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!

Citizen Jet (Super Jet) Auto Dater


Citizen is famous for a lot of innovations and really cool watches and we can not talk about Vintage Citizen Watches without mentioning the Jet movements. What is a Jet calibre? Well… it is an in house Citizen made one, an automatic with a ring rotor unlike the common oscillating central mounted one that everybody is familiar with. Most of the people think that it is the first automatic calibre developed by our loved manufacture but it is not quite like this. In fact the first one was the Auto. But that one was soon dropped and in 1961 The Jet came to life, and what a fabulous one it was; short lived (1961 – 1967) but so beautiful. It came in a simple three hands watches, with or without a date and even a final day – date version.

Today I will introduce to you the (simple, dress style, non diver) date version, the easiest to find and enjoy the wonderful movement.

auto-dater-parawater-citizen-jet

As you can see it came with a variety of dial colors and configurations. The crystal is acrylic and usually they are on a leather strap. Most of them are made of stainless steel, a lot are gold plated and a only few are solid gold. All of them have a Jet movement and display the time (with a central non hacking second hand) and the date. The date is non quick set but changes by moving the hour hand over midnight and back to 21 and again at midnight. Some movements had a special feature called Easy Change that allows a fast set mechanism to advance the date. Just pull the crown in and release it and the date changes one time, do it again and it changes again. Just as easy as it sounds. They run at 18,000 bph and have a power reserve of about 45h. From what I know they all have hand winding too. (only some of the diver style earlier versions I know about might come without hand winding). You can read more about the 21 J calibre HERE. It also came with 23J and the top of the range 39 J Super Jet.

citizen-super-jet-autodater

What else? Well… I guess it is a feeling that has to be experienced, owning such a marvel, winding it, listening to it, watching it… So, take your chance, you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to read more about my favorite Jet, a diver, you can find it HERE.

Citizen Jet Autodater 120m – the first diver


It is always nice to know which watch was the first, the thinnest, the most this or that… It is extra nice to have one of each. With Citizen that is not so easy because there are so many models! One of the most collectable lines is the one of the diving watches, so which is the first real diver that Citizen made?

The first Japanese water resistant watch was the famous Parawater, launched in 1959. You can read about it HERE. But, that was not a real diver. In fact the first diving timepiece was this one, the one in this article, the Jet Autodater para 120m water. At about the same time another model was made, the Autodater 200m , the skin diver. Read about it HERE.

Here it is, the Citizen Parawater 120m Jet Autodater (ADRS51301-DA)

citizen jet auto dater 120m

Unfortunately the manufacture date can not be easily determined because there is no serial number but it is estimated to be somewhere around 1962 . Find out how to date a Citizen HERE.

The case is made entirely in polished stainless steel, with a screw in case back and a bidirectional friction type bezel. The crown is non screw in. The water resistance is obtained by using a rubber O ring and it is enough for 120m. Not bad I would say. 🙂 The acrylic crystal is domed and gives it a vintage feel. The dial is black, with luminous large trapezoidal hour markers and steel hands. The hour and minute hand have a black tip with a luminous central line where the black part is. The black painted bezel has a luminous dot at 12. On the black dial we see the date, located in a traditional way, at 3 o’clock.

The movement is a 19 J jet caliber, no hand winding. The date changes by advancing the hands pass midnight and back to 21, and again midnight… It is not a quick set date. The seconds don’t hack. So… not a phenomenal movement but one of my favorites. (the Jet – with a ring rotor and you can read about Jets HERE) This one is one of the earliest types, with no hand winding. Just a tool watch with a simple, robust movement.

citizen jet auto dater 120m

The strap that completes this awesome watch is a Tropic rubber one. Perfect match! Now, all I have to do is strap this piece of history on my wrist and take it diving! Well.. desk diving. 🙂

Citizen Auto Dater para40mwater Diver


Beautiful watch but such a difficult one to take a good picture of. Here it is the Citizen Auto Dater para40mwater, reference ADOS 3001-DM, Diver!

citizen autodater diver 40m ADOS 3001-DM

There are so many aspects of this watch that I like that I don’t know where to start from! Let me begin by saying that even though Citizen marked it so boldly “Diver” on the case back it is water proof only up to 40m. The unsigned crown is not a screw in type but the engraved case back is. The entire case is made of stainless steel, polished, with brushed lugs on the upper part. The case back, as mentioned before, screws in and is engraved with the Eagle motif and “Diver”, also “40m water proof” and “stainless steel” The ADOS 3001-DM reference number is there too, but no serial so an accurate dating of the watch is, unfortunately, impossible. As a result of my research I date this watch around 1965.

