Citizen center second

Sometimes less is more and this is true when talking about this watch, the first Citizen equipped with a central sweeping hand and not the usual (at that time) eccentric seconds. Starting with this model most of the following watches were like this, without small seconds. So, it was an important milestone in watchmaking.

citizen center secondThe “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. During this time they became water protected and starting from 1956 they had the Citizen Parashock system installed.

The first watch presented here is ParaShock and Water Protected and is made in about 1961. The case back is SS and screws in even though most of them had snap on case backs.  I love the simplicity of the pale white dial with gold accents! The Citizen “C” logo at 12, the hour markers and the hands are all golden while all the rest of the marking are printed in black.

Here are a few pictures from catalogues showing different calibres:

citizen center second

The Center Second had a lot of variations so you can find interesting dial designs, case shapes, hands… etc..  like this beautiful NOS Citizen Junior Center Seconds. (pictures belong to the online seller)

And here it is in a pocket watch form, with original chain attached: citizen pocket watch center secondBottom line, it is an important watch in the Citizen history and a great elegant timepiece itself. Every collector should have one.

Read about more simple Citizen watches HERE.


Citizen automatic skeleton

The Citizen world is a diverse, marvelous place, with divers, chronographs, Leopards, Jet movements, and Chrono Masters and a lot of interesting models. How can anyone not have a skeleton? Well… here it is, one of the interesting ’70s Citizen watches.

citizen automatic skeleton

A large round black case and a skeleton movement, display back and a lot of black and gold accents. It is all about the looks! This watches were first produced in 1971, this particular one being from 1973. The design of the case is the usual one for the period and so is the fact that the case is black. In fact Citizen made a relatively large amount of black cases in the early ’70s. They also designed a lot of beautiful dials and even made watches without one, just like this one. 🙂 Not having a dial doesn’t mean it is an ugly watch but a very interesting one to look at. You can see the movement, the way the crown connects and operates the movement through the stem and flipping the watch over the surprise is that there is a display back so the rotor is in plain sight. The balance wheel is visible through both sides. The entire movement was modified so that all these component can be observed and some parts were blackened and others were given a golden look. I find this color scheme very fortunate.

Some people may like it, others will stick with the more conservative look, with watches having a dial, but no one could argue the fact that this is an interesting watch to wear and look at. Some models were made in stainless steel cases, gold plated or, like this one, black plated ones. At first the Citizen name was stamped on the movement (cal 7290) and later on moved at 6 o clock, on the minute ring (8060). Some of them came with luminous material on the hands, others without. The second hand might be simple, as mine, or might have a luminous dot at the tip. And sometimes it also can be painted red.

The early type movement used was Citizen cal 7290, like mine, with hacking seconds, 21,600 bph. The second movement was the 8060 calibre, 28,800 bph.

Update Dec 2015: Here is my stainless steel one:

citizen skeleton vintage automatic steel

Bottom line, an interesting watch, with a lot of models to chose the favorite from.

Read more about the Leopard watch with a display back HERE.

Citizen Alarm 4H (4 hands) 17 Jewels Parashock

If we talk about beautiful dials, this watch should not be overlooked. And on top of all that beauty, it is the loudest alarm I’ve heard. 🙂

Here it is: the 1963 Citizen Alarm 4H (four hands) 17 jewels Parashock!

Citizen alarm 4H parashock 17 jewels

As usual, the watch is made in a polished stainless steel case, but as a novelty, it has not one but two case backs. The reason for this is that the inner one that snaps into a precise place, has a pin that is the passive part of the alarm. The hammer part of the movement hits the pin that is attached to this case back and produces the loud, powerful sound. Above this there is an outer one that has 6 round holes to allow the sound to exit more easily. This piece sits on the back of the watch without touching the inner case back so that that one can vibrate without the pressure of the wrist. Imagine a bell; if you touch it when it is ringing it wont vibrate and will stop. Holding it by the handle, all is going to be just fine. It it the same with this watch.

The movement is the Citizen calibre hand winding 9812 (no date), 17 Jewels working at the usual rate of 18000 bph. The crowns are one for setting time and winding the main spring and the one for operating the alarm. The crown at 2 o’clock in first position is winding the alarm and the alarm is deactivated. If you pull it in the second position you can set the alarm (counterclockwise) and the alarm is activated. Pressing it while the alarm is ringing will stop it. The crown at 4 will wind the watch and pulling it out will set the time. The alarm will ring for about 8-9 seconds. The movement has a power reserve of about 40 hours and it runs great if winding once a day. It is marked Parashock.

