How to spot a Fake dial – Citizen Bullhead 67-9356

One of the most replicated (so called “aftermarket”) dials for vintage Citizen watches is the dial for the wellknown “bullhead” chronograph. The original bullhead dial, the one with an octagonal SS case is either black with white sub-dials or white with black sub-dials. If you see one with a different color, for sure, it is not original. Sometimes you can find one that looks just the way it should, but let’s wait a minute. Let’t put on the magnifier and compare the original dial with the fake one.

I have posted two photos. The fake dial is the one where you can see the entire watch, on the left,  all the details are from an original dial, on the right. Click on the pictures1 to magnify them.

In the first picture we can clearly see:

Citizen Bullhead fake aftermarket dial

1 – the “500” is not where is supposed to be on the fake one. It is miss-placed at the 38th marker, not at the 36th, as it should be.

2 – the “TACHYMETER” writing on the aftermarket one is too long (this is why the “500” is misplaced too) and the second “T” on the fake one is after the 1 o’clock hour marker as for the real one the “T” is before the hour marker.

3 – the applied hour markers should have two levels, on the lower level is the luminous dot. On the fake dial the hour marker is flat, without this particularity.

4 – the markings are not correct on the fake one

5 – the sub-dials (minute and hours) should be carefully made (with a nice concentric pattern) and nor shiny

6 – The tachymeter scale numbers are not allowed to touch the other lines printed on the dial. The execution lack finesse at the fake dial.

The second picture: 

Original dial for Citizen Bullhead and fake aftermarket dial

1 – the “Chronograph” and “automatic” are better centered at the original part

2 – the applied “Citizen” logo has better quality on the real dial

3 – there should be more space between the “Chronograph” and “Automatic” on the original

4 – the overall printing is way better at the original Citizen dial and a direct comparison under magnification will make it all crystal clear

For sure there are other mistakes too but these are the obvious ones.

As a conclusion, I suggest that any buyer and Vintage Citizen Collector should take it’s time (and the magnification) and not waste all this money on fake watches. Remember that “Aftermarket” means “Fake”. 

read more about this chronograph watch  here:


The Mystery of The First Ever Citizen Wristwatch

WWII was a time when some sort of a military use was mandatory for most of the items produced at the time. Watches were no exception and Citizen was also involved in making military watches. One of them might be the one presented here. Seiko (and Seikosha) was the most prolific manufactures for military watches but this particular watch might be proof of the possible link between these two Japanese watch giants. WWII citizen wristwatch pocket watchThe case is a in fact a transitional one, having a pocket watch body style inside an outer wrist watch case. It is chromed but both the casebacks are stainless steel. The case is small at 30mm diameter. Both of the parts have acrylic crystals. The outer case has lug holes. I think this could be an indicator that the watch had usual strap and not some type of nato as often seen on military watches (those have fixed lug bars). (read the comment below made by Keigo on nato straps) On the wristwatch part, the caseback reads: “Patent. no. 274740, Dust-Proof, Stainless steel, Back, 1428” Later edit thanks to Stephen: “Citizen’s research institute was called Shokosha.” The dial is simple with subsidiary seconds dial, at 6 o’clock. The arabic hour numerals are applied and so are the minutes markers on the outside. The overall design of the dial is carefully planned, with concentric parts and overlapping disks. The hands are blue, and they seem to be heated blue rather than painted. Citizen patent no 274740 dust-proof  1428 The movement is another mystery, to me at least. It looks like a Seiko calibre but is signed Citizen. So, is it Citizen or Seiko?  In the end both of them got their inspiration from Swiss made movements. Later edit, thanks to Stephen: “The movement is the first version of the Citizen F-type. This was their first wristwatch, launched in 1931. It was based on a Swiss design and was used in several re-designed forms right through to the 1950s”. The strap is clearly a replacement. I don’t know how the original might have looked like, but I doubt the fact that it was a nato style. Yet again, it might have been. seiko citizen antique military watch   Here is one more piece of information I came across in my searches! Due to my friend Dobashi, now I have this awesome picture inside the firs Citizen factory where the worker coat has the same unusual logo seen in a circle on the movement. It is “CZ”, the Citizen logo. I have never seen this logo before and neither any of my Citizen collectors friends. Maybe this makes it one of the earlier watches EVER made by Citizen!? Year of production – 1931? (then, it’s not a military one) Citizen manufacture first watch All things considered, I look at this watch and I can only imagine Japan before and during WWII and this watch doing it’s job, strapped on the wrist of it’s proud owner. Go to to the video of the movement here: Read more about Citizen history here:

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919

Every man needs a real diver watch, and every woman (either a girlfriend or a wife of a true watch enthusiast) is going to get one eventually. 🙂 

This is the vintage Citizen ladies diver. This is the ultimate one, the real one.

vintage ladies Citizen diverThis model has all the specifications that define a diver. My better half says it is even better than the men model of the same time frame, witch is the 52-0110 presented in the picture. I tend to agree with her (well, I have no choice but to agree with her 🙂 ). Read about my watch here: Mine was made in 1978 and hers in 1980.

