Seiko vs. Citizen: Two Brands Worth Comparing for Every Watch Enthusiast

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Written by Ryan Miller

There is no definite winner between the two watches when it comes to a battle between two of the most prominent Japanese brands in history.

Instead, we decided to look at what each watch offers, from quality and movement down to its design and price structure.

Let’s begin.

Best Diver

Citizen Watches Men's BN0151-09L Promaster Professional Diver

Citizen BN0151-09L

Best Solar

Citizen Eco-drive AW1148-09E

Citizen AW1148-09E

Best Pilot

Seiko SNAB69 Flightmaster

Seiko SNAB69

Seiko Vs. Citizen: Which Watch Brand Is Better?

In this section, we’ll look at 5 features each watch has to offer, such as:

  • Movement
  • Quality & Longevity
  • Accuracy
  • Style
  • Price

Before we begin, it’s safe to say we’ve already decided who the winner is.

Not out of bias. Not because we were paid to say so. But out of experience.

On that note, Citizen wins this match, not by a landslide, but by a single determining factor. Curious? Read on!

Do you like Citizen? Check out our “best Citizen watch” article!

Movement

This is where both brands differ from each other.

While Citizen focuses more on modern technology, including their solar-powered watches, Seiko stays committed to classic watches.

Seiko places a large emphasis on mechanical or automatic movement watches.

Of course, Seiko also manufactures Quartz movement-type watches, but when you compare their numbers to Citizen, Citizen’s Quartz movement watches are undoubtedly much more.

As history would have it, Seiko actually kickstarted the Quartz revolution.

Ironically, Citizen chose to stay loyal to Quartz, while Seiko preferred to lead with a reputation of manufacturing “watches from the past.”

If we bring other watch movements into the picture, both brands have atomic timekeeping watches (Astron & Satelite Wave Tech) and solar-powered watches. However, between the two, Citizen is a mile ahead of Seiko.

Citizen’s Eco-drive technology is one of the reasons why their solar watches have become a huge success.

Winner: Tie

If you asked us who would win in the solar-powered watch category, Citizen and its Eco-drive movement & solar technology are clearly champions in that domain.

When it comes to movements, though, neither one is truly the victor here.

Both watch brands offer their own movements that ultimately depend on the user’s preference.

Whether the user prefers mechanical over quartz movement doesn’t definitively mean it’s better.

But there is one thing worth noting, though. Watch movement influences the watch’s accuracy. We’ll get to this part later.

Quality & Longevity

Both Seiko and Citizen produce quality watches.

Each watch brand puts a lot of effort into manufacturing its pieces. Seiko and Citizen also have an extensive line of watches with various styles, series, and sub-brands.

We know watch enthusiasts who even own both a Seiko and Citizen watch.

However, when it comes to high-end watches, Seiko has the Grand Seiko series while Citizen does not.

The Grand Seiko line is indeed impressive and boasts of features you would expect from a high-end watch.

In terms of quality, you could say the Grand Seiko series trumps Citizen, but you’re still forgetting one piece of the puzzle we haven’t looked at: longevity.

Quality and longevity go a long way together, and both directly influence one another. You can’t say a watch has superb quality if it lasts for only 2 months.

Sure, the dial, design, and appeal may all be a 10/10. But if the longevity or durability only land at a mediocre 5/10 score, the watch itself may be misleading.

Winner: Citizen

Confused? Let us tell you why.

Seiko may have the advantage with their high-end line of watches, but looking at the longevity both brands offer, Citizen has proven to last longer.

We have friends who even own a Citizen watch since 1999 and still work up to this day!

This is not to say Seiko performs poorly in the quality and longevity category. In fact, if you were to ask us to choose between the quality of a Grand Seiko and a Citizen, Seiko is astoundingly beautiful and a preferred choice.

But for quality and longevity in the same boat, Citizen manufactures watches known and proven to run as efficiently and sound for more than a decade.

Accuracy

Quartz watches are undoubtedly more accurate than mechanical watches.

Hands down, mechanical watches are no match for the accuracy of quartz watches. Quartz movements are no joke.

Even a mechanical watch that satisfies Swiss chronometer standards isn’t good enough to beat a Japanese Quartz watch.

Earlier, we mentioned that Seiko manufactures mostly mechanical watches, while Citizen focuses more on quartz movements.

