Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-1022

Ever wondered what the most accurate watch in the world is? It’s probably not what you think.

You might guess a radio-controlled quartz watch like the Casio G-Shock Gulfman, or the Citizen Skyhawk. That’s a good starting point. Atomic watches are very accurate if you can receive the radio signals. But there are large portions of the world where they don’t reach (Central/South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the poles, out on the ocean — even plenty of places that are technically within range, but for whatever reason, not conducive to signal penetration).

Another possible answer is a GPS watch like the Suunto X9i which works almost anywhere on the globe. Unfortunately, it has very limited battery life, and doesn’t sync automatically.

Conventional quartz movements are generally accurate to ±15 seconds per month, or 3 minutes per year. That’s good enough for pretty much any application, as evidenced by the fact that accuracy hasn’t improved much since the 1970s. More modern technology has brought a few high-accuracy quartz movements:

  • The ETA Thermoline movement, as used in some Breitlings.
  • Seiko 8F and 9F movements, generally good to 10-20 seconds per year.
  • And today’s mystery contestant: the Citizen A660.

Say hello to one of the best wolf-in-sheep’s clothing watches in existence: the Citizen Chronomaster (aka “The Citizen”). The A660 movement inside the Citizen Chronomaster is the most accurate in the world right now, rated to an amazing ±5 seconds per year. There’s a variety of faces and hands, but the basic watch style is a very understated men’s dress watch. The cost is around $1,100 – $1,300USD at present — not bad for such impressive technology and looks.

Specifications for the model shown to the right, the The Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-1022 (our favorite):

  • A660 quartz movement good to ±5 seconds per year.
  • Hardened Duratect titanium case and band.
  • Sapphire crystal, double-sided anti-reflective coated.
  • Perpetual calendar until 2100.
  • 100m (330ft) water resistant.
  • 10 year warranty (with free battery changes, no less).
  • 5-year battery.
  • 10.8mm by 37mm case: medium-sized for a men’s dress watch. A mere 88g in weight due to the titanium.

The CTQ57-1022 is probably the flashiest model in the lineup with its contrasting minute ring and seconds hand. The other models have much more understated silver or black dress dials.

In a lot of ways, the A660 is the ultimate watch geeks’ watch. It looks like a generic Citizen you’d buy at the local mall with no hint of the amazing engineering under the dial. Forums on the Internet have stories of A660 owners noticing when leap seconds are added to UTC time because their beloved Citizen Chronomaster is suddenly an entire second off!

If you want the ultimate in accuracy and functionality, and don’t care about showing off, the A660 was made for you.

By Paul Hubbard

Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-0952

Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-0951

21 Comments

  1. What a modest masterpiece, and thanks for the information. How do they achieve such profound accuraccy? 

    Reply
    •  Profound accuracy?  They’re off by 6 minutes a year.  John Harrison beat that.

      Reply
      •  They’re off 5 *seconds* a year…

        Reply
    • Andrew
      My SBGX063 after fine tuning by myself gains only half a second per year (!)

      Reply
  2. my omega quartz gains 1 second a day ?????????

    Reply
    • If your Omega quartz is actually gaining 30s per month, I would recommend getting it serviced by your closest authorized dealer. A cheap quartz movement should keep time to +/- 15s per month.

      Reply
    • You get what you pay for – An overpriced pseudo-exclusive piece of shiat.

      Reply
      • Basti,

        What do you recommend then?

        Thanks,
        AC

        Reply
    • My 1978 Omega seamaster quartz gains 11 seconds per month

      Reply
  3. I was wondering why the Bulova Precionist had not entered into this conversation . 10+/- per year. Especially when one considers the value.

    Reply
    • Yeah me too I have these watches and they are extremely accurate

      Reply
  4. This was a great article in its time (it inspired me to buy a 5 SPY Citizen), though it could do with a little updating.

    Besides the A660, Citizen now also have 5 SPY movements with eco-drive technology in calibres A010 and A060. But for ultimate quartz accuracy, both Morgenwerk and Hoptroff offer watches rated to 1 SPY.

