A watch for a friend


Not so long ago I realized that there are quite a few occasions when friends asked for my help in finding them a watch to wear and enjoy. It is not an easy task at all because a watch, as we all WIS know, is not just a time telling device. A watch creates a special bond with its owner, and tells more than just the exact time. It can say a lot about the man/woman wearing it, about the relationship that the owner has with Time itself. It should match the lifestyle, the goals, the dreams and the way of thinking of the one that has it strapped on the wrist. So, it is not an easy task at all. In order to find the ideal match, when suggestion one, we should know a thing or two about the one buying it. And knowing someone is hard, really hard because a lot of times we don’t know ourself that much.

Today I will talk about a Citizen Alarm Date and how I chose this one.

You can read about it’s technical features HERE, now we will talk about the process of suggesting and choosing a watch.

Top 10 questions to be asked:

  1. Are you a “vintage” guy or a “modern” one?
  2. When and on what occasions do you plan on wearing it?
  3. Do you plan on swimming with it?
  4. Does size matter?How much?
  5. Date or no-date? Is this feature important to you?
  6. Bracelet or strap?
  7. White dial, black dial or colored one?
  8. Manual or automatic?
  9. Any complications?
  10. And the most important: what is your budget? 🙂

Out of this questions others will emerge and we can narrow the possibilities down to just a few and most of the time we will feel what the right piece is.

I chose this Vintage Citizen Alarm date 4H for my friend and I will show him the watch today. I am still unsure if he will like it or not and I am taking a chance here writing and posting this article before he will actually see the watch later today. He will not read the article prior to having the watch in his hands and he is not yet a member on Vintage Citizen Watches group on Facebook.  He is a dentist and a bloody good one in fact. A young dental surgeon and he is just starting his watch journey. Little does he know that this “disease” has no cure and once you start it is going to grow into a lifetime addiction. In fact this is how I will know I made the right decision if in a few years he will be the one showing me watches. Time will tell. So… back to my friend and (probably) his watch. 🙂 He is more of a vintage guy and I guess a manual wind with alarm will make him interact with the watch more. This way he will connect more and see how it feels. The size is suitable (36mm) for a variety of activities and outfits and he can wear it on bracelet or on Tropic in the dental clinic, on leather with a suit or even on a Nato with summer beach attire. Just don’t swim with it. Washing your hands and getting caught in the rain will be no problem because the watch is in fact Parawater. (how many times did I tell you how I love this term?) The bracelet is the original one the watch was made with in January 73. The curved end original Tropic, a brown leather strap and a colored Nato will provide just enough diversity to play whenever he desires a change of look and feel. The crystal is acrylic so I will tell him, in half a year or so, about Polywatch and later on about polishing the stainless steel case if he asks. Of course I will tell him what scratches mean on a watch and how they build character but we will see what the future has planed for him and his WIS adventure.

So, bottom line, the watch is ready for him, not fully winded because I have to show him how to do that, on the original bracelet, ready to be adjusted and strapped on.

I hope you will like it and will serve you well my friend, wake you up in the morning and give you a lot of pleasure wearing it, hearing it, interacting and looking at it.

UPDATE: – he saw the watch, loves it, and then read the article. What can I say, a perfect match. 🙂

If anybody else has a cool story about how someone chose a watch for him / her, or vice-versa,  I would love to hear it as a comment on this article.

Have a great day my friends and don’t be shy, share the watch love with the new ones. 🙂

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As Simple as That


As Simple as That

by Andrei Cherascu

 

From November 2005 until August of last year, I wore only one single watch. I wore it every day, with every outfit, for every occasion.

It’s a beautiful, solid piece, whose dark-gray titanium case and bracelet still look brand new after eleven years. Its design – round shape, a cool-looking black Arabic dial and white lume hands – seems ready to stand the test of time. The watch is made by a German company called Regent but its exhibition case back displays, of all things, a Citizen Miyota movement.

It was a gift from my father.