As a result, this should clearly tell you who wins in this category.

Winner: Citizen

A Quartz watch promises accuracy to the very end.

In this regard, Citizen doesn’t disappoint. But if you prefer a self-winding watch like what Seiko offers, they also offer great accuracy.

Just don’t expect it to be as accurate over time.

Style

Seiko and Citizen have impressive watch pieces in their own right.

The two brands have been manufacturing watches for a long time, and through the ages, we’ve seen both Seiko and Citizen product stunning pieces.

Still, there is a major difference between the two.

Seiko watches are more classic-looking, while Citizen watches have a more outdoor, adventurist style.

Winner: Tie

Choosing a watch with the best style depends mostly on personal preference.

If you’re looking for a daily beater, Seiko watches; specifically, the SNK 809, is a classic yet reliable timepiece to have on your wrist.

Or you could go for a Seiko SBGW252 and rock that gold body for formal events or to impress your friends.

If you want something that offers a style with more adventure or a watch that pushes the boundaries of a classic, Citizen’s Eco-Drive and Promaster Nighthawk are excellent choices.

Price

Between Seiko or Citizen, both produce a fair amount of expensive-series watches.

However, Citizen watches don’t go as steep as Seiko watches do. The highest price tag Citizen watches have gone for is $20,000.

Compare that to Seiko watches that go as high as $700,000!

Needless to say, both watch brands also offer cheaper timepieces, with Citizen pricing theirs at $100 as the lowest and Seiko with $1,000 as their cheapest offer.

Winner: Seiko

Yes, Seiko’s watches can reach prices as high as $70,000, and while that’s a huge difference from Citizen, the appeal that Seiko offers is a big selling point for us.

Whether you want a functional watch or dress watches to pair with your Burberry or Valentino suit, Seiko is a prized gem to have with you.

Just be prepared to shell out a considerable sum!

Seiko Vs. Citizen Verdict: Who Is the Best Japanese Watchmaker?

Citizen is the clear winner of this matchup when it comes to longevity and accuracy. In the other corner, Seiko trumps Citizen in its appeal and design.

Although Citizen clearly has the upper hand in most of the features we discussed in the previous sections, there’s still much to learn.

Wait, does that mean there’s still more? You bet.

We won’t be looking at watch features in the next sections that follow.

Instead, we’ll compare Seiko and Citizen’s various line of watches from their diving series down to the Ana-Digi line.

For more watches check out our article: Best Seiko Watches.

A Closer Look at Japanese Watches: Seiko Vs. Citizen

Just when you thought it was over, there’s still so much more to this Seiko vs. Citizen article!

Let’s dive in!

Dive Watches: Promaster Diver Vs. Seiko 5 Sea Urchin

Citizen Watches Men's BN0151-09L Promaster Professional Diver

Citizen Promaster Diver

Seiko 5 Sea Urchin SNZF17

Although Citizen no longer manufactures the Promaster model, it’s still a worthy timepiece to compare Seiko’s 5 Sea Urchin with.

Visually, both are appealing and almost carry similar features.

As you already know, the watch movement for each watch is also different, with the Promaster having more accuracy.

This is mostly due to the quartz-powered mechanism Citizen employs in their watches.

So what makes both of these watches different from each other?

Two features: Dial and water-resistance rating.

First, the dial. The Sea Urchin is appealing, but that’s just about it. You won’t find any design in its dial nor in its indices that stand out.

On the other hand, the Promaster features much more, such as the chevron accents in its 3, 6, 9, and 12-hour markers and the diagonally faced date window at the 4-o’clock position.

If we dive into the water-resistance ratings for both watches, the Sea Urchin is 100m water-resistant, while the Promaster is ISO rating 200m water-resistant.

Between the two, which do you think offers better diving capabilities?

Verdict

It’s quite clear the Promaster takes the lead on this one.

When choosing a dive watch, one of its most important features is its water-resistance.

Sad to say, Seiko only came with 100m water resistance, not to mention its design wasn’t nearly as aesthetically appealing.

Don’t get us wrong, though. The Seau Urchin model isn’t the only dive watch Seiko offers. Other dive watches worth mentioning include the SKX007, Monster SPRD25, and Turtle SRPA21.

Luxury Watches

When it comes to Seiko vs. Citizen in the luxury watch category, it’s a lot more difficult to compare either one from the other.

