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 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!

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 parts for repair and restoration


At least once a week I get a mail, a comment or a message about sourcing a part for someones loved vintage Citizen watch. It may be a missing bezel insert or an original crystal. Someone is looking for a movement part for a Jet calibre or for Chrono Master hands. Maybe you are searching the original Citizen diver strap or a bracelet link to buy in order to restore your watch.  We are all looking for something… So: where can we find original parts for our vintage Citizen watches? Is there a special secret place for them?

citizen parts crystal bezel crown for repair and restoration

That is an easy question but not an easy one to answer. In fact original parts are, most of the time, almost impossible to source. Citizen company doesn’t provide them (because they don’t keep them) and because they made so many models I imagine having all available is not a real possibility. So the company is out of the question. Next choice would be looking for one online. But… do you know the part code? I guess you don’t. So first thing you have to do is finding a Citizen original parts catalogue, find the part inside and find the identification code and then search it online. Even so, finding one is close to impossible again. The chance would be for the seller to know the part code and listed with this in the title, and that is not really going to happen, is it?  😦 What else do we have? Watchmakers… there is not even a slim chance your watchmaker can have the original one unless you live in Japan and  your watchmakers father was a watchmaker too, that worked for and with Citizen and has a lot of leftover parts in his attic. Yeah, I know… slim chances you are ever going to find that part this way. Another choice is to ask me. Yeah, right. Unless you want a bezel, a crown and two crystals I am actually basically useless. (update: I gave them away too so I have no more parts)

How to do it then? Your best bet would be to find a “donor” watch. That means finding a junk watch that has the part you are looking for, buying that watch and get the part. Of course, keep looking online for your original NOS part, you might get lucky in a month or maybe a few years… or probably never.

The last choice is to go for aftermarket parts. First find a good watchmaker, than see what he can do to help you…

Conclusion? Keep looking (day and night)… you can never know when you will find the needle in the haystack. Good luck!

Citizen Chrono Master Elite Special


Christmas is here and the year has come so fast to yet another end. Time passes so quickly and our watches are nothing more than witnesses of this process, even though sometimes they remain in perfect state for many, many years, unfortunately unlike us. It was an insane watch year for me as far as Citizen collecting is concerned. Today I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2016! May you enjoy your collections in good health my friends!

Because it is a special time of the year, what better watch to introduce to you if not a special one? Here it is the Citizen Chrono Master Elite Special! citizen elite special

As you can see, it is not the “usual” Chrono Master (read more about Chrono Master watches HERE). The blue, beautiful dial, sets it apart. It is not at all a conservative look and it is striking bright blue in direct light and almost black in the shade. On the center it has a different vertical shade and depending on the angle on what you are looking at it, it can appear darker or lighter than the rest. The hour markers are applied and there is no luminous material. The hands are simple, polished and specific to this model only. On three o’clock there is the day and date frame. This is also a characteristic of this model, with a shared window for both.

The movement inside is Citizen calibre automatic 5240 with 33 jewels, beating at 18,000 bph (I wrote about it before on my site). It is the one that you can find in a day-date Chrono Master. Really nice finish, hacking, quick set date and really precise.

citizen elite special chrono master

The case is shared throughout the range,  made of stainless steel and the finishing is exceptional. It is all polished with mirror like surfaces with perfect angles. The case back has the famous eagle gold inlay and, I know I use a lot this words a lot when talking about Chrono Masters, but it is awesome.

The bracelet is a rare find, 20mm wide steel mesh bracelet. Some Chrono Masters have a lug distance of 18mm but not this model.  Those with 18mm come with leather straps only.

Well… this is about it, I will leave the rest of the story telling to the pictures. Enjoy them! I certainly do. 🙂

Have a wonderful Special 2016!

Bogdan

Citizen Chrono Master 4-520840-Y and ACSS2929-Y


I am going to keep this simple. This is a picture with two similar watches. In fact it is the same model, Citizen Chrono Master Chronometer Auto Day Date 33 Jewels. It is a long name, but what a watch! The different aspect about these pieces is that one of them is marked 4-520840-Y and the other one is the ACSS2929-Y. Why? Because one is a few months older and the Citizen used ACSSxxxx and the newer version was renamed 4-xxxxxx. (thanks Stephen for the clarification) 

citizen chrono master chronometer auto day date

The case is exactly the same, entirely polished stainless steel, screw retained case back with the awesome gold eagle inlay medallion. The mineral crystal is slightly domed with a concave inner surface. The crown is signed “C”. The movement is the Citizen calibre automatic 5240 with 33 jewels, beating at 18,000 bph and can be hand winded too. In this case the watch is Chronometer grade but the case number is correct for day date version, Chronometer or not. The lug distance is 20mm and they came either with a mesh bracelet or with a leather strap.