The case is small,  made in polished stainless steel but with a brushed face that doesn’t reflect light the same way as a polished surface would. This is mandatory for a diver so the time can be easily read without light interference. Compared to the men model, this one has some other elements that gives it a nice diving touch: crown guards, lug holes (for easily changing the strap) and unidirectional rotating bezel (60 clicks). By contrast, the big brother has only a friction type bidirectional bezel, no crown guards and no lug holes.  The water resistance is similar (150m) and both of them have a large screw-in crown, an easy grip bezel with a beautiful aluminum insert and a thick flat mineral crystal. The underside of the crystal is concave, magnifying the hands and the dial.

The dial and the hands are very similar. Both the ladies watch and the men watch have a black dial with applied luminous hour markers. The hands are similar (Mercedes hours hand, spade minutes hand and a seconds hand with a luminous dot close to the tip). The small brother has a day and date window. Both of them are marked in the same way: Citizen, automatic, 21 jewels, water resistant, 150m. My girlfriend’s watch has a raised ring part of the dial with seconds markers. That gives a great depth feeling to the entire watch face.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919The movement is small too, suited for the small case. It is an automatic, 21 jewels movement. Citizen named it calibre 6601, and can be found in a variety of ladies watches. Not much to say about it except the fact that it displays both the day and the date, can be hand wound and a particularity is the fact the date changes by pulling repeatedly the crown.

The strap is the original (pretty impressive for a 30 years old watch), mint condition rubber, with a stainless steel buckle. It is very comfortable, very easy to find the perfect adjustment hole. The width at the lugs end is 14 mm, but it integrates really well with the flowing case design. I think it would look good on nato (still looking for one so small) and i have already ordered a mesh stainless steel bracelet for it.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919 citizen 150m

As a conclusion, all I can say that my diving watch found it’s better half and so did I. 🙂

Read more about vintage Citizen divers here:

Citizen Seven Star Deluxe “Monthly” model ACSS-52704-Y

This is a nice full calendar Citizen, powered by a simple movement. Even though it looks like the month display is a complex feature, it is only a simple and clever internal bezel.  Due to this particularity (month display) it was named “Monthly” but another similar model is called “Moon – Dater”.  The reason for a this (one model with two names) is the fact that the “Moon -Dater” might have been designated for export.

citizen seven star deluxe monthly

The case is, as most of the times, made is stainless steel, with mirror polished flat sides and deep sunburst frontal surface. It has a cushion style shape with integrated lugs. The bezel holding the flat mineral crystal is polished and so is the stainless steel caseback. My watch is the black face one, while the credit for the pictures of the white one goes to an internet seller. Both of them are in perfect condition and the different surfaces can be easily admired mostly because of it’s generous proportions, being rather large. It has two crowns, one at 3 o’clock connected to the mechanism and one at 2 o’clock for easily setting the month. It is marked “Para water” (it is made in 1969, prior to the unfortunate term change in 1973 to international “water resistant”)

The dial is dark deep black, without reflections. The white one is as in the pictures. I didn’t have the chance to hold it and take a closer look. The hour markers are applied and polished. The “7” logo and the “Citizen” logo are applied in a similar manner. In the same way the hands and the day-date window frame are also polished. There is a second part of the dial, a raised internal minute disk that features the month window. All the disks (day, date , month) are white with black lettering (sundays are red). For the white dialed one the day is positioned at 9. There is also a version with a pink month disk (the Moon Dater?) I like the crosshair detail and the white lettering resembling white chalk writing on a blackboard on the black one.

citizen monthly seven star acss52704-y

The movement is the automatic Citizen calibre 5270, with 21 jewels beating at 18,000 beat per hour, with quickset date.  Some models have a 23 jewels movement. It is a reliable movement used in a variety of models displaying day and date. It offers hand winding possibility too. The date changes in the second position of the winding crown (first position for winding, third for time setting) but the day changes only by passing midnight with the hands. The operating crown for the movement is the one at 3. Even though it seams that the month display is operated by the movement, it does not. In fact it is an internal bezel that should be adjusted by the crown at 2 o’clock.

