Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special Auto Day Date 35 Jewels 4-521421Y


This is a long title for a watch, isn’t it?:)

Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special Auto Day Date 35 Jewels 4-521421Y

I am not sure how to write this article yet: should I say a lot of words about this marvelous piece or let the pictures and the title say it all? Here it is the way it looks, as always the face of the watch, the case back and the movement. The watch is on original Citizen Chrono Master strap.

citizen chronomaster superior chronometer special

I always loved automatic Citizen Chrono Master and decided to find the best of the best out of the dress line. I also wrote about the non date one, date or day-date. Some of them are Chronometer some are not. Read about them on the dedicated page HERE.  At the finish line I realized that it is impossible to declare a clear winner.  I had to chose between this one I am writing about now and the blue dial Elite Special that you can see HERE. Both winners. Obviously, you can’t ever go wrong with any Chrono Master.:)

Back to the watch: It is the usual fully polished stainless steel multi faceted case and gold inlayed screw in case back. One thing about this one that makes it a little more interesting is the fact that the lugs distance is 18mm so it is supposed to be on strap only, not like most of them that are 20mm. I find the 18mm more suitable for the shape and design of the watch when it comes with a strap. More elegant. It is ok on 20mm but 18mm seems to be just perfect. You can read about the original strap HERE.  The crystal is different a little bit too,  in the way it connects with the case, so not all Chrono Master crystals are interchangeable. It is a mineral one, slightly domed, that comes attached inside a steel ring making these parts a single piece.

The dial is gorgeous, silver, with a sun burst pattern. It has an oval day window at 12 that shows the days only in Japanese (Sundays in red and the rest in black) and a date window at 3. The hour markers are applied and match the hands perfectly. (polished with a central black line – on 12 there are two lines-) No luminous material was used. It was not needed. The legibility is excellent. The inscription on the dial is printed in black and it may look crowded but it is so small and delicate you can hardly notice it unless you want to. And why wouldn’t you stare at it? The silver Citizen logo is applied under the day window and the gold plated eagle logo at 6. One gold eagle on the dial, one gold eagle on the case back. (pay attention that only Special edition are having the gold dial eagle, the rest are silver)  A special Chrono Master indeed! Yes, the case back… it doesn’t get better than this! That gold inlay is a piece of art by itself!

In between the dial and the caseback we have the movement. The in house (like all Citizen) calibre 5250, 35 Jewels, running at 18,000 bph. What about it? Well… Chrono Master Superior Chronometer. Hacking seconds, automatic, hand winding also possible. Quick set date.

At the time it was the most expensive one at 39000 yen while the 33J day date chronometer was only 29000. Even my Holly grail watch, the 500m diver was cheaper, at only 35000. Find one today at this price! LOL!

So… I guess there is a lot to say about this watch, but I will stop here for now. Feel free to leave your comments below!

Great Japan Watch Company


Here it is a very special watch. It is one real piece of history and I will let you know why.:) It is a small watch, one of the first wristwatches made by Citizen. It is in amazing shape for its age. You can read about a similar piece HERE.

citizen vintage watch

With the help of my online Japanese speaking friends so far I have this:

“During the war roman letters on domestic was outlawed so Citizen adopted the Japanese name. Dai Nihon tokei kabushiki kaishya 1938. In 1948 they were able to change the name back to “Citizen””

“大日本時計株式会社 (it means Great Japan watch company)” was an old name of CITIZEN in 1938-1948.”

“In those days, Japanese government commanded CITIZEN to change company name. So, this watch is very rare.”

Well… now we know. Do we really need more words on this amazing piece? Maybe not, but if you have more info on this, please let me know in the comments below.

Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater X case


Super Jet! Wow again! And a “X” case?! Super! 

Some say the best period of Citizen was around 1969, some say it was earlier and others believe it was after 1970. Well.. 1969 was at least an interesting year because Citizen had a lot of cool features intersecting around this time frame. The watch I will present to you today was made in June 1968. So… let’s see it!

