An inside view of Citizen Watch co, seen by VCW


For years, I’ve been collecting vintage Citizen watches. I spend a considerable amount of time researching, collecting, buying, selling as well as restoring and servicing these wonderful timepieces. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.

Yes, I had the chance to travel to Tokyo, Japan and be a guest at Citizen Watch co. Earlier this year, the company introduced a fascinating new facility – the Citizen Museum. I had the honor of being invited to visit this institution and admire the impressive collection from the company’s watchmaking history.

Let me start by saying that we cannot talk about Citizen without taking into consideration that this is a quintessentially Japanese brand, with the nation’s philosophy and lifestyle encoded in its DNA. Japan is definitely a must-see country. We’re all familiar with martial arts, Buddhism and Shinto. We love bonsai, ikebana, origami and, of course, Japan also means Samurais and Geisha, doesn’t it? It’s all of those things and so much more: respect, simplicity, tradition, work ethics and pride, innovation, art, philosophy… you can find it all in Japan and, indeed, in the wonderful world of Vintage Citizen Watches.

One hundred years ago, the Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. was born under the name Shokosha Watch Research Institute. Mr Shimpei Goto, the mayor of Tokyo, named the first watch “CITIZEN” with the hope that the watch, a luxury item in those times, would become widely available to ordinary citizens and be sold throughout the world.

His ambition materialized. “People appreciated and benefited from the institute’s results”. Prophetic words, indeed. With this statement, the seeds were planted for what would become the world’s largest watch manufacturer. In 1924, the first pocket watch bearing the Citizen moniker was produced. One of the first pieces produced by the company was purchased by Emperor Showa, Prince Regent at the time (Emperor Taisho era). In 1930, Yosaburo Nakajima laid the foundations for the Citizen watch empire. In 1936 the company expanded beyond the boundaries of Japan, exporting watches to many parts of Southeast Asia. This was the starting point of going global and the reason we can all enjy these watches no matter where we are.

Two years ago, I started talking to Mr. Hiroyuki Ota (Otha), Deputy General Manager of Citizen Watch Europe GmbH, about a certain watch model featured in a commercial. Little by little, our conversation developed and we planned this visit to Tokyo headquarters. Once I arrived in the capital, I visited the flagship store to prepare for the following day. Of course I had a beautiful watch ready for the occasion. 😉 (Thank you Eric for sourcing and keeping the watch for me and for the great time we had in Tokyo!)

This is the watch I strapped to my wrist on Monday morning. It is the stainless steel Chronometer and you can read about it HERE. I like to believe it was a great choice, since our host seemed impressed. This model was also on display at the museum, not once, but twice – as a whole watch and in a section discussing its movement.

At 9:00 we were at the Citizen headquarters and we had no problems getting there. Once we got out of the train at the Tanashi station, the Citizen logo on their building was easy to spot. We took a short walk and reached the gate. Because the trains work really well in Japan, we were able to schedule out trip with such precision that we arrived at 8:57, since our meeting was at 9:00.

The doorman was aware of our visit and someone walked us into the waiting room. Two minutes later, at 9:00 sharp, we were met by Ms. Wakaba Kuroshima (Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) with whom I had communicated prior to my arrival. She was very helpful in providing all the information needed in order to get there in time and also a few welcomed pieces of advice about what to do in Tokyo. She took us into the museum.

Mr. Yasuyuki Sakamaki (Citizen Museum Director & Citizen Archives General Manager) along with Mr. Takeo Ishino (Manager Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) and Mr. Shoiji Misono (Manager Product Planning Section & Product Marketing Department) welcomed us. They were all extremely gracious and evidently proud of their work and their company. Everything was clean, neatly arranged, well-planned and executed. Our hosts kindly showed us around and answered all our questions.

Our tour started with a short film that rendered some of the most important events in the history of Citizen and a few of the innovations made by them throughout the years, and there are a lot of them. After this, we were invited to see some watches, important pieces, hand-picked by our host and guide, the museum director. There are 130 watches on a 24-meter-long display. The 24 m represent the hours of a day. So we can witness 100 years of development in one single day.

We learned so many things about Citizen: the first titanium watch, the first Japanese water proof watch, the thinnest movement at a certain time, Guinness World Record for smallest watch movement, Eco-drive technology, radio wave…. and so many more world or Japanese premiers. The tour also introduced us to some machinery and because Citizen is a truly in-house made watch, the company manufactures the machines that make the machines that make the watches! How cool is that?! And Citizen is not only watches; they also produce car parts, led lights and a lot of other non-watch-related things, all with the greatest dedication. Inspiring!

After the tour, we sat down for coffee and I had the chance to ask a few questions.

  • Next year Citizen will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary. How does it feel to be reaching such a milestone?
  • We are proud of these one hundred years, but it is not the end. We don’t see it this way. It is only the beginning of the next 100.

 

  • How do you imagine the next centenary?
  • We focus a lot on the future and at the same time we treasure and cherish out past, the tradition. What we are aiming for is to look ahead and continue on our path the same way. Trying to improve, to be better.

 

  • Will Citizen go mechanical high end?
  • We do not, in fact, have this plan at the moment. The technology is there, but this is not our main focus. We have the Campanola…
  • I know Citizen has made a tourbillon, the Y01.
  • Yes, but it was a one-time thing and we have no plans of pursuing this path in the near future. In fact, there were only two pieces made.

