Best Japanese Watch Reviews

Updated January 3, 2021

Not only are watches one of the most obvious pieces for telling the time, but they add an element of insight into your personal style and even your interests.

Japanese watches are praised for their practicality and their exceptional mechanics.

The world of the best Japanese watches is vast, from brands to colourings to movements.

We have covered 5 very different, and equally stunning, Japanese watch designs to broaden your horizons in the world of watches.

Our buying guide at the end will certainly help you better choose the watch of your dreams. Likewise, the perfect watch for your significant other, or special someone.

See Our Best Japanese Watches

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1 Orient - Men's 'RA-AC0H' Pilot Style Japanese Watch
Best For Low Budgets
Orient 'RA-AC0H' Pilot Style Japanese Watch
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk
Best For Higher Budgets
Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk
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3 Casio - Men's Edifice Stainless Steel Quartz Watch
Best Overall
Casio Edifice Japanese Watch
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4 Orient - Men's 'Monarch' Mechanical Dress Watch Orient Men's 'Monarch' Japanese Watch
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5 Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium
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1. Orient 'RA-AC0H' Pilot Style Japanese Watch

Highlights
  • Minimalistic design.
  • Large numerals.
  • Striking black and white contrast.
  • 100-meter water resistance.
Best For Low Budgets
Orient - Men's 'RA-AC0H' Pilot Style Japanese Watch

This stunning pilot style watch holds a super sleek black and white colour palette, making it an ideal piece for all kinds of styles.

The black leather strap keeps this piece classic while the monochrome colourings give this piece a timeless and sophisticated feel.

The white watch face features large and easy-to-read Arabic numerals with an internal ring for the hours. The external ring features intervals of 5 minutes and individual minute markers.

At the 3 o’clock position there is a date window. Bear in mind the inner and shorter dial indicated the hours while the longer dial indicates the minutes.

Furthermore, this watch features water resistance up to 100 meters. This makes it suitable to keep on while showering, swimming or snorkelling but not for diving.

The frontal glass cover is crafted from strong mineral glass which is resistant to shattering and daily scratches.

An additional cool factor of this watch is the luminous paint on the outer minute markers allowing them to glow in the dark.

Lastly, the slightly oversized crown on the right-hand side makes the watch easy to set.

If you are looking for a bright and eye-catching watch, this may not be for you.

The muted colours ensure it won’t cause too much of a fuss, but just enough to grab attention on your outfit.

Specifications

Material:
Leather, Mineral Glass
Size:
14.5 x 8 x 1.7 inches
Movement:
Japanese automatic
Case Diameter:
42.4 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm

Pros

  • Easy to adjust.
  • Strong mineral crystal glass.
  • Super lightweight.
  • Individual seconds markers.

Cons

  • Some may prefer a smaller watch face.
  • The muted colours don’t stand out.

2. Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk

Highlights
Best For Higher Budgets

If you’re looking for an advanced timepiece with a reliable movement and accurate timekeeping features, this Nighthawk model may be the right choice. 

The large face features a modern take on the classic pilot-style design with a Pilot’s Slide Rule bezel that’s controlled via the crown at 8 o’clock position. If you combine this with the overall industrial design and the mechanical-looking bracelet, you get a beautiful timepiece that looks more like a pilot’s equipment and less like a modern watch. It’s one of the reasons why so many people enjoy having this model in their collection – the design is quite unique. 

The hour markers are luminous and large enough to read at first glance. The hour and minute hands are also lumed. There’s also a date complication (by the 3 o’clock position) and a GMT hand that lets you read the time in AM and PM for a second Time Zone (the white plane tip reads the time in AM and the red plane tip is for the time in the evening). 

Overall, this Nighthawk model is amazing for anyone passionate about aviation or someone who can appreciate the purpose and functions of the bezel.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size:
42mm

Pros

  • Beautiful, mechanic design
  • Impressive features, with an aviation theme
  • Reliable four-hand movement
  • Second Time Zone feature
  • Easy to set and comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Not many people understand the bezel’s purpose
  • The date window is a bit small

3. Casio Edifice Japanese Watch

Highlights
  • Unique sporty design.
  • Includes a smartphone link.
  • Super-soft rubber strap.
  • Solar-powered.
Best Overall
Casio - Men's Edifice Stainless Steel Quartz Watch

This Casio watch is an incredible statement piece.

The sporty green and black colours are paired with a sophisticated stainless steel watch case and dura-soft Fluoro rubber band, bringing the athletic style into the classic modern category.

