Vintage divers – every time I hear this combination of words my heart races a little.
I dream about that period in time when a watch was what it was supposed to be, a true tool watch, a real diving instrument, not a desk diver fashionable statement as it is most of the times today. Was it a good thing or a bad one, who am I to judge? But for sure I love a vintage diving tool watch such as this one I am talking today. Lucky me I have a NOS one, birth year and month 52-0110, and this is awesome. I love it!
The 150m Citizen is, in my opinion, one of the best looking vintage diver ever! It has everything a real diver should have: decent water resistance (150m), screw in crown and easy to use, screw in caseback, a diver bezel, clear indexes, easy to read hands contrasting with the matte dial, a sweeping central second hand, thick glass, diver extension clasp and the most important: a reliable movement. Wearing this watch makes me dream about the Ocean depths and underwater adventure. It looks good on original bracelet, on nato, on mesh bracelet, on rubber and even on a rugged leather strap. Beautiful watch!
The case is made of stainless steel, 40mm diameter, 13mm thick, brushed face and polished sides. It has thick lugs and it is rugged and powerful without being overwhelming. The perfect shape and size for a diver. The screw-in crown is easy to operate, and it is unsigned. The bezel is frictional type, bidirectional, easy to use but not so easy to mess with when underwater. Pay attention because most aftermarket bezels don’t have dots at every minutes. The lugs are 20mm apart accommodating most modern straps you throw at it. The mineral crystal looks like it is domed but in fact it is flat. The underside is actually concave bending the light in a mysterious way that makes me day dreaming. It sits at about the same height (or slightly higher) with the black bezel.
The dial is gorgeous. Plain, matte, deep black. There is no reflection. The reflection comes from the crystal and from the indexes and the hands. Not too much writing on the dial except the applied Citizen logo, automatic, 21 jewels, water resistant, 150m. At 3 we have the date window. Something about the date window – there are some variations here – with or without luminescent index at the side, in the same frame with the date, or in a separate frame. The luminescent material is glowing even more than 40 years later and has a superb green-yellow light to it.
The movement is the work horse 8210A, 21 jewels, automatic with hand winding capability. Not much to say about this, it is just a clean, easy to use and service, reliable movement. Nothing fancy, just a up to the job honest movement. It beats at 21.600 bph and has a quickset date. The first time this movement was used in this watch seems to be 1977. You can see the date of manufacture in the serial on the caseback. The first number is the year, the next two digits are for the month.
The bracelet is stainless steel, with “H” shaped links. Very comfortable. The clasp is also stainless steel, signed Citizen. It has a diver extension. The bracelet should be brushed. My NOS one came on the original Tropic strap with Citizen signed SS buckle. So… Tropic is original and bracelet is original too.
Update 2017 September: An orange dial one and a NOS 52-0110 with box and booklet with pictures from the online seller:
Not sure if both boxes are correct? They might be because there are quite a variations of 52-0110 models so I expect it for the boxes to be a little different too. Who knows?
And here it is the booklet of the watch: Thank you Mikko and congrats on yours! Mikko’s booklet was in English and Spanish.
Conclusion: Beautiful, real diving watch, a time capsule that as soon as it is strapped on the wrist ticks away telling a story about sand, sun, and underwater adventures. A watch made for real men, a work horse that enjoys being wet. Give it at least a short shower every once in a while! 😉
Read about the complete 150m diving collection HERE.
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Never realised what high regard my old citizen diver 52-0110 was held in! Bought it in 1978 in Schipol Airport Duty-Free on my way to my first Red Sea dive. Been wearing it every day since and it still keeps good time. Serviced only once. Literally just now replaced the original bezel insert with a repro one from Crystaltimes. Looks great but would prefer an original. Looking for a new watch strap but in the meantime new PU rubber and s/s oyster bracelet on their way. Just bought myself an Invicta as a replacement. Shouldn’t have bothered. That will be a dress watch but the Citizen will carry on as my everyday “tool” watch. Had a lifetime of great adventures all over the world with it. 🙂
Great watch and great story! I would love to see it. Did you keep the original bezel insert? I can only immagine the adventures you had together! Do you have any pics while diving? Using it as a real tool watch?
Yes, I think it’s in my “Old watch box”. I wore the watch every day of my life and wearing it right now. At night I’d wear various makes of dress watch for work (Casino Manager). I’ve got pics of me wearing it in Africa, Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and America! Diving, sailing, waterskiing, skiing and partying….. Sorry it took so long to reply. I only came across your message today, after finding Jeffrey Sabas’ message below in my email. I was in Bulgaria competing in the World Karate Championship. Now I’m home I’m finally going through my inbox. Best wishes.
Shat is such a nice story! I would love to see the pics! By the way, would you be interested in writing a few words with some pics for an article here on the site. (I was also practicing Karate for a little more than 10 years 😉 )
Hi I was wondering if u could tell me anything about my ladies citizen automatic 21 jewels water resistant 150M, 54-0919, I have had this watch for ruffly 37 years it still works but I can’t change the date on it would be happy to send u pics. Look forward to hearing from u. Bev
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Hi there, I am from Indonesia & I have this watch too, it’s a gift from my dad who bought it in 1978 but the watch itself was produced in May 1977 according to the serial number on the caseback.. The bezel insert, crystal and hands are already worn out and I want to replace it with the new parts, do you know any seller on internet where I can purchase these parts? Many thanks in advance for any information.. Cheers..
Hello Jeffrey! That is a nice watch you have there! Here is an article that I think will answer your questions: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2016/04/10/citizen-parts-for-repair-and-restoration/
I tried to leave a message yesterday on the website. Not sure if it was successful. I was unable to sign n on WordPress.
They only appear after I approve them. 😉 Now they are on line.
Thank you so much for your input!
Hi there, my apology for late respond, I didn’t realize you had replied me until I opened the link again… Anyway, many thanks for the info and I’ll check the link first to see how it goes..
Thank you! Have a great day! 🙂
Hi there… Just want to inform that after 5 years of searching at eBay, Amazon, etc, finally I found a pre-owned mint condition dial from an eBay seller in Lebanon, and even it cost me a lot, I am really happy with the result 🙂
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tengo el mio de tablero naranja lo dejo mi abuelo cuando fallecio tiene la misma edad mia es un excelente reloj
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Para mí el mejor reloj !!!!!
Hi there, just to thank you for your website and share my very latest addition, a 52-0110 which landed today and made me discover the amazing world of Citizen vintage divers! Really a great watch, great wrist presence. Alessandro (Rome – Italy)
Congratulation! Post a pic! 😉
Hi friends! I am looking for a citizen diver 52-0110 bezel COMPLETE (not only insert) please can you tell me where can Ii find one? Maybe aftermarket doesn’t matter… I’m from Colombia excuse my English 😂😂😂
I got my dads 1974 600851-Y that has Been used during my parents dive trips in the caribian, norway, South america and in scandinavia during 70’s & 80’s 🙂
It got a service last month and I chose put a Brown leather strap on it, and I love it!
Hi there. very complete article about this model of Citizen divers! Any idea of how much would be its market price? Would love to get one!
It depends a lot on a lot of factors.