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Giving the gift of a high-caliber watch communicates a few things to your recipient. First, that you care enough about them to put the time and effort into watch shopping. Second, that you know enough about them to choose the right model. And third, that they have a serious tardiness problem. (OK, that last one only applies to certain giftees.) If this sounds like a daunting task, then start with a trusted brand like Citizen, which has been making timepieces for decades (104 years to be exact), and you’ll have a tough time going astray.
Still, there’s a difference between the watch your partner will cherish and the one your brother-in-law will give an approving nod to. This is not a one-size-fits-all gift. In order to help you navigate the movements (trusty mechanical or simple quartz?), the styles (stainless steel or gold-plated?) and the models (dive or dress?), we’ve hand-selected 10 Citizen watches for a variety of holiday gifting occasions.
Does that include a handful of timepieces we’d like to find under our own trees this year, and that you may want to pick up for yourself? Of course it does. Feel free to slide these links into the DMs of anyone who might be thinking about a gift for you.
Promaster Mechanical Diver
If you think this is just another blue and stainless steel dive watch (which, to be fair, is a timeless combination in our book), think again. This retro design, which debuted earlier this year, actually uses Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium, an alloy that’s lighter and more scratch resistant than stainless steel. Packed inside you’ll find an automatic movement with a healthy 42-hour power reserve and enhanced magnetic resistance. It dresses up, dresses down, provides a little funk but keeps things classy, which makes it a no-brainer gift this season (that’s also available in black).
If the Promaster above is a subtle flex, this gold-tone stainless steel Carson is a siren for the wrist. Your recipient will be asked about this piece everywhere they go, so gift this one to the loquacious in your life. It’s not all style with this model (though the deep green dial and metal-accented subdials make it a real looker), as the three-hand main dial is complemented by 24-hour time, the date, a tachymeter and a chronograph that tracks up to 60 minutes.
Promaster Blue Angels Air Skyhawk
No functionality has been left off the table and no millimeter of the dial has been left unadorned. This limited-edition Blue Angels Air Skyhawk is no simple watch, it’s a high-powered tool for the gear lover, preparedness enthusiast or flight junkie. Citizen’s latest tribute to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aerobatic squadron, this piece is a 46mm beast with features like atomic time synchronization, time adjustment for 43 cities around the world, digital and analog displays, a power-reserve indicator and that’s just to name a few! If all that wasn’t enough, it comes displayed in a yellow collector’s helmet case.
Promaster Dive Orca
Just wait until the aesthete (or animal lover) in your circle gets their hands on the Orca. It truly is unlike any other watch out there, with its case, bezel, indices and even strap design evoking the black-and-white creature of the deep. Of course, with a 200-meter water resistance rating this ISO-compliant dive watch is built for action as much as aesthetics. But whether they take it in the drink or to grab drinks is up to them.
Promaster Professional Diver
“More than sufficient for even the most hardcore adventure seekers.” That’s how our watch expert described this Promaster when he chose it as one of the best dive watches under $1,000. In other words, since most of the people in your life are probably weekend warriors at best, this diver will easily keep up with all their escapades thanks to a beefy and user-friendly design and Eco-Drive movement that’s powered by light. And if you do happen to have a wannabe Cousteau in your life, this’ll become an essential partner for them, too.
You can’t go watch shopping without running across the phrase “military-inspired.” But Citizen took that overused descriptor and made a damn good field watch in the Chandler. (So good, our aforementioned watch authority chose it as one of his eight favorites.) Get this for your brother, your cousin, your dad, they’ll all find a place for it in their collection. And if you’re gifting this to someone who has yet to own a wristwatch, it’s a great place to start, with all the legible timekeeping they could ask for, including 12/24-hour time, the day and the date.
If they want to be known for more than good looks (but also their good looks), match their energy with this rose-gold tone, green-dial and leather-strap PCAT. The acronym stands for “perpetual calendar automatic timekeeping,” which is the fancy way of saying this piece is packed to the gills with functionality that they’ll spend their entire winter holiday learning to set, engage and wield. But take a step back from the hands and dials and we’ve got ourselves a balanced, dressy timepiece that’ll become their globetrotting companion.
As we’ve seen, Citizen does busy, feature-packed watches well. The Endicott proves they can handle subtlety, too. The rose-gold tone stainless steel, geometric case and crown guards add some punch, but the black leather strap and pared down dial (three hands, simple date window) make this a dress watch anyone can pull off. Check their wrist come New Year’s Eve, as they’ll certainly be sporting this on the way to 2023.
Everything she needs in a watch, nothing she doesn’t. The rectangular shape will never go out of style, while the gold-plated stainless steel (that is, actual gold, not just gold tone) will add some welcome luster (make sure she opens it under some twinkling lights). It’s an Eco-Drive model too, which means it’ll charge in the light, no fuss needed on her end.
We’d gladly buy the Stiletto Tank above for most of the women in our life. This version of the Calendrier, on the other hand, is for a particular recipient, namely one who won’t enter into a relationship with someone until they know their zodiac sign. The standout feature is the moon phase subdial at 6 o’clock; scratch that, it’s the shimmering blue and purple watercolor scheme; wait, no, it’s the inlaid diamonds around the dial. Suffice it to say, there’s just a lot to love about this particular Calendrier, as she’ll discover as wears it through the seasons.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.