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!

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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!

Citizen Chronograph “Speedy” 67-9313


Finally, I found the time to write a few words about it, one the most desired vintage Citizen chronograph, the “Speedy”. It is called this way because of the resemblance with the well known Omega Speedmaster. (did you know that there is a Speedmaster limited eddition of 500 with white dial, the “Albino”?) I like it a lot, (not because of the Moon watch) and it is one of my favorites, along with the Recordmaster and the octagon Bullhead.

omega speedmaster citizen speedy

This one is also made of stainless steel and has all the DNA of a vintage Citizen chrono.

citizen vintage automatic chronograph speedy 67-9313

The main attraction of this model is the dial and the outside tachymeter scale bezel insert. (it comes with white or black dial) All these features combined make it gorgeous. The case is finished beautifully, polished and brushed for a very nice contrast. The crown (signed CTZ) and the pushers are polished, made of SS too. They are located on the side, in the traditional way, not like most of the Citizen automatic chronographs that are called “Bullheads”, on the top. The case back screws into place and has all the info about it, the model, the material, the serial that gives information about manufacturing date

The movement is the famous in-house calibre 8110A, that I wrote about quite a lot. It is an automatic, running at a high beat of 28,800. It is a fly back movement displaying both the date and the day of the week. It can also be manually wound.

Most of the times when I see this model it is on leather straps, but originally it also came on a bracelet. The one in the picture is not the original type but any straight end 18mm one will do just fine. In fact this watch looks good on almost any strap you throw on it.

UPDATE: Here is the pair, black dial, next to the white dial one. Which one do you like the best?

citizen speedy 67-9313 black white

You can read more about other vintage Citizen chronographs on the dedicated page, HERE.

Citizen Seven Star Deluxe (& Leopard) Pocket Watches


When I found the Leopard I never thought I will see another soon. Well.. I saw another one in a bad shape and then here it came its pair, the Seven Star Deluxe. You can read about the Leopard pocket watch HERE.

citizen seven star deluze seven pocket watch

The Seven Star Deluxe shares the same case with the Leopard, made in polished Stainless Steel, with a signed crown, chain and thick mineral crystals. It has one on the back too, so it is easy to admire the automatic movement. Maybe this is the precise reason they were made in the first place, to display these awesome movements.

citizen deluxe seven star leopard pocket watch

Indeed both are beautiful and they look great side by side. The heart of the Leopard beats faster while the Seven Star is slower, as it is supposed to be. 🙂 Two brothers.

The dial is gorgeous for both variants, metallic and carefully finished. The Seven Star is more discrete, grey,  non colored, metallic and underrated stylish beauty.

citizen seven star leopard pocket watches

As you can see both are display the day and the date and have a centrally mounted sweeping second hand, red for the Leopard and steel for the other one. The hands on the Seven Star are beautiful. Made in stainless steel they look very much alike the ones on Super Ace (read about it HERE). They are beveled and are both brushed and polished on the edges; pure beauty.

I will let the pictures do most of the talking here, so… enjoy!

You can find a video of the Leopard HERE.

Vintage Citizen Chronographs


You may call them “Bull head” or “Speedy” or “Walter Wolf” or “Challenge Timer”. It doesn’t really matter, as long as we all call them “Beautiful”.

Here it is 2016 and I want to start the year sharing this picture of four of my watches. What we have here is a small collection of chronographs, all with Citizen 8110a fly back movement beating inside. vintage automatic citizen bullhead speedy 8110s

Because I already wrote a few articles about watches powered by this awesome movement, you can read more about this calibre HERE.

The watches above are: 

  1. Black coated alloy Blackie Challenge Timer, rare green dial – read more HERE & HERE 
  2. White dial SS Speedy with outer Tachymeter bezel – still working on the article
  3. The black dial SS octagon Bull Head – read about it HERE
  4. Titanium Walter Wolf, Promethium dial, count down rotating bezel – read more HERE

I wish you all the best for this year and may you find your perfect Vintage Citizen Chronograph for you to call “Your own”. 😉

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 “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.

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 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.