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The Citizen Watches celebrations included entertainment from Tim Omaji (formerly 'Timomatic')
The Citizen Watches celebrations included entertainment from Tim Omaji (formerly 'Timomatic')

Citizen celebrates 50 years in Australia

Citizen Watches has marked a major company milestone by hosting a special event in Sydney.

While Citizen’s long history in Australia is well-recognised, what is not so well-known is that the establishment of its first office outside Japan was in Australia in 1965. This fact was emphasised during the company’s 50th anniversary celebration held at the Sydney Opera House forecourt on Thursday 8 October.

Speaking at the event – attended by more than 100 guests, including the watch brand’s retailers – Citizen Watches Australia CEO Tomoaki Imazeki described the company’s decision as “very significant” for a number of reasons.

He explained not only was it the first overseas office but “In the 1960s, Japan was becoming one of the major trading partner countries for Australia. At that time, however, Japanese brands were not trusted as much as they are now, and it was a struggle to expand our watch sales in this country.”

The situation did improve though, with Imazeki adding, “That began to change in the 1970s when Japanese evolutional technologies started dominating the world.”

Rod Willment, Citizen Watches Australia sales and marketing manager
Rod Willment, Citizen Watches Australia sales and marketing manager

Citizen’s commitment to Australia strengthened in the 1980s when the company invested heavily in brand marketing. One of the major highlights was its sponsorship of the America’s Cup challenge in 1983.

“When the Australian team won this race, it was huge news in Australia, and greatly improved the recognition value of Citizen Watches in this country,” Imazeki said. “The America’s Cup also raised interest in Citizen waterproof watches, after crews in the Australian team wore them.”

Imazeki ran the audience through a presentation of the history of Citizen’s developments – from the world's first analogue wristwatch with a solar cell in the 1970s; to the 1990s when it launched the world's thinnest analogue solar-powered watch, the Eco-Drive; and up to its more recent developments, including the GPS satellite technology and proprietary technology Super Titanium.

Parties and acknowledgements

The milestone celebration was a party-style atmosphere, with Australian staff in attendance as well as a range of prominent Citizen retail stockists.

The guest list also included Toshio Tokura, president and CEO Citizen Holdings; Ryota Aoyagi, vice president Citizen Watch Co; Naoto Hosogaya, managing director Citizen Watches (HK); and Nobuyuki Tanaka, general manager product marketing Citizen Watch Co.

Rod Willment, Citizen Australia sales and marketing manager, was extremely happy with the event.

“What a wonderful opportunity for Citizen to celebrate our 50th anniversary at the Opera House Marquee with our valued retail partners, without whose support this milestone would not have been possible. The support and commitment of our retailers to the brand over this time has contributed to our success and longevity in the Oceanic market,” Willment said.

“Just as important are the wonderful people who work at Citizen; their hard work and dedication to the brand has also been a major reason for our success. Here’s to another 50 years,” he added.

The party-style mood was led by entertainment from singer-songwriter and dancer, Tim Omaji, formerly ‘Timomatic’.

The event

Tomoaki Imazeki, Citizen Watches Australia CEO
Tomoaki Imazeki, Citizen Watches Australia CEO
Toshio Tokura, Citizen Holdings president and CEO
Toshio Tokura, Citizen Holdings president and CEO

Singer-songwriter and dancer Tim Omaji
Singer-songwriter and dancer Tim Omaji

More reading
Citizen goes global with new watch campaign
Satellite watch technology arrives in Australia
Techno timepieces: How the Japanese brands dominate

Monday, 25 June, 2018 02:34am
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