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. 🙂

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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 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 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.

Citizen parawater parashock “Green Eagle” 63-1094


This time it is getting more simple, but is it really?! Well… let’s find out!

At a first glance there is not much to it, just a simple three hands manual wind watch, with a date… and a green eagle logo. 😉 This is the Citizen ParaWater, ParaShock, 63-1094.

vintage citizen parashock parawater green eagle

The watch is made entirely of stainless steel and has an acrylic crystal. The date magnifier is on the underside surface of the crystal. The winding crown in made of SS too and it is signed “CTZ”. So… the usual stuff. But then we take a look at the dial and we see the beautiful sunburst effect. And the striking feature is that the center of this effect is not in the center of the dial but at the 6 o’clock edge. It looks as a rising sun effect actually. Lovely detail! Then we see the raised applied multifaceted hour markers that reflect the light around, working perfectly with the dial. They are also marked with a luminous dot. The hands have also luminous material for better reading the time in the dark. Red and green. The dates are printed in red and the Eagle logo is green. Again, another visual detail that adds to the overall appeal of the watch. We will get to the green Eagle in a bit.

The movement is nothing fancy, just a reliable hand wind one, with a date. It is the Citizen calibre 1802, with 21 Jewels. It doesn’t hack and it is not quick set date. In fact the date changes by going back and forward passed midnight with the hour hand.

12038596_1652516901680966_503252284663377769_o

And back to the dial! The Eagle logo is interesting, but why is it there? I have seen it also on a Citizen Homer, but printed in blue. Well, we cant be sure yet. My friend Alexander thinks (and I tend to agree with him) that it is the Thunderbird. Thunderbird is the image that also is used by the Blue Angels (Citizen chronograph is currently a sponsored watch) of the US Air force. Since Seiko and Citizen were readily available to US service men in the PX stores back then (1970’s) maybe this is why ? Maybe the line Citizen was offering to target US air force personnel? Perhaps this was the way Citizen tried to market some of their models back in the 70;’s to a specific group in the US military in far east Asia, since military personal always bought non issued watches (mostly japanese) as they were stationed in either Japan, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. Pilots and airmen were always stationed in rear combat bases so the watches marketed to them would be a little more formal/fancy as oppose to ground troops or navy personnel. And we all know how tradition is in the US military. This is how the new sponsored Citizen chronograph could have the endorsement of the current Blue Angels… tradition. 🙂

Sometimes details make all the difference, so let’s open out eyes, because the beauty is there to be seen. 🙂

Citizen Highness 36000


Citizen Highness… nice name that must stand for something! Well.. it does! Citizen made this as a high grade variant of the Leopard line and has a chronometer level of accuracy, Highness grade. This was achieved due to a series of factors, including the fact that is a high beat piece, running at 36,0000 bph.

citizen highness 36000

The case is made in stainless steel, with brushed 6 and 12 o’clock surface and the rest being polished. The case back screws into place and is made of stainless steel too. It is marked Parawater and 4-770277 Y. The serial no dates this watch August 1971. The mineral glass is flat and has a beveled edge, as usual with Citizen. The most interesting fact is the crown, signed CH and made of two parts, an inner one and an outer one. This is very important because this watch has a very uncommon feature. So… let’t talk about the way it functions!

The movement is the Citizen 7730 calibre, 36,000 bph, with 26 jewels and day and date display. It is an automatic one and hand winding also. The movement can be winded in the first crown position. Pulling it out a position, will set the time. The seconds hack for exact time setting. Push the crown back into first position and be ready to set the date and the day. How to do that? Just push the button (the inner part) of the crown. Yes, the crown is itself a pusher! So, hold the watch 12 o’clock side up and press the pusher and the date will advance with every click. Turn the watch with the 6 o’clock upwords and press the crown again. The day will change! How smart is that!?

citizen highness manual

It is a rare watch, and full of interesting features. I wish it had a special case back (as the other special Citizen).

Read more about Leopard range HERE.

