Citizen first introduced the Tsuyosa to its range in 2022, but it wasn’t until June 2023 that UK buyers were able to get their hands on it. So, was it worth the wait?
The Tsuyosa (Tsuyosa being the Japanese word for ‘strength’) is an integrated sports style watch aimed at the budget conscious. The retail price is £299 and it’s available in a huge array of colours, from the vivid to the understated. It’s a versatile everyday watch that could easily be your only watch. Equally, if you’re a collector, pick a bold colour and you’ll have a fun summer watch from a legendary Japanese brand, which doesn’t break the bank.
Case and Wearing Experience
The 40mm case has an overall thickness of 11.9mm and a lug-to-lug measurement of 45mm. These are certainly crowd-pleasing dimensions, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that the bracelet has ‘male’ end links which aren’t articulated, so this does add slightly to the overall span across the wrist. Generally though, the Tsuyosa is a very comfortable watch to wear.
The mid-section of the case has straight sides and is thin, with much of the overall height taken up by the caseback. This is a trick that watch brands frequently employ to minimise the perceived thickness of the case. When used in moderation this can be a clever move, however I feel Citizen has pushed this concept close to its limit here. This could be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you like your watch to look and wear. I personally found that the watch sits slightly high on the wrist rather than bedding down into it, but this is something that you’ll quickly get used to.
The mid-section of the case has polished sides and chamfered edges to the top which run the entire length of the case including the downturned lugs. The dial-side is brushed, and the bezel is angled and polished. A tough, scratch-resistant flat sapphire crystal protects the dial and has an effective anti-reflective coating. The screw-down caseback comprises a polished stainless steel outer and an exhibition window at its centre.
The three-link bracelet tapers from 22mm to 18mm and combines rounded-top, polished centre links and brushed outer links with polished edges. The engineering tolerances for the bracelet aren’t exactly tight and it’s a bit jangly, but no more so than many watches at this price point. And in all honesty, the flexibility does bring fluidity and probably help somewhat with comfort. The simple, fold-over style stamped clasp bears the Citizen logo and has three micro-adjustment holes to help ensure a good fit. Finally, I can’t help thinking that the rounded links of the bracelet are at odds slightly with the sharp angular design of the lugs.
The push-pull crown is probably my least favourite aspect of the Tsuyosa’s design. I love the placement at the 4 o’clock position, however it’s heavily recessed into the case, so despite a having finger-nail cut-out in the case, it’s still relatively difficult to release the crown, and even more difficult to grab hold of and set the time, or wind. If it’s your only watch this probably won’t be a significant downside, however if you don’t wear it often, resetting the time could become frustrating. Of course, the trade-off is that a heavily recessed 4 o’clock crown certainly helps ensure a comfortable wearing experience!
Water resistance is 50m, which is fine, but given the versatile style of this watch it would have been nice to see a 100m rating for added confidence when using in water.
Citizen Tsuyosa – Dial and Hands
This is truly where the magic happens. Citizen have absolutely nailed the colour options available for the Tsuyosa, with something to please everyone. The yellow has proved to be so popular that it’s been difficult for Citizen to keep up with demand. This isn’t surprising as the yellow watches aren’t always easy to get right, but Citizen’s gorgeous, deeply saturated yellow, which leans towards orange end of the spectrum, is perfection. The light blue has also proved popular. However, the green reviewed here is a sleeper and should not be overlooked. The deep, rich emerald green with perfectly executed sunray pattern is honestly stunning in the flesh. Other colour options are more subdued: blue, black and the most recent release, a fumé teal.
The dial layout is simple, but pleasing. Classic baton-shaped applied indices, faceted to three sides, are used for the hour markers, with a double baton at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions and a date window at 3 o’clock. The minute track is simple with no fractional markers, and printed lume squares denoting the hours. Dial text is simply the brand name and ‘automatic’, refreshingly simple. Whilst it’s inevitable that people will compare the Tsuyosa dial style to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a widely used design for a reason, it just works!
Only the protruding magnifier for the date interrupts the otherwise unfussy, well-balanced approach. For most people the magnifying ‘cyclops’ will be a love it or hate it thing. I’m actually neither one way or the other on a magnifier per se. However, in this instance I didn’t find the cyclops to all that effective at enhancing the visibility of the date. For this reason, if Citizen ever brought out a no-date version, I’d opt for that!
Date window aside, legibility is truly fantastic on this watch in the daytime and at night. A strong application of Citizen’s proprietary lume ensures that that the baton-shaped hands and indices glow green well into the night. Only the seconds hand isn’t lumed.
Flip the watch over, and through the exhibition caseback you’ll see that the Tsuyosa is powered by Citizen’s 8210 automatic movement, which has a power reserve of 40 hours and a beat rate of 21,600 vph (3Hz). You can also hand wind and hack the movement for precise setting of the time. Whilst it’s not a particularly sophisticated or accurate movement, it’s supremely reliable and the perfect choice for a watch at this price point. Citizen has chosen to finish many visible parts of the movement in a gold colour, which provides some interest and contrast to an otherwise plain-looking movement. All in all, you couldn’t really expect any more, given its price point.
Final Thoughts On The Citizen Tsuyosa
Whilst it may sound like I’ve found many shortcomings, in reality some of my negatives are subjective and the rest are minor niggles, especially given the bargain £299 retail price. The Tsuyosa is already proving to be a best seller for Citizen and it’s easy to understand why. With a stunning array of dial colours to choose from, a reliable movement made by Citizen themselves, and a versatile style that will see you right in most situations, its wide appeal is undeniable. Add to that Citizen’s five-year warranty (six if you register your watch online) and the reassurance that buying a high street brand brings, and it’s clear the Tsuyosa is a fantastic value proposition for both watch enthusiasts and mainstream buyers who are looking for their only watch. I could see some collectors buying two or three for the dial colours alone. Initially I was disappointed that I couldn’t get the yellow for review, but having lived with the green for a few weeks now I can say that, in my opinion, it doesn’t play second fiddle to any of the other colours.
Given the popularity of this watch I expect it to remain a staple watch in the Citizen line-up. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more colours added in the future. Even at the time of writing, Citizen has released a new fumé version in teal, which is very tempting!
Who knows, maybe we’ll even see an Eco-Drive version down the line?
There are now more integrated bracelet sports watches on the market than you can shake a stick at. However, when you’re looking for an automatic on a tight budget the choice narrows considerably, and for me the Citizen is the best option currently available at this price point from a mainstream brand. Whether that will still be the case in 12 months-time, only time will tell!