 

  • How do you view the past? Citizen made awesome watches and we love them so much!
  • We are very proud of our past and we have a few watches on display that we treasure. Citizen had the same philosophy for a long time and the past watches, the present ones and future ones will show it too. Citizen had a lot of global and Japan “firsts” and we were always looking to improve, to offer a better product.

 

  • Do you have an archive for vintage? Do you service them, offer parts for restoration?
  • Citizen doesn’t keep an archive and doesn’t offer service and parts for watches unless they are in the warranty period.

 

  • Do you encourage the vintage market for VCW?
  • At the moment we don’t have a plan in this direction. We appreciate collectors such as yourself and are amazed by your watches and your passion. Why do you collect VCW and where do you find them?
  • For me, as a collector, I find a lot of diversity and quality still at a very reasonable price. My father had a Citizen, a blue-dial, that he bought when I was born. It was quartz but still made me love the brand. Finding them is not easy… I’ve spent hours every day for years, looking for the best pieces.
  • Thank you for everything!
  • Thank you Bogdan, we are humbled and honored by the passion collectors invest in our brand.

 

  • Will Citizen recreate some important historical watches? A lot of brands are investing in this direction.
  • Next year is going to be Citizen’s centennial so… (spoiler alert – you heard it here first, on VCW) we are going to present a homage watch. But because Better starts now… we don’t search into the past, we are proud of it but we go forward and in fact we have several directions to follow.
  • Wow! What model will it be? That is such a great surprise. I’m sure the readers will be thrilled.
  • We can’t say right now but we will introduce it to Baselworld next year. You are invited to see it there and hopefully we will meet again. What I can say is that it is in the final stages of development.

 

  • Thank you so much! I will wait for it and will probably meet you again there. Do you have a message you would like to share with the fans of your brand?
  • Next year is an important passing point, (100 years) we look at our history but this is the beginning of the next 100. We try to send this message at Baselworld.
  • So keep an eye on Citizen! Thank you again! Arigato gozaimas!

Back to my visit, a few images that I hope you will enjoy. In the picture above you can see the Parawater and the Pacific buoy, in the picture below you can see some old machinery, some old tools and the cabinet (all made by the Citizen company).

The past was impressive and this is why we love it so much. They were trying from day one to provide the best watches they can do at affordable prices so everyone could get such a luxury item. Divers, chronographs, complicated watches… elegant ones in stainless steel or gold, platinum, titanium, stone, wood… and everything you can think of. Citizen was always pushing for a better watch and a better one. Their motto is Better Starts Now” and they promise and they deliver.

Present day is only a continuation of yesterday, so it makes sense to go a step further. Yes, they are not high end mechanical watches but they made watches that you can wear and enjoy at a daily basis while having fun. They still make reliable watches and innovation is their game and they are winning it. “We are the citizens, the people who see the world as a work in progress. A place to be improved. A place where time is measured not in seconds, but in steps forward. Some will say we are obsessive, but if you love something, why would you not strive to make it better? We don’t live in the glories of our past, our sights are firmly set forward. Are we aiming for perfection? No, for us, to admit perfection is to admit defeat. To stop. And if time never stops, why should we? We’re heading for better.”

Tomorrow will bring us an even better watch and I can’t wait to be there to witness it. In the picture above you can see the Citizen logo machined into a natural hair. Just imagine the level of precision of tomorrow! And based on the amount of innovation they accomplished on these 100 years, I can’t wait to see what the next 100 will bring. All we have to do is eat healthy, exercise, rest, love, collect VCW, be calm and stress free and we will meet here again in one hundred years. 🙂

As a conclusion: awesome people, awesome company and awesome watches! If I was a big Vintage Citizen Watches fan before the visit, now I am twice as much. I was so impressed by the modesty, respect and the warmth of the people at Citizen…. and a company is only as good as the people that work there. They do it with such love, respect and dedication! Love it!

Thank you Citizen, thank you all and I hope you found useful information here. Also, you can join the Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook group HERE.

Arigato gozaimas!

Citizen Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

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Citizen compressor diver – Seven Star 4-520017Y


Let me introduce to you a beautiful, NOS, vintage compressor style diver that has just the right amount of pure class.

A compressor case is defined by the fact that the rotating bezel is inside the case, under the crystal and it is turned by one of the crowns, rather than directly by hand. Gary, a reader, provided a piece of information about Compressor cases that I would love to share with you:

“These are beautful watches and I enjoyed reading about them but I must correct your assumption that they are compressor watches. Its a common misconception that if a watch has two crowns and an internal bezel, it must be a supercompressor but infact Compressor and Super Compressor watches are defines by the company which made the cases and held a patent for their design. These cases were made by the specialist manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. of Switzerland. No Japanese manufacturer used EPSA Compressor cases. Information about Compressor cases is not hard to find. The link below shows the three types of Compressor case, including the Super Compressor from which your Citizen watches are inspired. True Super Compressors are typically identified by a crossed hatched design on the crowns, a diver helmet logo on the case back or inside the case back, but always, they have the brevet (patent) number on or inside the case back. http://wornandwound.com/2014/03/24/guide-super-compressors/”

NOS means New Old Stock – a watch that was not worn and it is in excelent condition after all this time (45 years old).

citizen compressor diver seven star parawater

Just like the other compressor diver I have presented here : https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/01/18/vintage-citizen-compressor-diver-4-520343-y/, this one is also made in 1969. By contrast, this one has a more classy, elegant appearance.

