When I first wrote about the Citizen NY0080-12E around two months ago, I was raving about its visual impact. It was by far the most interesting dive watch I had personally experienced, and now almost another two months later, my impression has not changed. I still get a kick out of its looks, and as far as case design is concerned, the Fugu a tier above the rest of its competition.
Fugu Case Design
First we have the famed Fugu bezel. As the source of its nickname, the alternating serrated-smooth edge provides not only ample design interest, but also a unique tactile experience. As you would expect from such an aggressively spiked bezel, it is incredibly secure to turn, and while the bezel action is by no means smooth, it does make a very confident clicking sound. To some it may sound cheap or janky, and honestly, the sound it made did nothing to help my initial impressions of build quality. However, I have since come to enjoy its unapologetic and reassuring loudness.
Looking away from the bezel for a moment, we can see that the tapered lugs end at a slant, helping to elongate the case and allowing the bezel to retain the majority of the viewers’ attention. This isn’t to say the case isn’t interesting in itself: the way the left side of the mid-case gently peaks to form the crown guard is incredibly elegant, and the high degree of polishing applied to the case also enhances the gracefulness of the existing contours.
Lodged in the midst of all this unexpected fanciness, is the heavily knurled destro crown poking out at the 7 position. While it is possibly the longest crown I have ever seen, it remains visually balanced when viewed with the entire watch.
The dial is about as visually engrossing as any black dial dive watch can be, but with a few notable finishes. The thin silver trim that borders every marker is highly polished, and held at a certain angle, you can see just how clean and sharp these lines are.
While it’s not a jaw-dropping level of finishing, it is evidence that Citizen pays attention to the details (and if there’s one thing I know about watch geeks, it is that we’ll always kick up a fuss about the details). The dial markers are actually a key difference between the new and old versions of the fugu, as the older NY004 versions have circular markers. I personally find these updated markers more suited to the aggression of the bezel, and aligns well to the pufferfish motif.
The movement is a solid citizen calibre 8203. Loud as anything, you can actually hear the rotor rocking madly every time you rotate your wrist even slightly. Like the bezel, some might view the audible rotor as a symptom of low-end manufacturing. I personally find it endearing and, a sure sign of the Fugu’s mechanical heartbeat.
The movement is actually identical to the ones used in the original. Y0040s, which is a testament to the reliability of what’s inside. The biggest complaint that I’ve heard is that the seconds hand does not hack. I personally don’t see this as an issue seeing as accuracy is not really why I wear this piece, but for some people this is a legitimate deal breaker. Fair enough.
Finally, the Fugu looks fantastic on a variety of straps. I’ve worn it mostly on rubber and leather in blue, black and brown tones, but given the black dial, I’m sure you could make it work with basically any colour. Seeing as we are headed into the warmer months in Australia, I’m looking forward to sticking it on some brighter natos.
At under 500 AUD at the time of writing, the NY0080-12E (and indeed the entire NY008 series) is still fantastic value for money, and at the time of writing, there is now the NY009 range for you to explore as well. In the Fugu, you will find an incredibly reliable and versatile piece: something you can confidently knock around thanks to the industrious 8203 movement and robust design, but also sharp enough to go on a leather strap for a day at the office.
To have a look at Citizen’s full range of watches you can visit their official website here.