Sunday, March 27, 2011

Citizen Appleseed and RING Highlighted in Real Scale

Real Scale Volume 12 highlights the Appleseed and Ring models recently announced at Baselworld 2011.  Some is presented below but check out the online issue for more content and some more sweet pictures.

Citizen's marketing is hard at work and I love it.  First the tag line "Space Drives Time" and now "Horology, from Heaven to Earth".

A Revolutionary Concept Model Pulls
its Signal from Space.

The revolution in watches is underway, and 2011 will be
remembered as the year its history turned a corner. The
agent of change is Citizen, and its Eco-Drive SATELLITE
WAVE, a concept watch that derives its precision from outer
space. It surpasses all previous radio wave efforts – the
ultimate radio wave watch, reaching deep into space to
retrieve its signal. The Citizen radio wave watches presently
available are simply the most precise timekeepers on the
market. They receive wave signals generated by a number of
caesium/rubidium-based atomic clock stations situated
around the world. Normal operating tolerances of that system
result in a time lag of a scant second every 100,000 years.
These watches are designed to automatically accept a time
and date correction daily.

The Achilles’ heel of the radio wave watch has been that it
responds to signals from North American, European,
Japanese, and Chinese stations. Elsewhere it retains its most
recent adjustment, which still keeps it unerringly precise, as
all quartz watches are. If standard atomic clock signal
stations were dispersed across the entire globe, the problem
would be eliminated, but that won’t soon be the case.
Citizen aimed for perfect precision, whether the wearer
was in the middle of the Pacific or atop the Himalayas, in the
Amazon jungle or the Sahara desert. To make that possible
they turned to outer space. At this moment 24 navigationsatellites are looping the Earth at twelve-hour intervals, more than 20,000 kilometers above us. The Eco-Drive SATELLITE
WAVE searches for the nearest of these to grab its signal,
delivering constant, precise time wherever it is. There’s no
need to hand-set the time, of course, and no change of
battery. In short, the wearer of this watch needn’t do any
maintenance. Precise time will quite literally “fall upon” them
wherever in the world they travel.

The SATELLITE WAVE was inspired in its styling by the
Golden Age of space exploration. Thematically, the design
represents the functions of receiving precise time data and
light from space, and the sculptural dial pays tribute to the
look and feel of a rocket engine. The metal ring that appears
to float free beneath the glass bezel represents Earth orbit.
The spirals seen at the side of the glass bezel signify waves
conveyed between watch and source, as well as the symbolic
wavelength of light, referring to the Eco-drive’s solar power
function. The case has been molded to stand clear of the lugs,
giving it an appearance that echoes the excitement of those
first spheroid images transmitted of our world from orbiting
spacecraft. Citizen invented the first “multipolar” watch of its
kind, and that seemed like perfection in its own right. Here
was a watch that could easily synchronize with Earth stations
all across the Northern Hemisphere. What does it say for the
company to have surpassed even that superior standard?

A Most Highly Anticipated Concept
Comes to Market. 

A great idea unrealized, no matter how spectacular,
represents a tragic loss of potential. That’s why Citizen takes
great delight in announcing that the Eco-Drive RING concept
model that was revealed at BASELWORLD 2009 will be
released to the public this fall. In doing this it follows in
succession of its illustrious predecessor the Eco-Drive
DOME, which went on sale in June of last year. The Eco-
Drive RING has a striking appearance. Its multiplanar,
multifaceted face summoning the strong, straight lines and
reflective surfaces of modernist architecture. A particularly
breathtaking feature is its profile, which is like that of no
other watch before it.

The Eco-Drive RING was introduced to the design
community at last year’s BASELWORLD, which responded
with unfettered praise, heralding it as one of the most
stunning designs on display. Hesitancy appeared only with
the realization that it is in the nature of so many concepts
never to find their way to production. If it were produced at
all, those knowledgeable assumed, it would be ages before it
would come to market.

This skepticism was not unwarranted, considering that the
RING is the fullest actualization of what the solar powered
Eco-Drive design is aiming for. It sports a satisfying array of
complications across a strong, declarative face. Because of
this everyone, including those involved in watchmaking
worldwide, assumed quite reasonably that the solar panel
would need to be placed in the dial to deliver the power
requirements of the mechanism. That is, after all, reckoned
to be the largest surface on a watch. But the Eco-Drive RING
broke the rules with a design that sweeps in light from the
side of the body. While technically impressive, the most
intriguing aspect of this is that a watch body’s periphery has
never really been the full focus of its design. This was an
instance, characteristic of the Citizen design team strategy,
where mechanical engineering took the leading role in
creative invention. From the front its appearance has a round,
unassuming, deceptively low-key look. But viewing it on a
bias unmasks the essence of its ingenuity. The solar panel is
located on the outer rim of the cylinder case, surrounded by
a ring of crystal. Citizen hollowed the lugs, not simply for the
sake of appearance, but to increase light penetration overall.
Even its detailing uncovers its secrets discreetly. From the
front the facial time markers are plain index bars, but from
the side, Arabic numeral s appear. This rigorously
orchestrated presentation is the essence of what Citizen,
when enunciating its ultimate statement on watch design,
calls the “fusion of aesthetics and technology”, finally
achievable through a triumph of technological innovation.

1 comment:

Artec540/Fran Oldham said...

Aesthetics, of course, are completely subjective, but sometimes appearance can be so extreme that it overcomes the function aspects. In the cases of the Appleseed and the polished model whose photos were posted by Spin Doctor, for me, the attractions of GPS corrections and ecodrive are eclipsed by the ugly, clunky, industrial shapes of the case and the lugs.

I realize that the use of the ring for gathering the light used to keep the battery charged dictates the cylindrical case shape but unfortunately it eliminates any elegance or subtlety from the watches appearance.

I'm a great admirer of what Citizen can do and my absolutely favorite watches are both Citizen Chronomasters, but the clean, simple, understated elegance of these models is completely missing from these new offerings.

I emphasize again that I understand that aesthetics are entirely subjective, but I cannot agree that "aesthetics and technology" are fused in either new model.