Citizen Alarm Date Custom V2 Blackie


Without a doubt this is one of my all time favorite alarms! Sporty, great wrist presence, complicated, beautiful and useful! Here it is the NOS, black coated, 1971 Citizen Alarm Date Custom V2 blackie! (model  4-310179Y)

I wrote a few articles about Citizen alarms powered by this movement so the data is the same: a hand wound movement, calibre 3102 (date), 21 Jewels, 18,000 bph. The twin crowns are for time setting and winding the main spring and the other one for setting and winding the alarm. The crown at 2 o’clock in first position is winding the alarm while the alarm is deactivated. If you pull it in the second position you can set the alarm (counterclockwise) and the alarm is activated. Pressing it while the alarm is ringing will stop it. The crown at 4 will wind the watch and pulling it out will set the time. The alarm will ring for about 13-16 seconds.

citizen alarm date custom v2

The case is black coated and so is the bracelet. Read about another beautiful blackie V2 HERE. The three crowns, the bezel and the case back are made of stainless steel and are polished.

The dial is gorgeous, black, with applied luminous hour markers that are still glowing today. The date is located at 3 o clock, in a white frame, and is printed in white on a black date wheel. The second hand is orange and we have one more color, yellow, used for the inner bi directional rotating bezel. This bezel is operated by the third crown, the one located at 10 o’clock. You can use this feature for easily reading the elapsed time, up to 60 minutes, just as you do with your usual diver.

Read more about other alarms on the dedicated page HERE.

Citizen V2 Custom Blackie 4-720636TA


Citizen launched this interesting range in 1970 and also in 1970 they started experimenting black coating their watches. One of the interesting facts about this particular watch is the fact that is made in May 1970, being one of the first Blackies Citizen ever built.

citizen custom v2 day date blackie

The case, as well as the bracelet, is black coated aluminum alloy. The clasp is made of stainless steel and the folding part in not coated. The outer part of the clasp is coated too so the look of the entire watch is as black as it gets. Even the screw in case-back is black. The bezel is black, the dial and the crown, black too. The date and the day wheels are, you guessed it, black. 🙂 No wonder Citizen named this “Blackie”. The reason for coating their watches for Citizen was the same reason manufacturers are doing it today: it looks good and they try to find ways to protect the material underneath. Because this watch is made of a very light alloy, that is not really scratch resistant, the coating comes as a great addition.

The entire lettering is printed white, the numerals on the bidirectional rotating bezel are raised, and so are the luminous hour markers on the dial.  The Citizen logo and the V2 one are applied and polished. The hands are polished too except for the blue central second hand that has a luminous dot. Sundays are printed in red, while all the rest is white. Later versions of this watch have the day wheel white with black lettering and non coated case backs.

The movement inside is the Citizen automatic calibre 7280, 23 Jewels, running at 21,600 bph. It hacks (when setting the time the second hand stops). It is an automatic movement, but as most Citizen calibres, this one hand winds too. The date is a quick set (in the second crown position) and the day changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight.

Bottom line, this is a beautiful, interesting, lovely to wear and look at… BLACK marvel. 🙂 It somehow reminds me of the white chalk writing on the school table. Awesome watch!

Read about the Citizen Alarm Date Custom V2 Blackie HERE

Black Roman Numeral Automatic Citizen cal 6501


Because I will sell it in a few days, I thought I should write a few words about this watch before letting it go. It is not the highly desirable diver or chronograph, but a fair, beautiful piece. What I like the most about it are the roman numeral used for hour markers on the dial. I don’t see many Citizen to use them.

citizen automatic black coated

It has a round black coated case with a stainless steel polished bezel. The crown is sign CTZ and is used for manually winding the movement (21 Jewels, calibre 6501) and setting the date and time. The day changes by advancing the hour hand passed midnight. All the fonts are black with the exception of Sundays that are written in red. The fact that the price tag is still attached on the replacement strap (the old one was destroyed beyond repair by time) and the case back sticker are a welcomed bonus for any collector.

So, bottom line…we have here a beautiful dial, a nice shape and black color case, NOS condition vintage automatic Citizen.

Read more about other simple Citizen watches HERE. (some of them are very rare and collectable)