Stone and Wood Vintage Citizen Watches


Everybody knows Citizen was the first worldwide to use Titanium for their watches. They also used Aluminum alloy, Solid gold (white and yellow), Stainless steel, “harder than steel” black coating and they didn’t stop there. With a little bit of luck we can still find watches made of natural materials. In the process of finding new ways, in providing more diversity, Citizen made watch cases made of natural wood and a few types of stone.

These watches were intended for the younger customers that cared a lot about fashion and the way the watches looked like and were also interested in having a watch with a story. As you can see they were branded under Adorex line, or Afro Craft, Cosmo Star, V2… Usually a leather strap was used but I have found a few with a bracelet option. Other materials might have been used for straps but I am not sure. Still to find out.

The movements are diverse, simple or displaying the day / date and some are high beat. The cases are rounded and the crystal sometimes is faceted (see the wood variant below). Colorful, young, eye catching and interesting at the same time.

Thank you Branislav for the beautiful red agate stone picture! Beautiful watch!

I have in my collection a NOS wood case one, original strap, buckle and tags. The build quality is very good and I love the warm feeling of the material. I never had a stone watch but for sure I will find one. Somehow a wood / stone Citizen is a must have for at least once in order to fully appreciate the craftsmanship involved in these.

The picture above is my watch, so I opened it to take a look at the movement. Beautiful, clean and interesting.

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Baselworld 2018 – 100 years of CITIZEN


Citizen is having its 100th anniversary this year and we all know what a major event this is, a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a look at the past century of fine watchmaking and still have a glimpse at the next one. I couldn’t have missed it for the world!

Our trip to Baselworld trip story started a few months ago when visiting the Citizen Headquarters in Tokyo Japan. Our host Wakaba Kuroshima said she was looking forward to see us in Basel. Without even blinking I agreed: that would be lovely! So… fast forward to a few weeks ago when she sent us invitations for the Citizen 100th anniversary party. Thank you Wakaba! We were already accredited as press, to cover the event, but the official Citizen nominal invitations made me so proud to be there that nothing else really mattered those days. We booked a few hotels, cleared our schedule and fueled the car. Road trip to Basel! By the way, this is the first time I went to this well known world watch event and, I know it is hard to imagine, I only did it because of the Citizen party.

The trip was long but awesome! Five countries, 3000 km, 35 hours driving time, a few restaurants along the way and all this for just a two hours party?! Well, that is correct, it was not just a party, it was the Citizens 100th anniversary and there was not a chance I would have missed it. Sunny and snow, cold and rain, stuck in traffic on the highway and yet again doing 250km/h plus on German Autobahn… We made it in Switzerland just in time to meet a few on-line friends at the fair while taking a look at the new watch releases. Unfortunately, because of the tight schedule, I couldn’t meet all the friend I planned to. Hopefully next time.

So… we got our Press badges, entered the fair and took a short look at the Swiss watches. They were really cool and are covered on-line everywhere, but the main reason for our visit was Citizen, so finding the booth was the main goal. It was easy to find. We could’t linger, so back to the hotel we went for a shower and dressing up for the party. The watch I took with me was the first Citizen ever made, the pocket watch. It felt like the perfect choice and I was not wrong. I also had some original Citizen made accessories, with Citizen movements, tie pin and cufflinks that fitted the occasion and the location nicely. In fact, what you see in the pictures as shining little stars hanging from the Citizen booth ceiling were nothing else but thousands of Citizen movements. The design was spectacular and here it is what Tsuyoshi TaneAtelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects says about it:

“What is time?”
From prehistoric times until now, countless civilizations and tribal nations have asked this very question. The gears of time have been turning ever since humanity first became conscious of the concept, and it is no doubt that we will continue to contemplate time inthe future.

Born alongside time, we have it to thank for human emotions: joy, sorrow, and at times, even suffering. It has created our history and engraved our memories.

Entering the 20th century, however, time was presented with an additional element: speed. Thanks to a revolution in technology, time accelerated – or at least this was the illusion we were under. Before we knew it, humanity had begun to consume time until it had lost its very soul. And now, time has become digital, smart, and taken on a most cold and mechanical nature.

Consequently, CITIZEN has decided to focus on “What time means to the 21st century”.
The question that we have been posed with now – as citizens of the 21st century – is “What is time for?” The answer will depend on our meaning of happiness.

At the CITIZEN Watch Group booth at Basel world 2018, we will be paying homage to this elusive concept under the theme, “We Celebrate Time.” As we approach our 100th year anniversary, the CITIZEN Group as a whole will be holding a special watch exhibition and performance at what we have named Time Theatre. It will also feature the dazzling installation that “turns” light into time, LIGHT is TIME. We will be surrounding our visitors in 21st century-light through an installation of wrist watch main plates meticulously positioned to form a spectacular geometrical space. Bulova will also be holding an exhibition reflecting on time, “History of First” is a visual representation of the brand through the time span of its 143 year history.

Join us in our homage to time in the 21st century, as We Celebrate Time for the sake of the future.

Back at the party I was so pleased to meet Wakaba again and I had the opportunity to meet for the first time in real life my friend Hiroyuki Ohta, manager at Citizen Watch Co., who gave me a lot of support in the last years. Thank you my friend! Hope to see you soon and keep in touch!

