Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special


That is a rather long name for a watch that doesn’t even have a date, isn’t it? Well… give me a few minutes and for sure the proud owner of this special Vintage Citizen Watch will make you fall in love with it. So, without further ado I will let my friend Henry from Australia tell you more about his watch:

“There is something quite rewarding in winding a watch by hand and watching it spring to life..

At a time when the world was rapidly turning it’s attention to automatics it is easy to overlook the heights that had already been achieved by their hand winding cousins.. The Chrono Master range of citizens recognises this magnificently and shows that not only does it boast some of the most accurate automatic movements of the time but also some of the best hand winding movements ever made as well.

Here we have one of the finest of these the Citizen Chrono Master Superior Chronometer Special HOOS2081.  Later productions were known as 4-020201.

The case like all Citizen Chronometers  is made in stainless steel,  Polished. The lugs are excellent tapering both inwards but are also curved allowing the watch to blend beautifully into both strap and the wrist. The case back has a gold inlay medallion with an engraved eagle.  The crown is well proportioned. The mineral crystal sits up proud above the bezel and the way the light passes through it creates a sight to behold from almost every angle..

The dial is silver sunburst it has a polished Citizen logo at the top and gold eagle logo at the bottom.  The dial text Superior Chronometer and Special tells us that this is no ordinary Chrono Master in fact you could say it’s a bit special..  The hour markers and hands are finished with a fine black line, It really improves  the legibility of the watch as well as creating a nice contrast with the dial.. There is no date window which creates a sense simplicity and symmetry that one can’t help but feel only adds to it’s beauty..

The movement is the second iteration of the hand winding Chrono Masters the cal 0930 with 22 jewels and running at 18000 bph.. The movement is hacking which means when you pull the crown the sweep hand stops running while you set the time.. There is a fine adjuster on the balance and being a superior chronometer one would expect it capable of accuracy to rival (if not better) the cosc spesifications of the day… Each movement has a serial number and jewel count engraved upon it..

The strap sitting at 18mm between the lugs was a leather one and most likely there was a signed citizen buckle to complete the package..

It’s a watch that stands out on the wrist but slides easily under a cuff. It is uncomplicated yet highly sophisticated. It  is yet another fine example of the quality that was,and still is the Citizen Chrono Master.”

Henry

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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.

Citizen ChronoMaster box


Sometimes it is a lot harder to find an original strap or an original box than finding the watch itself. One of the most elusive boxes for a Citizen collector is the one that came with the Chrono Master line.

I am happy to introduce to you, this exact one, the Citizen Chrono Master box:

citizen chronomaster box

The outer box is made of cardboard and the inner one of plastic. Both of them are marked with the famous eagle logo and the Citizen ChronoMaster writing. The eagle on the plastic one is applied. The inside lining is, as pictured, red.

Not much to say about this, but a great and difficult find for any collector. Me… happy to be one of the lucky ones. 🙂

Read about the Chrono Master strap & buckle HERE.

Citizen Chronomaster 500m Chronometer


This is THE holly grail of Citizen collectors! This is one of the most sought after vintage watches! This is my dream, my so long waited one and the answer of all my intensive searches!

People ask me where did I find it? I am going to tell you the story of finding this one.

I started collecting vintage Citizen a few years ago. (I write this article in 2015 February) I always loved divers and chronographs. The first watch I had as a kid was a blue Volkswagen quartz “diver”. I still have that one.  Then as time passed I found myself over my head into buying and selling, repairing and loosing money because of my passion, reading, writing, comparing and… you know… collecting. 🙂  I learned that there are fakes, aftermarket parts, interesting watches and common ones. I found out what I like and tried to let the other watches go. I learned not to buy only because it is a good price. I learned a lot and I am still learning. Then about two years ago a piece of information came to me. It seemed that there is a certain diver made in stainless steel, Chronomaster, 500m WR, Chronometer grade. So I started looking for one.  Sometimes I dreamed about it, sometimes I thought I found a lead but time after time,  it was just a mind trick. In all these years I searched for one each and every day. I found four so far. I bought one. The first one was sold as “junk” in Japan for USD 4.100. The second one I found online, on a watch forum, and has a replacement bezel and bezel insert and is not for sale. The third one, on facebook, has a replacement crown, bezel and bezel insert and non original strap and is nor for sale. The fourth one is my watch.

One month ago (2014 December) I was on a trip in Hong Kong and of course I had my share of watch hunting. So I found a vintage watch store that had an Alarm Citizen. I asked if they had any other Citizen and was told to return tomorrow. They will look for more in the back of the store. This is what I did. The next day I saw 5-6 watches and got myself THIS Citizen Leopard. I got the watch and went to dinner. Waiting for the food, I google searched the serial of the Leopard I just got. I might have entered the wrong digits because one among the images I found online showed a Citizen 500m. There was a new image that I didn’t see before. I clicked it. Imagine my surprise when I found that the Chronomaster was for sale in Japan, posted one day before! I tried to translate the page on my mobile and contacted the seller. They were not selling outside Japan. My world tumbled down! I wrote on my facebook page asking if maybe I have some friends from Japan. Eric said yes! So I wrote him. We never spoke before that day but now we are good friends. Thanks Eric! He said he was willing to buy the watch for me and send it my way. To make a long story short, I sent him the money, he contacted the site where the watch was sold, the site contacted the seller, the seller sent the watch to the site, the site said the watch is not ok and maybe they will cancel the transaction if they can’t solve it. The watch was running fast but I didn’t care. Eric said that if they don’t fix it they will not send it. I worried and I waited. What was I supposed to do? Nothing. It was not in my power. A few days later Eric had the watch! Then the watch was on the way to me. 🙂 Let me tell you that the original pictures of the watch were of a very poor quality and I had only a vague idea about what I was buying. Later I found out more information on the watch by talking directly to the seller. This was a very difficult task to achieve. Not easy to find the original owner, trust me on this one. 🙂 So, the only info I got is that the watch came from Kawaguchi, Saitama, Japan. I hope I will find out more. (I found nothing more – 2017)

