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

13 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
  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
  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

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