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

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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!

Citizen bullhead 67-9356 restoration & service


This was not an easy project!

The story started with receiving the watch with the main complain being the fact that the crown fell off and the quick date change was not working. I received the watch and upon examination realized that the crown was not original and it didn’t fit the case space the way it should. Also the movement needed cleaning and a lot of repair. So… the watch got to the watchmaker and got completely stripped out.

So far the next problems were found – (and the solutions):

  • incorrect, over polished case – (re-polished to original specifications, difficult to restore the shape of the case and not to erase the caseback engraving, where only minor polishing was done)
  • wrong size of the aftermarket crown – (resetting and adjusting, no original part available)
  • bad rubber seal of the case back – (changed)
  • bended start/stop pusher – (kept like this due to high risk of breakage)
  • broken lever of the start/stop mechanism – (changed with original part from donor movement)
  • dirty movement – (fully stripped, cleaned, lubricated and regulated to +3 s/d)
  • badly bended minute chrono needle tube – (high risk of breakage, kept like this, no spot on resseting)
  • aged dial – (kept like this due to its originality)

We are happy with the final result. Well… not a new watch but all the complains were solved the best they could. Like most of the times, when restoring such an old used watch, it is very difficult to find the best way to do it. You have to find the right balance, the “just enough”. Not to over do it. Don’t repaint the dial, don’t over polish the case, don’t change original parts with after market ones, don’t take useless risks and damage more and more trying to find perfection. You will never get perfection, aim for it but don’t destroy the watch looking for it.

As Buddha said: “If you tighten the string too much, it will snap, and if you leave it too slack, it won’t play. Find the middle way!” 🙂

One more white dial 67-9356 for service

The watch was not working, stuck chronograph buton, strange noises inside, badly polished case (should have been brushed).

This is what the owner told me: “My watchmaker was unable to repair it. It runs only when you leave the watch on a table but it regularly stops running when you wear it; it seems that it gets stuck. Also since my watchmaker touched it, it seems that the left button is stuck too. For me it would be great if you can have a look at it and repair it so I can wear it again. In my opinion this is one of the best looking Bullheads ever made!”

So… after the work was completed the watch is now running great, the buttons are smooth and the time, chrono, date and day are functioning as they should. Fly back,manual and auto winding. All ok. The movement is clean and the watch is ready to wear. There were a few problems with the watch: the case back was forced and pressed on the movement because there was no rubber seal and another part was missing (we were able to source the original ones), the ball bearing of the rotor was broken but we fixed it. The chono button was stuck but when servicing we un-bended the malfunctioning part so all ok 🙂 Bottom line, this is indeed one of the best looking Vintage Citizen Chronographs, for sure. The case was not polished (the owner asked for this because he likes it polished).

read more about this model HERE

Orange – Yellow vintage Citizen models


For a while now I am trying to figure out the answer to one question that was on my mind. I noticed that some Vintage Citizen Watches have orange accents on their dials and I also found the same model but instead of the aforementioned orange they had yellow. Why is that? Are they different after all or a mistake, or repainted, or…?

Well… here it is the answer:

dandy-seven-citizen

The watch that gave me the chance to answer the riddle is the super rare Dandy Seven diver. I am lucky enough to have a NOS (that I will never sell) one. (read about this awesome model HERE) A few days ago I got another one, also NOS, with the sticker on the back and in excellent condition. BUT… it had a yellow ring on the dial, not the orange. How come? Both are NOS and they have not been tempered with in any way in all the 50 years that passed since they were made. So… I had to follow my hunch. I opened the yellow one and hoped I will see some parts of the yellow hidden under the case but it was not like this. All the colored part of the dial is visible through the acrylic crystal. I took my magnification and there it was, the answer I was looking for and hoped for – The orange dot! 🙂 Hidden on the dial plate side, right where the date window is, sat a tiny dot of paint. And it was not yellow, it was orange!