The case is large, made in polished stainless steel, with a brushed frontal surface. Looking at it from the side, the case seams slender, thick in the middle, and arching down all the way to the end of the integrated lugs. The mineral crystal is slightly domed in order to be better integrated in the overall design. The crystal is secured by a thin, polished, elegant bezel. The sides and the frontal surface are well delimitated by a carefully made polished chamfer. The twin crowns are not signed. One of then, the upper one, turns the bidirectional internal bezel and the other one is connected to the movement. The case-back displays the usual information – material, date of manufacture, model, movement, and parawater. Read about parawater here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/26/citizen-parawater-citizen-parashock/

The dial is dark-deep black,  very simple but not simplistic at all. Under magnification one can see that a lot of attention was placed into details. The writing is white, also on the black date and the black day wheels. The date is on 3 o clock inside a polished frame and the day is at 9 inside an oval, carefully made window. The only tint of color is the lettering for Sunday.  The inner rotating bezel is also black with white writing. The hour markers are applied with luminous material in the center. The hands are also polished, faceted with luminous material as well.

 Citizen diver Seven Star 4-520017Y

The movement is the usual automatic Citizen calibre 5270, with 21 jewels. The calibre number is engraved, as usual, under the balance wheel.  It is winded by a black rotor that compliments the dial on the other side in a fortunate manner.  It is a common movement used in a variety of models, not only divers making it rather easy to repair with available parts. It is reliable and offers hand winding possibility. The date changes in the second position of the winding crown (first position for winding, third for time setting) but the day changes only by passing midnight with the hands. The corespondent crown for the movement is the one at 4 o ‘clock.

The bracelet is nothing less than a piece of art. I think this is my favorite Citizen design. It is made in solid steel, three thin polished connectors and  brushed large links. It doesn’t get better than this! It has a pleasant tactile feel and a nice weight. One more thing that can not be described into words is the sound of the links touching each other… pure music. The clasp is the usual type, signed Citizen.

Citizen compressor diver - Seven Star 4-520017Y

Al things considered, this is the best diver for a gentleman, ready to be worn at the beach or with a suit during a corporate meeting. Decent water resistance (nor really made for submerging, but good enough for daily jobs) and understated elegance placed together for one of the best Vintage Citizen All-rounder.

Read more about Citizen diving watches here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diver-vcw/

Citizen Leopard 36000 pocket watch 67-2192


The first pocket watch presented here, a rare (never seen another one and my searches lead me nowhere) Citizen Leopard.

This is not only extremely rare but very interesting too.

Citizen Leopard pocket watch 67-2192First of all it is a pocket watch. Citizen had a lot of pocket watches but why is this so special? Well, because it is a Leopard – the hi-beat range – 36000 bph. Also, very interesting, it is an automatic! Why is it an automatic, I don’t know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense because as a pocket watch it doesn’t get enough movement to wind up. Nevertheless, a beautiful movement that is a joy to look at.  The case seems to be mirror polished stainless steel but I see no references to the material . It is not large but rather small, the same as a wrist watch. There is also a nice chain that compliments it really nice. Both sides have a thick mineral crystal that sit high above the case. Beautiful design! As for the crown, is signed, as usual, “CTZ”.

The beautiful hi-beat parashock Citizen calibre 7230, running at 36000 bph can be admired because the watch has a see through back crystal. In fact the watch face has the same crystal shape and size as the back, so the same importance was given to displaying the movement as it was given to the dial part. This says something about this movement. It has 28 jewels, it has a sweeping central second hand that hacks, it can be winded by hand also and has a quickset date feature.

citizen leopard 7230C_0048 copy

Here is a scan of the movement from a vintage Citizen book to better understand the beautiful movement.

Citizen leopard calibre 7200 36000

One of the nicest feature of the back (apart the movement and the crystal) is actually the metallic blue ring that has printed: Automatic Citizen 67-2192 OR-D-1 (or is it OR-D-i ?) 4-721811 . Not too much information unfortunately. If someone knows more about this magnificent piece, please let me know!

The dial is simple silver, with delicate vertical brushed lines. The hour markers are applied with black  painted center. They share the same design as the hands. Only the sweeping hand is bright orange to accentuate the hi-beat movement. It has a wonderful sweeping motion, almost gliding above the dial. The Citizen logo is applied too.  The day and date are located at 3 o’clock, inside a window, both having it’s own frame.

citizen leopard 36000Conclusion: A rare elusive watch, beautiful to operate, listen to and look at. It has a wonderful design with an orange accent on the face (the second hand) and a bright metallic blue on the back (the ring).

Check out the video here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/01/28/video-citizen-leopard-pocket-watch-67-2192/

Here is the elegant wrist watch version with the same movement:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/11/22/citizen-leopard-36000/

Enjoy!

UPDATE:

I found its pair, the Citizen Seven Star Deluxe pocket watch, so you can see them side by side HERE.

