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!

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Orange – Yellow vintage Citizen models


For a while now I am trying to figure out the answer to one question that was on my mind. I noticed that some Vintage Citizen Watches have orange accents on their dials and I also found the same model but instead of the aforementioned orange they had yellow. Why is that? Are they different after all or a mistake, or repainted, or…?

Well… here it is the answer:

dandy-seven-citizen

The watch that gave me the chance to answer the riddle is the super rare Dandy Seven diver. I am lucky enough to have a NOS (that I will never sell) one. (read about this awesome model HERE) A few days ago I got another one, also NOS, with the sticker on the back and in excellent condition. BUT… it had a yellow ring on the dial, not the orange. How come? Both are NOS and they have not been tempered with in any way in all the 50 years that passed since they were made. So… I had to follow my hunch. I opened the yellow one and hoped I will see some parts of the yellow hidden under the case but it was not like this. All the colored part of the dial is visible through the acrylic crystal. I took my magnification and there it was, the answer I was looking for and hoped for – The orange dot! 🙂 Hidden on the dial plate side, right where the date window is, sat a tiny dot of paint. And it was not yellow, it was orange!

So… where does this discovery take us? It is easy to understand that at a certain moment in time, when the watch was made, the present day yellow was in fact orange to start with. So, without a shadow of doubt, due to UV light, the orange turned into yellow. It is in fact the same model. The orange one sat in the dark, the yellow one sat in the light. And I am pretty confident that this is true to all the other orange – yellow Vintage Citizen Watches models out there.

Read more about patina in Vintage Citizen Watches 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 150m 62-5370 & B52806


Citizen Diver OR-O B52806 or 62-5370 are, more or less, the same model. Both of them are difficult to find, no matter the condition, to find a NOS one… almost impossible. The 62-5370 is made for domestic market and the B52806 for export and has its own awesome engraved case back. So, they have different case backs, different hands sets and dial codes but they share some of these features sometimes (variants or marriage?). The second hand tip received a luminous ball for better visibility for the export model. The 62-5370 can be found with a simple second hand. The only obvious thing that is constantly different is the case back. The movement is Citizen cal. 5470 for 62-5370 and 5430 for B52806. I don’t see any other difference between these two calibres other than the swinging rotor.

citizen 62-5370 citizen B52806 (2)

I had to have both of them even though in the first place I got only the NOS export model (because of the beautiful case back).  Both of them are marked water proof 150 M in a period when the term Parawater was about to… unfortunately disappear. This water resistance is possible due to thick mineral crystal, screw in crown and case back. They ware made in ’69-’70 but the exact period is impossible to determine for the export model because it has no serial no. The 62-5370, on the other hand, has a serial engraved and the manufacturing date can easily be seen.

So… one model with variants or two distinct models? The debate might still be on but as far as I am concerned I will consider them variants of the same model and… have them both!

Read about the complete 150m Citizen diver collection 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.

Citizen Seven Star Para100mWater APSS2812-Y


The watch I introduce to you today is a variation of the Vintage Citizen compressor style diver 4-520343 Y, I wrote about HERE.

I called it a compressor style case because it is not a real compressor one but it only has the look of one. It has two crowns and an internal bidirectional rotating bezel that is operated by the crown at 2 o’clock.  Because I have already reviewed the sister model in the article about 4-520343Y HERE, I will only post the pictures and point out the differences.

citizen seven star parawater compressor diver

So, this is the blue dial one, as clearly seen in the picture, and the dial in marked Seven Star. The case, movement, hands, crowns and straps are shared between the two models. The dial on this one is marked parawater and has the Seven Star logo “7” applied. The caseback is also different with different engraving.

For this particular watch I think the Tropic strap is a good match and really nice to wear.