    Hoptroff also offer atomic watches, accurate to 1.5 seconds per thousand years, but they’re rather too large (and expensive) to serve as ‘every day’ watches.

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      I think that both the Morgenwerk and Hoptroff use “GPS satellites to sync their time signal, our watches are independent from the limitations of radio towers or cell phone networks” ……

      So is it fair to claim ultimate quartz accuracy in a watch that is in effect re-setting itself using external
      time information ?

      Cheers,
      Graham.

      Reply
  5. I have a bog standard Citizen eco drive I bought 5 years ago -I check it now and again against the exact time app and I never notice any loss or gain ,zero .Only when I have to change that spring forward /fall back nonsense. My failing eyesight doesnot need anything more accurate so what is all this crap about !

    Reply
  6. That’s tremendous time-keeping. My Tissot Jungfrau Bahn Touch Solar loses 2 seconds a month.

    Reply
  7. My 30 year old Omega Seamaster automatic mechanical is accurate to about 15-20 seconds per month

    Reply
  8. I bought a Citizen eco-drive titanium with J-810 movement. Safier cristal, 100 meter waterproof. 250 euro.
    The most accurate watch i have ever had. In 1 month only 1.5 seconds difference. In a year about 20 seconds!!! And that for this price. I have the one with the blue dial…looks great too

    Reply
  9. Just to follow-up on a previous comment re: Bulova Precisionist…

    I bought one 40 some days ago and it has not gained a full second yet… it looks about half a second a month, which is as perfect as it comes IMO

    Reply
  10. Hi I have a weide wrist watch with japanis movement dual battery’s it has dual time one digatil the other old fashioned with hands the digatial led light time runs about 11 seconds a week fast the hands gee the watch gains a whole second in 365 days I,am very pleased with this watch I think I just got very lucky

    Reply
  11. I own 14 watches, Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Longinnes, Seiko, and Bulova. My Bulova Precisionist is the most accurate one of them all. I basically never have to re-set the time on it. Yes,it is a quartz watch but it beats them all. I have to adjust all of my Automatic watches at least every month, but My Bulova is always spot on.
    Now the Seiko quartz watches, and My Longinnes quarts watches are also very accurate. But Nothing beats the Bulova.

    Reply
    • I agree.i currently own 14 watches(all different brands)such as Ball,Hamilton,Tissot,Movado,Invicta which is garbage in my opinion,Bulova as well as a Rolex to name a few.wouldnt even own a Rolex had it not been given to me being that I feel Rolex is way overpriced for what you get not to mention is a company that doesnt pay any taxes since they’re somehow considered a charity company of some sort.many many other luxury watch brands out there that imo are much much better not to mention a hell of a lot nicer looking.having said that I personally feel that my 140th anniversary edition precisionist looks better then most Rolexs that are out.even with a watch winder I have a adjust the Rolex everytime I chose to wear it whether its not worn for a couple months,couple weeks or even a couple days for that matter.granted the Rolex has a automatic movement so it is expected to not be anywhere near as accurate as good quality quartz watch’s but I’ve owned my precisionist for roughly a year now and I kid you not it has not lost even a single second of time to this day.not only do I love the fact of how accurate it is I also love how the 140th anniversary edition looks with the black carbon fiber dail and the Bulova accutron green hands that I wear it pretty much daily.my Ball is arguably the most accurate automatic watch I’ve ever owned.when it comes to citizens watches,idk.always thought they look cheap and ranked up there with any other cheap piece of shit watch you can buy in your local pharmacy.for $1300 I would expect something a lot nicer looking and at least have a 40mm to say 44mm case size not something that looks so plain and small enough that it would look good on most women.37mm I feel is too small for a mens watch and for that price I’d rather find a really nice well kept used Grand Seiko that has probably more time put into the movement alone then the entire time it takes to produce a whole Citizens.i personally would never buy a Citizens watch but that’s me.

      Reply

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