When Citizen introduced the (later-named) Tsuyosa back in 2022, it caused quite a stir. The 1970s-inspired integrated-bracelet watch offered a lot of bang for the buck. This year, the Citizen Tsuyosa returns with a new version, the Small Second. Three new references join the collection, in blue, green, and gray. The last comes on a leather strap, while the others feature a new version of the integrated Tsuyosa bracelet.

I got a chance to go hands-on with all three. Let’s see how I got along with the new value offering from Japan.

Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second NK5010-01H wrist shot

The new Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second

At first glance, these are very clearly Citizen Tsuyosa watches. The recognizable case shape, bracelet, and dial are all present. The characteristic 4-o’clock crown is also still here. The dimensions have also remained the same at 40mm × 11.7mm × 45.7mm (52mm including the first fixed center links). Look closer, though, and you will see quite a few changes. Let’s start with the obvious: these new versions feature a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. What’s in a name, right?

Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second NK5010-51X dial close-up

Another rather obvious change is the dial texture. The new models have a stamped pattern that strongly resembles classical guilloché dials. There is another big difference that may escape your eye at first. The bracelet features a much wider center link than the center-seconds models. While the quick-release system remains, this means the Tsuyosa Small Second does not accept the same bracelet and straps as the other versions. Still, you can get several leather straps to switch styles to your heart’s content.

Yet another update lies inside the 50m-water-resistant case. The Citizen 8322 movement has taken the place of the 8210. The power reserve is greater at 60 hours versus 42. It is also finished to a much higher standard. This caliber has a skeletonized rotor, striping, and a silver-colored finish as opposed to the bare brass of the 8210.

These watches offer fantastic value

I have two contrasting feelings when I handle these Tsuyosa Small Second watches. Let me start with the positive. I am deeply impressed with how much watch you get for your money here. I am not just referring to the specifications. Yes, it is a fairly water-resistant, slim, automatic watch with a sapphire crystal and a bracelet. At €379, that’s already quite nice.

Where it gets truly impressive is the way those specifications are presented. The bracelet feels solid, the surface finishing punches above its weight, and even the movement looks quite good. The dials are, of course, stamped. However, the pattern is pretty darn sharp, giving off a convincing guilloché effect that you wouldn’t expect in a watch at this price. Weighing 145 grams on the full-length bracelet, it even feels quite hefty, conveying a sense of quality.

I can easily see this as a gateway watch. Indeed, €379 buys you a lot of what we all love about great watches. Even the bracelet — usually a dead giveaway of working to a budget — feels sturdy. It has a comfortable drape and a secure two-sided hidden clasp. Sure, it could have used a taper, but that would have added to the price massively. All in all, the Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second leaves me even more awestruck about value for money than its €299 center-seconds siblings.

Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second NK5010-51L

Should we call this a fusion design?

Okay, on to the second feeling I get when handling the Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second. If I try to package that impression extremely positively, I would say this is a fusion design. More truthfully, though, I feel there is quite a lot to critique about the aesthetic here.

For starters, the bracelet has been adapted but not in the right way. It is still too round compared to the case. The two simply aren’t drawn in the same design language. The width of the center link wasn’t the issue. I reckon it would have looked much better with a flatter, more angular bracelet. Second, the dial and handset are very clearly inspired by the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, so the guilloché pattern and sub-dial look out of place, even anachronistic.

It seems the design is something of a collage of familiar elements. This is fine as it could indeed be a very cool fusion of styles and periods. But I feel the separate elements could have been brought together more cohesively. There could have been a more fragrant “Tsuyosa” sauce binding it all together. Just imagine if there had been more of a “The Citizen” style to it. It feels almost as if Citizen held back so as not to compete with its higher-end offerings. The brand didn’t have to because those higher-end models have plenty to set them apart even if the designs were more similar.

Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second NK5010-51X on wrist

Living with the Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second

As mentioned, there are three dials to choose from. There is a version labeled as green (9NK5010-51X) but, in my eyes, it is more bronze with a hint of mustard. Next is a blue dial (NK5010-51L), which is very vibrant and summery with a hint of petrol. Lastly, there is the more serious and subdued gray dial (NK5010-01H). That one looks the most luxurious and cohesive, especially on the leather strap.

These watches wear very well. They have a sporty, substantial stance on my 17.5cm wrist. I would say they could have been a tad smaller, but that has more to do with a slight surplus of negative space on the dials than with the way the case sits on the wrist. The bracelet is incredibly comfortable, and it closes with a secure click. If you look after them, I am sure you can make these watches and bracelets last a long time. They feel well built for the price.

I am less jubilant about the crown. It certainly looks neat tucked away at 4 o’clock. However, it is tricky to operate, especially when winding the watch in case it runs out of energy. Still, if you wear it every day, that should be a rare occasion. I found setting the time to be less of a hassle as the crown pops out quite far.

Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second NK5010-51L pocket shot

Yea or nay on the Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second?

So, as you have read, the Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second triggered both strong positive and negative responses in me. Quality-wise, these watches punch way above their weight. Design-wise, I am left unfulfilled. So, what is the final verdict? Would I recommend these watches?

In a single word, yes! Why? Because the quality and value are simply fantastic compared to the competition in this pricing segment. The Tsuyosa has a certain solidity and refinement that is hard to find in the sub-€1,000 category. The design, on the other hand, might still speak to you, regardless of the imperfections I described. If it does, there is very little to complain about here.

What do you think of the new Citizen Tsuyosa Small Second? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch specifications

Tsuyosa Small Second
NK5010-51L / NK5010-51X / NK5010-01H
Blue, khaki green/bronze, or gray with stamped guilloché-like texture, applied luminous indices, and silver circular-grained sub-seconds register
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 11.7mm (thickness) × 45.7mm (length; 52mm including fixed center links)
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal, screw-in
Citizen 8322: automatic with manual winding, 21,600vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve, 21 jewels, hacking seconds
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50 meters)
Stainless steel three-row integrated bracelet (NK5010-51L and NK5010-51X) or black leather strap (NK5010-01H), both with quick-release spring bars and push-button butterfly clasp
Time only (hours, minutes, small seconds)
€379 (NK5010-51L and NK5010-51X) / €359 (NK5010-01H)