The music was nice, perfect for the occasion and the light show was awesome, we had a Sushi bar with Japanese chefs and fine drinks. There was a beautiful dance moment “Light is time’ but the highlight of the party was the speech of mr. Toshio Tokura – President and CEO of Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd. Here it is a part of it:

What is Time?

The Citizen Watch Group encompasses six unique brands: CITIZEN, Bulova, Arnold & Son, Frederique Constant, Alpina and CAMPANOLA-each proclaiming its individual achievements in innovative style and technology, which they have cultivated throughout their respective histories. By celebrating time, which includes understanding and acknowledging the time each brand has invested to reach this moment, we believe together as a group, we are better equipped to pioneer the next great advancements in the world of watches.

This year at Baselworld 2018, Citizen Watch Group is pleased to introduce the new Time Theatre, created under this year’s corporate theme, “We Celebrate Time.” The Time Theatre is open to the public and is a place where we hope people can gather and honor the special moments in their lives, from the past to present, as well as gaze into the future and the many amazing experiences that have yet to be realized. The Time Theatre also showcases the latest watches by Citizen Watch Group brands for those who share a common passion for distinguished design and craftsmanship in watchmaking.

In 2018, CITIZEN is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and throughout our existence we have continually sought to define the meaning of “time.” Whether it’s an accumulation of seconds, minutes and hours, all accounted for on our wristwatches-or perhaps the very stream of our lives, “time,” it can be interpreted simply as a series of momentary events that occur. Time truly is precious, so the tools to measure and communicate time must be accurate, and CITIZEN’s unwavering mission and pursuit for accuracy has continued since its founding in 1918.

We are also proud this year to announce the “Cal.0100,” the world’s first light-powered Eco-Drive movement to deliver an accuracy within ± 1 second a year. The Cal.0100 is completely self-sustainable, relying only on a light source and the mechanics of its internal movement to deliver precise timekeeping, autonomously and continuously. The technology allows us a more efficient and honest appraisal of time, and with it, the ability to better manage time and enjoy the precious moments of our life.

Please join us as “We Celebrate Time” at CITIZEN’s Time Theatre, where we will be displaying a number of innovative new products by CITIZEN, Bulova and other Group brands. We thank you for your continued patronage and support, as we set forth into the next 100 years at Citizen Watch Group, and continue our pursuit of excellence while pushing the possibilities of watchmaking design and technology.

Toshio Tokura President and CEO
Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd

During his speech Mr. Toshio Tokura also announced the Citizen  – Disney collaboration and this is a major thing. They became the official timepiece of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Marvel new media’s creative space. Among other things, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort will begin offering Citizen timepieces featuring designs unique to Disney Parks. Citizen will also become a red-carpet sponsor for the highly anticipated Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War film in April 2018, creating experiences surrounding the release of this milestone movie.

So many good news and for sure the future is looking bright for Citizen and Eco Drive but somehow I feel a little bit disappointed in not having a mechanical watch as a 100th anniversary. Well.. every watch brand is doing an homage and at least a few vintage inspired modern reinterpretations, and they sell like crazy, but Citizen was not. Why? I know why but still, the hope is the one that dies last.

The answer is deep in the Citizen philosophy: Small-ER, Fast-ER, Thinn-ER.  

As a gift, when leaving the party we got the Essence of Citizen 2018 catalogue and two beautifully presented lollipops shaped and the first Citizen and the newest one. Amezaiku – is a traditional Japanese candy craft art. Thank you Citizen! Domo arigato!

The new 100 years will be better and better, that is for sure! They were always improving and innovating so they will not stop.

Better starts now.

The challenge:
Accurate to ± 1 second

CITIZEN has pursued the essence and further possibilities of the watch ever since the company’s founding. There is one challenge that we have actively confronted throughout that entire time: superior precision.
In 1924, we developed our first pocket watch, the “CITIZEN.”
We debuted our first quartz watch accurate to ± 10 seconds per month in 1973, and in 1975, we debuted Crystron Mega, the world’s first quartz watch accurate to ± 3 seconds per year.
We continued to produce even more accurate watches with longer running times incorporating our proprietary light-powered technology Eco-Drive.
This year, as we mark our 100th anniversary, we have achieved yet another milestone: Calibre 0100, an Eco-Drive movement with annual accuracy ± 1 second, which tells the world’s most precise time.*
Calibre 0100 tells the precise time autonomously based on an internal mechanism with no reliance on time signals from radio towers or GPS satellites.
It marks the individual seconds in their purest and most refined form.
Like a strong person who achieves his goals through sheer force of will, it uses its own rhythm to tell the precise time for everyone, wherever they are, without depending on anything outside itself.
The Calibre 0100 marks the start of the next one hundred years of watchmaking for CITIZEN.

Read more about this calibre and the future plans of Citizen HERE.

Bottom line: As a collector, am disappointed? No, I am not, in fact I am even more proud of Citizen and even though my heart still wants a vintage inspired Chrono Master 500m my mind knows that this is not the Citizen philosophy. They are respecting the past and are proud of it but they are always looking forward, better and better. It is us, the collectors who are at a certain level stuck in the past, protecting and preserving the wonderful world of  Vintage Citizen watches. What I can do is write, collect and share data and respect them. I will let Citizen do what Citizen does best: be better, evolve and innovate. And yes, a light powered watch, accurate to a a second per year, is way better than a mechanical one. Such an achievement! Every reason to go this way, except for the fact that the heart wants what the heart wants. I will keep on collecting VCW and keep on dreaming of a time long gone, before I was born…

Thank you Citizen! I am so proud and humble at the same time to be a part of this wonderful story that keeps on going!

