Sunday Morning Showdown: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Vs. Citizen NJ0150
Welcome back to Sunday Morning Showdown. You know the drill! On Sunday mornings, we pick two watches to battle it out for the win. Who decides the winner? You do! So make sure to read both editors’ arguments and cast your vote for the winner. Today, Jorg and I want to find out which of these two affordable integrated-bracelet steel sports watches you feel deserves the SMS crown. Both the Tissot PRX and the Citizen NJ0150 are fairly recent releases that have revolutionized the affordable price point. Previously, integrated bracelet designs were only to be had for several thousand euros, and now for a few hundred, you can call one of these two yours. But will it be Switzerland or Japan that takes the victory today?
Jorg will be putting his money where his mouth is for this one. He recently bought the black PRX that he has chosen to represent in today’s Sunday Morning Showdown. I, on the other hand, have opted for the underdog. Sure, the Citizen showed up a little late to the party, but it certainly made an entrance. I have had the watch on my wrist for the last few days and have been thoroughly impressed. And not just at how well it wears, mind you, but also at how much watch you get for the money. Both of our contestants come in at under €1,000, and in both cases, you get an excellent watch. But which will be your pick? Read on, decide, and cast your vote.
About last Sunday…
Before we get started, let’s take a look at last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown result. Last week, RJ and Mike put the new Breitling SuperOcean 42 up against the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf. In this showdown of funky vintage-inspired dive watches, the Zodiac came out ahead with 53% of the votes. Having spent a large portion of my summer with the Zodiac, I can certainly attest to its sharp looks and refreshing colorway. That said, the fact that you get all that watch for just under €1,500 (compared to €4,600 for the Breitling) also made a difference.
Personally, I was rooting for the Zodiac, and as much as I also enjoy the Breitling’s great looks, I was happy to see that the Zodiac didn’t just win my heart but yours as well. Commiserations to the Breitling SuperOcean 42, a brilliant watch that I wholeheartedly encourage you to try on your wrist. Sometimes images don’t do a watch justice, and having tried on the SuperOcean after the press images left me a bit cold, I can say that this is the case here. Now back to today’s showdown!
Nacho with the Citizen NJ0150
The Tissot PRX made quite a splash when it was introduced in the final quarter of 2021 — an affordable, sharp-looking, slim integrated-bracelet watch that everyone could enjoy. First, the quartz version was introduced and quickly followed by an even more popular Powermatic 80 version. Impossible as it may have seemed for a watch brand to create this kind of a watch without a price tag that would have most of us running for the hills, Tissot made it happen. Fast forward a few months, and Citizen enters the scene with the NJ0150. It was comparable in many ways and even better in some. There was no chance that Citizen, a brand responsible for some of the best sub-€1K releases this year, wasn’t going to jump at the chance to make a brilliant, affordable integrated-bracelet watch.
If you cast your mind back a few years, Seiko reigned supreme at the entry-level price point. Owning an SKX was a rite of passage for any watch enthusiast worth their salt. Now discontinued, the beloved SKX has only gone up in price. As Seiko continues to climb up beyond the entry-level prices we once knew, Citizen seems to have set its sights on the ~€500 price point. And with some of its recent releases, the brand has done a good job of solidly planting its flag there. Such releases include the NJ0150. If you thought the PRX was impossibly affordable at just under €700, the NJ0150 packs impressive value for just €279.
Rooting for the underdog
Going into this Sunday Morning Showdown, it was clear that Jorg would have the upper hand. The wild popularity of the PRX makes it hard for any other watch to challenge its sovereignty. It’s one of those watches that has transcended the enthusiast space and made it into the mainstream. I can think of a handful of times just this year where I have seen people going about their day with a PRX on their wrist. It’s an undeniable success. That said, the term “mainstream” is not always positive. It’s a term best avoided by those seeking individualism and wanting to stand out from the crowd. One could say that the Citizen’s low-key nature is one of its greatest strengths, whereas mainstream popularity could be the PRX’s Achilles’ heel.