VCW Facebook group page


Facebook is a great place to meat great people with really great watches. 🙂 This is why we have created the Vintage Citizen Watches official group page. Check it out and add yourself and your friends! Here it is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vintagecitizenwatches/354822734656228/?comment_id=354922047979630&notif_t=like citizen facebookThank you for looking!

Citizen automatic diver 51-2273


Another vintage diver is the model 51-2273.

This one is  more recent than the previously featured watches here.

citizen diver 51-2273One of the main feature about this one, compared with the others, is the unidirectional rotating bezel. Also, the “Mercedes” hands are gone and are replaced with a different style.

The case is made in stainless steel,  with a brushed (circular) front surface and polished sides. The case back screws in and it is polished too. This case features crown guards for protecting the crown, a nice diving detail that enhances the “tool watch” appearance. Another diving feature in the screw in crown and the unidirectional bezel. This time the bezel has 60 solid clicks and rotates only counter clock wise. On 12 it has a triangle with a luminous dot. Every 10 minutes are marked with numbers and every minute by lines. The overall size is perfect, at 40 mm diameters without the crown and 20 mm between lugs.  The mineral crystal is flat.

The dial is mate black without any reflections. The hour markers are dots or lines, depending on the position. They are filed with luminous material. The hands are also luminous and they have a distinct shape, more geometrical, that I think enhance the overall look of the watch. On 12 there is the applied Citizen logo and “automatic”; on 6 there is the writing: “21 jewels – water resistant – 150 M ” On 3 there is the day-date window, in a single frame. The day is bilingual with red “Sunday” while rest are black.

citizen diver 51-2273The movement is the well known automatic Citizen calibre 8200A (Miyota). It has 21 jewels and offers a hand winding capability. First position of the crown wind the watch, the second will change the day and the date (in different directions) and the third will set the time. It beats at 21,600 bph and has a power reserve of 43 hours. The rotor will wind the watch in one direction only. Nothing fancy about this, just a reliable, simple movement that is doing it’s job as it should.

The strap on this watch is a rubber one with a stainless steel clasp. Rubber fits it very well and next to the nato straps it is the best option for this model.  The width at the lugs is 20mm so plenty of strap options are available at this size.

citizen diver 51-2273 Miyota 8200AConclusion: A nice diver  that has all the features of a real diver: unidirectional 60 clicks bezel, easy to read, mate dial with clear hour markers and hands, a sweeping central second hand, screw in crown protected by crown guards, a reliable simple automatic movement and a long rubber strap. A real tool watch!

VIDEO – Citizen automatic chronograph 67-9631 cal. 8100A


This is one of the two vintage automatic chronograph movements made by Citizen, the other is the Citizen 8110A calibre that features an extra 12 hours counter.

A video of 8110A is here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/01/13/video-citizen-bullhead-chronograph-model-67-9356-2/

And here is the video for 67-9631, calibre 8100A. You can see the start-stop-reset mechanism in function, as well as the fly back. Also you can see the way you can change the date and the day. Enjoy!

More informations about this watch here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/01/05/citizen-automatic-chronograph-67-9631/

Vintage Citizen compressor style diver 4-520343 Y


Vintage Citizen divers  – this time a compressor style. And what is better than one diver? Two divers, or even three! 

A compressor case means  that the bezel is not outside the case, but actually inside the case, under the crystal. It is not operated directly but with the turn of one of the two crowns. As Gray showed in the comment of this post these are not actually compressor cases, but actually compressor style inspired.

“These are beautful watches and I enjoyed reading about them but I must correct your assumption that they are compressor watches. Its a common misconception that if a watch has two crowns and an internal bezel, it must be a supercompressor but infact Compressor and Super Compressor watches are defines by the company which made the cases and held a patent for their design. These cases were made by the specialist manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. of Switzerland. No Japanese manufacturer used EPSA Compressor cases. Information about Compressor cases is not hard to find. The link below shows the three types of Compressor case, including the Super Compressor from which your Citizen watches are inspired. True Super Compressors are typically identified by a crossed hatched design on the crowns, a diver helmet logo on the case back or inside the case back, but always, they have the brevet (patent) number on or inside the case back. http://wornandwound.com/2014/03/24/guide-super-compressors/” – Is the comment from Gary. Thank you for the clarification!

Citizen Diver compressor 4-520343 Y

This particular model is one of the early Citizen divers, with compressor style case.  I have seen it in black dial, red, blue and silver dial. The red dial is one of the most beautiful dials ever. Actually is more a burgundy red. The blue is awesome in different lightning conditions, the black is subtle and classy and the silver is  really special.

The case is larger than the usual divers of that era, but similar with other vintage Citizen. It is about 44mm, with a brushed frontal surface, with a radial pattern. The sides are polished. The lugs are well integrated in the overall design, with the same finish as the case. The two crowns are protected because the 9 o clock side (flat) and the 3 o clock side (angled) are not symmetrical, so the crowns are not sticking out a too much. They are signed “C”.  The outer bezel that keeps the domed acrylic crystal in place is polished. The crown at 2 operates the inner bidirectional bezel, and sometimes is very easy to move it by accident so i prefer the models with an outer bezel. The crown at 4 winds the watch and sets the time and sometimes is hard to operate.

