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!” 🙂

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.

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!

Citizen Glorious


Citizen… GLORIOUS ! 

2014 March 13 – this is exactly the date when I decided to really start searching and get myself a Citizen Glorious! It took me 3 years, 5 months and 26 days to have it in my hands. During this time, after seeing literally over one million pictures and spending at least 2 hours each day looking at Citizen watches, I can say that I have seen only 4 or 5 for sale but none was good enough to actually make me pull the trigger. Fast forward to 2016 August: I finally found it. It looked NOS and had the original strap, buckle and tag! My heart raced and my hands got all sweaty while reading the description and looking at the pictures. It was really expensive and I was sure it will get even more expensive as the auction will take it’s course. Soon after discovering it, I contacted my friend Eric and told him about the watch, that I found it. I needed an inside man. Well… Eric is THE Glorious friend I have inside. (side note: not enough beer in the world to thank him enough 🙂 ) Unfortunately the seller decided to end the auction early… What a sad day! So sad… I started asking questions and even though Japanese guys are not really talkative, I managed to find out, with the help of another friend, that the watch will be relisted. I was determined to make it mine. The time has come for me to put my money where my mouth was. I knew I was fighting in the big league, with the serious Japanese collectors, but I was prepared for this day. I trained a lot. 🙂  So… in a few days, the watch was back on-line. I made up my mind regarding my highest bid that I was willing to commit to, and I added a little more. Then I added just a little bit more. 🙂 As the auction was about to end the price got higher and higher and higher… Obviously… I won!

In a few long days, that felt like years, the watch was finally here! Needles to say that I checked the tracking at least twice a day. I opened the box and here it was in all it’s glory: THE GLORIOUS!

(If you want to read about another great find, my Holly Grail Citizen, you can do it here, The Citizen Chrono Master 500m diver. )

citizen-glorious

So… The Glorious, reference 4-770285 Y.  Stainless steel case with the perfect finishing. I have never seen another Citizen case polished like this. So precise, so… beautiful. Some say that Grand Seiko is the best when it comes to case polishing, but maybe, just maybe they didn’t see this. The buckle is signed with GC logo and marked stainless steel. No wonder that one buckle alone sold a few years ago with over 700 USD. The black strap was original too but I changed it with a Citizen brown one for the photo shooting because the black one was almost to fragile to handle all the fuss. It was placed for safe keeping along with the GC tag.  The winding crown is SS too, with the GC logo. It is made of two parts. The outer part winds it (first position) and sets the time (second position). The inner part (the one with the logo) is used for changing the day and the date. Keep the watch vertical and press it. The date will jump. Turn the watch twelve side down and press it and the day changes alternating English and Japanese.

The dial is simple, white. No luminous material, no useless writing. It doesn’t need to brag about it. So Japanese…  The applied polished Citizen and GC logo and printed in black  is just enough: Automatic 36000. It is after all a high beat one, 10 per second. And it is no ordinary Leopard. It is the Glorious. In fact it is powered by in-house calibre 7750, gold plated, that has a daily rate in 5 position better than COSC of today. It was guaranteed to be at -2 +3 S/ day! Mine after all these years (made in 1971 September) seems to run at +1S/ day.

Measures (as from Stephen’s blog article HERE ) for Citizen watches: 

Standard            Excellent               Glorious

  • Mean daily rate in the 5 positions

S. -3.0 +12.0      E. -1.0 +10.0        G. -2.0 +3.0

  • Mean variation of the daily rate

S. 3.2                    E. 2.2                    G. 1.8

  • Maximum variation of daily rate in the same position on two consecutive days

S. 9.0                    E. 6.0                    G. 4.0

  • Difference between horizontal and vertical positions

S. ± 12.0               E. ± 8.0               G. ± 6.0

  • Greatest difference between mean daily rate and any individual rate

S. 18.0                   E. 12.0                 G. 5.0

  • Variation of rate per 1 degree centigrade

S. ± 1.0                  E. ± 0.6               G. ± 0.3

  • Rate resumption

S. ± 9.0                  E. ± 5.0               G. ± 4.0

Also, in the same article written by Stephen, you can see the evolution of the best Citizen calibres, starting from the awesome hand winding Chronometer and going through the Chrono Master range with the Elite special and Superior Chronometer and then the Leopards  with the Highness.