So… where does this discovery take us? It is easy to understand that at a certain moment in time, when the watch was made, the present day yellow was in fact orange to start with. So, without a shadow of doubt, due to UV light, the orange turned into yellow. It is in fact the same model. The orange one sat in the dark, the yellow one sat in the light. And I am pretty confident that this is true to all the other orange – yellow Vintage Citizen Watches models out there.

Read more about patina in Vintage Citizen Watches HERE.

Citizen Jet (Super Jet) Auto Dater


Citizen is famous for a lot of innovations and really cool watches and we can not talk about Vintage Citizen Watches without mentioning the Jet movements. What is a Jet calibre? Well… it is an in house Citizen made one, an automatic with a ring rotor unlike the common oscillating central mounted one that everybody is familiar with. Most of the people think that it is the first automatic calibre developed by our loved manufacture but it is not quite like this. In fact the first one was the Auto. But that one was soon dropped and in 1961 The Jet came to life, and what a fabulous one it was; short lived (1961 – 1967) but so beautiful. It came in a simple three hands watches, with or without a date and even a final day – date version.

Today I will introduce to you the (simple, dress style, non diver) date version, the easiest to find and enjoy the wonderful movement.

auto-dater-parawater-citizen-jet

As you can see it came with a variety of dial colors and configurations. The crystal is acrylic and usually they are on a leather strap. Most of them are made of stainless steel, a lot are gold plated and a only few are solid gold. All of them have a Jet movement and display the time (with a central non hacking second hand) and the date. The date is non quick set but changes by moving the hour hand over midnight and back to 21 and again at midnight. Some movements had a special feature called Easy Change that allows a fast set mechanism to advance the date. Just pull the crown in and release it and the date changes one time, do it again and it changes again. Just as easy as it sounds. They run at 18,000 bph and have a power reserve of about 45h. From what I know they all have hand winding too. (only some of the diver style earlier versions I know about might come without hand winding). You can read more about the 21 J calibre HERE. It also came with 23J and the top of the range 39 J Super Jet.

citizen-super-jet-autodater

What else? Well… I guess it is a feeling that has to be experienced, owning such a marvel, winding it, listening to it, watching it… So, take your chance, you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to read more about my favorite Jet, a diver, you can find it HERE.

As Simple as That


As Simple as That

by Andrei Cherascu

 

From November 2005 until August of last year, I wore only one single watch. I wore it every day, with every outfit, for every occasion.

It’s a beautiful, solid piece, whose dark-gray titanium case and bracelet still look brand new after eleven years. Its design – round shape, a cool-looking black Arabic dial and white lume hands – seems ready to stand the test of time. The watch is made by a German company called Regent but its exhibition case back displays, of all things, a Citizen Miyota movement.

It was a gift from my father.

Even as a child, I’d loved watches. I used to jump at any opportunity to stare at them in magazines and shop windows. Far too young to appreciate their intricate mechanisms and fascinating complications, I was drawn simply to their incontestable beauty. There is and always has been something intrinsically elegant about wearing a wristwatch, something that transcends time and trend and even personal taste. Yet, for eleven years, I wore only the watch from my dad. For some reason, I couldn’t conceive the notion of owning or wearing more than one wristwatch, as if that very concept marked the limit of my imagination. When I got the Regent, I put it on and that was that.

I always used to say that I want to be buried wearing that watch. Of course, I was joking. First of all, I’m a science fiction author – I don’t want to be buried, I want to be cloned. Secondly, I would never do that to a watch. A watch is a dynamic entity par excellence, its existence justified exclusively by its relationship with the wearer. There’s a particular quality about this relationship that stands at the center of my fascination with timepieces, but I’ll get to that shortly.

As you can probably infer from the picture that accompanies the article, I managed to overcome my one-watch obsession and I credit our very own Bogdan with triggering the change.