The dial is  the best part of this watch. The red one is gorgeous, the blue is beautiful, the black is classic but the silver is not really at home for this model (IMHO) but it is rare and special.. In fact all the colors have a matching rotating bezel except for the silver one that has a black bezel. The black dial is flat, matte. The red and the blue one have thin black longitudinal stripes so the color gets a little  darker. All of them have the cross hair lines. At 12 they have the polished applied Citizen logo and on 6 it is written “water 100M proof” “automatic” “21 jewels”. It is very interesting the fact that the dial is marked waterproof (sometimes parawater) and the caseback parawater. This is due to the fact that it was manufactured in an era when Citizen transitioned from parawater to water resistant. Also some of them were designated for export so a different marking was needed than the ones for domestic market. Read about this here:  https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/26/citizen-parawater-citizen-parashock/ The ones that have “waterproof” on the dial are for export. At 3 we have the day and date window, in a divided frame. The Sundays are in red lettering, the rest are black. The hour markers are trapezoidal, applied with a polished frame, jus as the date frame. The hands are the usual “Mercedes” type and the second hand has the luminous tot at the very end of it. One rare model has straight hour hand, matching the minute one. For a long time I thought it might not be original but thanks to Pawel I now saw the model in real life and it is for sure 100% original. I also saw one picture from a German catalogue on Stephen‘s blog who says: “There was also a version of this model, maybe only an export version, that had a straight hour hand, rather than the ‘Mercedes’ type. At the moment this image, from a German brochure (with credit to ‘Axel’ on the old SCWF site) is the only one I have seen.” Thanks Pawel for the pictures of the straight matching hands one! Great watch!  After 40 years, the luminous material still glows beautifully at night. The rotating bezel is rather shiny, with a luminous dot inside a triangle at 12, and painted numbers every 10 minutes. The rest of the minutes are dots and every 5 minutes we have a rectangle. Great quality for this bezels. You have to see them in real life to fully appreciate them!

citizen 4-530343Y compressor

Here it is another straight hour hand piece, a black dialed one. Thank you Christian for the pictures!

compressor diver vintage citizen

And a pic that I like:

citizen compressor diver vintage

The movement is the automatic Citizen calibre 5270, with 21 jewels, (and a black rotor that I like a lot). It is a common movement used in a variety of models, not only divers. This means that replacing parts are easy to source.  It is reliable and offers hand winding possibility. The date changes in the second position of the winding crown (first position for winding, third for time setting) but the day changes only by passing midnight with the hands. The operating crown for the movement is the one at 4.

The strap I’ve seen is most of the times a replacement one. Sometimes I have seen them on Citizen or replacement stainless steel bracelet, sometimes on rubber, nato or even leather. They can take any type you want to throw on them. I keep them on matching nato straps, red for red, black for black. This way they are really comfortable and I thing a Nato suits them well. The width at the lugs is 20mm.

automatic Citizen 5270Conclusion: Just as most Citizen divers – wonderful, easy to wear, a pleasure to look at, modern and vintage at the same time… timeless beauty!

Read abut my favorite Citizen diver here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/24/citizen-automatic-diver-150m-52-0110/

Vintage ladies Citizen watch 64-4838


It is time for a ladies Citizen watch! 

Another NOS watch, ready for wearing, 40 years after it’s birth date. (it was made in July 1972). I wonder why did it take so long for such a beautiful watch to enhance the beauty of a woman’s wrist? Maybe it waited for the right owner?

vintage Citizen ladies watch 64-4838

The case is rather a small cushion shaped one, made in stainless steel, with a snap on, flat, brushed caseback. It has integrated lugs, with a brushed frontal surface.  The sides are polished. The acrylic crystal is flat, but sitting higher than the case. I love the way it gives warmth to the entire watch. The silver metallic overall appearance needed something soft, as the case design and the worm acrylic crystal for counterbalance. The crown is signed “CTZ” as expected. Another feature I like about this watch is the fact that it is Parawater (read about it here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/26/citizen-parawater-citizen-parashock/ )

The dial is silver, simple yet elegant, with applied polished hour markers, Citizen logo and date frame. Each hour is also marked with a luminous dot (except for the one at 3 o’clock where the date is). The hour markers are “T” shaped in sectional view. The 3 hands, with a sweeping second hand, are polished and the hour and minute hands have luminous material that is very bright after 40 years. The writing is black, thin, reading “automatic” and “28800 21 jewels”. The entire dial has a brushed pattern in the same direction as the case, caseback and bracelet.  

vintage Citizen ladies watch 64-4838The movement is an automatic with hand winding capability, Citizen calibre 6900. It has a power reserve at about 38 hours, beating at 28800 bph. The date can be changed in an interesting way, by pulling the crown. It is a quickset mechanism. With the crown in time setting position pulling and releasing the crown will advance the date by one day. Each pull is one day.

The bracelet is stainless steel, with full links and connectors made from folded steel. It is tapering from the case towards the clasp. The clasp is also signed, longitudinally “citizen”. The entire bracelet is brushed except the clasp that is satined with polished sides. The sides and underside ot the bracelet is also polished.