The dial is pure awesome! It is very dark satinated grey almost black. In bright light the sunburst effect is obvious but on low (normal) light it becomes matte pure black. Due to the domed mineral crystal the sunburst effect of the dial is enhanced and looks somehow… circular. The hands are simple, matching, with large luminous areas, the hour hand being shorter than the minute one. The sweeping central second hand is simple without any luminous material. The hour markers are applied and they glow in the dart too, just as the hands do. The bezel has no luminous dot at 12 but just a simple triangle. Speaking about the bezel, it is a bidirectional friction type and, as a particularity, it is a count down starting from 60, 50… all the way down to 10, 0. This way you can directly say how much time is there left out of an hour, not as usual the elapsed minutes.

Opening the watch we see the beautiful jet movement (read about these movements HERE). It has 21 jewels and can be winded by hand too. It can also display the date, in the widow at 3 o’clock.

The strap in this case is a vintage Tropic but it also looks gorgeous on nato, leather or stainless steel bracelet.

It is a beautiful piece, lovely addition to my diver collection and makes me so happy when I strap it on my wrist, especially on these sunny autumn days.

Read more about Citizen divers HERE.

Citizen Auto Dater Seven para40mwater day-date


A special place among my favorite Citizen movements is reserved for the Jet ones. And this one has the last of the Jets Citizen ever made. My watch was made in September 1966 and Citizen produced these movements up to about 1967. The last JET is the day-date Auto Dater Seven.

citizen auto dater para water

As you can see, it is in perfect, NOS condition, with price tag and booklet. The writing on the paper is in Japanese only. The day wheel is written in Japanese so, it is safe to conclude that, the watch was intended for JDM (Japan domestic market). The entire case as well as the bracelet, are made of beautifully finished stainless steel. The crystal is acrylic. and has a date magnifier.

The style of the watch is elegant, with a fluted bezel, simple silver dial with a sunburst effect. There is no luminous material on the dial or hands. The frontal part of the case is brushed, and all the rest is polished. The bracelet is also finished with a nice combination of polished and brushed surfaces.  As I mentioned before, it is a day-date. That means that in addition to showing the date (at 3 o’clock), it also displays the day of the week (at 12). The day is in Japanese only, printed in black with red for Sundays. All the hour markers, the day and date frame and the Seven logo are applied.

The crown is used for winding the watch (although it is an automatic it can be winded by hand) and setting the time in the first position. The day changes by advancing the hands passing midnight. The date changes by pulling the crown. One pull of the crown will advance the day of the week one time. The crown get back to first position by it’s own due to a spring. Pulling it again, will change the day one more time. This system was named by Citizen “Easy Change”. What can I say, it is easy indeed.

The movement, is the last Jet, calibre 4102. It has 25 Jewels and beats at 18,800 bph. Beautiful!

Read more about watches powered by Jet movements HERE.

Citizen auto Dater UNI – ADUS31201-T


It may not be a real diver but what a gorgeous watch it is! It was made in 1964, just 5 years after the introduction of the first Japanese water resistant watch, the Parawater, and about one year prior to the first real diving watch made by Citizen.

Let me introduce to you the Citizen auto Dater UNI reference ADUS31201-T

citizen autodater uni

The main feature of the watch is the fact that it is a twin crown, similar in appearance with a compressor. The upper crown, located at 2 o’clock, operates the inner bidirectional rotating bezel. By contrast, the lower crown located at 4 o’clock winds the movement and sets the time. The case is made entirely in polished stainless steel and measures about 38mm. The Tropic strap is 18mm at the lugs end and is secured in place by pins that can be easily removed due to the holes in the lugs (a feature that I like a lot in vintage watches).