Even as a child, I’d loved watches. I used to jump at any opportunity to stare at them in magazines and shop windows. Far too young to appreciate their intricate mechanisms and fascinating complications, I was drawn simply to their incontestable beauty. There is and always has been something intrinsically elegant about wearing a wristwatch, something that transcends time and trend and even personal taste. Yet, for eleven years, I wore only the watch from my dad. For some reason, I couldn’t conceive the notion of owning or wearing more than one wristwatch, as if that very concept marked the limit of my imagination. When I got the Regent, I put it on and that was that.

I always used to say that I want to be buried wearing that watch. Of course, I was joking. First of all, I’m a science fiction author – I don’t want to be buried, I want to be cloned. Secondly, I would never do that to a watch. A watch is a dynamic entity par excellence, its existence justified exclusively by its relationship with the wearer. There’s a particular quality about this relationship that stands at the center of my fascination with timepieces, but I’ll get to that shortly.

As you can probably infer from the picture that accompanies the article, I managed to overcome my one-watch obsession and I credit our very own Bogdan with triggering the change.

One evening, over a glass of wine and a lengthy conversation about watches (the first of what turned out to be many) I mentioned my dedication to the Regent and also my related funerary plans. “You can still be buried with that one and also wear others while you’re still alive,” Bogdan said with that look of profound sorrow enthusiasts usually display when someone mentions they don’t like wearing watches – a look I’ve perfected myself over the last few months. What started as a joke left me with a very serious issue to consider.

The following days, I started entertaining the notion of actually wearing more than one watch. There was just a small step from that one nascent thought to becoming an amateur collector. My wife, Ioana, suggested we get each other watches for our twelfth anniversary as a couple, to help ease my transition to multi-watch wearer and maybe help reduce some of that over-attachment to the Regent. Surely, she reasoned, if the watch was a gift from her (with an added special occasion to boot) I would love it just as much as the one from my dad. Boy, did I ever!

Not only did I become completely enamored with the brand-new Atlantic Super de Lux I stumbled upon after an evening’s worth of watch-hunting, I also developed a passion for the Atlantic brand. Its focus on classy, old-school dress watches really resonated with me (especially after Ioana pointed out they’re exactly the sort of watches my main character would wear) and sparked my interest in the Swiss company’s almost cult-like status on the Eastern European markets. I started reading about Atlantic, spending hours researching its history and collections before branching out into the general history of wristwatches, watchmaking, brands and Basel and Patek and haute horlogerie.

Just a few weeks after purchasing my new watch and getting accustomed to wearing something other than my beloved Regent, I decided that I wanted to add another timepiece to what I was determined to grow into a collection.

From the start, I knew it had to be a vintage Citizen – one of Bogdan’s watches. It was just the natural progression of the narrative. Not only was he responsible with my newly-awakened interest, I’d also followed his website and Facebook group, read the articles and grew quite fond of this iconic brand and its rich history. To keep with the theme of story and symbolism, Ioana decided it would be my birthday present.

When I mentioned my intention of purchasing a vintage Citizen, Bogdan asked me a few questions, sounding suspiciously like a matchmaker. I told him about my preference for classic dress watches, that I wanted one with manual-winding and most importantly, that I was looking for one with a story. Later that evening, I found a Facebook message with a picture of three beautiful samples; among them, the absolutely gorgeous Parawater.

parawater-citizen-deluxe-andrei-cherascu

Being more familiar with Citizen’s well-known divers, I was completely taken aback by the classic elegance of the Parawater – a testament to Bogdan’s matchmaking talent. He agreed that it’s “the one” and later told me he hadn’t even intended on selling it, but he’d looked through his keeper box and this one had just screamed that it wanted to end up with me. He finally decided to part with it, with the peace of mind that he was selling it to a friend.

I’m a ceremonious person, it’s just my nature, so I couldn’t help but organize an entire Citizen soiree, complete with a solemn “rite of transfer” that consisted mainly of Bogdan and myself staring at the Parawater and agreeing on how cool it is. I’m not going to go into technical details here; there are other articles on the website discussing it far more competently than I could. I’m just here to tell a story.

