Citizen Auto Phynox – the first automatic Citizen


Do you want a dress watch? One that is an important part of Citizen history? Maybe one that is really rare? Look no more, here it is the awesome Citizen Auto!

Citizen well known Jet movements are often believed to be the earlier automatics that the company produced, prior to the swinging central mounted rotor, BUT, in fact that is not true. Well, even before the Jet, Citizen had a traditional, more common type automatic movement and this is the watch to have it!

citizen auto 20 jewels phynoxThe case is made of stainless steel, and so is the screw in caseback making it water protected. Overall it has a clean design, with applied hour markers, three hands, central sweeping seconds, no luminous material. Nothing fancy about the design, just a clean elegant look. But, let’s take the case back off!

Here is the movement! And that is the first automatic movement Citizen ever produced, calibre 3KA. Citizen had to come up with a self winding mechanism as a response to the first Japanese automatic made by Seiko in 1955. At the time Seiko was the main competitor and most of the time ahead of Citizen, so the company needed to keep up. They made this starting from May 1958 for only about 3-4 years (not sure about this). Citizen stoped making it because of the introduction of the fabulous (in my opinion) Jet movements that were made from ’61 to ’67. Read about Jets HERE. So, here is the Citizen AUTO! In fact it has a manual wind base movement that was added a large bridge that covers almost all of the inner parts. On this bridge the swinging bidirectional winding weight was placed so the watch became an automatic. Cal. 3KA runs at 18,000 vibration (5 vibration/sec) and has a power reserve of about 35 hours. It can also be winded by hand. Just give it a few turns of the crown and the seconds will tick away easily.

citizen-auto-vintage

Read more about other important Citizen watches 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). Hopefully one day I will find one on original bracelet. Will see.

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. I just love the way it looks! It is one of those beautiful watches, elegant and easy to wear.

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”?

UPDATE 2019 JUNE (5 years later)

I sold my UNI, the one in the picture above, a while ago and since then I was looking for another one, and as you already know me, I am always trying to get the best condition, NOS and mint if possible. Well… with UNI this was not an easy search. It took me a few good years, but I finally nailed it yesterday with Eric’s help! (Happy birthday my friend!) Here it is, my new UNI: (the picture credit goes to the seller, I am still waiting for my beautiful watch to get in my hands, really soon I hope) As you can see it is NOS, on a bracelet and comes with the original box! I am really happy about it!

How I wish Citizen will go vintage style again! Who knows, maybe one day…

Meanwhile, read more about a different diver compressor style vintage Citizen here.