Happy bithday!

お誕生日おめでとうございます。
Otanjoubi omedetou gozaiasu!

Citizen Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

Choosing the perfect watch for Baselworld 2018


In just a few days I will be at Citizen’s 100th Anniversary Party at Baselworld. Proud to be invited at this special, once in a lifetime, event. So… which watch should I wear?   I have to take so many aspects into consideration when making this decision: first of all, it should be an important watch in Citizen’s history, a rare one, a cool conversation piece, one of my best… Also, I have to think about the way I dress, about the over 12 hours drive to Basel, the weather maybe? Hm…. Tough choice! 

In order to decide I created a POLL on Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook group and here it is what my friends think I should wear:

Third place: The Citizen Glorious

The 1971 Glorious is one of the rarest and most appreciated Vintage Citizen Watches. It is not called “Glorious” for nothing. At the time of its launch it had one of the most precise and accurate movements in the world, and many say it was a lot better than the direct competitor: the best of Grand Seiko line. Awesome 36,000 bph movement, no doubt about it, perfect SS case finishing, NOS, a pride to have in such condition. Does it get any better? I would love to have it with me at Baselworld!

Second place: The Citizen Diamond Flake

The 1962 DF is so much more than a beautiful watch. It was, at the time of its first appearance, the thinnest three hands watch movement in the entire world, at only 2,75mm! This is the ultimate dress watch: thin, elegant, no date, no lume, manual wind movement, silver dial and…. let’s not forget that my example is made of solid white gold!  Talk about class! What better choice for a formal Citizen party?

First place: The Citizen Chrono Master 500m

This in my Holly Grail, one of my pride and joy watches, the 1969 beast diver! The best of the best! Would I strap this on my wrist, hell yeah! Is it a good watch to wear with a suit? Maybe it is not, but look at it, read about it and wear it! I wrote a lot about this awesome watch and no more words are needed, this is the “to go to” watch at any Citizen get together. But is it the best option for this occasion? My Facebook friends think so and this is still to be decided in the next day.

And a special mention, on of my favorites:  THE Shokosha Citizen 

Somehow this simple pocket watch went under the radar but think about it, after all it is the 100th Citizen anniversary and the watch that started it all, the first, the one to be celebrated here is in fact this one, the one and only, THE CITIZEN. So why not more votes for this one? I would vote for it and in fact I will right now and give it a chance!

The battle is on and one of these will go the 2018 Baselworld  for the 100th year anniversary party. So… which one should it be?

Will keep you updated. 😉

The fabulous story of Seppo and his B52806 150m Citizen


I had a dream – a dream about watches, adventures and open waters. I had a dream about freedom, and friendship, about trust, duty and honor.

It was the late ‘60s – a time of change. We had the moon landing, not because it was easy, but because it was hard. We had the Beatles and Bob Dylan. We experienced Woodstock, raced cars with naturally aspirated roaring engines, smelled the burning rubber and the exhaust gas. We watched Paul Newman films, surfed under the So Cal sun or enjoyed a glass of vino rosso somewhere on a hill in Tuscany.

Freedom, adrenaline, sex, innovation.

I had a dream about the time when a watch was so much more than jewelry, when its purpose was to indicate time and it was used in the way it was always meant to be: racing, diving, flying or timing important events, even in space or on the Moon.

Yes, I’m talking about tool watches!

In the picture above is me, diving, and Seppo wearing a shirt with the logo he designed. In the background we can see the watch. 

It was the late ‘60s and the world was experiencing major changes. Somewhere in Mariehamn (read about this place HERE), Seppo Prepula was also about to have a change in his life. He found himself in sudden need of a new watch.

As he was walking home from work on a cold day, he noticed heavy rain clouds forming overhead. He picked up the pace but it was already too late. The notorious Finnish weather caught up with him, setting in motion the events of our story.

He got home soaking wet, down to his Omega watch. He was not happy.

Two years ago he’d started taking diving classes at the local fire department in Hanko. He’d been bitten by the diving bug and decided that the obvious, natural thing to do was buy a diving watch. His old watch was now ruined, which only motivated him to follow this path and make no compromises in his choice.

He’d heard about a Japanese company called Citizen, that offered high quality diving watches. So he entered a store in downtown Mariehamn, had a brief talk with the seller – who proceeded to throw the disaffected Omega in the trash – and decided on a new Citizen diving watch, the 150m B52806.

That very watch is on my wrist as I write this article.

Here is the watch, the way I received it, caseback and movement too, before cleaning.

Before sending me the watch, Seppo described it “practically new”, and he was so right! The beauty behind this statement is amazing. Even though time took its toll on the crystal, even though the lume is yellow and some of it is gone, even though the case is showing so many deep memories and the crown no longer screws back in… Seppo is seeing it through the same lens he did the first time he laid eyes on it. What Seppo sees when he looks at the watch is his reliable diving buddy.

Yes, Seppo, I can confirm… the watch is indeed “practically new”. Thank you so much for allowing me to wear it with pride, to keep it and enjoy it as you did.

Now back to Seppo and his story. A few weeks ago, his son, Conny, wrote a comment on my site www.vintagecitizenwatches.com telling me that his father has an old diving watch and inquiring about its value.