Citizen vintage ladies automatic watch

Conclusion: Such a beautiful watch! So elegant, so delicate, so understated! One of the last years (maybe the last) of “Parawater”.  Maybe it looks nice and it is a beautiful jewelry but also a well made timepiece.

Citizen “Day-Date” Seven Star Deluxe 4-520068 T


This is a nice watch story about collecting vintage watches. 

Everybody knows what a NOS watch means, and this one is indeed new old stock, stickers and tags intact, but… the story is not so straight forward.

vintage NOS citizen  4-520068 T

This looks as the day it left production, a NOS Citizen watch, no scratches, clean sharp lines, perfect bracelet, no dirt, perfect acrylic crystal, perfect dial, perfect hands, stickers and tags. And we are talking about an old watch, made in 1969. Let’s see the watch!

The case is made of stainless steel, round, with straight lugs. Al the lines are straight, clear and bold. The watch is polished entirely. The crown is signed, as usually, “CTZ”. There is a perfectly integrated stainless steel bezel that holds in place the acrylic crystal. As you would guess, the crystal raises a little bit on the edges, but the surface is perfectly flat as parallel to one another as possible. The diameter is 39mm and it is “parawater”. (I love this Citizen trademark feature)

The dial is simple, grey, with a sun burst pattern with a date at 3 and the day at 12. Both the day and the date frames are applied and so are the Citizen logo (under the day frame), the baton hour markers (double for 12 o’clock) and the “7” badge at 6 (between the writing – “Crystal Seven” and “33 jewels”).

vintage NOS citizen  4-520068 T

The movement, and now the plot thickens, inside this gorgeous NOS Citizen is… the Citizen NOS calibre 5270, with… 21 jewels! What?! Why is it written on the dial 33 jewels and the watch model suggest it is a 21 jewels movement inside? How come inside is not a 5240 (for example) or another 33 jewels movement? I have an idea, but that will be in the conclusion. As for the calibre 5270, it is an automatic, with a nice black rotor, 21 jewels, that can be winded by hand also, with a day and date function.

The bracelet is a beautiful brushed with two polished longitudinal lines. It has folded links and closes with a beautiful satined (as most of the vintage Citizen should have) clasp. The clasp has a raised polished Citizen logo with sharp lines and edges.

vintage NOS citizen  4-520068 TConclusion: Just a beautiful, clean, honest design watch, but not so honest when it says on the dial that the movement inside should be 33 jewels, but in fact it is a 21 jewels calibre. So, my point of view regarding this is that the dial and the day wheel was changed at a later date. I wonder if the hands and date wheel belong to the watch or to the dial?  After all they are basically on the same base movement (5270 and maybe 5240). I might suspect that this is the way it was made 45 years ago.  So this is just a recent “marriage” watch, made from NOS original pieces. Unfortunately, watch collecting is not always easy. 🙂

Thank you Stephen for your, much more detailed answer, and your blog: http://www.sweep-hand.org: “You can see from this that the case number is for a Seven Star model, not a Crystal Seven. The model is a Seven Star Deluxe in fact with day and date window at 3 o’clock (I have a pic of that in a book, but I’ve not scanned it yet), which uses a 21 jewel 5270 movement. The dial design with a separate day window at 12 o’clock was used in the earlier Crystal Seven models up to 1968 as far as I’ve seen, so a production date of 1969 seems too late for that layout to me. So it looks to me that the NOS case and 5270 movement has been used with a NOS Crystal Seven dial and day/date wheels (I guess they would fit since it’s the same base movement) and although presented as an original NOS piece I doubt that this is correct.”

Citizen History from 1918


The Mayor of Tokyo, Mr Shimpei Goto, named the watch “CITIZEN” with the hope that the watch, a luxury item of those times, would become widely available to ordinary citizens and be sold throughout the world. He got this right.

shokosha

The official table (from official Citizen website): 