I wouldn’t mind so much if Tissot were a little bit braver with its palette. If you want to own an automatic PRX, you’ll find yourself rather limited in terms of color choices. As it stands, for the all-steel variants, you can only choose between black, blue, and green dials. Both the blue and green, however, are rather subdued and understated. The final options are two-tone models with white, blue, and brown dials, but the rose gold bezels are certainly not for everyone. However, Citizen, which is still just rolling out the NJ0150, makes quite an impression with its bolder and brighter colors. The green and yellow are eye-catching, and the blue ranges from subtle to brilliant. This is just one reason to root for the underdog today.
Beyond the value proposition
For less than €300, you get an automatic watch with a timeless design that you can dress up or down for any occasion. I feel its rounder shape makes it more classic than the PRX, which has a more blocky aesthetic. In terms of dimensions, both watches measure 40mm in diameter, with the Citizen only 0.8mm thicker than the PRX. The Tissot also has a brushed and slightly less timeless bracelet, whereas the Citizen’s dual-finished President-style bracelet is classic and slightly less monotonous. And speaking of which, if you want something a little brighter, you can always opt for the bright yellow version. For now, Tissot has kept the PRX rather subdued and boring. That’s not a problem with the NJ0150, which has you covered no matter what you’re looking for.
Think about it this way. For the price of one PRX, you can buy two Citizen NJ0150s — a more subdued one in blue or black and a brighter one in yellow or green. I also enjoy the PRX, but when you’re talking about value for money, the Citizen comes out ahead by a country mile. Finally, I find that the NJ0150 has a more appealing and balanced dial design. Despite the date magnifier, I find that the large lumed markers suit this sporty aesthetic a bit better, and the lack of numbers under the logo is more than welcome. Plus, a flat sunburst dial suits the watch, whereas the “mosaic” dial of the PRX reminds me of a certain watch from the past (and present). Either way, to me, the Citizen deserves your vote, though it is indeed a close match. The ball’s in your court, Jorg!
Jorg with the Tissot PRX
Battle of the affordable stunners, Nacho! I am genuinely excited about this match-up because both watches have a lot to offer for the money. A whole lot, actually. As you already mentioned, I put my money where my mouth is by buying the black-dial version of the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 not too long ago. After raving about it in multiple articles, I realized that adding one to my collection would be the only logical step. I featured it in multiple articles where the Fratello editors were asked to pick three watches within a set budget. And as I explained in every article, from the first moment I had the PRX Powermatic 80 in my hands, I was incredibly impressed by the watch.
When the quartz PRX first came out, I loved the overall looks, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sunburst dial. It made it a bit too shiny for my taste. But it was hard not to be impressed by the story of the watch, its style, and the incredible affordability. That was why I — along with a ton of other watch fans — couldn’t wait for the mechanical version to be released. When it finally arrived, the dial texture made me smile. It is a nice play on a familiar theme, but it adds character and refinement to the PRX, resulting in a watch that, in my opinion, beats anything in the sub-€1,000 price category.
The importance of an ownable story
The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is truly the full package. It starts off with its story. While it’s not the most captivating tale in horological history, the fact that the PRX’s design is inspired by a 1970s Tissot Seastar model creates some welcome provenance. Tissot used the Seastar design and updated it to modern standards without losing that typical 1970s vibe. Every time I take a glimpse at the watch on my wrist, the cool ’70s air about it brings a smile to my face. Along with the brand’s own Seastar, we also certainly see influences from the Rolex Oysterquartz at play. But the clear connection to Tissot’s ’70s model ensures that the PRX does have its own story, unlike the Citizen NJ0150. While I like its design, the story is merely an amalgam of Rolex influences.
