Introducing Two New Citizen Washi Paper Dial Watches

Citizen is muscling in on Seiko's act, but does it work?


Citizen is one of the most well-known brands in the watch industry and it’s certainly one of the largest. Its offerings suit both men and women, and it’s usually found somewhere at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Nevertheless, Citizen watches are known for their quality craftsmanship, stylish designs, and unique features. With advanced technology and precision engineering, Citizen watches are a reliable and fashionable choice for anyone in need of a timepiece. However, Citizen is now moving further up the market; we recently covered their new Calibre 0210 Date watches, which cost north of €8k apiece. That’s not the first time they’ve done this, though. In 2017, they released the pretty (if slightly baffling) Tourbillon Y01 piece, which retailed in only one store in Tokyo for a price of $90k+.

Thankfully, the watches we’re looking at today aren’t nearly that pricey, in fact, they’re both priced at under $4.5k, although not by much, admittedly. One of my favourite watches from last year was Citizen’s AQ4103-16E Black Washi Paper Dial Limited Edition piece. The washi paper dial was the attraction on that one, and I’m pleased to say that it’s returned on these two new pieces. 

The paper dials of both watches are made from the fibres of three plants: Oriental paperbush (mitsumata, or edgworthia chrysantha), Ganpi (or Gampi, a member of the Wikstroemia family) and Paper mulberry (kōzo, or broussonetia papyrifera), this paper is extremely thin and allows light to get through the dial – more on that later. Both watches have dials with a unique theme on them, reference AQ4106-00W receives a warm brown dial with a pattern of lines meant to symbolise an eagle in flight, I suspect it’s specifically inspired by the ‘The Citizen’ applied logo below the hands. Reference AQ-4100-22W has a teal dial with a motif in a cloisonné style, that is, multiple overlapping circles which is very reminiscent of flowers, it reminds me of elegant ceramic tiles personally. Both watches come with a three-handed layout with applied markers and a date window. Strangely, I don’t mind that the date window’s backdrop hasn’t been colour-matched to the dials so much on these watches; the large frame around the cutout makes the date window a feature.

The applied markers, date window, applied ‘The Citizen’ eagle logo and brushed/polished dauphine hands are colour-matched to their cases. Speaking of which, both watches come with a case made of Citizen’s proprietary “Super Titanium” alloy, Citizen says it’s 40% lighter than stainless steel and five times as hard. AQ4106-00W comes with a Sakura Pink Duratect gold coating for a rose-gold finish, while AQ-4100-22W gets a platinum Duratect finish. The water resistance of both models is 100m and the watches come with classy leather straps.

Inside these elegant cases is the Calibre A060 Eco-Drive. This is where the partial transparency of those washi paper dials comes in, as this movement is recharged using solar cells behind the dial. That, theoretically, means it won’t ever run out of juice, barring some technical issues. But, in reality, the power reserve is around 7 months, increasing to 1.5 years if left in total darkness thanks to a power-saving feature. While it’s running, it’s also staying accurate to within +/- 5 seconds per year, too. Also, this movement can detect sudden impacts and lock the wheels up to reduce or even prevent damage, and if any wheels slip it detects it and recalibrates itself, something I wish mechanical watches could do by themselves.

You might’ve noticed a pusher on the side of the case, that’s there because the A060 is a perpetual calendar, so it knows the exact length of each month (including leap years) and automatically adjusts for it. Neat, although a lot different from a mechanical watch which achieves all of that with clever gearing.

All of this is to say that these watches are pretty unique. I wish Citizen had opened up the casebacks of these watches. They have done nice-looking decorations on quartz movements before and, hey, if they’re willing to go the distance and make it look all pretty, why not show it off? Still, these are attractive, and it’s good to see Citizen increasing their hold on the luxury watch market. The price of reference AQ4106-00W with the gold case is $4125 but the other model, reference AQ4100-22W, is a little more affordable at $3925.