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful and elegant it looked. At just 36mm, this is a delicate, tasteful piece the likes of which are hard to come by nowadays, with most men’s watches (even in the dress category) seemingly designed for size rather than symmetry. I didn’t even realize this until I started wearing it and noticing that other watches felt strangely oversized. Even the (original) bracelet is slim and stylish, going extremely well with everything from leather jackets to suits and trench coats, making the Parawater – born of the Deluxe line – a surprisingly versatile instrument.

This feeling of versatility is enhanced by the gorgeous black Stick dial. Its elaborate trapezoid marks crowned with small dots ensure that it produces a veritable spectacle of contrast and color under various lighting situations. There’s some wear-and-tear visible on the hands, giving it a sort of timeworn wisdom whose effect I greatly enjoy. It helps substantiate the fact that this watch is over half a century old, a timepiece in the strongest sense of the word.

Even now, after the novelty wore off, I’m still fascinated by its implicit history, the complex string of stories and events that ended with it on my wrist. To quote Bogdan: “It’s almost like everything this watch has been through over the past fifty-six years happened in such a way as to make it end up with you now. If someone had left it home on the table in 1973, or if the watchmaker had returned it early in, let’s say, 1991, everything could have been different.”

In the meantime, I’ve learned to date it and discovered that this particular watch (or at least its case back) was manufactured in April of 1960, the exact year and month that my father was born. As a storyteller, patterns and coincidences always make me happy.

When I put it on, I was surprised by how comfortable it felt. Even after prolonged wearing its weight never becomes burdensome or unpleasant, remaining merely a subtle reminder of its presence. The sensation of wearing it feels so natural it’s almost organic, as if the watch had grown right out of my wrist. Because of that, it quickly became my go-to watch, the one I wear the most often, which significantly accelerated the bonding process. Now, I can’t picture being away from it for too long and the thought of having to send it in for maintenance is distressing.

An added factor in the bonding process was the nightly winding ritual. As I previously mentioned, I’m a very ritual-oriented person and the sensation of manually winding a watch, being directly responsible for its proverbial heartbeat, is both fascinating and relaxing to me. I often have trouble sleeping and the act of listening to the spellbinding mechanical litany of its faint tick helps my brain go into a restful state. This is my first manual winding mechanism and the sensation is exactly as I’d imagined.

This brings me back to what I’ve written at the beginning of the article, about that particular quality about watches that I find so fascinating. I often think about this while I wind the Parawater. It’s that simple, straightforward honesty of mechanical and even quartz watches.

In an age where everything around you is multifunctional, has an operating system, high-end graphics and a plethora of applications that try to sell you other applications, a nice, old-fashioned watch is as straightforward an object as you can find. It won’t try to sell you anything, it won’t try to get you to click on a link, install updates or check your e-mail. It will just do what it was created to do, depending on its purpose and complications. All you have to do is take care of it and, in return, it will tell you the exact time to the best of its ability.

There is an innate honesty and implicit loyalty to a watch that is otherwise hard to find in this click-bait, high definition world. The very fact that it’s essentially outdated makes it all the more endearing. Its simple task can be carried out by a wide array of technology, yet we still often turn to its archaic design in spite of its aura of human fallibility – or, perhaps, exactly because of it.

 

Read more about this model 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 Crystal Seven para100mwater diver


Exactly one year ago I wrote about a fabulous watch, the Dandy Seven diver (read about it HEREand here we are today talking about it’s brother, the Crystal Seven diver. They were made in the same period, they share the same line (Seven), the same movement, and the same style, but each stands proud as powerful individual watch.

crystal seven vintage citizen diver

It is a decent sized watch, with a modern look and a strong vintage feel; maybe it is the shape of the case, maybe the colors, maybe the entire watch. By the way, it is made entirely of stainless steel. The SS bracelet I doubt it is the original one but it suits the watch very well, with those blue highlights, that match the minute chapter ring color perfectly. The front part of the case is brushed while all the rest is polished.

It is a diver watch (para 100m water) and as any diver watch that respects itself it has a bezel. This one is an aluminum bidirectional friction type with a luminous dot on 12. The dial is beautiful, grey, with a sunburst effect. The hours are marked with luminous material. The hands had luminous parts too but on mine they must have fallen out and to this day it was not yet relumed. The second hand has a luminous ball too. The minute chapter ring is blue with white 5 minutes dots.