Seiko includes various premium lines, such as the Grand, Presage Basic, and Presage Premier.

Seiko’s premium lines feature Spring Drive technology, a luxury appeal that competes with Rolex and Omega watches and tailor mostly to watch enthusiasts working their way up from Seiko mid-range models to more top-notch models.

On the other hand, the Citizen brand features some of its most popular and prized collections: the Chronomaster and Eco-Drive One.

The Chronomaster boasts of its superior quartz technology – a Japanese High Accuracy Quartz watch. The Eco-Drive One is impressive all on its own, not to mention it’s the thinnest solar-powered watch.

Truth be told, Eco-Drive watches are worth the spend. Not only can you rely on its solar technology & accuracy but also, Citizen’ s Eco-Drive watches are outstanding.

Between Seiko or Citizen, each brand’s luxury watch is a prized diamond, to begin with. Although Seiko prices their watches higher, we don’t think it’s a bad case either.

The luxury and premium appeal Seiko offers in its watches are undoubtedly high-quality. In this case, it mostly depends on what the user prefers and their budget.

Verdict

If you’re willing to spend more, getting a Seiko luxury watch is a fine piece to add to your collection.

Alternatively, Citizen offers great appeal in their watches too, along with their superior accuracy.

Pilot Watches: Nighthawk Vs. Flightmaster

Citizen Eco-drive Promaster Nighthawk

Citizen Promaster Nighthawk

Seiko Flightmaster SNAB69

Both the Nighthawk and Flightmaster are stunning watches. In fact, we don’t believe there’s a clear winner.

Let’s go over the main features, shall we?

The Seiko Flightmaster boasts of a chronograph function and a second-hand beating at 5 ticks per second, giving you a sweeping motion, not even quartz technology has.

Additionally, the Flightmaster comes with a dual time function, a slide rule bezel, and a professional-looking dial any watch enthusiast would love.

The Nighthawk is no different in impressive features.

The GMT/dual-time function and dial make it a head-turner timepiece. It’s also worth noting the Nighthawk stainless steel bracelet is one of the best we’ve ever seen and used.

A major difference between both watches is the indices and the lume.

The indices of a watch can influence the readability, especially for a busy dial. Between the two, the Nighthawk provides better readability and lume than Seiko’s Flightmaster.

However, it’s much easier to reach the slide rule bezel of the Flightmaster than the Nighthawk.

Verdict

Overall, both watches are gorgeous pieces any user would enjoy wearing.

The Flightmaster and Nighthawk are two exemplary watches in the watch industry that deliver outstanding value, features, and quality.

If you prefer a watch with better lume and easier to read indices, Citizen is a better option.

Field Watches: Chandler Vs. Seiko 5 Field

Citizen Chandler Field Watch

Citizen Chandler Field Watch

Seiko 5 Field SNK809

Seiko 5 Field SNK809

For your everyday beater, we decided to compare the Citizen Chandler vs. the Seiko 5 Field.

Citizen Chandler is highly regarded as one of Citizen’s best selling watches, while the Seiko 5 Field is popular for being the lowest-priced field watch with the best value.

When it comes to features, the Chandler and Seiko 5 field watches are quite similar. What differs mostly are the design and aesthetic appearance each field watch has to offer.

In the case of Citizen’s Chandler model, the dial provides a cleaner look, allowing you to easily read the time without any distractions in its design.

The Seiko 5 is rather complex. You’ll find a lot of text on the dial, which may be hard for some to tell the time with.

Regarding size, the Citizen Chandler has a case diameter of 37mm, while the Seiko 5 has a case diameter of 42mm.

The size of your watch depends mostly on how it fits on the user’s wrist. Those with big wrists might prefer a larger case diameter between 40mm to 42mm.

Finally, both Seiko and Citizen pulled off their day-date window design impeccably well. Although the color for each day-date window differs, neither one showed a lack of beauty or elegance.

Verdict

It all comes down to personal aesthetic preference. Field watches are daily beaters meant to be worn day in and day out while being able to tell time accurately.

In this regard, both Citizen Chandler and Seiko 5 meet the standard well.

If you prefer a smaller case diameter or prefer a cleaner dial with minimal text, Citizen is a good option.

But if you enjoy strapping a larger watch on your wrist and have no issues with seeing a lot of text on your dial, you’ll love the Seiko 5 field watch.