Each movement is marked with a serial number, and so is the case back. Unfortunately, Citizen doesn’t have an archive to match the two serials. Well.. the case back… beautiful again. What can I say, I love the way it looks, with the gold medallion, like the Chrono Masters. This time we don’t have an eagle inlay but a GC one.

citizen-glorious-vintage

What else? I could talk a lot about it, the simple, elegant look, so understated beauty and power at the same time, so clean and perfect in every way… How can someone not love it? Is this the best vintage Citizen? It could be.

The Glorious also came in a few other options. Here are a few pictures from the catalogue with some variants, a date only and a solid gold? (or is it Gold Filed? – EGF 100µ?) one. You cab see the price at the time 55 It also came in a slightly different case design and one with dark blue dial. Click the pictures to magnify them for better details.

citizen-vintage-glorious-leopard-copy

To make a long story short, because I could go on and on and on… this is…

The glorious…  GLORIOUS!

Crystal and bezel insert Citizen 150m diver


One rather simple task is to change the bezel insert. I will update the article with info about how to do it. The crystal changing can be an easy one or not really, depending on the model.

In this case we removed the old scratched crystal and replaced it with a better one and this really made the owner say that the dial is gorgeous. Finally he can appreciate the beauty of his watch.

The bezel insert was changed with an aftermarket one that is very close to original specifications. Lume is a good match too.

Both the original crystal and bezel insert were returned the same day to the owner.

A simple cleaning was carried out, of course, and we identified a few problems: the frontal part of the lugs were polished and they are supposed to be brushed and the movement needs cleaning and new seals. This will be carried out in the future.

I hope you like the result! 😉 The picture shows the reflections on the crystal.

vintage citizen 150m diver crystal and bezel insert

Now, strap it on a nato and enjoy it! 😉

PS – click on the picture to magnify it.

Citizen Custom V2 automatic 21 jewels Blackie


How could Citizen not focus on younger customers? Of course they did! So… around 1970 the company introduced to the public the V2 line of watches. Most of them were black coated and some were even made in a wooden case. The design was fresh and fun.

citizen v2 automatic vintage 21 jewels blackie

This one is not black coated but dark olive green coated. In fact I think it looks better this way because of the golden accents it has: the crown, the hands and the dial itself with golden hour markers. It has a simple design, with barely visible crown when looked at. The day-date window situated at 3 o clock somehow breaks the perfect symmetry.

The case, as well as the entire bracelet, is made of aluminum alloy that is very light and it is dark green coated for a better protection. In fact Citizen claimed that is is even harder to scratch than steel to suit the young life stile of their target customers. You can read about this HERE.

The movement is an automatic (cal. 8200A), with 21 jewels. It can be manually winded too. It displays the time as well as the date and the day of the week. Setting the time is done in the third position of the crown, winding it in the first and setting the date and the day in the second. Turning the crown one direction will set the date while the other way will change the day. Easy enough.

Simple, cool looking watch that suits the purpose: tell time in a fun, fresh way.

Read about another V2 Watch that I like a lot HERE.

Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special Auto Day Date 35 Jewels 4-521421Y


This is a long title for a watch, isn’t it? 🙂

Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special Auto Day Date 35 Jewels 4-521421Y

I am not sure how to write this article yet: should I say a lot of words about this marvelous piece or let the pictures and the title say it all? Here it is the way it looks, as always the face of the watch, the case back and the movement. The watch is on original Citizen Chrono Master strap.

citizen chronomaster superior chronometer special

I always loved automatic Citizen Chrono Master and decided to find the best of the best out of the dress line. I also wrote about the non date one, date or day-date. Some of them are Chronometer some are not. Read about them on the dedicated page HERE.  At the finish line I realized that it is impossible to declare a clear winner.  I had to chose between this one I am writing about now and the blue dial Elite Special that you can see HERE. Both winners. Obviously, you can’t ever go wrong with any Chrono Master. 🙂

Back to the watch: It is the usual fully polished stainless steel multi faceted case and gold inlayed screw in case back. One thing about this one that makes it a little more interesting is the fact that the lugs distance is 18mm so it is supposed to be on strap only, not like most of them that are 20mm. I find the 18mm more suitable for the shape and design of the watch when it comes with a strap. More elegant. It is ok on 20mm but 18mm seems to be just perfect. You can read about the original strap HERE.  The crystal is different a little bit too,  in the way it connects with the case, so not all Chrono Master crystals are interchangeable. It is a mineral one, slightly domed, that comes attached inside a steel ring making these parts a single piece.