The movement inside is the Citizen automatic 5204 calibre, with 27 jewels. It can also be winded by hand. The winding crown is made of stainless steel and signed CTZ. It is not a screw-in type. Due to this movement, the watch displays both the day of the week as well as the date. The day changes by advancing the hands past midnight while the date changes normally in the second position of the crown. The movement doesn’t hack.

One thing that differentiates it from it’s brother (the Dandy Seven) is the mineral crystal (hence the Crystal Seven name). On the other hand, Dandy Seven it fitted with an acrylic one.

All things considered it is a beautiful, rare diver, vintage and somehow modern at the same time.

Read more about other vintage Citizen divers HERE.

Citizen Highness 36000


Citizen Highness… nice name that must stand for something! Well.. it does! Citizen made this as a high grade variant of the Leopard line and has a chronometer level of accuracy, Highness grade. This was achieved due to a series of factors, including the fact that is a high beat piece, running at 36,0000 bph.

citizen highness 36000

The case is made in stainless steel, with brushed 6 and 12 o’clock surface and the rest being polished. The case back screws into place and is made of stainless steel too. It is marked Parawater and 4-770277 Y. The serial no dates this watch August 1971. The mineral glass is flat and has a beveled edge, as usual with Citizen. The most interesting fact is the crown, signed CH and made of two parts, an inner one and an outer one. This is very important because this watch has a very uncommon feature. So… let’t talk about the way it functions!

The movement is the Citizen 7730 calibre, 36,000 bph, with 26 jewels and day and date display. It is an automatic one and hand winding also. The movement can be winded in the first crown position. Pulling it out a position, will set the time. The seconds hack for exact time setting. Push the crown back into first position and be ready to set the date and the day. How to do that? Just push the button (the inner part) of the crown. Yes, the crown is itself a pusher! So, hold the watch 12 o’clock side up and press the pusher and the date will advance with every click. Turn the watch with the 6 o’clock upwords and press the crown again. The day will change! How smart is that!?

citizen highness manual

It is a rare watch, and full of interesting features. I wish it had a special case back (as the other special Citizen).

Read more about Leopard range HERE.

Citizen “Better Starts Now”


I just saw this commercial. I think it is super awesome and I had to share it with you!

  1. Pocket watch 1924
  2. Parashock, Japan’s first shock resistant watch, 1956
  3. Parawater, Japan’s first water resistant watch, 1959 – (read the Later edit)
  4. Cryston Solar Cell- World’s first analog light-powered watch, 1976
  5. Eco-drive – satellite wave F100

Here it is!

Better Starts Now is the simple belief that it is always possible to make something better, and that now is the time to start doing it.

Read more about the historical Citizen watches HERE.

Enjoy!

Later edit: Unfortunately Citizen Co. got the wrong watch in their commercial. The first water resistant watch didn’t have a date as the one featured here dropped into the aquarium. Read more about the REAL first Japanese water resistant watch HERE. – The Parawater! 

Vintage (clear caseback) Citizen Shock Proof


This time the watch presented is not a diver, neither a fly back chronograph. Not a hi beat movement and not a Chrono Master but what a beautiful timepiece it is!

What makes it special is the fact that it has a transparent casback for an easier way to look at the  movement. It was made around 1960?

citizen shock proof parashockThe case is gold plated and has a two acrylic crystals, one on the dial side and one on the movement side. This way, it makes this watch the oldest I have seen with a display back. You can see an interesting Leopard pocket watch with a display back HERE. Removing both crystals we can have a better look at the beautiful dial and movement. The dial, as well as the movement, is placed inside a black disk, with hour markers on the dial side. This gives it a great contrast to the white simple center. The hands are also golden and the small seconds are eccentric, at 6 o’clock. The “C” logo and the hour markers are applied. The same logo can be found on the winding crown.

To compliment the watch, a genuine vintage green leather strap with a gold plated Citizen buckle was used (not sure if the right one for this piece but a really good match).

