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.

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Citizen Chronograph 8100A 67-9577 Challenge Timer


This must be one of the most beautiful Citizen ever made. And that is not an easy thing to declare, but I think in this case, it is most likely true. Just take a look at the way the light is dancing on the hour markers, the blue metallic finish, black case… the color of the hands… poetry! This is the Citizen Chronograph Challenge Timer 4-900031TA.

Citizen had three chronograph movements. The first one is a manual wind, found in Citizen Recordmaster – HERE, and two automatic calibres (8110A and 8100A) , based on the same main design. The watch presented here is powered by 8100A.

Citizen vintage chronograph 8100A

The case is black coated and has a stainless steel case back and bezel. The chronograph pushers and the crown are also SS. The bracelet is a very interesting combination of black coated metal parts and black leather. Because it is such an old watch, most of the leather parts on these bracelets are, unfortunately, ruined. I am glad I found this NOS example with intact parts. (I had one more bracelet like this in great need of new leather parts) About the caseback – here you can see the way it was sealed with stickers the day it was made –  “passed JWCII” The JWCII was used since 1954 and lasted up to 1991. It was made for a specific reason: to ensure quality control. They were applied in factories producing horological and other technological products. JWCII sticker (initially placed on watches where QC was an important step of manufacture) was later-on seen on Japanese cameras and lenses and a few electronic devices.

The movement is the automatic fly-back, 23 jewls, calibre 8100A with hand winding capability. It was produced by Citizen starting from 1972, just as 8110A. This watch was made in 1973, It is a vertical clutch chronograph (beating at 28.800 bph) with column wheel and fly back function. It also features a day and date indicator. The fly back function means that you can reset the chronograph while in motion and it will start again without needing to go the entire process of pressing stop-reset-start. So, one push can do all of this. Of course that if you want to stop it you can go the classic stop-reset way. A particularity for this movement is that when you want to change the day you should pull the crown to second position (for changing the date) and push and release the reset (5 o’clock) button. It is 27 mm wide and 5,8mm high, (1mm less than 8110A). The column wheel/vertical clutch design of the movement advices to leave the chronograph running for most of the time (this way you can also see the beautiful sweeping central second hand in movement), but from time to time it should be stopped. This is a chronograph that needs to be used. It is not made for design purpose but for timing.

And… now let’s tall about the way it looks. 🙂 The awesome dial is blue, with a sun burst effect, metallic and reflects the light in various ways, making it sparkle to life in direct sun light. In the shade it becomes darker and sometimes even close to black. The hour markers are applied and have orange accents. The hands are orange too, for perfect complementary color contrast (blue – orange). On the outer part of the dial is the white Tachymeter scale.

UPDATE 2018 March

Another interesting watch, this time the photos below belong to the seller, is the one in the next pic. It is very well preserved and we can see the price tag too and the original SS bracelet. On top of all these features, the most important aspect, in my opinion, is the dial it self. The main difference is not the color (there are other 8100A black dials) but the fact that is lacking the Tachymeter scale. The hour markers are longer than the first one in order to better use the remaining space.

And here it is another black dial version, but this time with a different design. Notice the difference? The Tachymeter scale is missing again but this time a minute counter is added. So, which is your favorite?

No matter what your choice is, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a beautiful watch with a wonderful movement. Great to have, look at and a joy to wear.

Read more about Citizen chronographs on the dedicated page HERE.

Citizen “bullhead” Chronograph 67-9356


This is one of the best vintage chronographs that i can think of! 

Of course you could say that a vintage “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona is way better, but let’s take a look at this beautiful timepiece.

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 15.30.37

This is THE vintage automatic Citizen chronograph, Challenge Timer, also known as bullhead, Easter rabbit or Mikey Mouse – due to its particular shape. It was first introduced in 1978. (on the caseback the first digit of the serial shows the year and the next two digits are for the month) The reference number is Citizen 67-9356. Regarding the shape, you can instantly see that this is not like all the other bullheads. This one has a beautiful octagonal shape that gives it personality, masculinity and a lot of  refined power.

The case is made of brushed and polished stainless steel and the case back screws into place. The round bezel is polished and the glass crystal is flat. The shape of the watch is octagonal with the lower part dropping towards the bracelet and the upper part, flat, hosting the crown and two push buttons that operate the chronograph function. The winding crown is a little bit longer than the usual so that it can be operated due to the special case design. It is signed “CTZ”.  Back to the shape of the case: – all the frontal part is brushed, from top to bottom. The top flat surface is also brushed but from side to side. The sides of the watch are mirror polisher reflecting the light in unexpected, beautiful ways. The caseback is also polished. The case alone has on the visible side alone, 21 different surfaces, not counting the bezel, crown and buttons so the visual effect of brushed and polished surfaces, with a lot of angles, gives a powerful feeling.

The dial is classic, with three contrasting subdials positioned at 3, 6 and 9. There are only two types of dial colors for this model – black with white subdials and white with black subdials.  (The metal base round case model has a lot of variation in dial color but for this model we have only black and white.) A lot of “restorations” are with aftermarket dials, so pay attention on this aspect when thinking of buying a Citizen chronograph. The indexes of the dial should be raised but the luminescent dot (green) should be on a lower part of the applied index. The Citizen logo is also applied. The hands are painted to better contrast with the dial. The subdial at 3 counts the elapsed minutes (30), the one at 9 – the hours(12) and for the seconds we have the central hand. The subdial at 6 is for the day and date. The day is in two languages, and sundays are painted red. For the white dial version the day and date wheels are black and for the black dial the wheels are white. This gives them a better integration in the general design. On the outside of the dial we have the classic tachymeter.

dsc_0003 copy

The movement is the Citizen automatic, 23 jewels,  calibre 8110A with hand winding capability. It was produced by Citizen starting from 1972. It is a vertical clutch chronograph (beating at 28.800 bph) with column wheel and fly back function. (how many modern chronograph do that, and what is their cost?) Lets don’t forget it has a day and date indicator. The fly back function means that you can reset the chronograph while in motion and it will start again without needing to go the entire process of pressing stop-reset-start. So, one push can do all of this. Of course  that if you want to stop it you can go the classic stop-reset way. A particularity for this movement is that when you want to change the day you should pull the crown to second position (for changing the date) and push and release the reset (1 o’clock) button. It is 27 mm wide and 6.9mm high. The column wheel/vertical clutch design of the movement advices to leave the chronograph running for most of the time (this way you can also see the beautiful sweeping central second hand in movement), but from time to time it should be stopped. This is a chronograph that needs to be used. It is not made for design purpose but for timing.

screen-shot-2013-01-01-at-4-01-05-pm

The bracelet (i saw different models but the one on the black dial in pictures is 100% sure it is original to the watch, and my favorite design for this model) is stainless steel, wider where it connects with the case and narrowing towards the signed “Citizen” stainless steel clasp. Each link is made of only one piece. Pay attention that most of aftermarket bracelet are with full links, the original is made of folded steel.

Conclusion: Beautiful to wear, beautiful to look at, interesting special design, wonderful automatic fly back chronograph movement that needs to be used… what else to ask for a vintage chronograph?

Here are some beautiful pictures of this movement: 

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2015/03/26/citizen-chronograph-calibre-8110a/