Citizen was always innovative and was never afraid of trying new technologies. So, in 1970 they started experimenting black coating their watches. They also coated their watches in a similar dark color, something more like a dark olive green. The reason for coating their watches was the same reason manufacturers are doing it today: it looks really good. They also tried to find ways to protect the case and bracelet material underneath. Most of these coated watches were made of a very light alloy, that is not really scratch resistant so the coating comes as a great addition.
In order for the public to buy them, with great confidence, Citizen promoted this “harder than steel” surface with some samples, where you can get a treated case and a scraping instrument attached to it. You were kindly advice to try it yourself. Scratch it!
The label reds: “New BLAKIE. Try testing hardness by scraping with a coin.”
So, beautiful and resistant.
As a side note (after seeing a lot of used Citizen coated watches I can tell you that only the NOS and mint ones have really passed the test of time and most of the used ones are losing their coating on the lugs or sharp edges).
Here are a few of my NOS coated watches, black and dark green, side by side, and in the smaller picture is a part of Mikko’s collection. Thank you Mikko! Awesome collection, like always your contribution is greatly appreciated!
Thank you Citizen for giving us the chance to experience this material too. I love it!
UPDATE: January 2021
In the comments bellow I received the following info: “The black watches are actually an aluminium alloy with a hard anode oxidized layer caller hardermite. As such it is not a coating, but a surface treatment. The light alloy was marketed as having 1/3 the weight of stainless steel, and the hardermite layer as having twice the surface hardness of stainless steel.
I don’t have any information on the green watches though.
I objected to the term coating, but they in fact do call anodizing a coating. Anyway, I just wanted to share some details about the blackie “coating” since I did the research.” – Thank you so much, it is important to know.
Read about one of the very first Blackies HERE.