Read about more diving watches here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diving/

Citizen Dandy Seven Para100mWater Diver


Citizen Dandy Seven Para100mWater Diver – The True Diving Watch

Model 4-520688 Y

There are common watches, rare watches, ultra mega extra rare watches and… this. 🙂

Let me tell you this watch in not rare, it is something none of my Citizen collector friends knew it existed. If you saw another one, let me know. To add to this story, it comes in mint NOS condition, with price tag, model tag, papers, box (inner and outer one), stickers… complete package as the day it left the Citizen factory so long ago. By the way, it was made in 1969.

Here it is, the way I got it:

dandy seven diver citizen

Now let’s get to the watch itself!

Citizen named it Dandy Seven Diver and marketed it as a powerful waterproof watch designed for underwater use. The powerful Citizen “Parawater” (waterproofing) enables this watch to resist 10 atmospheric pressures at the depth of 100m underwater. It is equipped with a register ring that indicates the time lapse  and the remaining time after submerging, and a safety diving depth graduation witch indicates the safety limit of diving depth and acts to prevent submarine sickness. Thus, it can be said that this watch is ideal for those who make diving their profession and therefore it is called the true diving watch.

What can I say, it is a true diving watch and such a beautiful one! I love the colors, the shape, the size. The bezel is bidirectional friction type (as most of the Citizen divers are – except from the 500m Chrono Master). The bezel insert has a metallic blue color that contrasts with the orange inner bezel. Blue and orange are complementary colors so this watch really catches your eyes especially in bright natural light. On the bezel Citizen placed a luminous dot rather then the usual triangle. The crystal is acrylic, beautifully bending the light. The crown is signed “C”. Both the case and the bracelet are made in stainless steel and are carefully finished in brushed surfaces and polished ones. The clasp has the usual diving extension Citizen used for a lot of their models.

citizen diver dandy seven

As for the features:

  1. It adopts Citizen’s “Parawater” (powerful water proofing) device and is capable of resisting 10 atmospheric pressures.
  2. It adopts a time register ring.
  3. It has safety diving depth graduation.
  4. An automatic winding watch equipped with a manual winding mechanism.
  5. It has clear viewing day and date indicators.
  6. Equipped with Citizen’s unique quick date setting device.
  7. Adopts Citizen’s unique Parashock (shockproofing) device and unbreakable spring.

Regarding the movement, I tried to open it but was afraid to scratch it so I left it this way because as for most of NOS pieces I have found out that this is a difficult and risky operation. I tend to believe that the movement inside is the Citizen calibre 5204?

Citizen also provided information about how to use the time register ring, time, day and date setting, and reading the safety diving depth graduation. Also some instructions on the maintenance of the waterproofing quality were given.

All things considered this is an awesome powerful watch that I hope you like reading about. Awesome Citizen! My first 100% complete vintage Citizen package and such a beautiful, rare one it is!

UPDATE: I managed to find another one so here they are side by side:

citizen dandy seven vintage diver

The movement inside is indeed the Citizen calibre 5204.

dandy seven vintage citizen diver parawater.jpg

Read more about vintage Citizen divers here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diving/

Citizen diver 150m 52-0110 dial variants


The largest group of Citizen divers is the 150m one. It has a classic design and a gorgeous look. They had a production time span of about 15 years, powered by a handfull of movements. The last model was the one in this article, the 52-0110. Even if this is one model it had a few variants. I saw only black dialed versions and a rare orange dial one. Stephen on his page suggests it might have had a blue dial too. http://sweep-hand.org/citizens-vintage-divers-1962-to-1980/ I have yet to see one to confirm that.

No matter the color, we can see two design variants, one prior to 1978 and one after 1978. I will call them “type 1″(8210 820719-S) and “type 2” (8210 824391 KA). The dial code is printed on the dial at the bottom of 6 o’clock. I am lucky enough to have both of them. Let’s see the picture that can be magnified them for better understanding.

citizen 150m 52-0110

My type 1 was made in ’77 and type 2 in ’78. The case is the same, the crown, crystal, bezel and movement are the same. Both powered by the well known Citizen cal. 8210, 21.600bph, quick set date, non hacking seconds.