Ana Digi: Citizen Promaster Vs. Seiko Prospex

We’ll keep this short.

The Ana-Digi models can seem complicated to look at from afar.

Seeing as how an Ana-Digi watch tells time both in analog and digital format, an important quality to look for is how clean the watch is or, rather, how easy it is to read.

This brings us to the digital features each watch has to offer.

The Citizen Promaster sports a wide array of features such as:

  • Atomic Sync
  • Countdown timer
  • Charge-level indicator
  • Digital backlight
  • Dual-time
  • Perpetual calendar
  • UTC-display
  • 24-hour hand

As you can see, the Promaster boasts an impressive range of features; however, this can also make it complicated to use and read as if Citizen jam-packed all the features with struggle.

While it is indeed impressive, it also loses the cleanliness and readability of the watch.

In contrast, the Seiko Propsex features a calendar, alarm, dual-time, and chronograph function. That’s less than half of what Citizen offers.

Functionality-wise, both watch brands proved to be excellent and without much disappointment. They’re also easy to operate, and the size for each watch fits just right for any user.

Verdict

In this category, we feel the Seiko stands as a much stronger candidate.

In terms of functionality and price, both are equally well-made. However, the design for each watch is where the major difference lies.

Overall, the Seiko Prospex holds a more fashionable, versatile statement that’s both aesthetically appealing and elegant than its Citizen counterpart.

Solar Watches: Citizen Eco-Drive Vs. Seiko Solar

Citizen Eco-drive AW1148-09E

Citizen Eco-drive AW1148-09E

Seiko SNE325 Solar Watch

Seiko Solar SNE325

Ever since “solar” arrived on the scene, the technology of wearing a watch powered by sunlight changed the game of automatic and manual winding watches.

In times like these, the power reserve of a solar watch is at an outstanding duration of 6 months.

However, the biggest question is, which solar watch is better: Seiko Solar or Citizen Eco-Drive?

The biggest difference between Seiko Solar and Eco-Drive is that Citizen watches are well-known for their solar-powered designs.

That being said, the quality Citizen provided through their solar-powered watches is unmatched. In fact, 90% of Citizen’s watches use Eco-drive technology.

Furthermore, all solar watches you see today are based on the innovations brought about by the Citizen Eco-Drive.

Verdict

Citizen is 25 years ahead of Seiko when it comes to solar technology.

If you’re a watch fan like us, you’ll know that Citizen has been a leading watch manufacturer for solar tech since 1995.

Needless to say, large credit is due to Seiko since they invented the quartz movements in itself, which is powered by the solar cell.

Seiko Vs. Citizen: Which Is the Better Brand?

Hands down, Citizen wins. Citizen’s timepieces may not be as luxurious as Seiko’s, but for us, accuracy and Citizen’s clean yet professional appeal are enough to keep us happy.

If you’re looking for a more affordable yet professional looking watch between either brand, the Citizen brand offers excellent choices and dominates this market range.

On the other hand, the Seiko brand is much more versatile in the market, offering luxury segments, mid-priced models, and affordable watches for many users to try on.

Although we chose Citizen as the winner of this matchup, Seiko is still a highly regarded option.

A great watch option for an Executive Elite, for example, would be the Seiko Astron atomic watch.

The Seiko Astron is an invaluable timepiece that showcases minimalism and simple aesthetics but nonetheless timeless for any CEO or businessman.

Alternatively, Citizen’s Satellite Wave GPS model is similar to what the Astron offers its users, only that it comes with better value.

Both of these options fall under the atomic watch category and have readings for all time zones.

Ultimately, the main question falls back to you: What are you looking for in a watch?

Is accuracy more important than aesthetic appeal? How much are you willing to spend? Are you looking for a dress timepiece to own? Or perhaps, daily beater to wear outdoors? Maybe you’re in the market for GPS watches? Do you prefer leather straps or stainless steel?

Ask yourself these questions when choosing between either brand.

Also, finding either brand should be easy to do, considering the several watch dealers available online. It all comes down to what you need and what you mostly prefer in terms of design and functionality.

We hope this article was able to help you become a fan of Seiko’s and/or Citizen’s watches! If you don’t have one yet, be sure to check out the models we mentioned in this review!

However, if you own one already, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!