The bracelet for the black one (nor sure if it is the proper one for the model)  is tapering and closing with a signed clasp. The interesting part of the signature is the fact that is longitudinally placed along the clasp. Not too much to say about it, only a brushed bracelet that in my opinion suits the watch very well.The white one is on a mesh bracelet (not sure if original for the model).

All things considered, this is a simple, interesting watch, with a clever way of displaying the month. So, here we have a full calendar vintage Citizen.

Read about the older version, more complex, full calendar Citizen watch HERE

VIDEO – Citizen Recordmaster Chronograph 63-0110

The only hand winding vintage Citizen movement is the calibre 5702. This movement is found in the Recordmaster, the watch presented in the video. Wonderful piece, with fly back mechanism.

Read the full article about this particular watch here:

Read more about vintage Citizen (manual and automatic) chronographs here:

Enjoy! 🙂

Citizen compressor diver – Seven Star 4-520017Y

Let me introduce to you a beautiful, NOS, vintage compressor style diver that has just the right amount of pure class.

A compressor case is defined by the fact that the rotating bezel is inside the case, under the crystal and it is turned by one of the crowns, rather than directly by hand. Gary, a reader, provided a piece of information about Compressor cases that I would love to share with you:

“These are beautful watches and I enjoyed reading about them but I must correct your assumption that they are compressor watches. Its a common misconception that if a watch has two crowns and an internal bezel, it must be a supercompressor but infact Compressor and Super Compressor watches are defines by the company which made the cases and held a patent for their design. These cases were made by the specialist manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. of Switzerland. No Japanese manufacturer used EPSA Compressor cases. Information about Compressor cases is not hard to find. The link below shows the three types of Compressor case, including the Super Compressor from which your Citizen watches are inspired. True Super Compressors are typically identified by a crossed hatched design on the crowns, a diver helmet logo on the case back or inside the case back, but always, they have the brevet (patent) number on or inside the case back.”

NOS means New Old Stock – a watch that was not worn and it is in excelent condition after all this time (45 years old).

citizen compressor diver seven star parawater

Just like the other compressor diver I have presented here :, this one is also made in 1969. By contrast, this one has a more classy, elegant appearance.

The case is large, made in polished stainless steel, with a brushed frontal surface. Looking at it from the side, the case seams slender, thick in the middle, and arching down all the way to the end of the integrated lugs. The mineral crystal is slightly domed in order to be better integrated in the overall design. The crystal is secured by a thin, polished, elegant bezel. The sides and the frontal surface are well delimitated by a carefully made polished chamfer. The twin crowns are not signed. One of then, the upper one, turns the bidirectional internal bezel and the other one is connected to the movement. The case-back displays the usual information – material, date of manufacture, model, movement, and parawater. Read about parawater here:

The dial is dark-deep black,  very simple but not simplistic at all. Under magnification one can see that a lot of attention was placed into details. The writing is white, also on the black date and the black day wheels. The date is on 3 o clock inside a polished frame and the day is at 9 inside an oval, carefully made window. The only tint of color is the lettering for Sunday.  The inner rotating bezel is also black with white writing. The hour markers are applied with luminous material in the center. The hands are also polished, faceted with luminous material as well.

 Citizen diver Seven Star 4-520017Y

The movement is the usual automatic Citizen calibre 5270, with 21 jewels. The calibre number is engraved, as usual, under the balance wheel.  It is winded by a black rotor that compliments the dial on the other side in a fortunate manner.  It is a common movement used in a variety of models, not only divers making it rather easy to repair with available parts. It is reliable and offers hand winding possibility. The date changes in the second position of the winding crown (first position for winding, third for time setting) but the day changes only by passing midnight with the hands. The corespondent crown for the movement is the one at 4 o ‘clock.

The bracelet is nothing less than a piece of art. I think this is my favorite Citizen design. It is made in solid steel, three thin polished connectors and  brushed large links. It doesn’t get better than this! It has a pleasant tactile feel and a nice weight. One more thing that can not be described into words is the sound of the links touching each other… pure music. The clasp is the usual type, signed Citizen.

Citizen compressor diver - Seven Star 4-520017Y

Al things considered, this is the best diver for a gentleman, ready to be worn at the beach or with a suit during a corporate meeting. Decent water resistance (nor really made for submerging, but good enough for daily jobs) and understated elegance placed together for one of the best Vintage Citizen All-rounder.

Read more about Citizen diving watches here: