors that have high-end collections.
[Overall,] the Seiko SKX009 wins, not by a huge amount. To be honest, these two watches are really great.”
In one Reddit thread that asks which of the two watch brands are better, one answered, “It’s common knowledge that these watches are great value for the money, not to mention they look great as well. Citizen is better known for its eco-drive watches, which are quartz and solar-powered.
These watches, also well known for their value and quality, have quartz movements and are generally busier than Orient watches. Seiko, however, is a more varied brand, known for quartz and automatic models. That being said, Seiko is most likely recognized for the Seiko 5 watches and the Seiko SKX007 dive watch.”
Another answered, “You can’t go wrong. Pick whichever you like the best. I have one of each – love them all in different ways.”
Why is Seiko more popular than Citizen?
Seiko, unlike its competition, does not only create quartz watches. They also offer watches with automatic movements, which is known to rival other watch companies when it comes to craftsmanship.
Its main selling point also is that they have a cost-friendly price that does not sacrifice the performance (movement, power, etc.) or aesthetics.
Some of the great features of Seiko timepieces are that they use a variety of movement types, they have a professional finish and excellent build quality, and most solar watches have a combination of GPS functions.
Is Seiko considered a luxury brand?
No, Seiko is not a luxury watch brand. In fact, it is a household name for affordable, but good-quality watches. Buyers of Seiko watches can also expect to have a sturdy watch that will last for a long time.
The manufacturing process of Seiko is partly outsourced to low-cost countries, like Taiwan or China. Besides outsourcing Seiko’s manufacturing process, most watches also feature an in-house movement, which is a rare sight in an affordable brand.
Is Eco-Drive better than automatic?
It depends. For people who want an accurate watch, Eco-drive technology from Citizen is a better option and is cheap to maintain. However, it has a limited lifespan. Seiko’s automatic movement, on the other hand, is better for people who prefer a watch that does not use electronic technology and lasts forever.
Eco-drive watches convert energy into electrical energy that will then be stored in a storage cell, making watch charging more efficient. On the other hand, an automatic watch is a self-winding watch, wherein the natural motion of the wearer provides energy to the wristwatch.
The Verdict: Which One Should I Buy?
Overall, Seiko and Citizen truly share the same recognition in the watch market. Both are focused on creating wristwatches that are neither too expensive nor too flashy.
Seiko relies more on its history in creating traditional-looking, classic watches that tie nicely to its past, while Citizen has saturated the watch market with its solar-powered technology.
That means if you’re looking for solar-powered or quartz watches, Citizen would be your best choice. But if you prefer the tradition of mechanical watches at a cost-friendly price, Seiko watches would be the right choice for you!
When it comes to style, both of them have a huge range of watches that span from ultra-technical, to sporty, and dynamic, to elegant and clean. Either way, both brands would be a win!
If you like this review, you might want to read our other reviews at EvesWatch.com.
My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.