The dial is gorgeous, silver, with a sun burst pattern. It has an oval day window at 12 that shows the days only in Japanese (Sundays in red and the rest in black) and a date window at 3. The hour markers are applied and match the hands perfectly. (polished with a central black line – on 12 there are two lines-) No luminous material was used. It was not needed. The legibility is excellent. The inscription on the dial is printed in black and it may look crowded but it is so small and delicate you can hardly notice it unless you want to. And why wouldn’t you stare at it? The silver Citizen logo is applied under the day window and the gold plated eagle logo at 6. One gold eagle on the dial, one gold eagle on the case back. (pay attention that only Special edition are having the gold dial eagle, the rest are silver)  A special Chrono Master indeed! Yes, the case back… it doesn’t get better than this! That gold inlay is a piece of art by itself!

In between the dial and the caseback we have the movement. The in house (like all Citizen) calibre 5250, 35 Jewels, running at 18,000 bph. What about it? Well… Chrono Master Superior Chronometer. Hacking seconds, automatic, hand winding also possible. Quick set date.

At the time it was the most expensive one at 39000 yen while the 33J day date chronometer was only 29000. Even my Holly grail watch, the 500m diver was cheaper, at only 35000. Find one today at this price! LOL!

So… I guess there is a lot to say about this watch, but I will stop here for now. Feel free to leave your comments below!

Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater X case


Super Jet! Wow again! And a “X” case?! Super! 

Some say the best period of Citizen was around 1969, some say it was earlier and others believe it was after 1970. Well.. 1969 was at least an interesting year because Citizen had a lot of cool features intersecting around this time frame. The watch I will present to you today was made in June 1968. So… let’s see it!

citizen super jet auto dater 1

This particular time piece is loaded with a lot of cool features. It is the Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater, model SADS51202-Y. It has a polished/brushed stainless steel case, marked with a circled X. That means the case is unibody and it has no removable case back. In fact the movement comes out only if the crystal is removed. I also love the fact that it is marked “Parawater” (not the common “water resistant” or “water proof”). This was a therm that only Citizen used in order to show that the watch is in fact water resistant, and this one was up to 150m. Not having a removable case back eliminated a week link into this water resistance issue. You can read about the first Japanese water resistant watc, the famous Parawater, HERE. The mineral crystal is domed, with a concave inner surface. The dial is matte black, with a somehow satinated appearance. It is marker with 3 stars, an indication to the awesome movement inside. The luminos hour markers (the hour and minute hands have luminous parts too), have a polished trapezoidal shape making time reading very easy to do. The date is positioned at 3 o clock, where the unsigned winding crown is located too. By the way, the crown is manually winding the automatic movement, sets the date while the date changes only by moving the hour hand back and forward midnight.  I was so wrong! How come I missed the fact that the date changes by pulling the crown?! Just pull the crown in the second position and the date jumps! Pull again, it jumps again! 🙂

citizen super jet auto dater 2

Let’s open it up! Let’s not forget the X marked case, with integrated case back!  The first thing one have to do is to remove the bezel (this is also keeping the crystal into place). Use the right knife blade to pop it open. Then remove the crystal. I do that using a suction cup. On the lateral part of the crystal there is a black rubber seal and underneath the crystal there is a transparent one in order to facilitate water resistance. So, the crystal is out, and so are the seals. Now turn the watch dial side down and slowly turn the crown. The movement will fall, so pay attention. Now that we have the movement out, turn it so we can see it. The beautiful Jet movement, gold plated, 39 Jewels, three stats, in all its glory! Love it! Read more about Jet movements HEREReassembly is somehow similar. A special attention should be payed when pacing the crown back. Press it into place only when in the right position into the movement, otherwise the stem can break. When pressure fitting the bezel back into place, be careful not to break the crystal. Nor the stem or the crystal are available for sale anywhere. So… take your time or take it to a watchmaker. 😉

citizen super jet auto dater 3

Anything else? Well.. not only that is in almost perfect condition but I can introduce to you how the original box should have been. Most of the times the box alone can double the value of the watch if it can be sourced. So… this is how a Super Jet auto dater box should look like. (I hope I can get it soon to complete the package, and the original strap too – not sure what is the right model here-)

If you want to see the 150m diver version of this watch, one of my all time favorite pieces, click HERE

I hope you enjoyed the article and found the info about the X case watches useful. Now, lets get them opened! 🙂 These movements need to be seen! Click on the images to magnify them if you need more details.