Finally, lets talk about the way it looks! The 4 hands are polished and so are the hour markers. The dial is made out of two parts, a silver central one with a sunburst effect and an outer disk that sits higher that the central part. This outer disk has a central circular polished groove. On top of this groove are the hour markers, shaped as tiny bridges.

UPDATE 2018 March: Here it is a NOS,  box, tags and booklet gold plated version: 

Bottom line, it is a  beautiful, loud, understated Citizen marvel, a joy to look at and a pleasure to listen to, ticking and ringing.

See the video and listen to this watch HERE! Enjoy!

Citizen Jet Para Water Professional

I was and I still am intrigued by the fact that the lume on Citizen watches doesn’t seem to age like the one on Omega or Rolex or other collectable brands. In fact I lusted for an aged, yellow-brown lume for some time now, on a vintage Citizen and was not able to find a good one. They are either perfect green like new, or, on not well preserved pieces, dirty. It made no sense to me. How can I get a nice patina dial? Finally my dream came true with this awesome timepiece!

The Citizen Jet Para Water Professional

Inside the case back the model no reads: JTI30705I

citizen jet parawater professional

This watch was made in 1962 soon after the introduction of the first water resistant Japanese watch: the Parawater. It also has the Professional label, a rare clasp, a Jet movement and an awesome case back engraving. This was an age when watches had a practical use and not the jewelry that they (sometimes) are today.

The case is made entirely in SS, it is about 37mm and has a simple dial, three hands and no date. The lug hols make changing the original SS bracelet changes so easy! In fact this is a watch that looks good no matter what strap you throw at it: nato, mesh, leather, even rubber. The winding crown is also SS and it is unsigned. At first sight it is very similar with the Parawater I told you about, but this one is not made for water use, but for aviation?. An indication of the link to the aviation is the Jet airplane engraving on the back and the Professional label on the dial. Also a Jet logo is printed on the dial too (Jet movement). In fact the dial has 12, 3, 6 and 9 printed, and the markings: “Citizen Jet, Para Water, Professional”. The hour markers are trapezoidal,  raised and polished. They are filled with (now) the beautifully aged luminous material and so are the matching dauphine hands. All things considered it is a beautiful, simple, balanced face that I like a lot! I have seen very few examples of this model and some of them have an arrow shaped hour hand and a thicker minute one with a flat tip.

The movement is the usual Jet movement with a circular swinging rotor. It runs at 18,000bph as all of them do. This one is the first one made, launched a few months earlier, in October 1961. My watch in made (3-4 months later) in March 1962. It is an automatic (hand winding also possible) with non hacking sweeping central seconds hand. It is called Citizen calibre 3010, Jet movement, and was the first movement that Citizen produced in relatively high numbers. The interesting fact about the rotor is that in earlier types it is marked “Automatic” rather than the usual “Autodater”. The date was added a year later, and so did the name “Autodater”.

And to add to the story… the clasp is marked: “Easy-O-Matic, Citizen Band, Pat.Pend. Stainless Steel” making it even more interesting if that was even possible. 🙂

Citizen auto Dater UNI – ADUS31201-T

It may not be a real diver but what a gorgeous watch it is! It was made in 1964, just 5 years after the introduction of the first Japanese water resistant watch, the Parawater, and about one year prior to the first real diving watch made by Citizen.

Let me introduce to you the Citizen auto Dater UNI reference ADUS31201-T

citizen autodater uni

The main feature of the watch is the fact that it is a twin crown, similar in appearance with a compressor. The upper crown, located at 2 o’clock, operates the inner bidirectional rotating bezel. By contrast, the lower crown located at 4 o’clock winds the movement and sets the time. The case is made entirely in polished stainless steel and measures about 38mm. The Tropic strap is 18mm at the lugs end and is secured in place by pins that can be easily removed due to the holes in the lugs (a feature that I like a lot in vintage watches). Hopefully one day I will find one on original bracelet. Will see.