One evening, over a glass of wine and a lengthy conversation about watches (the first of what turned out to be many) I mentioned my dedication to the Regent and also my related funerary plans. “You can still be buried with that one and also wear others while you’re still alive,” Bogdan said with that look of profound sorrow enthusiasts usually display when someone mentions they don’t like wearing watches – a look I’ve perfected myself over the last few months. What started as a joke left me with a very serious issue to consider.

The following days, I started entertaining the notion of actually wearing more than one watch. There was just a small step from that one nascent thought to becoming an amateur collector. My wife, Ioana, suggested we get each other watches for our twelfth anniversary as a couple, to help ease my transition to multi-watch wearer and maybe help reduce some of that over-attachment to the Regent. Surely, she reasoned, if the watch was a gift from her (with an added special occasion to boot) I would love it just as much as the one from my dad. Boy, did I ever!

Not only did I become completely enamored with the brand-new Atlantic Super de Lux I stumbled upon after an evening’s worth of watch-hunting, I also developed a passion for the Atlantic brand. Its focus on classy, old-school dress watches really resonated with me (especially after Ioana pointed out they’re exactly the sort of watches my main character would wear) and sparked my interest in the Swiss company’s almost cult-like status on the Eastern European markets. I started reading about Atlantic, spending hours researching its history and collections before branching out into the general history of wristwatches, watchmaking, brands and Basel and Patek and haute horlogerie.

Just a few weeks after purchasing my new watch and getting accustomed to wearing something other than my beloved Regent, I decided that I wanted to add another timepiece to what I was determined to grow into a collection.

From the start, I knew it had to be a vintage Citizen – one of Bogdan’s watches. It was just the natural progression of the narrative. Not only was he responsible with my newly-awakened interest, I’d also followed his website and Facebook group, read the articles and grew quite fond of this iconic brand and its rich history. To keep with the theme of story and symbolism, Ioana decided it would be my birthday present.

When I mentioned my intention of purchasing a vintage Citizen, Bogdan asked me a few questions, sounding suspiciously like a matchmaker. I told him about my preference for classic dress watches, that I wanted one with manual-winding and most importantly, that I was looking for one with a story. Later that evening, I found a Facebook message with a picture of three beautiful samples; among them, the absolutely gorgeous Parawater.

parawater-citizen-deluxe-andrei-cherascu

Being more familiar with Citizen’s well-known divers, I was completely taken aback by the classic elegance of the Parawater – a testament to Bogdan’s matchmaking talent. He agreed that it’s “the one” and later told me he hadn’t even intended on selling it, but he’d looked through his keeper box and this one had just screamed that it wanted to end up with me. He finally decided to part with it, with the peace of mind that he was selling it to a friend.

I’m a ceremonious person, it’s just my nature, so I couldn’t help but organize an entire Citizen soiree, complete with a solemn “rite of transfer” that consisted mainly of Bogdan and myself staring at the Parawater and agreeing on how cool it is. I’m not going to go into technical details here; there are other articles on the website discussing it far more competently than I could. I’m just here to tell a story.

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful and elegant it looked. At just 36mm, this is a delicate, tasteful piece the likes of which are hard to come by nowadays, with most men’s watches (even in the dress category) seemingly designed for size rather than symmetry. I didn’t even realize this until I started wearing it and noticing that other watches felt strangely oversized. Even the (original) bracelet is slim and stylish, going extremely well with everything from leather jackets to suits and trench coats, making the Parawater – born of the Deluxe line – a surprisingly versatile instrument.

This feeling of versatility is enhanced by the gorgeous black Stick dial. Its elaborate trapezoid marks crowned with small dots ensure that it produces a veritable spectacle of contrast and color under various lighting situations. There’s some wear-and-tear visible on the hands, giving it a sort of timeworn wisdom whose effect I greatly enjoy. It helps substantiate the fact that this watch is over half a century old, a timepiece in the strongest sense of the word.

