Great Japan Watch Company


Here it is a very special watch. It is one real piece of history and I will let you know why. 🙂 It is a small watch, one of the first wristwatches made by Citizen. It is in amazing shape for its age. You can read about a similar piece HERE.

citizen vintage watch

With the help of my online Japanese speaking friends so far I have this:

“During the war roman letters on domestic was outlawed so Citizen adopted the Japanese name. Dai Nihon tokei kabushiki kaishya 1938. In 1948 they were able to change the name back to “Citizen””

“大日本時計株式会社 (it means Great Japan watch company)” was an old name of CITIZEN in 1938-1948.”

“In those days, Japanese government commanded CITIZEN to change company name. So, this watch is very rare.”

Well… now we know. Do we really need more words on this amazing piece? Maybe not, but if you have more info on this, please let me know in the 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 weak 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 a 3 stars applied label, 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 placing 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. The stem or/and the crystal are not 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.

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.

Special Citizen Center Second


I wrote before about Center Second and I find myself writing about another one again. Here it is one of the most elegant, about 30mm diameter, Special Citizen Center Second. It was intended as both a men and a ladies watch but by today’s standards I would say ladies would find it more attractive due to its size.

citizen center second special lady

This is a NOS watch, with original strap and buckle and it is so nice to find one like this, the way it was meant to be in the first place. Lets not forget that it is almost 70 years old! The bezel details are really sharp and so are the crown threads. It is a very nice feeling to wind it, gripping the new crown and turning it. All the details are here, making it a Special one indeed.

The dial, seen through the acrylic crystal, is beautiful, in two shades, a central one that has the writing “Special Citizen Center Second” and an outer part that has the applier golden hour markers, arabic numerals and dots for each minute. The three hands are are also golden.

The “Center Second” came in many versions, and even a solid gold one, and a total of 6-7 generations for about 10 years.  The first one was produced in 1948. All of them were running at 18,000 bph and came equipped with 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and even 19 jewels. The Center Seconds are non-hacking and don’t have a date complication. This watch can be dated around 1951. The calibre is a 10.5 ligne (23.30mm) one and can be made with 8,11, 16 or 17 jewels. It was a development of Citizen’s first wristwatch made in 1931, (read about it HERE) which was developed all the way up to 1955. The earlier ones had a sub-second dial, then the Center Second models were introduced in 1948 as the “New Citizen”.  The “Special Citizen” was the second version of the center second models.

Read more about Center Second watches HERE

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 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 Recordmaster Rally Custom Chronograph


The Citizen Recordmaster is a famous watch among vintage chronograph collectors and such a beautiful one too. The model was introduced in 1967 and was produced for only 5 years. It is a real column wheel flyback chronograph, with a hand winding movement. It counts up to one minute only but what a joy to wear and play with the pushers it is! The flyback action is awesome.

citizen recordmaster rally custom

The larger (42mm) version presented here is the more complex and sportier Rally Custom 63-0314. Even though there is another Rally Custom powered by a different non-chrongraph movement, this one has the same flyback manual 5702 calibre inside. It has a sportier look, a large black case with integrated lugs and one external tachymeter bezel as well as another inner rotating one. This inner one in addition to the scale on the dial is useful for some simple calculation such as speed and elapsed time. The dial itself is black, completing the all black look of the watch. The only tint of color is a yellow or orange circle on the dial and the orange second hand. On this model the date is located in a round window at 4 o’clock and there is one more crown at 10 o’clock for operating the inner bezel.

citizen recordmaster rallycustomThe movement is the Citizen calibre 5702 with 21 jewels. It beats at a slow rate, half the speed of the fastest Citizen Leopard movements, at 18,000bph. It is the first chronograph and the only hand winding chronograph movement that Citizen produced. There is also an automatic one with two variations: 8100A and 8110A. All of the Citizen chronograph movements are flyback and so is this one. The date is not quick set but changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight. The racing tropic strap is the best option and fits the watch perfectly.

Read about the other Recordmaster variant HERE.

Citizen – Watch Oil Kit


My friend Hako was kind enough to provide me these photos of an interesting collectors item, the vintage official Citizen watch oil kit, used for servicing the movements. Thank you Hako!  Apart for the oils themselves, the kit has brushes and a booklet with instructions for using the items found inside the box. I will write the information written on it below.

vintage citizen oil kit service

HANDLING INSTRUCTION FOR CITIZEN WATCH OIL

Citizen has designated the following 6 types of oil as oil to be used for Citizen watches. These oils particularly excel in quality and performance. Be sure to use the Citizen exclusive watch oil on Citizen watches for preserving the superior performance of the watch during a prolonged period.

1. Synt-A-Lube oil

Since it is a compound oil of superior performance, there is no worry of the characteristics becoming inferior due to deterioration, aging, etc., regardless for it being used for a prolonged time. 

Usage portion: Dial side train wheels, jeweled pallet fork, escapement. 

Remarks: Use the oil by transferring a small amount to the saucer of the stand type oiler. Be sure to clean the saucer and replace the oil at least once a week even though the saucer is not dirtied. 

2. Synt-V-Lube oil

Similar to the Synt-A-Lube Oil, it is a compound oil of superior performance. The viscosity is higher than the Synt-A-Lube oil.

