IFL Watches keeps surprising us with creative new dial variations for its releases. This time, the Stockhlom-based brand delves into the Disney archives and celebrates the joyous spirit of Mickey Mouse. To be more exact, the brand celebrates the Disney classic Steamboat Willie coming into the public domain. This animated short film is known as the first public appearance of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. IFLW decided to take old-school-style Mickey from Steamboat Willie and put him on the Moon for this 150-piece Free Willie limited edition. Let’s find out more!

Over the past few years, IFL Watches has shown that the inspiration for creating standout dials is endless. Besides the wonderful, abstract Galaxy dials we’ve seen for several watches, recent projects have focused quite a bit on storytelling. We have covered quite a few of them here on Fratello, including the Oris Bear trilogy. More recently, IFLW has added the Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic to its lineup as a nice canvas for creative new dials.

The story of the IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie

IFLW’s Free Willie concept takes inspiration from the 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie passing into the public domain on January 1st, 2024. To commemorate this special moment, IFLW created this 150-piece limited edition to appeal to fans of Mickey Mouse and animation in general. The canvas for this special watch is the Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic NJ0151-53M. For those unfamiliar with the reference numbers, it’s the light blue “Tiffany” version of the Tsuyosa Automatic.

For this special dial, the creative minds at IFLW put old-school Mickey in a new situation. The blue color of the dial serves as the sky-like background, creating a nice color block that’s recognizable from afar. But if you zoom in a little, you see that IFLW’s artists took the liberty to put Mickey Mouse on the Moon. This Moon Willie concept was created to symbolize that Steamboat Willie is free to travel without the boundaries of time and copyright. Thus, the image of Mickey Mouse planting the flag of freedom on the Moon represents new possibilities and celebrates his joyous spirit.

IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie

Every hand-painted dial is unique

It’s a fun thought to put Mickey from Steamboat Willie in a different situation. It takes a step away from the initial story. Steamboat Willie takes place on a paddle steamer. It’s a fun short story with Captain Pete, the parrot, and Minnie Mouse as the other characters. It was fun to see Mickey and Minnie’s supposed debut again because it is only a little over seven minutes long. But Mickey Mouse fans know this was not the first cartoon created with Mickey and Minnie in it. In fact, it was the third, but it was the first distributed.

When I saw the new dial, I immediately watched the animated short story again, which I hadn’t seen in ages. Overall, it was a great reminder of the old Mickey Mouse style that I adore, and it’s great to see that old-school cartoon style on the dials of these watches. As we know from IFLW, the dials are painted by hand. The creative folks from the team take out the regular dials and apply thin layers of paint to create a special image. As all 150 dials are created by hand, each one is unique.

IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie pocket shot

The specs of the Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic NJ0151

The Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic NJ0151-53M has a 40mm stainless steel case that measures 11.7mm thick and 49mm from lug to lug. It also has an integrated stainless steel bracelet that is super comfortable and makes it a joy to wear. I reviewed the NJ150 in 2022 and loved every second I spent with the watch. That’s why I think it’s great that IFLW has chosen a similar NJ0151 for its creative endeavors.

IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie

Inside the watch, you will find Citizen’s caliber 8210. This automatic movement operates at 21,600vph and delivers a 40-hour power reserve. As Cititzen states, the average accuracy is approximately ±20 seconds per day. But, while those details are nice, I don’t think that is why people will buy this watch. If you appreciate IFLW’s work or you happen to be a huge fan of Mickey Mouse, this could be a watch for you for €890.

IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie

Final thoughts on the new IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie

This IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie is another creative concept that I like. It not only brings back the early style of Mickey Mouse but also showcases the creativity of the IFLW team. There are no boundaries when it comes to creating new dials.

IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie on wrist

As I said in the introduction article for the Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Space Surfer, every new dial is like a page in a big adventure book. This book has been hugely successful for IFL Watches, and I do not doubt that it will continue with this new IFLW Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie. As a result, you will have to be fast to get your hands on one of the 150 available pieces.

For more information or to buy the new Free Willie, head to the official IFL Watches website, where the watch will be available to purchase from 16:00 CET today, April 29th. In the comments section, let us know your thoughts on this new Citizen Tsuyosa with its customized dial.

Watch specifications

Citizen Tsuyosa Automatic Free Willie
Light blue base with handpainted Moon and Mickey Mouse, applied luminous indices, date window
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 49mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.7mm (thickness)
Case Back
Stainless steel with display window
Citizen 8210: automatic and hand winding, 21,600vph frequency, 40-hour power reserve, 21 jewels
Water Resistance
Stainless steel President-style integrated bracelet with push-button deployant clasp
Time (hour, minutes, central seconds) and date
Special Note(s)
Limited to 150 pieces