It pairs a comfortable feel with a high tech design.

Firstly, it includes a smartphone link, allowing you to link the watch with your smartphone via BlueTooth.

A unique feature of this watch is that it is totally solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about needing to replace a battery.

It also includes a low battery alert to protect you from an unexpected dead battery.

Furthermore, this model holds the ability to switch between two time zones, so travelling won’t be a problem. The glossy watch face also includes 4 dials giving it a beautiful level of depth.

The model includes several sub-dials that serve different functions, such as indicating the date when in calendar mode.

The watch also includes alarm, timer, lap, and stopwatch functions.

Additional aspects of this Casio model include its water resistance up to 100 meters, making it an ideal partner for keen swimmers and snorkelers.

It’s also suitable to wear in the shower, but not while scuba diving.

A minimal downside of this model is that, due to its large size, it could be a little too bulky on narrower wrists.

Specifications

Size:
4.9 x 4.6 x 4.5 inches
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
49.2 mm
Battery Life:
Solar-powered

Pros

  • Time swapping option.
  • Auto-calendar.
  • Includes a low battery alert.
  • Includes a date display.

Cons

  • It is a little bulky.
  • The case size may be too large for some wrists.

4. Orient Men's 'Monarch' Japanese Watch

Highlights
  • Smart dress style.
  • Durable stainless steel case.
  • Slightly domed appearance.
  • Includes a power reserve indicator.

This beautiful black and white Orient watch feature mechanical hand-wound movement.

The upper face of the watch also includes a power reserve indicator for 40 hours, keeping you on track of the battery level.

In terms of design, this is a watch best suited for dress wear as well as to elevate casual attire.

The well-size 40-millimetre case sits comfortable on an average size wrist and slightly smaller than oversized designs.

However, it does appear a little larger than much traditional dress–style sizes.

The watch case is crafted from glossy and durable stainless steel. This is paired with a black leather strap and a traditional buckle fastening.

On top of the case, we have durable sapphire crystal glass, which is a particularly nice touch due to its longevity and luxurious feel.

The glass has the appearance of a slight dome from the side profile.

Furthermore, the jet black watch face features 12 white Arabic numerals in a fairly dramatic, cursive font.

This is paired with minute markers on the outer rim and numerals in increments of 5.

Although the watch is water resistance up to 50 meters, this is quite a lot lower than some other models on the market.

However, it is suitable to wear in the shower and for swimming so it won’t often need to be taken off.

Specifications

Material:
Sapphire Crystal Glass, Leather
Size:
4.72 x 4.72 x 4.72 inches
Movement:
Mechanical hand winding
Case Diameter:
40 mm
Watch Strap:
18 mm
Battery Life:
40-hour reserve

Pros

  • 50-meter water resistance.
  • Works well for any size wrist.
  • Arabic numerals.
  • Includes minute markers.

Cons

  • Lower water resistance than some other models.
  • Some may not like the dramatic typeface.

5. Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium

Highlights

The reliable and accurate Japanese movement in this watch is fueled by Citizen’s proprietary Eco-Drive technology that transforms any light source into energy. In addition, it features atomic timekeeping, which makes this the most accurate watch in the world. 

Other cool features are the perpetual calendar, time and date for five different time zones via radio signal, tachymeter bezel, 24h time format, a one-second chronograph, alarm, and a power reserve indicator.    

Now, you may think that all these features will make the analog dial look crowded, especially since this is a 42mm titanium case. Luckily the manufacturer’s attention to detail is absolutely exemplary and everything is well-organized. As such, the black analog face features a three-hand movement, three subdials, and one date window. 

The watch is solidly built and looks great on a man’s wrist. It’s also water-resistant for up to 200m and has an anti-reflective sapphire dial window to improve visibility and provide extra protection.

Specifications

Material:
Titanium, Sapphire Crystal
Size:
42mm
Weight:
10.4oz

Pros

  • Solid build & elegant design
  • Titanium case and good water resistance
  • Automatic time-keeping
  • Five different time zones
  • Lots of useful features

Cons

  • The first setting is quite challenging
  • Changing for time to chronograph is a bit awkward

Japan Watch Buying Guide

Top Japanese Brand Watches

If you are into your watches, you will be well-aware that Japanese watches are some of the charts in the world of accessories. 

Their innovative mechanical designs paired with exceptional appearances, they are truly a watching world to be reckoned with. 

The brands we have covered above are some of the best-known Japanese brand watches. They are Citizen, Orient and Casio. 

