Citizen is temporarily suspending sales of its second-gen CZ Smart watch due to a “technical issue.” The Wear OS watch, which launched in May, had a feature based on tech from IBM’s Watson and NASA to track a person’s alertness.
It appears the decision stems from negative experiences from reviewers. Michael Fisher — better known as MrMobile on YouTube — noted that Citizen said it would suspend sales after he had reached out to the company about the watch’s many issues. That was corroborated by a Wired story, in which reviewer Julian Chokkattu also detailed several bugs, like laggy screens, bad battery life, inaccurate tracking, and watchfaces that can’t even tell the correct time.
“We are investigating the issue, recalling review models, and will be temporarily suspending sales on touchscreen models while we pinpoint the source of the issue and the best path to a solution for our customers and partners,” Citizen wrote in an email to reviewers, including yours truly.
The affected models include the MX1003-71X, MX1000-28X, MX1000-01X, MX1000-52X, MX1005-83X, MX1002-57X, MX1018-06X, MX1017-50X, MX1010-59X, MX1011-05X, and the MX1016-28X. According to Wired, this doesn’t impact the CZ Smart Hybrid.
I just started testing the second-gen Citizen CZ Smart this past week and can confirm my experience was similar to those of Fisher, Chokkattu, and 9to5Google. In fact, I was in the middle of writing an email to troubleshoot because I thought I had a bunk unit. Several outdoor runs I’d tracked couldn’t find a GPS signal, froze mid-workout, and ended up failing to record an exercise. A two-mile run I’d logged earlier this week was recorded as 0.1 mile with a pace of roughly 93 minutes per mile. (I’m not the fastest runner, but I’m not that slow, either.)
Screens regularly froze, crashed, or failed to register swipes. Yesterday, I took the watch off its charger with 100 percent battery around noon, and it had a mere 6 percent left by 10:30PM. I’ve also had lots of trouble syncing my data as the watch has been unable to maintain a connection to my phone — even when they were right next to each other.
The issues got worse in the last two or three days. My watch had laggy screens initially, but at least I could pull up menus and receive notifications fairly reliably. Now, I can’t even do that anymore — it felt like a Wear OS experience circa 2016.
The last time I recall a smartwatch having this many issues was the OnePlus Watch — but that was a preproduction model. It’s also somewhat surprising in this instance, as the second-gen CZ Smart sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip that we’ve seen on other Wear OS 3 smartwatches like the Fossil Gen 6. Ultimately, it’s a good thing that Citizen is pausing sales. What’s less good is that several unhappy Citizen customers were reporting similar issues as far back as three months ago.
I’ve reached out to Citizen to clarify what recourse existing customers will have, how long the suspension will last, and further details about the technical issues at hand but didn’t immediately receive a response.