One more difference on these two watches presented here is the dial code, even though they are exactly the same. The hands are the same and so is everything else.

Read more about the regular Chrono Master Auto Day Date (not Chronometer) HERE.

Citizen Chrono Master strap & buckle


As any collector of vintage watches knows, finding a certain watch is difficult but often it is more difficult to find an original strap with an original buckle. This is so true for Citizen Chrono Master. Unfortunately the leather gets dry in time and cracks easily. The glue as well dries and the strap might disintegrate if used. But it is such a joy to find a good one!

Here it is, the original Chrono Master strap and buckle!

citizen chronomaster strap

The Chrono Master came with a lug width of 18mm for straps and 20 mm for (straps?) bracelets. I have yet to find a 20mm strap for one. This strap is made of leather, tapering from 18mm to 14mm. The top part as well as the underneath is black and is branded.  The alloy (aluminum?) buckle has a black leather inlay.

Read about the Chrono Master box HERE!

Citizen Chronometer


One of the most beautiful vintage Citizen watches ever made is this one, the Citizen Chronomaster. They were made in stainless steel and gold filled cases (also solid gold). Mine is gold filled, as obviously seen in the pictures. citizen chronometer Some say it was born as an answer to Seiko’s Grand Seiko line. Others say it was made to demonstrate a point, that Citizen is capable of great things, so they constructed this awesome time piece, the best one! And it stands its grounds up to this day as both vintage and modern, classy and elegant, powerful watch no matter the reason it was made for in the first place. This model was launched in November 1962 and was produced for about 4-5 years. Being a Chronometer means it has a very high accuracy level, ranging from -1 to +10 s / day. The very large balance wheel and the fine adjustments along with the carefully designed and constructed movement proved it to be the best movement Citizen had at the time. The finishing is great too and even today I find it very pleasing to look at.  It is a hand winding movement (soon after this most of the watches were automatics) and runs at 18.000 bph while having a nice power reserve of about 53 hours. On Citizen page can be found a certificate (the picture below) that proves the quality of the watch, also I fond this solid gold marvel that sold for… over 16,000 USD! vintage citizen chronometerThe case on mine is gold filled (100 microns) and is rather large (and wears even larger) at 36mm diameter. This is mainly due to the large silver dial, small bezel and thick lugs. The crown is signed “C”. The dial is pure beauty, silver with a sunburst effect, with applied gold hour markers and black crisp markings. The three hands are also gold (plated?) The case back snaps on it’s place and is marked both on the outside and inside. The Eagle solid gold medallion is applied and makes the watch even more special. What else is to say? An awesome watch, a joy to wear and a bless to have!

Update Nov 2015:

I have managed to find pictures online with the entire package (not for one watch yet, but this collage is made from different puzzle pieces). So, here it is how the full package (box and papers) should have looked like:

citizen chronometer box papers

Next I will post a picture of the stainless steel one. 🙂

Update Dec 2015: And… here it is:

citizen chronometer stainless steel

And here it is with box and certificate:

citizen chronometer box and papers

Awesome piece! So proud to have one!

Citizen Chrono Master Auto Day Date 5240


“Citizen Chrono Master”, what a beautiful sound!

This is the Day-Date automatic version,  ACSS 2929 Y GN2.  It is made in a stainless steel case with a screw in caseback. On the caseback the eagle medallion gold inlay proudly proves the high grade of the watch. The case finish is superb, having clean lines, angles and polished surfaces.

citizen chrono master auto day date

The movement is the Citizen calibre automatic 5240 with 33 jewels, beating at 18,000 bph. It can be hand winded too. Chronomasters can also be a date only or even no date. There are some Chronomaster movements adjusted to a higher precision called Chronometer. This was possible by the adjuster positioned on the balance.  It is a quick set date, and it hack for better time setting. The day changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight.

Some of these watches came on leather straps, others on stainless steel mesh bracelets. I have yet to find a real one on bracelet. The one presented here was made in 1968 and back then had a price list of 28,000 YEN.

Read more about Citizen Chronomasters here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/chronomaster/