Citizen is regarded as one of the leading watchmaker brands in the world, having been founded in 1918. 

Their Eco-Drive watch was the first-ever light-powered analogue quartz watch ever created. It is unsurprising as to why they are continually so popular.

Orient is renowned for the fact that all of their watch parts are made in-house, rather than outsourced parts. 

They began in 1950 and are currently regarded as one of the top Japanese watch brands. Orient is particularly well-regarded for its pilot-style watches, as you will have met in our reviews!

Lastly, Casio is a top-class watch brand particularly famous for their unbelievably strong G Shock line of watches. 

The brand began crafting watches in 1950, and are still producing stunning new pieces such as the Edifice range.

Design of Japanese Watches

The designs of Japanese watches vary quite drastically, yet they all share the same element of sophistication, quality and class.

Traditionally, brands tend to have their own style they go for. For example, Casio watches are usually quite robust and dense, with athletic styles. 

On the other hand, Orient watches are best known for their dress style and more classic appearance.

In terms of internal designs, Japanese watches hold a plethora of differences.

Some internal movements work with quartz or mechanical movement. On the other hand, some models still feature manual winding mechanisms such as the Orient Monarch watch.

It’s safe to say that, no matter your style, you will be able to find a suitable watch with Japanese quality.

Materials Used

The materials used in watches can be a deciding factor for many, and can also inform you of the quality of the watch.

Watch Face

Starting with the watch face, the variety of glass has a few top contenders. Most watches, Japanese or not, use mineral glass or sapphire crystal on their glass cases. 

The two are similar in appearance but each preferred for different reasons. 

Sapphire crystal glass is one of the more expensive options due to its creation process. It is actually crafted from crystals rather than glass and can therefore only be scratched with very hard minerals or crystals. 

It’s an excellently durable option for watches that could get dropped or scratched on a daily basis.

On the other hand, we have mineral crystal which is effectively sapphire crystal’s cheaper alternative. Mineral glass is created from silica. 

While it is far more scratch-resistant than plastic alternative watch faces, it does not reach the top level of sapphire.

Watch Strap

The watch strap is a very important part of the watch style as it will be in close proximity to your skin at all times when the watch is being worn. 

The most common materials for watch straps are leather, metals, plastics and rubber. 

Rubber is a widely used material, such as with the Casio Edifice, due to its comfortable feeling and its durability. 

It is also an excellent option for watches that will withstand water and regular wear. 

Many classy watches on the market also opt for leather bands as opposed to rubber due to its luxe feel. A leather band can be both comfortable and stylish at the same time. 

While not as durable as rubber or plastic, they can certainly handle natural elements and daily wear. 

However, many people deter from animal-based accessories due to personal preferences.

Pricing Range

Just like most accessories available today, the prices of Japanese watches have quite a vast price range. 

The difference in price is usually due to basic factors such as the glass used, the additional features and the strap materials. The movement can also affect the price.

Firstly, the glass used in the watch as we covered a little above can vary in price. Higher quality materials like sapphire crystal require a lengthier manufacturing process which drives the price up. 

Although you may pay more for a sapphire crystal watch, you may end up saving more money as it’s very unlikely to shatter or scratch.

Next, the additional features of a watch can increase the price. 

For example, the Casio Edifice includes additional features such as a timer, stopwatch and several dials making its price a little higher than simpler alternatives. 

Furthermore, the watch strap as we also covered above can cause variations in the price. 

More expensive materials like leather will result in a pricier watch, whereas plastics and rubber can keep prices lower.

Lastly, the watch movement. Different movement types require different levels of mechanics. 

Mechanical watches (those that do not run off batteries) are usually more expensive than battery-powered quartz movement watches due to the amount of manual labour required to produce them.

If you want to keep prices low, we recommend the Orient ‘RA-AC0H’ Pilot Style watch we rated “Best for Low Budgets” in the reviews.

Our Verdict

Time feels like it’s ticking a little faster now we’ve reached the end of our best Japanese watches reviews and buying guide.

You may have noticed just how incredible the world of Japanese watches truly is, from their innovative designs to stunning appearances.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Japanese watch market has something ideal for your taste, and we’ve hopefully helped you feel a little more confident in making that purchase!

To keep things simple, take another look at our “Best Overall” rated Japanese watch, the Casio Men’s Edifice model.

It is well-priced, attractive and robust enough for everyday wear. If you’re into a slightly simpler design, the Orient pilot-style watch might be the perfect fit.

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