The Citizen Series 8 GMT Ain’t Your Daddy’s Citizen

The Citizen Series 8 GMT Ain’t Your Daddy’s Citizen

Randy Lai
Randy Lai


Ever since the inception of the Series 8 Collection (originally as a JDM line way back in 2008) Citizen’s enduring ethos has been to build “a mechanical watch for the way we live now”.

In practical terms, that necessarily requires the brand to tick off a number of qualities: including comfort, anti-magnetic technology, and a design flexible enough to be worn in any given setting. 

Over the past 14 years, these pillars have encouraged Citizen to spin the broader Series 8 into a number of individually identifiable lines — notably the 830, 831, and 870 — yet the new “880 Mechanicals”, all distinguished by their incorporation of a GMT, amount to the collection’s most fully realised additions to date. 

Pictured (left to right): GMT Series 8 in steel with black/blue bezel; gold; and steel with red/blue bezel.

Available in two steel variations, or a 1,300-piece limited edition which we’ll come to in a tick, this new Series 8 is an assured option for enthusiasts who gravitate toward travel watches that play nicely in both casual and formal environs. 

In a phrase: these are watches tailored for an audience of global citizens — or is that “Citizens”? 

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Mo’ Time To Fly

Given the unprecedented technical nature of the Series 8 GMT, it’s probably easiest to start the conversation there. These three 41mm releases mark the first appearance of a GMT-style complication within the entire Series 8 lineup, and Citizen has chosen to implement this in a fashion that will attract the broadest possible audience. 

Accordingly, the stainless steel model (priced at $2,250) comes with one of two different bicoloured bezels: a red-and-blue number, or a Batsuit-esque black-and-navy combo. In conjunction with the (appropriately punchy) orange GMT hand, these Series 8 880s are able to display up to three time zones simultaneously; with the bezel graduated for a 24-hour day/night cycle. 

Pictured: The gold iteration of Citizen’s Series 8 GMT is available in a 1,300-piece limited edition and priced at $2,450.

Citizen’s own Cal. 9054 is the engine that gives life to these various displays. A power reserve of 50 hours nets the customary stamp of “weekend-proof” approval. In actuality, what’s more impressive is the integration of “flyer” GMT functionality: in brief, the ability to quickly (and incrementally) jump the main hour hand forward to a new local timezone. 

To be clear: even today, this sort of flyer functionality remains broadly synonymous with watches in the $6,000+ price range; and so the fact that Citizen is able to offer it at one-third the going rate is certainly worth celebrating. 

The Next Step In Series 8: An Evolutive Aesthetic

Citizen Series 8 GMT

The good times continue on the design front, as these Series 8 GMTs propose a more adventurous, free-roaming perspective on the 870 platform.

Naturally, there are a handful of superficial similarities that Citizen collectors will glean straight away — though you’d be dead wrong to assume the new 880’s look is analogous with “the 870, but beefier”. 

The beveling, particularly across those surfaces where the case flank flows into the lug, is noticeably finer; with wearers of this Series 8 iteration able to better appreciate “simple facets and clean straight lines” playing out across an external architecture that’s 13.5mm in thickness. 

Citizen Series 8 GMT

And where the minimalist philosophy behind the 870 meant that that watch was almost always paired with a black/silver dial, the Series 8 GMT doubles down on its globetrotting obsession with a range of dial treatments that, if nothing else, should inspire a fierce desire to book the next available flight to Japan. 

Both steel variations employ a textured motif that channels Tokyo’s nocturnal cityscape. According to Citizen, the dial’s alternating chequer-like rectangles are an ode to the “countless skyscrapers [and] windows of different sizes” you’ll see around the city: offering a contemporary twist on Ichimatsu (a traditional Japanese pattern often found in clothing and homewares). 

Those man-made inspirations rescinded from view in the case of the limited edition GMT. Made in a run of 1,300 pieces globally, the standout features of this LE are its gold-plated case, Sarsaparilla-inspired bezel, and textured dial made to “express Japan’s original scenery”.

Together, these various externalities (e.g. the two-tone effect of the bracelet) encapsulate an array of autumnal gold hues. A bold re-envisioning of the GMT in steel, signalling Citizen’s continued devotion to the watch enthusiasts of today — and in all likelihood, the watch enthusiasts of tomorrow. 

This article is sponsored by Citizen. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].



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