citizen super jet auto dater 1

This particular time piece is loaded with a lot of cool features. It is the Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater, model SADS51202-Y. It has a polished/brushed stainless steel case, marked with a circled X. That means the case is unibody and it has no removable case back. In fact the movement comes out only if the crystal is removed. I also love the fact that it is marked “Parawater” (not the common “water resistant” or “water proof”). This was a therm that only Citizen used in order to show that the watch is in fact water resistant, and this one was up to 150m. Not having a removable case back eliminated a week link into this water resistance issue. You can read about the first Japanese water resistant watc, the famous Parawater, HERE. The mineral crystal is domed, with a concave inner surface. The dial is matte black, with a somehow satinated appearance. It is marker with 3 stars, an indication to the awesome movement inside. The luminos hour markers (the hour and minute hands have luminous parts too), have a polished trapezoidal shape making time reading very easy to do. The date is positioned at 3 o clock, where the unsigned winding crown is located too. By the way, the crown is manually winding the automatic movement, sets the date while the date changes only by moving the hour hand back and forward midnight.  I was so wrong! How come I missed the fact that the date changes by pulling the crown?! Just pull the crown in the second position and the date jumps! Pull again, it jumps again!:)

citizen super jet auto dater 2

Let’s open it up! Let’s not forget the X marked case, with integrated case back!  The first thing one have to do is to remove the bezel (this is also keeping the crystal into place). Use the right knife blade to pop it open. Then remove the crystal. I do that using a suction cup. On the lateral part of the crystal there is a black rubber seal and underneath the crystal there is a transparent one in order to facilitate water resistance. So, the crystal is out, and so are the seals. Now turn the watch dial side down and slowly turn the crown. The movement will fall, so pay attention. Now that we have the movement out, turn it so we can see it. The beautiful Jet movement, gold plated, 39 Jewels, three stats, in all its glory! Love it! Read more about Jet movements HEREReassembly is somehow similar. A special attention should be payed when pacing the crown back. Press it into place only when in the right position into the movement, otherwise the stem can break. When pressure fitting the bezel back into place, be careful not to break the crystal. Nor the stem or the crystal are available for sale anywhere. So… take your time or take it to a watchmaker.😉

citizen super jet auto dater 3

Anything else? Well.. not only that is in almost perfect condition but I can introduce to you how the original box should have been. Most of the times the box alone can double the value of the watch if it can be sourced. So… this is how a Super Jet auto dater box should look like. (I hope I can get it soon to complete the package, and the original strap too – not sure what is the right model here-)

If you want to see the 150m diver version of this watch, one of my all time favorite pieces, click HERE

I hope you enjoyed the article and found the info about the X case watches useful. Now, lets get them opened!:) These movements need to be seen! Click on the images to magnify them if you need more details.

Special Citizen Center Second


I wrote before about Center Second and I find myself writing about another one again. Here it is one of the most elegant, about 30mm diameter, Special Citizen Center Second. It was intended as both a men and a ladies watch but by today’s standards I would say ladies would find it more attractive due to its size.

citizen center second special lady

This is a NOS watch, with original strap and buckle and it is so nice to find one like this, the way it was meant to be in the first place. Lets not forget that it is almost 70 years old! The bezel details are really sharp and so are the crown threads. It is a very nice feeling to wind it, gripping the new crown and turning it. All the details are here, making it a Special one indeed.

The dial, seen through the acrylic crystal, is beautiful, in two shades, a central one that has the writing “Special Citizen Center Second” and an outer part that has the applier golden hour markers, arabic numerals and dots for each minute. The three hands are are also golden.

The “Center Second” came in many versions, and even a solid gold one, and a total of 6-7 generations for about 10 years.  The first one was produced in 1948. All of them were running at 18,000 bph and came equipped with 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and even 19 jewels. The Center Seconds are non-hacking and don’t have a date complication. This watch can be dated around 1951. The calibre is a 10.5 ligne (23.30mm) one and can be made with 8,11, 16 or 17 jewels. It was a development of Citizen’s first wristwatch made in 1931, (read about it HERE) which was developed all the way up to 1955. The earlier ones had a sub-second dial, then the Center Second models were introduced in 1948 as the “New Citizen”.  The “Special Citizen” was the second version of the center second models.

Read more about Center Second watches HERE

Citizen parawater parashock “Green Eagle” 63-1094


This time it is getting more simple, but is it really?! Well… let’s find out!