The main difference is the dial, and the way the hour markers, the logo and the date frame are made.

  1. Type 1 has the letters of the Citizen logo separated while type 2 has all the letters connected in an applied logo.
  2. The date window on type 1 is connected with the lume frame. By contrast type 2 has two distinctive parts, date frame, and lume frame.
  3. These is due to the way Citizen chose to manufacture the dials. Starting from ’78, on type 2, they decided to apply these elements, and so they did. They made the dial, painted it, printed the white lettering and the minute markers and later applied the logo, the date frame as well as the hour markers.
  4. In type 1 (prior to ’78) we have a unibody dial, made in one piece containing the logo, date frame and hour markers. After painting and printing it Citizen polished the surface revealing this look.
  5. Under magnification the main difference is easy to spot: Type 1 has polished elements with only one metallic surface appearance while type 2 had these elements polished  on the sides too. This is because they were never painted. On type 1 we can see the black paint on the sides of the logo, date frame and hour markers.

With Citizen most of the times the look of a watch is dictated by the manufacturing process and so is the case with these dials too.

Read more about this model here:  https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/24/citizen-automatic-diver-150m-52-0110/

Citizen Parawater – THE Parawater


After presenting the first watch manufactured by Citizen, the beautiful pocket one (read about it HERE), it is time for another milestone in watchmaking. This time, the first Japanese waterproof watch, THE Parawater! This makes it the grand, grand father of all the Citizen divers we all love so much!  Please note that this was not intended for diving, but it was up to the task for swimming!

In 1959 the company produced the first Japanese water-resistant wrist watch. This was the “Citizen Parawater”. It was powered by the Citizen Cal. 920(2B). It was produced with  19, 21 and 23 jewels. Soon after, the Parawater completed two trans-Pacific tests and one in the Sea of Japan. The result, needless to say, was positive. As time passed Citizen was growing as a company and exported more and more watches, so (unfortunately IMHO) the term “Para Water” was changed to the universally recognized (an boring)  “Water resistant” somewhere around 1970-1973.

Back to this particular one! The line chosen to be modified so that it will become water protected was a success already, the Deluxe. Citizen changed the design of the case, added rubber seals and greatly modified the tube and crown assembly. By doing that and after a lot of research they were able to stand by their product in public demonstrations.

Citizen Parawater Deluxe

After intensive search I managed to find this particular watch, in an non working state, the bracelet and the clasp was destroyed beyond restoration and the crystal was badly scratched, but what an awesome find! I had to take the plunge! (pun intended 🙂 ) This is how I got the pictures from the seller in Greece:

Citizen Parawater

Now, after a long time deciding how invasive the restoration should be I went with a bracelet swap with a similar design from the same time frame by Citizen, a light crystal polish and I got the movement running again.  This is the end result:

Citizen Parawater Deluxe

Interesting facts: The black dial has lume dots and the hands are also with luminous material, making it very rare (the only one I saw) and very beautiful. Another detail is the fact that the entire dial in printed and there is no applied logo.

The caseback has the inscription: “All stainless steel”, “Antimagnetic”, “Parawater”, “STAR”, “Citizen Deluxe” and the serial no. By the way the watch is made in 1959, making it one of the very first pieces.

Beautiful lug holes for easy bracelet replacement.

Don’t forget to magnify the last picture for more details!

Conclusion: I am so happy to introduce to you this wonderful piece of history and I hope you like it as much as I do! The watch found a new home with Daniel in Germany and for sure it is a great home! Enjoy it Daniel!

Later edit (2015): 

I here present to you my keeper Para Water, that I found this year in Hong Kong (thanks Anthony! 🙂 ) Excellent condition, fully working 100% original, made in 1961.

parawater citizen deluxe

Here are the three dial variants, Two white ones (one with a star, the other without) and the black one.

parawater citizen

Update 2016 APR

Here it is a commercial advertising sign from the period:

the first parawater citizen

Read more about vintage Citizen divers HERE