Even now, after the novelty wore off, I’m still fascinated by its implicit history, the complex string of stories and events that ended with it on my wrist. To quote Bogdan: “It’s almost like everything this watch has been through over the past fifty-six years happened in such a way as to make it end up with you now. If someone had left it home on the table in 1973, or if the watchmaker had returned it early in, let’s say, 1991, everything could have been different.”

In the meantime, I’ve learned to date it and discovered that this particular watch (or at least its case back) was manufactured in April of 1960, the exact year and month that my father was born. As a storyteller, patterns and coincidences always make me happy.

When I put it on, I was surprised by how comfortable it felt. Even after prolonged wearing its weight never becomes burdensome or unpleasant, remaining merely a subtle reminder of its presence. The sensation of wearing it feels so natural it’s almost organic, as if the watch had grown right out of my wrist. Because of that, it quickly became my go-to watch, the one I wear the most often, which significantly accelerated the bonding process. Now, I can’t picture being away from it for too long and the thought of having to send it in for maintenance is distressing.

An added factor in the bonding process was the nightly winding ritual. As I previously mentioned, I’m a very ritual-oriented person and the sensation of manually winding a watch, being directly responsible for its proverbial heartbeat, is both fascinating and relaxing to me. I often have trouble sleeping and the act of listening to the spellbinding mechanical litany of its faint tick helps my brain go into a restful state. This is my first manual winding mechanism and the sensation is exactly as I’d imagined.

This brings me back to what I’ve written at the beginning of the article, about that particular quality about watches that I find so fascinating. I often think about this while I wind the Parawater. It’s that simple, straightforward honesty of mechanical and even quartz watches.

In an age where everything around you is multifunctional, has an operating system, high-end graphics and a plethora of applications that try to sell you other applications, a nice, old-fashioned watch is as straightforward an object as you can find. It won’t try to sell you anything, it won’t try to get you to click on a link, install updates or check your e-mail. It will just do what it was created to do, depending on its purpose and complications. All you have to do is take care of it and, in return, it will tell you the exact time to the best of its ability.

There is an innate honesty and implicit loyalty to a watch that is otherwise hard to find in this click-bait, high definition world. The very fact that it’s essentially outdated makes it all the more endearing. Its simple task can be carried out by a wide array of technology, yet we still often turn to its archaic design in spite of its aura of human fallibility – or, perhaps, exactly because of it.

 

Read more about this model HERE.

Citizen Adorex


“Adore”
[uh-dawr, uh-dohr]

verb (used with object), adored, adoring.

  1. to regard with the utmost esteem, love, and respect; honor.
  2. to pay divine honor to; worship:
    to adore God.
  3. to like or admire very much:
    I simply adore the way your hair is done!
    verb (used without object), adored, adoring.
  4. to worship.

citizen-adorex

And what is not to like about it? Just look at that dial! Gorgeous!

The Adorex line was made starting from 1974 up to about 1977?

The watch presented here is a 35mm NOS example, still with the price tag (JPY 16,000 at the time, February 1975). All made of stainless steel, with matching bracelet and Citizen signed clasp. It has a beautiful blue “fish scales” dial that looks different depending on the light source. My watch is powered by the Citizen 8050 21J movement working at 28,800bph. With this calibre Citizen used for the first time the unidirectional rotor needed for automatic winding. It was made for two years and can be found only in the Adorex watches. There is one more calibre to be found inside the early Adorex range, the Citizen 8000 with 25 Jewels. Both have a sweeping central seconds hand and display both the day and date. The 8050 has a few more cool features I will talk about later. Of course, as most of the times, the watch can be manually winded too. When pulling the crown out one position you can change turning it one way, while turning it the other way will advance the day. On this one you can see the day is bilingual (Japanese and English) with red printing for Sundays. Later on you can also find calibre 8200 inside, somehow with a a similar look but different architecture.

I found this article, written in German, with a lot of interested details about the 8050 calibre inside a similar Adorex, HERE. Take a look!

Bottom line, a beautiful and interesting watch to be worn and loved!