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Ongoing Evolution

Since its foundation in 1930, CITIZEN has promoted a multi-cultural mindset that fosters excellence and creativity. As a citizen of the world, we make it our responsibility to help cultivate a culture of positive change and ongoing evolution through our craft. We take this mission seriously and eagerly welcome what the future may bring.

As a true manufacture d’horlogerie, CITIZEN integrates a comprehensive manufacturing process that extends from creating a watch’s individual components to its final assembly. It’s an artisan’s approach to watchmaking based on pushing forward the boundaries of technology and leveraging our experience to explore new possibilities.

Our 84-year history of world’s-firsts includes such watchmaking innovations as radio-controlled and satellite-synchronized timekeeping. Another pivotal technological was the development of a revolutionary light-powered technology – Eco-Drive. CITIZEN pioneered this technology well ahead of other watch manufacturers as early as 1976.

Utilizing electrical power converted from virtually any light source, this extraordinary innovation changed forever the way watches could be powered. Eco-Drive eliminated the need to replace batteries, which made it especially beneficial to areas where specialist batteries were not obtainable. This advance democratized the joy of wearing and using CITIZEN watches, thus making the experience even more memorable for all citizens of the world.

CITIZEN continues imagining what the future will bring, as well as improving on today’s breakthroughs. All these activities are based on our belief that “For each of us at CITIZEN, now is the time to start to make the world better.” These are the visions behind and our new brand statement, “BETTER STARTS NOW”. Building further on our achievements, we will keep pushing boundaries for tomorrow so that more customers everywhere can wear superior watches. In an interview with Luxury Arabia, General Manager of CITIZEN Watches Gulf Co, Mr. Hideki Imai talks about the brand and its plans for the region.

Please elaborate on the company’s expansion plans for the UAE in 2016?

It is fair to say that 2016 will also be a challenging year for us in the Middle East due to the downfall in oil prices and economic recession. However the Mid-priced segment continues to expand every year, not only in innovations and high quality of Japanese craftsmanship such as Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS, but also in the growth of the young audience. Both globally and regionally, retail expansion will remain a key strategy with appropriate budget in 2016.

In addition to the key strategy, 2016 is a big year for CITIZEN, where we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our proprietary Eco-Drive technology in 2016. We pride ourselves on our cutting-edge technology and our dedication to constantly improving and combining form, function, and fashion.

CITIZEN introduced the first light-powered analog watch in 1976 in response to outside social issues and also to support our founding principle to create watches for all the citizens of the world. The 1970s brought more consumer awareness to the environment and how we were badly treating planet Earth. Everyone knew that watch batteries thrown into landfills were harmful to the environment as they were not bio-degradable, so we looked instead to use a natural energy (sunlight) to power our watches. A free energy source that is available to all the citizens of the world. Today, we continue to work towards building the most sustainable and eco-friendly watches for our customers who are socially conscious and care about the Earth.

Tell us about your new world first watch launched at Baselworld this year?

2016 proves to be another milestone for Eco-Drive technology with the creation of Eco-Drive One introduced at Basel fair 2016 – the world’s thinnest light-powered analog watch. We have once again demonstrated how we utilize our research and development teams to push beyond what has been done before. We are so glad that we get to celebrate our 40th anniversary of Eco-Drive with citizens in the world, the customers who have been our inspiration since the very beginning! At CITIZEN we make watches for all the citizens of the world.

Our marketing activities in 2016 based on Eco-Drive 40th anniversary will be evolved starting from Dubai Airport from July 2016 onwards. We aim for the expansion of sales and rise in customer satisfaction through stronger customer contacts.

What is Citizen Middle East’s percentage of sales growth year-on-year in 2015, especially with reference to the UAE and the Middle East & what rate of growth are you targeting in 2016?

We have exceeded our sales targets slightly even though the year 2015 has been a tough one in general for the watch industry. We expect to see an 8% sales growth in the Middle East, North Africa and CIS countries in 2016.

What is the estimated value of the UAE and regional markets for Citizen?

The retail sector in the Middle East is being driven by increased growth in consumer spending attracting a mix of developers, international and local retailers, fashion brands, investors and financiers. There is no doubt the UAE is the perfect gateway for international retail entities to extend our presence in the whole region and beyond. CITIZEN is well established in the Middle East and has been for decades. However we are continuously looking to further developing stronger ties with the Middle East, through a mutually enriching relationship with all stake holders.