So this is what I got:  A huge 44mm one piece stainless steel case (uni body case – the movement comes out through the frontal part of the watch, after removing the crystal and the bezel of course), thick slightly domed mineral crystal, unidirectional 60 clicks bezel, screw in crown, rubber strap marvel! I got the whole package! One thing I found (June 2017) is that the eagle engraving on the back is not actually directly on the case but rather on a steel inlay (like the gold inlay used in the dress Chrono Master) I didn’t remove it but I am quite sure I am right. Anyway, back to the story. 🙂 My watchmaker opened the watch only to find a perfect movement as the one in THIS Chronomaster (but Chronometer grade – Citizen 5440). Everything works as it should! I am so happy!

Well… the hunt is over, the dream has come true, the wait was long. I am tired and so happy!

Thank you: Eric (Japan), Stephan (UK) , Claudiu (Romania),  Jack (Singapore), Fred (Austria), Daniel (Germany) for all your contribution. You all have your part in making my dream come true! Thank you my friends!

Update 2016: Here is another one. 🙂 So I have two now. (Well… I sold one to have the money for the other Grail, the Glorious – 2017)

citizen 500m chrono master diver vintage

Update 2017: Hard to believe but I found another one for sale in Japan (the best condition I saw, really beautiful!) at the asking price of USD 14,500 (it got sold). Not cheap at all! (pictures below and all credit for them to the seller – Kyotoya – Japan) This one was made in January 1969, the first production date I saw. Here it is:

Update July 2017  – I bought and instantly sold another one, the first serial January 1969, never polished, 100% original. Here it is:

Conclusion 2018 February:

In all the years of hunting these watches I saw only 13 pieces, in private collections or online. I had three of them. Putting together all the serials and details the conclusion so far is:

  • 7 of them are made in April 1969, 3 are made in January 1969 (901006xx) (I cant see the serial of the other three in order to date them)
  • there are two dial variations: “CHRONOMETER” & “Chronometer” Why?
  • the “Chronometer” variant has an aging yellow lume. The other remains more green.
  • the serials range is from about 90400420 up to about 90401130 (except the January 69 pieces, the first one being is 90100xx) How do the last 5 digits of the Citizen serial actually work ?
  • the finishing of the case  – all brushing should be longitudinal
  • they came on 20mm straight end Tropic straps with Citizen signed buckles (and maybe another rubber strap model that I am still investigating).

Read more about Citizen divers HERE.

Read about another ultra rare diver HERE the Citizen Super Auto Dater Professional

Read about another HOLLY GRAIL watch, the Glorious, HERE.

Citizen Chrono Master Autodate 33Jewels


Chrono Master – this says it all.

Chrono Master was, and still is,  the most recognizable high grade line of Citizen,  a real competitor for Grand Seiko and Swiss made watches.

Vintage Citizen Chronomaster

I love the look of this watch, elegant, yet casual, perfect for a suit as well for any daily attire.

The case is made in stainless steel, having what I consider to be a perfect design. The lugs are beautifully designed and every detail shows the great care placed into drawing each line, each angle, each corner. The entire case is polished. The case back has a gold inlay medallion with an engraved eagle.  The winding crown is the right size and shape for the watch, signed “C”. The mineral crystal is flat, sitting higher than the bezel. It’s angled edge makes the dial pop and bends the light is mysterious ways.

The dial is silver, with an sunburst effect. Very clean and organized. The hour markers, the date frame, the Citizen logo and the eagle logo are polished and applied with a lot of care. The details are impressive. There is not much writing on the dial: “Chrono Master”, “Autodate” an “33 Jewels” – this all the information needed to see how this is not an ordinary Citizen. The hands are polished too matching the hour markers, having a longitudinal middle black line.

Citizen Chrono Master autodate 33 jewels

Citizen 33 jewels cal 5440

The movement is the Citizen calibre automatic 5440 with 33 jewels, beating at 18,000 bph. It can be also with a day (5450) or only date. The number of 33 jewels is high enough but not the highest. Some of these movements are also Chronometers, adjusted to a higher precision. This was possible by the adjuster positioned on the balance. The automatic movement can be winded by hand also. It is a quick set date, and it hack for better time setting. It is a beautifully made movement complimenting the overall design in a fortunate way. The movement print presented here is a part of Stephen’s scans of a Citizen catalogue. His work can be read here.

The strap, in this case, is an aftermarket black snake with a sharp stainless steel custom made buckle. I think this suits the watch very well. I wish I could find an original Citizen buckle of the era but I don’t have high hopes on that.

Conclusion: Beautiful design, wonderful quality, great watch! Every Citizen collection needs a Chrono Master!

Update 2017 September: Here it is a rare blue dial version. Notice the applied logo on 6 and the hands shape. (pictures from the on line seller)
And the bracelet version:

Read more about Citizen watches here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/calendar-vcw/