Well… the rest is history and here I am wearing it today as I tell its story. Between the years 1960 and 1990 Seppo did a lot of diving. Today he is 76 years old and his son Conny is 46 (younger than the watch). In fact, it seems highly probable for this watch to have been at his father’s wrist when Conny was born. Seppo wore it almost all the time, rain or no rain, and, of course, when he was diving. That was, after all, its main purpose. And he dove all around the north European seas. All his life revolved around this passion. He used to wear his special knife, looking – as Conny recalls – just like a Jedi master.

Some personal pictures of Seppo, diving and wearing the watch, the club logo and the watch on the strap he used for diving. This is how I received it. 

He started diving in 1967 in Hanko, near Mariehamn before he moved to Uusikaupunki where, with the support of his diving buddies, he founded a diving club. That happened in 1978, the year I was born. He also designed the club’s logo, which is still in use today. Visit the website HERE.

He remembers one of his first dives in 1968 at the Plussa wreck, where he uncovered a sextant and a helm. These artefacts are now proudly displayed at the Mariehamn Maritime Museum. Read more about it HERE.

In Bomarsund, he dug up cannons and a lot of brass/copper ammo core as well as plenty of old cannon powder, stored in tubes (“I enjoyed these in the late ‘80s and almost lost my eyebrows a couple of times because of that, says Conny”) Read about it HERE. Ten kilometers north of Bomarsund, in the early Swedish times, dives were organized to mine for silver and rock crystals in the remnants of the old mine.

The watch reportedly reached a maximum depth of 70 meters (WOW!) in front of Eckerö Post & Tullhus of Åland. Eckerö’s post operated in the time of autonomy as Russia’s westernmost border station for Sweden over a hundred years, which is what made it such an interesting place for diving. The wreckage remains hidden somewhere in the deep waters and will one day for sure be discovered. Read more about Aland HERE.

At Herrö, many dives were made to the wreck of Skiftet. They were sludge cleaning the wreck and lifting up items from it. In one of those dives, Seppo’s regulator got stuck somewhere in the engine room and he had to take his tube and gears off at a depth of 25 meters. “Small close call issue”. Read more about it HERE.

A lot of grenades and ammunition were saved in the seas in front of Hanko – read about it HERE. Read more about the old Mannerheim coffee house HERE.

In the late ‘70s, Seppo was part of a group of divers searching for bombs off the Hango coast. Seppo dived, located grenades and marked them for explosion. They were old Soviet grenades left there after Soviet occupation in WW2. Seppo and his family also lived in the region for a couple of years.

In the early ‘80s at Uusikaupunki, a 300 kg anchor was raised up in front of Lyökki. It now belongs to the Uusikaupunki Museum. “I remember that trip when I was a young boy, my father was with a 6-member diving team that made this job at a depth of 40m”, Conny recalls.

The watch made its last dive in the early ‘90s, when Seppo was tube-diving in the factory of Uusikaupunki.

Diving locations and expeditions, the anchor he saved (wearing the watch) and other items, the medusas rising, the blue seas…

Well guys, if this is not a real tool diving watch, show me a better one! I almost ran out of words working on this article. There is a huge amount of pressure on me as I try to do justice to this special timepiece and its fascinating story.

Seppo recalls that the movement of the watch was only serviced once, in 1975 when the bezel insert was changed because the old one was so deteriorated it was difficult to read. This could have been a safety hazard when diving so a new one was installed. Back then, the watches were not looked upon as collectable jewelry and were not pampered. It was a diving instrument that needed to be up to the task so the original bezel was thrown away and a similar one (Citizen made, of course, but from the next 150m variant) was installed, having the exact same specifications. After this, the watch was never opened nor cleaned until the day I received it. Hundreds of dives in the cold, deep, salty sea waters, and never ever failing once.

Cleaning the watch.

Seppo always trusted his watch to perform and the watch never disappointed him. It was always there for Seppo, keeping him safe.

A few questions for Seppo and his answers:

– what watch are you wearing now? – A “normal” Citizen.

– why did you sell it? And why did you sell it to me? – I am not using it for the purpose it was meant to be used. I don’t dive anymore. I consider that you appreciate the history of the watch and the watch itself, so it felt absolutely right for you to have it.

– how did it feel to let the watch go? – The watch did not have huge emotional ties, but it has been many times involved, most of all it has been a tool for me, which has worked just like a train, always flawless, just like it should.

– do you miss diving? – yes a little bit, I miss this adventure and finding new things, it is difficult to find that view and feel in land, you can try, but you probably need illegal drugs for that. 🙂

– if starting life again, would you do it the same way? Diving, watches… any regrets? – I would not change a day, everything or object leads to something and every item is correct in time, it does not change anything by switching. I could live my life 100% same way.

-any advice for someone who is looking for his first watch, that is just starting his life? – I myself know that a mechanical watch is the best and safest solution for underwater use. Water and electricity do not belong together!

– what is the best memory you have (when wearing the watch)? – Underwater “adventures”, the watch told me that this does not have to be left up yet. Also friends, we were a close community and we always take care of each other’s safety in diving on our trips. Great memories are those summer dives when the medusas rise abundantly in the upper layers. The sight is beautiful and it is worth experiencing at least once.

-what other watches did you have at the same time with this Citizen? – Omega and Leijona, only needed one dive watch and it was this one.

-how did you get this strap for the watch? Did you wear the watch with this strap when diving, or other similar ones? – It is a compass strap (Suunto, from 80 “s). Originally bought a stretch of metal bracelet, it quickly began to resound, obviously salt water did their job to it.

