Citizen halts sales of CZ Smart watch over serious bugs

The Wear OS 3-powered watch, which bundles technologies from IBM and NASA, seems to be jam-packed with issues, according to reviewers.

Citizen has officially stopped selling the latest version of its $350 CZ Smart watch, the fancy wearable that debuted at CES 2023 with technologies from IBM and NASA, over serious technical bugs. The company says the sales suspension is only temporary so that it can take a look at what’s wrong with the device and fix what’s broken. The issues were brought to the company’s attention by reviewers after receiving units of touchscreen models of the second-gen CZ Smart to evaluate.

“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 said in an emailed statement to members of the press.

By the looks of it, however, it seems that Citizen has an uphill battle. Complaints of unresponsiveness, issues pairing with their smartphones, poor battery life, inaccurate watch faces, and more ran rampant within the tech reviewer circle. Michael Fisher (MrMobile on YouTube), Julian Chokkattu at Wired, and Victoria Song at The Verge have all publicized their issues with the watch, resulting in each of their respective reviews being held back.

Customers have also been gravely affected by the issues, with Wired pointing out buyer complaints on Citizen’s own website date back two to three months, roughly when the device launched in May.

The specific models affected by the bugs include:

  • MX1003-71X
  • MX1000-28X
  • MX1000-01X
  • MX1000-52X
  • MX1005-83X
  • MX1002-57X
  • MX1018-06X
  • MX1017-50X
  • MX1010-59X
  • MX1011-05X
  • MX1016-28X

The CZ Smart watch, which was endorsed by skateboard extraordinaire Tony Hawk himself, is meant to be a specialized Wear OS 3 watch that could give you deeper insights into your sleep, recovery, and energy levels throughout the day using neural networks powered by the YouQ app. The app integrates technologies from IBM Watson and NASA’s Psychomotor Vigilance Task Test (PVT+), which was originally designed to help determine the mental acuity of astronauts.

Shipping in both dress/casual and sports models and packing a Snapdragon 4100+ processor, the watch seemed solid enough if you were into Citizen’s design language and exclusive feature set. Alas, it appears that Citizen has more work to do before it’s actually ready to be used by consumers.

It’s worth noting that the CZ Smart Hybrid, a hybrid version of the watch that comes with an analog face minus the touchscreen and Wear OS software, is not subject to these same issues. That being said, I don’t think Citizen has actually sent any hybrid watches to reviewers, so there’s a chance it’s dealing with at least some of the bugs from the touchscreen model due to the large number of similarities between the devices.