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Business trends

Japan watchmakers focus harder on luxury

Citizen and Seiko count on pricey pieces' craftsmanship to defeat smartwatch threat

Citizen's Eco-Drive One will feature a body less than 3 mm thick. (Photo by Yuki Hanai)
Citizen's Eco-Drive One watches are as thin as 3 mm. (Photo by Yuki Hanai)

TOKYO -- Japanese watch manufacturers are refining high-end offerings to shield themselves from competition from smartwatches and catch up with the Europeans.

Citizen Watch is preparing to take its Eco-Drive One series global in September. Priced at 350,000 to 700,000 yen ($3,150 to $6,300) in Japan, the timepieces will be built in Nagano Prefecture by 20 or so specially selected craftspeople. They boast ultrahard materials and bodies as thin as 2.98 mm.

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