Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. and space start-up Ispace Inc. have recently joined forces. As corporate partner of Ispace’s planned commercial lunar exploration program, the 100-year-old Japanese watchmaker and pioneer in the use of titanium has now released two limited-edition chronographs dedicated to the upcoming missions that should also bring parts made of the brand’s Super Titanium alloy to the moon.
Both watches, the two-tone CC4016-75E (1,200 pieces) and the black AT8185-71E (1,600 pieces), use Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, meaning both movements are powered by light and thus never need a battery change. This led to the CC4016-75E being certified as an Ecomark product for the first time in the watch industry.
Back to the Moon
Ispace Inc. aims “to be a vehicle for companies on Earth to access new business opportunities on the Moon and ultimately incorporate the Moon into Earth’s economic and living sphere.” Originating from the Google Lunar Xprize competition, in which Ispace had managed Team Hakuto (named after the white rabbit in Japanese mythology), Ispace is now working on achieving the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program, named Hakuto-R, which consists of Ispace’s first two lunar missions.
The first mission to land on the lunar surface (M1) aims to perform a soft landing on the moon in 2022. The following year, the second mission (M2) should bring a rover for surface exploration and data collection on the moon. For Mission 3 and beyond, ispace “will increase the frequency of lunar landings and rover expeditions to transport customer payloads to the moon.”
“With Japan’s high-quality craftsmanship and coordinated leadership, ispace contributes to the construction of a cosmic-scale sphere of life that will support humankind.”Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO of Ispace Inc.
Citizen will provide Super Titanium parts for the legs of the lunar lander. Super Titanium is developed using Citizen’s proprietary technology, called Duratect, which uses special treatment techniques — including ion plating, cold plasma, gas hardening and duplex coating — to produce a titanium material “that is 6x harder than stainless steel with excellent durability and abrasion-resistance, while maintaining the lightness of titanium.” Through this partnership, Citizen will be procuring the pure titanium material, process it using the Duratect treatment technology, and apply it to the Hakuto-R lander and rover parts.
“Citizen and Ispace aim to use Super Titanium to improve the reliability and environmental resistance of the Hakuto-R spacecrafts’s titanium parts.”Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.
Citizen introduced the world’s first serially produced titanium watch, the X-8 Chronometer, in 1970, one year after man first set foot on the moon.
Citizen Eco-Drive CC4016-75E
The more luxurious CC4016-75E model is limited to 1,200 pieces and features gold highlights on the case and bracelet, using Duratect MRK Gold to harden the surface of the material. Duratect DLC (used on parts of the bezel and bracelet), on the other hand, provides a stunning contrast to the gold-colored elements.
More importantly, Duratect DLC achieves a hardness of 1,000-1,400 HV on the Vickers scale by coating an amorphous carbon hard film – mainly composed of carbon and hydrogen – on the surface of the material. Duratect MRK and Duratect MRK Gold achieve a hardness of 1,300-1,500 HH by instilling gas onto the surfaces of titanium materials to harden.
In contrast to the high-tech material, the subdial at the 6 o’clock position uses mother-of-pearl, while the applied indexes, hands, and the subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock are gold-colored. The date window is integrated between 4 and 5 o’clock on the on the multi-layered dial. Citizen chose to only cover the hour and minute hand, as well as the hour indexes, with luminous material.
Fittingly, Citizen’s CC4016-75E comes with caseback that hosts a printed picture of the Hakuto-R lander craft descending on the moon.
The 44.3-mm watch is powered by Citizen’s F950 Eco-Drive GPS Satellite Wave movement, which is capable of receiving time signals in as little as 3 seconds — the fastest GPS satellite signal reception in the world, according to Citizen. The hour and minute hands move twice as fast as those on previous models to rapidly display the current time. Additionally, the movement is capable of running for five years on a full charge (in power save mode).
The F950 has a wide range of functions that include world time in 27 cities (40 time zones), a chronograph, dual time zones, daylight savings time indicator, perpetual calendar, and power-reserve and light-level indicators.
The CC4016-75E is limited to 1,200 pieces and priced at $3,495.
Citizen Eco-Drive AT8185-71E
The slightly smaller, all-black AT8185-71E, undoubtedly inspired by the dark side of the moon, is powered by the H800. The movement displays world time in 26 cities, features a chronograph (1/20 seconds, 60 seconds, 60 minutes total), dual time zones, universal coordinated time display, perpetual calendar, as well as daylight savings time, power-reserve and light-level indicators. In this case, time is synchronized to an atomic clock, accurate to 1 second every 100,000 years: in other words, the watch auto-corrects the time and calendar by synchronizing with the most accurate time source in existence. Its power reserve is approximately 10 months when fully charged (with power save activated).
Made with the same Super Titanium technology the Japanese watchmaker uses to craft components for the lunar mission, the 42-mm watch also comes with a dial comprising several layers to create a three-dimensional look similar to the surface of the moon.
The subdial at 6 o’clock is accented by mother-of-pearl, while the inner bezel show the stars in space. On the back, the Hakuto-R logo is laser etched.
The AT8185-71E is limited to 1,600 pieces and priced at $2,295.
Both lightweight chronograph watches are excellent examples of Citizen’s expertise in the use of titanium. The two-tone CC4016-75E, in particular, offers a gorgeous combination of dark titanium with gold-colored accents. Their finishes and details are as you’d expect from high-tech watches that come with a four-digit price tag, and once you start discovering the stars and moon-surface details on the AT8185-71E, one indeed immediately starts to dream about space exploration.
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date, global satellite GPS, 40 time zones, 1/20-second chronograph, perpetual calendar
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date, synchronized time adjustment available in 40 time zones, 1/20-second chronograph, perpetual calendar
|44.3-mm Super Titanium case with DLC and “gold-colored accents in Duratect MRK Gold,” height 15.4 mm, water-resistant to 100 meters
|42-mm Super Titanium case with DLC, height: 10.8 mm, water-resistant to 100 meters
|Dual spherical sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
|Dual spherical sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating