Power, spirit watch


So why do I Really wear this? What is it that compels me to cast my eyes across the many models I could choose from, only to succumb to the subconscious needs to wear what I believe to be the holy grail of watches? MY Holy Grail! I questioned whether it was the subconscious strength It offers me, or the empowerment it affords me the instant it hits my wrist.

That sense of power it transfers to me, offering such irresistible desire that you just have to take a sneak look at the timepiece when you think nobody’s watching? The hidden comfort it affords, the metamorphosis of cold steel to skin temperature the instant it’s put on. There’s so much I could say about it, so many reasons to give to justify wearing what I openly concede to be MY holy grail of watches.

The finest of nuances are what does it, the 60 clicking sounds of the bezel so finely crafted, the hypnotic power of the second hand as it moves effortlessly in it’s attempt to put me into metronomic trance. Yes, that’s it; it’s my Spirit Guide, my guardian, and my keeper of time. Time we all know rests so precious upon one’s hand.

It is… The 1969 Citizen “Chrono Master 500m Diver”, of which there is nothing to compare!

citizen 500m chrono master diver vintage

It is a piece of such importance to me I can safely say it’s the one! The Grail, one that none other will ever beat! Truthfully, the realist in me accepts that one can never give a closed title to any watch, there will always be another to come and steal your heart, your soul, your very being.

Why did I not choose the predictable, the Rolex Submariner, or some other grandiose watch? Because nothing else could give me the story a watch should give. (Read about the Citizen 500m Diver HERE ) I’ll tell you why? I simply couldn’t. Even with all it entails, the Rolex to me can never capture the sense of spirit that is held in the above. You see buying a watch isn’t always about money. Anyone with money can buy a ‘Rolex’, but can they buy the passion of the story behind it? In my case it can’t.

Yes, it’s true you have to posses some level of wealth to obtain the Citizen 500, but that isn’t always enough. You have to possess fortune, luck, a blessing, call it what you will. I call it fate. This was destined to become mine, my keeper of time.

Having that knowledge I’m in possession of my guardian angel I no longer fret or worry about when, if, how am I ever going to get my hands on such a treasure. I already have, and that’s the strength behind my loyalty to this particular model. Waiting patiently sometimes not so, I knew my time would come, and come it did. My waiting paid off, and many a lesson learnt in the process of my waiting.

I was taught the concept of perseverance, the will to fight, to never give up on any given cause. The watch is more than just a watch; it’s my journey. A journey that saw several watches passes through my grasp. But my perseverance paid off; for despite those few for sale over the time; with only two of these being 100% original, (needless to say I bought them both…) That is why I award my Citizen 500 the title I bestowed upon it.

There will never be another watch, or brand that will replicate the feelings I endured during my quest to own the Citizen 500, the thrill of the chase, the disappointments, the ultimate euphoria I felt when I eventually took possession of my cherished goal. It is what encompasses the very self of me, my spirit, my determination, my very soul. My spirit went into the chase for my Mecca of watches, the reason I now call it ‘my Spirit watch’. It holds the very essence of me which when I look at it on a daily basis I’m constantly reminded of.

This watch will be carried with me through the rest of my journeys. It will experience the thrills I’ll no doubt encounter when looking for another prey in the ever-growing desire to build the best Citizen Vintage Collection possible. It will never have a price tag on it, never be for sale, it is mine. It is my Spirit Watch.

Bogdan

(special thanks to my friend Kevin, who polished my words and gave the article the final, actual form)

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 Super Auto Dater 39J 150m Professional


That is a long title! In fact it is even longer, it is:

“Citizen Super Auto Dater 39J Para150mWater Professional SADS52801-Y”

This must stand for something and for sure it means business! 🙂 Citizen Super Auto Dater

This one is one of the very best Citizen has ever made. I was lucky enough to find a mint, NOS example.  It has all the characteristics that a top quality iconic vintage diver should have. Even today after almost 50 years it stands out proud in the tough world of diving watches.

It has a unibody case (the case back doesn’t come of and the movement can be taken out only by removing the crystal)  made in SS, 40mm diameter, all polished except for the upper part of the beautifully shaped lugs. The fact that the case is monocoque is obvious when reading the engraving on the back where a small “X” inside a circle can be found. This is the sign that Citizen used for a unibody cases. The crystal is tightened in place by a steel pressure ring and there are two rubber seals that protect it from water intrusion. One ring in under the crystal and one on the side of the crystal. The crown too has it’s own rubber O ring making the watch water resistant up to 150m. Citizen used the term Para Water. (I love these words) So the watch is Para150mWater, making it the first of the iconic line of 150m divers Citizen made with the same overall look and function. No Citizen lover should miss having at least one 150m vintage diver, no matter the model.  Back to the crown (unsigned and polished), one interesting feature is the fact that the threads are not on the tube connected to the case but on the crown itself. So the crown indeed screws INTO the case and not ON the case like most of the screw-in crowns do.

The thick crystal,  flat on the surface and concave on the dial side gives beautiful reflections and makes the polished hour markers really pop. In fact the entire face of the watch is pure gorgeous! The elegant writing, the polished hands and hour markers, the green luminous material (still glowing powerfully today), the date window… awesome! How beautiful is it to read: “Citizen Super Auto Dater 39J 150m Professional” and then, the 3 stars, the sign that Citizen used for superior watches at the time. “Professional” – nice! 🙂

The bezel is bidirectional friction type with a simple insert with a luminous dot inside a triangle.

The strap in this case is a Tropic curved ends one, 19mm wide at the lugs part that I think compliments the overall appearance of the watch a lot. It is a diver, Citizen used Tropic straps and this combination is gorgeous.

Citizen Auto Dater 39J 150m

Inside the watch the magic continues! The 1150 citizen calibre with 39 jewels is, if not one of the best, for sure one of the most beautiful movements Citizen has. The Super Jet movement was introduced in 1963, my watch is made in 1967, June. It beats at the usual 18,000 bph and it is automatic with hand winding feature also. It has a date that can be adjusted by passing the hour hand over midnight. It is not a hacking seconds. The beautiful part is the circular geared rotor. This is what Citizen called Jet movements. Some say that Citizen replaced this type by the centrally mounted oscillating weight because it was more economical to produce and service even though not as qualitative. I would have expected to see a six screws  rotor when opening the watch but I was equally pleased to find a rotor type that had four and is engraved “Citizen”only, without the usual “super jet”. The entire movement is gold plated.

Here it is how the papers should look like:

citizen-super-auto-dater-39j

As a conclusion all I can say is that finding one of these is not an easy task but when completed the joy is huge and for sure this is a watch that once in your collection you will never ever sell.

Read more about Citizen diving watches HERE.

Read about another ultra rare diver HERE – the 500m Chrono Master Chronometer