– what would he like for me to do with the watch? Wear it? Take it diving again? Keep it in the safe with my collection? – Please keep maintaining the watch and its history, I greatly appreciate it is in the hands that know something about it and know that it’s real tool not just a cosmetic jewel. Enjoy it!

Thank you Seppo! I can’t thank you enough! I am humbled to and grateful at the same time for the honor to write about you and about your watch, well… my watch, OUR watch! Somehow I feel I am a part of your adventures and hopefully the readers will appreciate it as much as I do. Thank you!

Seppo’s watch and a NOS one I had in my collection that was lent to me by his present owner for this  photo shoot.

All things considered… This was no dream; this was the reality even though this is the dream watch we all hope to find one day. If you have a similar story to tell about your beloved Citizen watch, please let me know, or if you know someone willing to share his story, please write me, I would love to write about it. I hope you like it!

Thank you Seppo and thank you Conny!

Special thanks to my friend Andrei Cherascu, a famous SF author, for helping me with the article. By the way, check out his award-winning novel Mindguard and his other novels HERE.

Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special


That is a rather long name for a watch that doesn’t even have a date, isn’t it? Well… give me a few minutes and for sure the proud owner of this special Vintage Citizen Watch will make you fall in love with it. So, without further ado I will let my friend Henry from Australia tell you more about his watch:

“There is something quite rewarding in winding a watch by hand and watching it spring to life..

At a time when the world was rapidly turning it’s attention to automatics it is easy to overlook the heights that had already been achieved by their hand winding cousins.. The Chrono Master range of citizens recognises this magnificently and shows that not only does it boast some of the most accurate automatic movements of the time but also some of the best hand winding movements ever made as well.

Here we have one of the finest of these the Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special HOOS2081.  Later productions were known as 4-020201.

The case like all Citizen Chronometers  is made in stainless steel,  Polished. The lugs are excellent tapering both inwards but are also curved allowing the watch to blend beautifully into both strap and the wrist. The case back has a gold inlay medallion with an engraved eagle.  The crown is well proportioned. The mineral crystal sits up proud above the bezel and the way the light passes through it creates a sight to behold from almost every angle..

The dial is silver sunburst it has a polished Citizen logo at the top and gold eagle logo at the bottom.  The dial text Superior Chronometer and Special tells us that this is no ordinary Chrono Master in fact you could say it’s a bit special..  The hour markers and hands are finished with a fine black line, It really improves  the legibility of the watch as well as creating a nice contrast with the dial.. There is no date window which creates a sense simplicity and symmetry that one can’t help but feel only adds to it’s beauty..

The movement is the second iteration of the hand winding Chrono Masters the cal 0930 with 22 jewels and running at 18000 bph.. The movement is hacking which means when you pull the crown the sweep hand stops running while you set the time.. There is a fine adjuster on the balance and being a superior chronometer one would expect it capable of accuracy to rival (if not better) the cosc spesifications of the day… Each movement has a serial number and jewel count engraved upon it..

The strap sitting at 18mm between the lugs was a leather one and most likely there was a signed citizen buckle to complete the package..

It’s a watch that stands out on the wrist but slides easily under a cuff. It is uncomplicated yet highly sophisticated. It  is yet another fine example of the quality that was,and still is the Citizen Chrono Master.”

Henry

An inside view of Citizen Watch co, seen by VCW


For years, I’ve been collecting vintage Citizen watches. I spend a considerable amount of time researching, collecting, buying, selling as well as restoring and servicing these wonderful timepieces. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.

Yes, I had the chance to travel to Tokyo, Japan and be a guest at Citizen Watch co. Earlier this year, the company introduced a fascinating new facility – the Citizen Museum. I had the honor of being invited to visit this institution and admire the impressive collection from the company’s watchmaking history.

Let me start by saying that we cannot talk about Citizen without taking into consideration that this is a quintessentially Japanese brand, with the nation’s philosophy and lifestyle encoded in its DNA. Japan is definitely a must-see country. We’re all familiar with martial arts, Buddhism and Shinto. We love bonsai, ikebana, origami and, of course, Japan also means Samurais and Geisha, doesn’t it? It’s all of those things and so much more: respect, simplicity, tradition, work ethics and pride, innovation, art, philosophy… you can find it all in Japan and, indeed, in the wonderful world of Vintage Citizen Watches.

One hundred years ago, the Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. was born under the name Shokosha Watch Research Institute. Mr Shimpei Goto, the mayor of Tokyo, named the first watch “CITIZEN” with the hope that the watch, a luxury item in those times, would become widely available to ordinary citizens and be sold throughout the world.

His ambition materialized. “People appreciated and benefited from the institute’s results”. Prophetic words, indeed. With this statement, the seeds were planted for what would become the world’s largest watch manufacturer. In 1924, the first pocket watch bearing the Citizen moniker was produced. One of the first pieces produced by the company was purchased by Emperor Showa, Prince Regent at the time (Emperor Taisho era). In 1930, Yosaburo Nakajima laid the foundations for the Citizen watch empire. In 1936 the company expanded beyond the boundaries of Japan, exporting watches to many parts of Southeast Asia. This was the starting point of going global and the reason we can all enjy these watches no matter where we are.