Usage portion: Bridge side, day and date mechanism and second hand stopping device. 

Remarks: Same as in Synt-A-Lube oil. 

3. Citizen watch oil CH-1

The Citizen watch oil CH-1 is a mixture of special grease and special solid lubricant and there is no worry of the characteristics becoming inferior due to deterioration, aging, etc., although it may be used for a long period of time and a stabilized mainspring torque is maintained constantly. 

Usage portions: Hand winding mainspring

Use the exclusive brush with blue color mark on application of oil. 

4. Citizen watch oil CA-1

The Citizen watch oil CA-1 guarantees a stabilized slip torque which is particularly important for automatic winding an has been developed so a stabilized mainspring torque is maintained and used also on parts of the train wheels. The mixing rate of the solid lubricant differ from that of the Citizen watch oil CG-1. 

Usage portions: Part of train wheels. 

Automatic winding mainspring.

Used on Cal. Nos.:

150*, 220*, 140*, 24**, 060*, 03**, 11**, 41**, 52**, 54**and 64**.

Use the exclusive brush with green color mark on application of oil. 

5. Citizen watch oil CA-2

The Citizen watch oil CA-2 has been developed particularly for use on Citizen automatic wrist watches which have their mainspring torque increased. Its composition differs entirely from that of CA-1 and is a compound oil excelling in stability with no oil flows and is suited for heavy loads. 

Usage portions: Automatic winding mainspring.

Used on Cal. Nos.: 

72**, 74**, 76**, 77**, 66**, 65**, 60**.

Use the exclusive brush with yellow color mark on application of oil.

6. Citizen silicon oil and lubricator

The Citizen Parawater watch utilizes the elasticity of the O-Ring and packing and maintains a high watterresistant capability. The silicon oil acts to further promote the superior waterresistant proprieties of the O-Ring and packing so it should be always used in disassembly and assembly.

Usage portions: O-Ring

Packing

How to apply the Silicon Oil

(1) O-Ring and packing

a. A suitable amount of silicon oil should be soaked in the soft sponges which is fixed to the top and bottom of the silicon oil lubricator beforehand. When oiled once, it can be used for a certain period. 

b. When applying silicon oil to the O-Ring and packing, hold the o-Ring or packing with the lubricator and turn the cover of the lubricator by a 1/4 turn. This will allow applying a suitable amount of silicon oil. 

Remarks: Be careful so dust will not mix into the silicon oil lubricator. After usage, be sure to keep the silicon oil container cover securely tightened. 

(2) O-Ring for crown

Oil to the crown O-Ring is applied directly with an exclusive brush or by applying a suitable amount of oil to the pipe of the watchcase.

For further instruction on oiling portions of watches, please consult to the “CITIZEN TECHNICAL INFORMATION” 

citizen watch oil kit service

I am sure you will love the info and the pictures, just like I do. It is always nice to discover new things about our passion: watches, Vintage Citizen Watches.

Read more interesting facts about Citizen HERE.

Citizen ring watch, pendant watch, bracelet watch


Yes, Citizen made these beauties too. Why should’t our better halves enjoy and share out passion for watches? Citizen saw this opportunity and took it. They might not be a game changing in term of movements or complications but they are so nice to wear when dressing up. After all it is all about fashion, isn’t it? 🙂citizen ring watch pendant watch bracelet watchThey are all jewelries but valuable watches too, used for time telling. All three of them are white gold plated (WGP) and powered by hand wounded Citizen calibres. They have no second hand and do not display the date. Anyway, I will let the rest of the story telling to the pictures.citizen ring watch pendant watch bracelet watch vintage goldI am happy that I found all three of them; it took me a while to have this entire set in NOS condition. Who knows, maybe I missed a piece or two, because with Citizen you never know for sure what else is there to discover. So I will keep my eyes open for new, exciting surprises.

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!

Citizen Guy

Citizen “Bull Head” Chronograph 4-901096-K


One of the Citizen mysteries, for me, gravitated around this very model. It is not only a very elusive watch but a beautiful one too! I have seen a few pictures that made the dial look bright green and in others looked a little bit towards golden brown. So I had to have them both to see myself how they look in real life!

citizen bullhead chronograph vintage

Finally I found two, both in excellent condition. So, here came out the magnifying glass, the photo camera and I kept on looking at one and then to the other in all lighting condition and from all the angles. In the end the conclusion is:

  • same case: 6N-4W-S, case back, pushers and crown
  • same model no: 4-901096-K
  • same movement: Citizen cal 8110A
  • same date and day wheel (English – Japanese)
  • same dial code: JAPAN 8110 – 901166 KA
  • same dial color – green, BUT… different shades of green

In fact most of the times they look almost the same, but from time to time, they look like in the picture above. So… why this difference? I do not know for sure. Based on the serial no, both these watches were made in the same day or very close together because they are only about 60 watches apart. My opinion this far is that the paint used had a slightly different proportion of ingredients. The simplest explanation is most of the times the correct one. If any of you guys have another point of view regarding this, please let me know! Maybe sun exposure, patina or…?? One day we might find out.

Update 2017 September: A NOS full package watch, box and booklet. The strap is the original Citizen rubber one. The price at the time was 23,000 JPY. (pictures from the online seller)

Meanwhile… read more about vintage Citizen bull head chronographs HERE.