The movement is a Citizen calibre H that I don’t have much info on so far. Hopefully in the future I will be able to add more facts about this watch, meanwhile let’s enjoy the pictures and the way the movement works through the clear case back.

Citizen Highness Chronometer Officially Certified 36000


COSC is Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, which is the institute responsible for certifying the accuracy and precision of wristwatches in Switzerland.

Japan had something similar and so did Citizen with this model. It is a gorgeous piece powered by a very accurate movement. This particular watch, model 4-720300 Y ,  was made in February 1970 and it is marked Parawater.citizen chronometer officially certified 36000So, let’s start with the movement! It is the Citizen calibre 7230 based on 72xx calibre that is found in most of the Leopard range. Read about Citizen Leopard watches HERE. It is an automatic with 28 jewels, day and date, hacking seconds and it is running at 36000bph. It is operated by the “C” signed crown that sets the time, day and date, and winds the movement. It is engraved with it’s own serial, like most of the special movements Citizen produced. All this makes it a special piece and very accurate; after all it is Citizen Chronometer Officially Certified, the first generation of what later became Citizen Highness. In fact this one is called Leopard Highness. Such a special movement needs a special, stainless steel, all polished cushion shaped case. The caseback has it’s own special logo, a gold inlay medallion. The same logo is applied on the dial too. Talking about the dial, well, it is awesome! It’s simple, clean, with a vertical grain brushed surface. It has applied hour markers, logos and day-date frame. All the rest is printed in black. The skeleton hands are also black and so is the simple sweeping second hand. The entire face is protected by a mineral faceted (9 surfaces) crystal that plays with the light making it look really special; well after all it really is!

citizen highness manual

UPDATE:

Here is it one with a black dial I found on-line (pictures from the seller)

vintage citizen chronometer officially certified black

And here we have a beautiful story about a similar watch written by Adam: enjoy it! LINK HERE

Citizen Ace Parawater


One of the common lines Citizen made in the sixties is the Ace. They are rather common with simple design and movements. Some of them are more complex, with a higher number of Jewels and better movements, the Super Ace. The one I am presenting today is an elegant simple black dial one made in 1962. The Ace were made somewhere starting from 1961 up to about 1967.

citizen ace parawater

The case is simple, round, polished, with a snap in case back. It is made is stainless steel and so is the unsigned winding crown.    The dial is simple and elegant, glossy black, that looks like enamel. The hour markers are applied and all the hours are also marked with a luminous dot. The hands are polished and have luminous material to (except for the sweeping second hand). The marking on the dial is simple, white: “Citizen Ace Parawater, Para Shock 21 jewels”. Nothing fancy, just pure beauty.

The movement is hand winding, with 21 jewels running at 18,000 bph. It was also used in other models, with 21 or 23 jewels, with or without 3 position adjustments.

Bottom line, it is what it is, a simple, elegant, gorgeous watch with a reliable movement.

Read more about The Super Ace HERE

Citizen center second


Sometimes less is more and this is true when talking about this watch, the first Citizen equipped with a central sweeping hand and not the usual (at that time) eccentric seconds. Starting with this model all the following watches were like this, without small seconds. So, it was an important milestone in watchmaking.

citizen center secondThe “Center Second” came in many versions, and even a solid gold one, and a total of 6-7 generations for about 10 years. The first one was produced in 1948. All of them were running at 18,000 bph and came  equipped with 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and even 19 jewels. The Center Seconds are non-hacking and don’t have a date complication. During this time they became water protected and starting from 1956 they had the Citizen Parashock system installed.

The first watch presented here is ParaShock and Water Protected and is made in about 1961. The case back is SS and screws in even though most of them had snap on case backs.  I love the simplicity of the pale white dial with gold accents! The Citizen “C” logo at 12, the hour markers and the hands are all golden while all the rest of the marking are printed in black.

Here are a few pictures from catalogues showing different calibres:

citizen center second

And here it is in a pocket watch form, with original chain attached: citizen pocket watch center secondBottom line, it is an important watch in the Citizen history and a great elegant timepiece itself. Every collector should have one.

Read about more simple Citizen watches HERE.