Two years ago, I started talking to Mr. Hiroyuki Ota (Otha), Deputy General Manager of Citizen Watch Europe GmbH, about a certain watch model featured in a commercial. Little by little, our conversation developed and we planned this visit to Tokyo headquarters. Once I arrived in the capital, I visited the flagship store to prepare for the following day. Of course I had a beautiful watch ready for the occasion. 😉 (Thank you Eric for sourcing and keeping the watch for me and for the great time we had in Tokyo!)

This is the watch I strapped to my wrist on Monday morning. It is the stainless steel Chronometer and you can read about it HERE. I like to believe it was a great choice, since our host seemed impressed. This model was also on display at the museum, not once, but twice – as a whole watch and in a section discussing its movement.

At 9:00 we were at the Citizen headquarters and we had no problems getting there. Once we got out of the train at the Tanashi station, the Citizen logo on their building was easy to spot. We took a short walk and reached the gate. Because the trains work really well in Japan, we were able to schedule out trip with such precision that we arrived at 8:57, since our meeting was at 9:00.

The doorman was aware of our visit and someone walked us into the waiting room. Two minutes later, at 9:00 sharp, we were met by Ms. Wakaba Kuroshima (Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) with whom I had communicated prior to my arrival. She was very helpful in providing all the information needed in order to get there in time and also a few welcomed pieces of advice about what to do in Tokyo. She took us into the museum.

Mr. Yasuyuki Sakamaki (Citizen Museum Director & Citizen Archives General Manager) along with Mr. Takeo Ishino (Manager Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) and Mr. Shoiji Misono (Manager Product Planning Section & Product Marketing Department) welcomed us. They were all extremely gracious and evidently proud of their work and their company. Everything was clean, neatly arranged, well-planned and executed. Our hosts kindly showed us around and answered all our questions.

Our tour started with a short film that rendered some of the most important events in the history of Citizen and a few of the innovations made by them throughout the years, and there are a lot of them. After this, we were invited to see some watches, important pieces, hand-picked by our host and guide, the museum director. There are 130 watches on a 24-meter-long display. The 24 m represent the hours of a day. So we can witness 100 years of development in one single day.

We learned so many things about Citizen: the first titanium watch, the first Japanese water proof watch, the thinnest movement at a certain time, Guinness World Record for smallest watch movement, Eco-drive technology, radio wave…. and so many more world or Japanese premiers. The tour also introduced us to some machinery and because Citizen is a truly in-house made watch, the company manufactures the machines that make the machines that make the watches! How cool is that?! And Citizen is not only watches; they also produce car parts, led lights and a lot of other non-watch-related things, all with the greatest dedication. Inspiring!

After the tour, we sat down for coffee and I had the chance to ask a few questions.

  • Next year Citizen will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary. How does it feel to be reaching such a milestone?
  • We are proud of these one hundred years, but it is not the end. We don’t see it this way. It is only the beginning of the next 100.

 

  • How do you imagine the next centenary?
  • We focus a lot on the future and at the same time we treasure and cherish out past, the tradition. What we are aiming for is to look ahead and continue on our path the same way. Trying to improve, to be better.

 

  • Will Citizen go mechanical high end?
  • We do not, in fact, have this plan at the moment. The technology is there, but this is not our main focus. We have the Campanola…
  • I know Citizen has made a tourbillon, the Y01.
  • Yes, but it was a one-time thing and we have no plans of pursuing this path in the near future. In fact, there were only two pieces made.

 

  • How do you view the past? Citizen made awesome watches and we love them so much!
  • We are very proud of our past and we have a few watches on display that we treasure. Citizen had the same philosophy for a long time and the past watches, the present ones and future ones will show it too. Citizen had a lot of global and Japan “firsts” and we were always looking to improve, to offer a better product.

 

  • Do you have an archive for vintage? Do you service them, offer parts for restoration?
  • Citizen doesn’t keep an archive and doesn’t offer service and parts for watches unless they are in the warranty period.

 

  • Do you encourage the vintage market for VCW?
  • At the moment we don’t have a plan in this direction. We appreciate collectors such as yourself and are amazed by your watches and your passion. Why do you collect VCW and where do you find them?
  • For me, as a collector, I find a lot of diversity and quality still at a very reasonable price. My father had a Citizen, a blue-dial, that he bought when I was born. It was quartz but still made me love the brand. Finding them is not easy… I’ve spent hours every day for years, looking for the best pieces.
  • Thank you for everything!
  • Thank you Bogdan, we are humbled and honored by the passion collectors invest in our brand.

 

  • Will Citizen recreate some important historical watches? A lot of brands are investing in this direction.
  • Next year is going to be Citizen’s centennial so… (spoiler alert – you heard it here first, on VCW) we are going to present a homage watch. But because Better starts now… we don’t search into the past, we are proud of it but we go forward and in fact we have several directions to follow.
  • Wow! What model will it be? That is such a great surprise. I’m sure the readers will be thrilled.
  • We can’t say right now but we will introduce it to Baselworld next year. You are invited to see it there and hopefully we will meet again. What I can say is that it is in the final stages of development.

 

  • Thank you so much! I will wait for it and will probably meet you again there. Do you have a message you would like to share with the fans of your brand?
  • Next year is an important passing point, (100 years) we look at our history but this is the beginning of the next 100. We try to send this message at Baselworld.
  • So keep an eye on Citizen! Thank you again! Arigato gozaimas!

Back to my visit, a few images that I hope you will enjoy. In the picture above you can see the Parawater and the Pacific buoy, in the picture below you can see some old machinery, some old tools and the cabinet (all made by the Citizen company).