At a first glance there is not much to it, just a simple three hands manual wind watch, with a date… and a green eagle logo.😉 This is the Citizen ParaWater, ParaShock, 63-1094.

vintage citizen parashock parawater green eagle

The watch is made entirely of stainless steel and has an acrylic crystal. The date magnifier is on the underside surface of the crystal. The winding crown in made of SS too and it is signed “CTZ”. So… the usual stuff. But then we take a look at the dial and we see the beautiful sunburst effect. And the striking feature is that the center of this effect is not in the center of the dial but at the 6 o’clock edge. It looks as a rising sun effect actually. Lovely detail! Then we see the raised applied multifaceted hour markers that reflect the light around, working perfectly with the dial. They are also marked with a luminous dot. The hands have also luminous material for better reading the time in the dark. Red and green. The dates are printed in red and the Eagle logo is green. Again, another visual detail that adds to the overall appeal of the watch. We will get to the green Eagle in a bit.

The movement is nothing fancy, just a reliable hand wind one, with a date. It is the Citizen calibre 1802, with 21 Jewels. It doesn’t hack and it is not quick set date. In fact the date changes by going back and forward passed midnight with the hour hand.

12038596_1652516901680966_503252284663377769_o

And back to the dial! The Eagle logo is interesting, but why is it there? I have seen it also on a Citizen Homer, but printed in blue. Well, we cant be sure yet. My friend Alexander thinks (and I tend to agree with him) that it is the Thunderbird. Thunderbird is the image that also is used by the Blue Angels (Citizen chronograph is currently a sponsored watch) of the US Air force. Since Seiko and Citizen were readily available to US service men in the PX stores back then (1970’s) maybe this is why ? Maybe the line Citizen was offering to target US air force personnel? Perhaps this was the way Citizen tried to market some of their models back in the 70;’s to a specific group in the US military in far east Asia, since military personal always bought non issued watches (mostly japanese) as they were stationed in either Japan, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. Pilots and airmen were always stationed in rear combat bases so the watches marketed to them would be a little more formal/fancy as oppose to ground troops or navy personnel. And we all know how tradition is in the US military. This is how the new sponsored Citizen chronograph could have the endorsement of the current Blue Angels… tradition.:)

Sometimes details make all the difference, so let’s open out eyes, because the beauty is there to be seen.:)

Citizen Blackie – coated watches


Citizen was always innovative and was never afraid of trying new technologies. So, in 1970 they started experimenting black coating their watches. They also coated their watches in a similar dark color, something more like a dark olive green. The reason for coating their watches was the same reason manufacturers are doing it today: it looks really good. They also tried to find ways to protect the case and bracelet material underneath. Most of these coated watches were made of a very light alloy, that is not really scratch resistant so the coating comes as a great addition.

In order for the public to buy them, with great confidence, Citizen promoted this “harder than steel” surface with some samples, where you can get a treated case and a scraping instrument attached to it. You were kindly advice to try it yourself. Scratch it!

The label reds: “New BLAKIE. Try testing hardness by scraping with a coin.”

blackie Citizen vintage watches

So, beautiful and resistant.

As a side note (after seeing a lot of used Citizen coated watches I can tell you that only the NOS and mint ones have really passed the test of time and most of the used ones are losing their coating on the lugs or sharp edges).

Here are a few of my NOS coated watches, black and dark green, side by side, and in the smaller picture is a part of Mikko’s collection. Thank you Mikko! Awesome collection, like always your contribution is greatly appreciated! citizen blackie vintage citizen watches coated

Thank you Citizen for giving us the chance to experience this material too. I love it!

Read about one of the very first Blackies HERE.

1952 – awesome video about Citizen


My friend Tomoyoshi posted this video on the Vintage Citizen Watches on Facebook and I just had to share it here. I wish I knew Japanese but even though I don’t, the video is worth watching just like that. So beautiful!

So…. here you are guys, click the LINK HERE and take a look!

vintage citizen watches

How beautiful is this?!

See another wonderful video ( a commercial) made by Citizen HERE.

Citizen parts for repair and restoration


At least once a week I get a mail, a comment or a message about sourcing a part for someones loved vintage Citizen watch. It may be a missing bezel insert or an original crystal. Someone is looking for a movement part for a Jet calibre or for Chrono Master hands. Maybe you are searching the original Citizen diver strap or a bracelet link to buy in order to restore your watch.  We are all looking for something… So: where can we find original parts for our vintage Citizen watches? Is there a special secret place for them?

citizen parts crystal bezel crown for repair and restoration

That is an easy question but not an easy one to answer. In fact original parts are, most of the time, almost impossible to source. Citizen company doesn’t provide them (because they don’t keep them) and because they made so many models I imagine having all available is not a real possibility. So the company is out of the question. Next choice would be looking for one online. But… do you know the part code? I guess you don’t. So first thing you have to do is finding a Citizen original parts catalogue, find the part inside and find the identification code and then search it online. Even so, finding one is close to impossible again.😦 What else do we have? Watchmakers… there is not even a slim chance your watchmaker can have the original one unless you live in Japan and  your watchmakers father was a watchmaker too, that worked for and with Citizen and has a lot of leftover parts in his attic. Yeah, I know… slim chances you are ever going to find that part this way. Another choice is to ask me. Yeah, right. Unless you want a bezel, a crown and two crystals I am actually basically useless.