It’s a story that is told in its design — a dial influenced by the Oyster Perpetual, a case design inspired by the Oysterquartz, and the President-style bracelet simply copied from the Day-Date. When it comes to the design of the Citizen NJ0150, it’s hard to deny that it’s not a mix of Rolex models creating a strange tribute of some sort. However, I must add that it does work somehow. As I said in my review of the NJ0150, it didn’t bother me for a second when I wore the black- and blue-dial versions of the watch. But there is one important factor in it not becoming a nuisance: how seriously do you take this €279 Citizen NJ0150?
The Tissot PRX outshines the Citizen NJ0150
And that’s where the crux of this match-up lies for me. After having compared the watches in both their designs, engineering, and execution, the only conclusion can be that the PRX is a serious timepiece, whereas the NJ0150 is definitely likable but certainly no match for the PRX. Visually, Tissot has created a watch that is far better proportioned and a lot more refined. The proportions of the 40mm case, the size of the dial, the elegant hour markers with the large hands, and the thickness of the bezel are spot on. The Citizen NJ0150, on the other hand, is a lot bolder and, therefore, less balanced. The watch has the same case size, but the dial feels too big and out of proportion.
As a result, you end up with a large dial with oversize markers and a sea of space in between. Citizen made the weird choice of placing the brand name and the “automatic” wording too far from the middle, essentially emphasizing this huge empty space on the dial. The only thing breaking up that sea of nothingness is a date window with a “Cyclops”. As I explained in my review, I am definitely not a fan of date magnifiers. In this case, it adds an element that breaks up the void, but it’s not an element that I particularly like. That’s clearly where the PRX is a lot better. There is much more balance in the design.
What can you expect for the money?
The differences continue with the execution. As mentioned, the Citizen gets its bracelet design straight from the Rolex Day-Date. While it’s comfortable, what can you expect from the €279 watch in terms of engineering, quality, and finish? That’s where the PRX leaves the NJ0150 behind. The bracelet of the Tissot looks great, feels great, and is simply much better. The bracelet of the Citizen reminds you of wearing a cheap watch, but the bracelet of the PRX makes you wonder if you are not wearing a much more expensive watch. And it continues with the execution of the crown. The crown of the NJ0150 is placed just below 4 o’clock and is recessed into the case. As both Robert-Jan and I explained, it’s hard to operate. The crown of the PRX, on the other hand, sits nicely at 3 o’clock. It’s a great size and feels very solid when operated.
Moving on to the movement, the PRX is powered by the Swatch Group’s shared Powermatic 80 caliber. It is the perfect workhorse movement for a string of affordable watches within the Swatch Group, of which some are more expensive than the €695 mechanical PRX. The Powermatic 80 movement is visible through the display case back. It is far superior to the Citizen’s caliber 8210 in execution, finishing, and accuracy. While I haven’t actively measured the watch’s accuracy, I have zero complaints about it. People that have a PRX report an accuracy of -±5 seconds a day which easily beats the ±20 seconds per day average of the Citizen. Lastly, the 80-hour power reserve of the Powermatic is double that of the Citizen’s caliber 8210. It makes you wonder if this is truly a fair fight.
The PRX is the best affordable option
As I am writing this article, I am in North Carolina visiting my girlfriend, and I have been wearing my Tissot PRX Powermatic almost religiously over the past three weeks. I can say that the PRX has been nothing short of impressive in every sense of the word. With the looks, the finish, the movement, the comfort, and the quality, the PRX is a truly stunning timepiece that delivers so much more than its €695 price tag would have you expect. I would go as far as stating that it can easily take on watches that are double its price. It really is that good and exactly why I know this was the perfect addition to my collection. I absolutely adore everything about the PRX, and the NJ0150 is no match for it. It’s that simple. Sorry, Nacho!
It’s up to you now
Whose side are you on? Would you pick Jorg’s Tissot Powermatic 80? Or would you go for Nacho’s Citizen NJ0150? Both are great affordable picks with a retro twist. But which will come out on top? Let’s bring this one to a close and let you, our readers, cast your votes. Feel free to voice whose side you’re on and why in the comments.