The past was impressive and this is why we love it so much. They were trying from day one to provide the best watches they can do at affordable prices so everyone could get such a luxury item. Divers, chronographs, complicated watches… elegant ones in stainless steel or gold, platinum, titanium, stone, wood… and everything you can think of. Citizen was always pushing for a better watch and a better one. Their motto is Better Starts Now” and they promise and they deliver.

Present day is only a continuation of yesterday, so it makes sense to go a step further. Yes, they are not high end mechanical watches but they made watches that you can wear and enjoy at a daily basis while having fun. They still make reliable watches and innovation is their game and they are winning it. “We are the citizens, the people who see the world as a work in progress. A place to be improved. A place where time is measured not in seconds, but in steps forward. Some will say we are obsessive, but if you love something, why would you not strive to make it better? We don’t live in the glories of our past, our sights are firmly set forward. Are we aiming for perfection? No, for us, to admit perfection is to admit defeat. To stop. And if time never stops, why should we? We’re heading for better.”

Tomorrow will bring us an even better watch and I can’t wait to be there to witness it. In the picture above you can see the Citizen logo machined into a natural hair. Just imagine the level of precision of tomorrow! And based on the amount of innovation they accomplished on these 100 years, I can’t wait to see what the next 100 will bring. All we have to do is eat healthy, exercise, rest, love, collect VCW, be calm and stress free and we will meet here again in one hundred years. 🙂

As a conclusion: awesome people, awesome company and awesome watches! If I was a big Vintage Citizen Watches fan before the visit, now I am twice as much. I was so impressed by the modesty, respect and the warmth of the people at Citizen…. and a company is only as good as the people that work there. They do it with such love, respect and dedication! Love it!

Thank you Citizen, thank you all and I hope you found useful information here. Also, you can join the Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook group HERE.

Arigato gozaimas!

Citizen Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

A watch for a friend


Not so long ago I realized that there are quite a few occasions when friends asked for my help in finding them a watch to wear and enjoy. It is not an easy task at all because a watch, as we all WIS know, is not just a time telling device. A watch creates a special bond with its owner, and tells more than just the exact time. It can say a lot about the man/woman wearing it, about the relationship that the owner has with Time itself. It should match the lifestyle, the goals, the dreams and the way of thinking of the one that has it strapped on the wrist. So, it is not an easy task at all. In order to find the ideal match, when suggestion one, we should know a thing or two about the one buying it. And knowing someone is hard, really hard because a lot of times we don’t know ourself that much.

Today I will talk about a Citizen Alarm Date and how I chose this one.

You can read about it’s technical features HERE, now we will talk about the process of suggesting and choosing a watch.

Top 10 questions to be asked:

  1. Are you a “vintage” guy or a “modern” one?
  2. When and on what occasions do you plan on wearing it?
  3. Do you plan on swimming with it?
  4. Does size matter?How much?
  5. Date or no-date? Is this feature important to you?
  6. Bracelet or strap?
  7. White dial, black dial or colored one?
  8. Manual or automatic?
  9. Any complications?
  10. And the most important: what is your budget? 🙂

Out of this questions others will emerge and we can narrow the possibilities down to just a few and most of the time we will feel what the right piece is.

I chose this Vintage Citizen Alarm date 4H for my friend and I will show him the watch today. I am still unsure if he will like it or not and I am taking a chance here writing and posting this article before he will actually see the watch later today. He will not read the article prior to having the watch in his hands and he is not yet a member on Vintage Citizen Watches group on Facebook.  He is a dentist and a bloody good one in fact. A young dental surgeon and he is just starting his watch journey. Little does he know that this “disease” has no cure and once you start it is going to grow into a lifetime addiction. In fact this is how I will know I made the right decision if in a few years he will be the one showing me watches. Time will tell. So… back to my friend and (probably) his watch. 🙂 He is more of a vintage guy and I guess a manual wind with alarm will make him interact with the watch more. This way he will connect more and see how it feels. The size is suitable (36mm) for a variety of activities and outfits and he can wear it on bracelet or on Tropic in the dental clinic, on leather with a suit or even on a Nato with summer beach attire. Just don’t swim with it. Washing your hands and getting caught in the rain will be no problem because the watch is in fact Parawater. (how many times did I tell you how I love this term?) The bracelet is the original one the watch was made with in January 73. The curved end original Tropic, a brown leather strap and a colored Nato will provide just enough diversity to play whenever he desires a change of look and feel. The crystal is acrylic so I will tell him, in half a year or so, about Polywatch and later on about polishing the stainless steel case if he asks. Of course I will tell him what scratches mean on a watch and how they build character but we will see what the future has planed for him and his WIS adventure.

So, bottom line, the watch is ready for him, not fully winded because I have to show him how to do that, on the original bracelet, ready to be adjusted and strapped on.

I hope you will like it and will serve you well my friend, wake you up in the morning and give you a lot of pleasure wearing it, hearing it, interacting and looking at it.

UPDATE: – he saw the watch, loves it, and then read the article. What can I say, a perfect match. 🙂

If anybody else has a cool story about how someone chose a watch for him / her, or vice-versa,  I would love to hear it as a comment on this article.