How to do it then? Your best bet would be to find a “donor” watch. That means finding a junk watch that has the part you are looking for, buying that watch and get the part. Of course, keep looking online for your original NOS part, you might get lucky in a month or maybe a few years… or probably never.

The last choice is to go for aftermarket parts. First find a good watchmaker, than see what he can do to help you…

Conclusion? Keep looking (day and night)… you can never know when you will find the needle in the haystack. Good luck!

Citizen Jet Autodater 120m – the first diver


It is always nice to know which watch was the first, the thinnest, the most this or that… It is extra nice to have one of each. With Citizen that is not so easy because there are so many models! One of the most collectable lines is the one of the diving watches, so which is the first real diver that Citizen made?

The first Japanese water resistant watch was the famous Parawater, launched in 1959. You can read about it HERE. But, that was not a real diver. In fact the first diving timepiece was this one, the one in this article, the Jet Autodater para 120m water. At about the same time another model was made, the Autodater 200m , the skin diver. Read about it HERE.

Here it is, the Citizen Parawater 120m Jet Autodater (ADRS51301-DA)

citizen jet auto dater 120m

Unfortunately the manufacture date can not be easily determined because there is no serial number but it is estimated to be somewhere around 1962 . Find out how to date a Citizen HERE.

The case is made entirely in polished stainless steel, with a screw in case back and a bidirectional friction type bezel. The crown is non screw in. The water resistance is obtained by using a rubber O ring and it is enough for 120m. Not bad I would say.:) The acrylic crystal is domed and gives it a vintage feel. The dial is black, with luminous large trapezoidal hour markers and steel hands. The hour and minute hand have a black tip with a luminous central line where the black part is. The black painted bezel has a luminous dot at 12. On the black dial we see the date, located in a traditional way, at 3 o’clock.

The movement is a 19 J jet caliber, no hand winding. The date changes by advancing the hands pass midnight and back to 21, and again midnight… It is not a quick set date. The seconds don’t hack. So… not a phenomenal movement but one of my favorites. (the Jet – with a ring rotor and you can read about Jets HERE) This one is one of the earliest types, with no hand winding. Just a tool watch with a simple, robust movement.

citizen jet auto dater 120m

The strap that completes this awesome watch is a Tropic rubber one. Perfect match! Now, all I have to do is strap this piece of history on my wrist and take it diving! Well.. desk diving.:)

Citizen Recordmaster Rally Custom Chronograph


The Citizen Recordmaster is a famous watch among vintage chronograph collectors and such a beautiful one too. The model was introduced in 1967 and was produced for only 5 years. It is a real column wheel flyback chronograph, with a hand winding movement. It counts up to one minute only but what a joy to wear and play with the pushers it is! The flyback action is awesome.

citizen recordmaster rally custom

The larger (42mm) version presented here is the more complex and sportier Rally Custom 63-0314. Even though there is another Rally Custom powered by a different non-chrongraph movement, this one has the same flyback manual 5702 calibre inside. It has a sportier look, a large black case with integrated lugs and one external tachymeter bezel as well as another inner rotating one. This inner one in addition to the scale on the dial is useful for some simple calculation such as speed and elapsed time. The dial itself is black, completing the all black look of the watch. The only tint of color is a yellow or orange circle on the dial and the orange second hand. On this model the date is located in a round window at 4 o’clock and there is one more crown at 10 o’clock for operating the inner bezel.

citizen recordmaster rallycustomThe movement is the Citizen calibre 5702 with 21 jewels. It beats at a slow rate, half the speed of the fastest Citizen Leopard movements, at 18,000bph. It is the first chronograph and the only hand winding chronograph movement that Citizen produced. There is also an automatic one with two variations: 8100A and 8110A. All of the Citizen chronograph movements are flyback and so is this one. The date is not quick set but changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight. The racing tropic strap is the best option and fits the watch perfectly.

Read about the other Recordmaster variant HERE.