The Riiiver Story

Episode 1 -
Why Riiiver?

What is Riiiver, and how did a watchmaker like CITIZEN come to develop such a service? Three key project members explain the thinking behind the new venture.

Norio Takeuchi Managing Director, Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.

“Riiiver widens the definition of what a watch can do.”

A watch is a standalone product. It’s complete in itself. But the environment for watches is changing dramatically with advancements in technology and the spread of IoT-enabled devices.

Given the current backdrop, we felt the need to redefine the watch as something which can interactively communicate with the user. For more than a hundred years, CITIZEN has been making time-related products that had, in a sense, a privileged position. We felt that a rethink was in order.

At the same time we were celebrating the milestone of 100 years in business, we had to confront a very fundamental question about everything we’d done up to this point.

This service Riiiver was our answer to that question. We took all the accumulated know-how from 100 years of watchmaking and repurposed it to make it compatible with the new era. That was the nature of the challenge for CITIZEN.

Until now, the connection between watchmakers and users was very one-way: we unilaterally provided them with a complete, finished product. By contrast, Riiiver is a “life hackable” service. The users can devise different ways of using it that fit with their own lifestyles. The service offers users a great deal of freedom. I expect it to widen the traditional definition of a watch.

Masaki Ohishi General Manager, Open Innovation Dept., Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.

“A service that enables the creation and sharing of new lifestyles.”

What’s Riiiver in a nutshell? It’s a service that enables people to create new lifestyles. Plus it’s a service where you can share time with people who have the same lifestyle, values and outlook as you.

I know it sounds obvious, but one hour is the same unit of time for all of us. What’s different on a person-by-person basis is the way you choose to spend that hour.

If we start looking at how individual people spend their time, maybe we can make life richer for everybody. That was the thinking that was the basis for Riiiver.

In our everyday lives, we all have stretches of “quality time” that we feel to be incredibly important, irreplaceable even. From someone else’s point of view, though, that same time may appear trivial and insignificant.

Somewhere out there, though, there’ve got to be other people who understand and appreciate the way you choose to spend your precious time. Using Riiiver will enable you to share time with people who share the same outlook and like spending their time the same way as you do.

I hope that lots of people will enjoy the new ways of experiencing time—the new lifestyle—that Riiiver offers.

Yoko Yoshioka Manager, Public Relations Sec., Advertising Dept., Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.

“Together with our users, we’re creating a new world.”

Until recently the main thing people wanted a watch to do was to tell the accurate time. As a watchmaker, CITIZEN was the same: telling the correct and precise time without any stoppage was what mattered to us most.

On the other hand, think of all the individual watch owners out there. Their time is crammed with a whole range of experiences and feelings—some momentary and short-lived, some more precious and special. For them, time is not something uniform and undifferentiated.

What Riiiver does is enable individuals to scoop up the feelings and experiences they have within the framework of time and share them with all sorts of other people, regardless of age, gender, nationality. That’s the new way of experiencing time—the new lifestyle, if you like—Riiiver offers.

We live in an age of self-sufficiency and individualism. Nonetheless, when individual people come together, new communities are born and fresh ideas pop up that would have never occurred to anyone on their own. We expect Riiiver to trigger new, richer forms of experience.

Riiiver really took us at CITIZEN out of our comfort zone—in a good way—and forced us to take on a new challenge.

Up till now, we’ve offered our watches to users as finished, self-complete products. Riiiver is our attempt to offer a new service for users and start building a new world with them. I want people to get pleasure from the playful side of a company that’s always taken watchmaking extremely seriously indeed.