Have a great day my friends and don’t be shy, share the watch love with the new ones. 🙂

NOS VCW service – Shine & Alarm Citizen


Most of the times servicing an used watch is not an easy task. You can get a dirty movement with a worn out parts, bended and rusted small pieces that are hard, next to impossible to restore or source. It can be a nightmare because a lot of times the watchmaker needs to evaluate the risks and choose the most safe way even though the result will be far from perfect. But, when we are dealing with NOS (new old stock) watches the situation is way different. In a good way, of course!

Here we have two new watches even though they were made about 50 years ago.

  1.  Citizen Shine – read about it HERE.
  2.  Citizen Alarm disk – read about it HERE.

After stripping down the movements they were cleaned, oiled and reassembled. No new pars needed, no, polish needed, there was no rust, no accidents along the way. This is the best you can get both as a collector and as a watchmaker.

Bottom line, and my advice to you when getting a Vintage Citizen Watch is trying to get one in the best condition you can, it will save a lot of money, time and stress along the way. 😉

Facebook page – 10,000 Contest


Well guys, here it is, the contest I was thinking about for some time now.

This is the June 2017 contest. The goal is to reach to 10,000 members by the end of  May. So, how about this: IF this group will get to 10,000 members before June 1st, I will have a contest where there will be 3 prizes. I promise you that you are not going to be disappointed. So, shall we do it? Share the group, invite and add your friends, do your best and let’s get to 10.000. Each Sunday from now on I will give you more details about the prizes. Trust me, I will be generous about it, the only condition is to get this group to 10,000 by the end of May. So, let’s spread our love for Vintage Citizen Watches! Goal: 10,000 by the end of May.

Click here to get to THE VINTAGE CITIZEN WATCHES FACEBOOK GROUP.

Revealing the prizes timeline:

  • 3rd place – May 7th – So… here it is, one beautiful Vintage Citizen Diamond Flake, as a pocket watch, with original chain too. Beautiful condition, working as it should. The watch will be serviced. And… I will also send an 18mm NOS original Vintage Citizen strap. Estimated value 250 USD. Second place will be twice the value of this one. Just wait to see what the first place is going to be! 🙂
  • 2nd place – is…. a NOS (full set) Titanium Walter Wolf Citizen Chronograph. Box, papers and the quartz pair too! Estimated value over 1,000 USD
  • the contest rules (easy & fun) – just post a picture with a Vintage Citizen Watch  (or more) in the Vintage Citizen Watches facebook group (in the first week of June). Who gets the most likes by the end of June 7th wins. 🙂 Valid entries are from June 1st to 7th.
  • 1st place – again, two watches, the First Automatic Citizen AUTO and The  Skin Diver 200M Autodater Citizen estimated value 2,500 USD
  • the contest will take place between June 1st and June 7th
  • I will declare the winners on June 11th.

TOTAL ESTIMATED VALUE OF PRIZES: over 3,700 USD! 

June 1st. – Unfortunately we didn’t get to 10,000 so… the watches remain with me for future contests.  Keep an eye on the blog and on Facebook group. More surprises to follow. 😉

Citizen Bogdan

Vintage Citizen Watches case finishing


We talk a lot about watches because we love them. We love to strap them on our wrists, to wind them, to play with the chronograph, to turn the bezels. We enjoy to hear them ticking and to look at them. Most of the times we appreciate the details of the dial, the fonts, the lume, the movement… But let’s take a closer look at the cases, at the way these cases are crafted and finished.

Citizen watches are made in-house so the cases are also produced by them. It is not an easy task to make so many models. This means that a lot of  tools and work hours are needed. After all it is a business and profit margins should be there and case designing, producing and finishing are resource and time consuming. Let’s not take this work for granted. Today I will present to you three different watches. I chose one chronograph, one diver and one dress watch. The best of the best (in my opinion) when it comes to (not only) case finishing.

1 – Citizen automatic chronograph 67-9357, the octagonal “bull-head”

This piece has a stainless steel case, shaped like an octagon, and has 21 different surfaces, not counting the bezel. It is a combination of brushed and mirror polished ones. The top part (where the crown and the pushers are) is brushed laterally while the front part has a longitudinal finish. All the rest is polished. So manny angles and the way that the top part flows, from the powerful top part to the organic lower one! Lovely! This is for sure my favorite chronograph case!

2 – Citizen Super Autodater 39J 150m Parawater SADS52801-Y

The diver! The professional one, the first 150m with this design language. Well… this is the only uni body case 150m. This means that the movement comes out only if you remove the bezel and the crystal. Then you can remove the movement. The case-back is part of the case and it does not come off because it is safer this way when diving with it. After all it is the Professional one. All the case is polished, except the top part of the lugs. Now look at those lugs! Art! Just look at the beveled edges and the precision of the polishing. Perfect sharp edges everywhere. What a shape!

3 – Citizen Glorious

I can talk all day about it. After all, it is THE Glorious!  Just look at the pictures and realize that they just don’t do justice to the watch. In reality it is much better. And together with all the other details, the crown, the case back GC gold inlay, the GC stainless steel signed buckle… mesmerizing! So clean, so powerful, so confident without being over the top. All the precise lines and angles, the edges, the compact elegant shape… Yeah, I know that I am stating the obvious so I will better end it here and let you magnify the picture for better understanding the beauty of VCW.

As a conclusion, I will let you have it your own after you click on the picture and magnify it. Also click on the links above to read more about these models, you wont be sorry, but I have to warn you… it is contagious and soon you will find yourself craving for more Vintage Citizen Watches. 🙂 Enjoy!