Year Month Event
1918 3 Shokosha Watch Research Institute established, the forerunner of Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.
1924 12 First pocket watch completed.
1930 5 Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. established. Yosaburo Nakajima appointed president.
1931 6 First wrist watch completed.
1936 5 Tanashi Factory constructed.
1941 7 Production of machine tools begins.
1945 10 Shinji Nakajima appointed president.
1946 3 Eiichi Yamada appointed president.
1949 6 Citizen Trading Co., Ltd. established.
1952 3 First Japanese-made watch with a calendar introduced.
1953 3 Rhythm Watch Co., Ltd. becomes an affiliate.
1955 12 Export of wrist watches begun.
1960 3 Import-export agreement concluded with the U.S. Bulova Watch Co.
Technical assistance agreement with India.
1964 8 Technology research laboratory established.
12 Citizen Business Machines established.
1965 3 Production of business machines begun. (Adding machines, camera shutters)
10 Office opened in former West Germany, start of full-fledged exports to Europe.
1966 3 First Japanese-made electronic watch “X-8” introduced.
1970 3 CNC automated lathe “Cincom” developed.
1971 6 Precision Machinery Division established.
1976 3 Production of quartz oscillators begun.
1978 2 Head Office moved to Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg. in Tokyo.
1980 6 Industry’s first microcomputer controlled line impact printer introduced.
1981 6 Rokuya Yamazaki appointed president.
10 Systems and Peripherals Division established.
1982 9 Special Sales Division established, full-fledged sales of watch components started.
1983 3 Chip LED lamp CL Series developed.
5 IC sensor electronic thermometer introduced.
1987 6 Michio Nakajima appointed president.
1990 1 Citizen of the Year annual award established.
1992 2 Acquired German machine tool company, Boley GmbH.
1993 5 World’s first multizone “Radio-Controlled Watch” introduced.
1996 4 Solar-powered Eco-Drive received the Eco Mark the first for a watch.
1997 6 Hiroshi Haruta appointed president.
2001 3 Head Office moved to Nishi-Tokyo.
2002 3 Sales of white LED as a backlight for color LCDs started.
6 Makoto Umehara appointed president.
2003 6 World’s first full metal case radio-controlled watch with built-in antenna introduced.
2004 1 Implemented Citizen Code of Conduct.
10 Merged with Citizen Trading Co., Ltd.
2005 4 Citizen Systems Japan Co., Ltd. established.
10 Five consolidated companies (Citizen Electronics, Miyota, Cimeo Precision, Sayama Precision Industries, Kawaguchiko Precision) become wholly owned subsidiaries. Names of Citizen Group companies changed.
2007 4 Company name changed to Citizen Holdings Co., Ltd.
2008 4 Mitsuyuki Kanamori appointed president.
7 Citizen Miyota Co., Ltd. and Citizen Finetech Co., Ltd. merge.
Citizen Finetech Miyota Co.,Ltd. established.
10 Miyano Machinery Inc. becomes a consolidated subsidiary.
2011 4 Citizen Machinery Co.,Ltd. and Miyano machinery Inc. merge.
Citizen Machinery Miyano Co., Ltd. estabilished.
2012 4 Toshio Tokura appointed president.

Source: http://www.citizen.co.jp

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 11.29.10

And a few additions from here: http://forums.watchuseek.com/member.php?u=15164

The forerunner to what we now know as The Citizen Watch Co. Ltd., began life in 1918 under the name Shokosha Watch Research Institute. Buoyed on by an ambitious Mayor who demanded that the Shokosha-Watch Institute should have a bearing on all citizens, in so far as “people appreciated and benefited from the institute’s results”. Prophetic words indeed – from this statement, the seeds were sown that would help produce the world’s largest watch manufacturer.

1920’s

In 1924, the first pocket watch to bear the Citizen moniker was produced.

One of these first products produced by the company was purchased by Emperor Showa, Prince Regent at the time (Emperor Taisho era).

1930’s

In 1930, Yosaburo Nakajima laid the foundations of the Citizen watch empire.

In 1931, a 10½ ligne caliber is in production, followed in 1935 by an 8 ¾.

1936 saw the company expand beyond the boundaries of Japan, exporting watches to many parts of Southeast Asia.

1940’s

In 1940 a 5 1/4 ligne caliber was introduced. During World War Two, Citizen moved their production facilities to a small town 200km from their former location in Tokyo. The company manufactured many components, amongst which were chronometers and igniters for military use.

1949 saw the creation of The Citizen Trading Company. This entity controlled the distribution and marketing of Citizen watches throughout the world.

1950’s

In the early part of 1950’s, Citizen completed Cal. 960(M), its first 6 beat caliber with 17 jewels, and Cal. C, Japan’s first men’s wrist watch fitted with date display known as “Citizen Calendar”. In 1953, Citizen acquired a clock manufacturer, The Rhythm Clock Co. (currently named “The Rhythm Watch Co., Ltd”), as an affiliated company.

1956 was a momentous year for the brand. The company produced the first shock-proof Japanese watch, known as the Parashock.

In 1958, the company produced its first automatic-winding wrist watch “Auto” fitted with Cal.3KA, and Japan’s first manual winding alarm caliber with 19 jewels, Cal.980(A). Also the introduction of “Citizen Deluxe” fitted with Cal.920, Citizen’s first caliber with central seconds, proves a hit with the watch buying public, with sales of over 100 million pieces.

In 1959, the company produced the first Japanese water-resistant wrist watch, the “Citizen Parawater”, Cal. 920(2B).

1960’s

At the start of the 1960’s, the Parawater completed two trans-Pacific tests, as well as one in the Sea of Japan – all passed with flying colors.

1960, Citizen signed an export/import agreement with USA’s Bulova Watch Company.

1962 saw the company introduce an officially certified chronometer and the world’s thinnest men’s wrist watch with center seconds, the “Diamond Flake”, Cal.0700.

The year 1963 heralded the introduction of the Quartz-transistor clock.

In 1964, pursuing a diversification strategy, Citizen founded the Citizen Office Machine Co., Ltd. (today’s Japan CBM Corporation).

In 1965, Citizen started producing office equipment and precision manufacture components.

In 1966, Citizen introduces Japan’s first electronically regulated balance wrist watch known as “X-8” or “Cosmotron”.

1967 saw the company put the world’s first quartz transistor clock into the market.

1970’s

The 70’s were another prolific decade for Citizen, and also the beginning of the company’s move towards the quartz technology that dominates its current output. However, Citizen did not completely move away from mechanical movements during this decade.

1970 saw the introduction of the world’s first Titanium cased watch “X-8 Chronometer”, followed by a tuning fork caliber a year later.