The domed acrylic crystal protects the beautiful face. The dial is silver, having a sunburst effect. The doubled hour markers are polished and applied. The black elegant lettering are printed and so is the “40M” blue para water feature. The dauphine hands are polished and the hour and minute one have a central luminous part. The inner black rotating bezel has white printing and luminous material markers. On the dial itself the hours are marked with luminous dots too; all except the one at 3 where the date is. The date window has no frame but instead a beveled edge. The dates are printed in black on a white date wheel.

citizen uni cal 2400 auto dater

The snap in case back is engraved “Para water,  Star, SS, Citizen auto Dater, UNI, ADUS31201-T” and the serial no. Strangely Citizen decided to mark them with the production date and so did they do it on older ones but not on their first divers. 😦 I wish I could say for sure when the first real diver made by Citizen was manufactured. Under the case back we have the automatic (hand winding also possible) Citizen 19 jewels movement, cal 2400. In the early till mid 1960’s Citizen used its own circular geared rotor (Jet rotor movements) in its automatic watches.  In 1963 they began replacing the Jet rotor with the more common oscillating weight, which, some say it was cheaper to manufacture and more easily to service than the Jet rotor. The first model to use the swinging weight was known as the “Uniauto” (cal 1200) and came in several versions, all with a special logo on the dial and in 17 or 19 jeweled versions. This watch, presented here, has the logo on the inner bezel at 12. It works at 18,000bph. The date changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight. The seconds hand do not hack.

Still I have to find out why is it called “UNI”?

Read more about a different diver compressor style vintage Citizen here.

Citizen Auto Dater 200m, the Skin Diver


Could this be the first real diver made by Citizen? Well.. maybe it is this one, maybe it is the 120m (that for sure I will write about in the future – read about it HERE). Either way, it is one of the first and what a beautiful watch it is! citizen autodater 200m skin diver The first thing I noticed about this is the “skin diver” engraving on the back, making it really special at 200m (para200mwater). It is the only diver Citizen made with 200m water resistance. The screw retained case back is not marked with a serial no, so unfortunately the date of manufacture is impossible to accurately determine. Because the watch is powered by the Citizen cal 1120 jet movement, and taking other aspects into consideration we can assume it was made somewhere around 1962-1965. The case is made entirely in stainless steel, having the top part brushed in a circular pattern while the rest is polished, with integrated lugs. The Tropic strap dimension is 19mm and is the perfect match for a skin diver. The frictional bidirectional bezel is a one piece design (no bezel insert) and painted black. Because of a lot of usage the edge becomes silver as the paint is slowly being worn away. After all it is a 50 years old tool watch that was used as Citizen intended it to be. On 12 it has a luminous dot, not the usual triangle. An interesting feature of the watch is the fact that the bezel is a count down type, starting from 60 and going down: 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 0, not the other way around as usual. Each minute is marked with a dot. The dial is painted in a beautiful glossy black with integrated hour markers that are polished. Wonderful design of the markers and the hands. On 3 there is the date window, that has a polished frame too. Citizen made the date reading better by providing an acrylic crystal with an outer date magnifier. The winding crown is not signed and operates the movement. It is not a screw in type. Although the Citizen jet movement 1120 ( 21 jewels )  is an automatic one it can be winded by hand too. This is done in the first position of the crown. In the second position the time can be set. The seconds do not hack and there is no quick set date. The date changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight.

One very rare variation of the skin diver is the silver dial one with gold accents (bezel, hour markers and hands). By contrast this one has a “normal” bezel counting up not down as the black version. I have yet to find another, or a catalog picture, to be sure this is all 100% original. (Stephen provided another picture of a similar one but without a bezel so it seems it must be legit. Thank you! ) Update: Both variants are now a part of my collection. The silver dialed one is on original rubber bracelet with Citizen golden buckle.

autodater citizen skin diver 200m

All things considered, black or silver, this is a beautiful, rare, awesome diver that has it’s own place in Citizen history, and ofcourse, in my collection. 🙂 Read more about other Citizen divers HERE.

Read more about the first Citizen diver, the Jet Autodater 120m, HERE.