The domed acrylic crystal protects the beautiful face. The dial is silver, having a sunburst effect. The doubled hour markers are polished and applied. The black elegant lettering are printed and so is the “40M” blue para water feature. The dauphine hands are polished and the hour and minute one have a central luminous part. The inner black rotating bezel has white printing and luminous material markers. On the dial itself the hours are marked with luminous dots too; all except the one at 3 where the date is. The date window has no frame but instead a beveled edge. The dates are printed in black on a white date wheel. I just love the way it looks! It is one of those beautiful watches, elegant and easy to wear.

citizen uni cal 2400 auto dater

The snap in case back is engraved “Para water,  Star, SS, Citizen auto Dater, UNI, ADUS31201-T” and the serial no. Strangely Citizen decided to mark them with the production date and so did they do it on older ones but not on their first divers. 😦 I wish I could say for sure when the first real diver made by Citizen was manufactured. Under the case back we have the automatic (hand winding also possible) Citizen 19 jewels movement, cal 2400. In the early till mid 1960’s Citizen used its own circular geared rotor (Jet rotor movements) in its automatic watches.  In 1963 they began replacing the Jet rotor with the more common oscillating weight, which, some say it was cheaper to manufacture and more easily to service than the Jet rotor. The first model to use the swinging weight was known as the “Uniauto” (cal 1200) and came in several versions, all with a special logo on the dial and in 17 or 19 jeweled versions. This watch, presented here, has the logo on the inner bezel at 12. It works at 18,000bph. The date changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight. The seconds hand do not hack.

Still I have to find out why is it called “UNI”?

UPDATE 2019 JUNE (5 years later)

I sold my UNI, the one in the picture above, a while ago and since then I was looking for another one, and as you already know me, I am always trying to get the best condition, NOS and mint if possible. Well… with UNI this was not an easy search. It took me a few good years, but I finally nailed it yesterday with Eric’s help! (Happy birthday my friend!) Here it is, my new UNI: (the picture credit goes to the seller, I am still waiting for my beautiful watch to get in my hands, really soon I hope) As you can see it is NOS, on a bracelet and comes with the original box! I am really happy about it!

How I wish Citizen will go vintage style again! Who knows, maybe one day…

And one more pic:

UPDATE 2021 Oct:

I was following an auction of a rare variant, black dial one, and it sold at a high price. It was to be expected because it is really rare and rare usually means money. I don’t like it as much as the variant I have and it was not NOS so I didn’t bid. But… what an awesome piece!

citizen uni black dial

Meanwhile, read more about a different diver compressor style vintage Citizen here.

Citizen Super Ace 23 Jewels 40m

Well, apart from what is written on the dial there is not much info I have about this watch. It is part of the larger Ace family but, of course, it is Super. 🙂 The Super Ace. I date this one around 1966 – 1968 though I have no definitive answer regarding the manufacture date.

citizen super ace

First of all I notice the striking aspect of the watch, very modern, and gorgeous on the wist at 38mm diameter. Perfect size, no date, very balanced dial. The entire stainless steel case is polished. The mineral crystal is slightly domed and perfect, with very low unwanted reflections. The dial is a work of art: clean, harmonious, with the applied eagle medallion at 12 and well designed hour markers. The hands are a masterpiece. They have a beautiful shape, made in stainless steel, and are faceted, brushed (on the top part) and beveled, with polished sides and angles. The seconds hand is entirely polished. They remind me of the way Seiko finishes their Grand Seiko, and that is something for such an old watch! The finish of the dial has longitudinal brushed appearance and looks varnished. The elegant printing on the dial is black and it has no luminous material, nor do the hands. This must be one of the best faces Citizen has made!

citizen super ace

The caseback is engraved: SACS51301-D, Water Proof, Stainless Steel, and in the middle the profile of a man wearing a helmet (it he a diver, an astronaut or a medieval cavaler… I don’t know and I still have to find out). Either way, this is a rare out of the ordinary caseback. The winding crown is made in stainless steel too and marked CTZ.

The movement is gold plated, manual winding, non hacking seconds, specially adjusted one. It has 23 jewels and is marked Citizen Super Ace. It is the Citizen calibre  SACS 9240? and beats at 18,000bph.

Here it how the papers look like:


Questions to be answered:

  1. when was it made?
  2. what more info are available on the Eagle logo on the dial?
  3. what is the engraving on the back?

All things considered I have to declare this, not the best but definitely one of the best looking vintage Citizen watches. Also wearing it is a joy.

Read more about the black dialed Citizen 21J Ace HERE.