In 1972, Citizen evolved the 60’s “Sports Master”. They developed an brand new automatic chronograph, named the “Easter Rabbit” – commonly referred to by English speaking collectors as the “Bullhead” (or the “Panda” in Japan). The “Easter Rabbit” showcased calibre 8110, which included a zero-position reset mechanism fitted with a shock absorber.

In 1973, the company launches its first quartz wrist watch, fitted with Cal. 8810.

During 1974, Citizen signals its intent to seriously pursue quartz technology by introducing a quartz movement, Caliber 8600EX, fitted with Japan’s first stepping motor mechanism*.

By 1975, the launch of the now legendary Crystron Mega Quartz left the watch world with little, if any, doubt about where Citizen were heading as an brand. Fitted with caliber 8650, generating a frequency of 4,194,304Hz, it is still to this day one of the world’s most accurate (and priced at approx. Y15,000,000 one of the most expensive) wrist watches ever offered for public sale.

In 1975, The Citizen Watch Co. of America Inc. is established.

In 1974, solar powered technology is first introduced, not to mention the first Japanese LCD technology watch.

1978 saw the company introduce a 0.98mm thick quartz caliber, “Quartz 790”.

By 1978, the company moves to the Shinjuku Mitsui building in Tokyo, followed in November of that year with the release of the Citizen Quartz Digi-Ana, fitted with caliber 8900 – it featured a combination of digital LCD and analogous time indication.

1980’s

By 1980, Japan had become the world’s largest producer of watches and watch movements. November of this year brought the release of ladies wrist watches fitted with the world’s smallest volume movement, “The Exceed Gold”.

Towards the end of 1981, Citizen released their 1300m Professional Diver’s watch. At the time, it was the world’s most water resistant watch available for public use.

By 1982 the diversification that started in the 1960’s, saw Citizen produce the world’s largest Neon-Light advertisement installed in Hong Kong.

1985 saw the release of the world’s first watch fitted with a depth gauge, the “Sport Depth Meter”.

By 1986, Citizen becomes the world’s largest single manufacturer of watch movements.

In 1987, the company introduced the “Voice Master” or “Voice Memo” (in Japan)”, VX-2, the first wristwatch with voice recognition.

1990’s

The 1990’s were almost as significant and prolific in terms of world’s firsts than the 70’s were for the company. In the early 1990’s Citizen launched the Analog-Aqualand, the first quartz watch with an analog depth gauge.

In 1992 Citizen became the official timekeeper of the America’s Cup yacht race.

In 1993, Citizen introduces radio-controlled watches to the market place.

1995 saw two significant additions to the world of Horology: “The Citizen” was released in May, backed with a ten year factory warranty and +/- 5 second a year accuracy; and November saw the introduction of Eco-Drive power generating technology, which quickly became Citizen’s number one seller.

1996 was another busy year. Citizen’s Eco- Drive technology was awarded the first “Eco-Mark”, an officially certified Japanese award for environmental protection. In July Citizen released the world’s thinnest solar cell equipped movement, only 3.14mm thick.

In 1997, Citizen launches the “Exceed Eco-Drive” to the Japanese market, featuring accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per year, followed closely by “Eco-Drive Signature Technology”, which corrects time differences when traveling between time zones.

1998 saw the introduction of the “Promaster Eco-Drive Aqualand” or “Promaster Aqualand Eco-Drive Analog Depthmeter” (in Japan) , the world’s first solar powered diver’s watch with an electronic depth gauge. In October, Citizen unveil the world’s smallest quartz movement, fitted to the Exceed Lady’s Eco-Drive.

By the end of the millennium, Citizen introduced “Promaster Eco-Drive Super Tough”, which can survive/withstand/resist the shock of an impact hammer 5 times more than non para-shock watches.

2000’s

Thus far, during the decade of 2000, Citizen has:

– Relocated its headquarters to Nishi-Tokyo City;
– Founded the Lead-Free Committee;
– Founded the Eco-friendly product subcommittee and green purchasing subcommittee;
– Developed the world’ slimmest radio-controlled watch;
– Introduced automatic time keeping for marathon/ekiden races through the use of IC chips;
– Introduced the Campanola range of High End Quartz watches.
– Merged [with] Citizen Shoji;
– Acquired Miyota Co. Limited as a going concern, which included several small component manufacturing subsidiaries; and
– On January 10th 2008 Citizen acquired USA’s Bulova Watch Company, including all its affiliated brands (Bulova, Caravelle, Wittnauer and Accutron) for US$247 million, making the combined company the world’s largest watchmaker.

*EDIT – Switzerland’s Girard-Perregaux hold the record for the worlds first stepper motor equipped quartz wristwatch.

source: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f9/brief-history-citizen-watch-company-175421.html
REFERENCES:

Citizen Watch Co.
Citizen Watch Co. of America Inc.
History of CSR – Citizen Watch Co. Ltd
Citizen Watch Co. Ltd – Wikipedia
Watches for the World – Uhren Juwelen Schmuck – Author; Gisbert L. Brunner
www.citizen.com.hk/
www.citizenwatch.com

MUST READ and THIS

I would like to thank to all involved in putting together this information and I hope that the amount of known data that will be available will grow constantly.

Read more about the first Citizen here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/09/27/citizen-shokosha-pocket-watch/