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.

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Vintage Citizen Watches Lume Patina


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Lume is a short term for the luminous phosphorescent glowing solution applied on watch dials. There are some people who “relume” watches, or replace faded lume. Formerly, lume consisted mostly of radium; however, radium is radioactive and has been mostly replaced on new watches by less bright, but less toxic compounds.

Common pigments used in lume include the phosphorescent pigments zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate. Use of zinc sulfide for safety related products dates back to the 1930s. However, the development of strontium oxide aluminate, with a luminance approximately 10 times greater than zinc sulfide, has relegated most zinc sulfide based products to the novelty category. Strontium oxide aluminate based pigments are now used in exit signs, pathway marking, and other safety related signage.

Strontium aluminate based afterglow pigments are marketed under brandnames like Super-LumiNova, watchlume, NoctiLumina, and Glow in the Dark (Phosphorescent) Technologies.”

vintage citizen diver lume

Vintage collectors grew up to appreciate a beautiful aged lume on their watches and a rich yellow patina, orange or brown is always desired if original and natural. Even some modern watches (Jeager leCoultre and Omega, to name a few) are made with “fake” patina, yellow luminous material. Some of the dials are called “tropical” because they also changed color in time due to exposure to sunlight in tropical areas (usually). Some say that the Sun is not the main factor to this process but the passing of time and the original formula of the pigments. Either way, I love a beautiful patina too, just like most of us. Most of the dials that age are made with radioactive material, like tritium or radium.

citizen-150m-diver-vintage

Citizen never used radioactive material on their vintage watches (1932-1978) but used some Promethium-147 after this date on some models but only for a few years. I am still looking for a watch made prior to 1978 that has it. It should be marked on the dial code P-JAPAN-P. They used this in small amount so the patina is only slightly influenced by this. I found this in a Citizen diver instruction manual: “Luminous Paint: Being a diver’s watch, luminous paint is used for this diver’s watch (200m) to facilitate time readability in a dark place. This luminous paint contains a trace quantity of radioactive substance pursuant to ISO safety standard. There is no problem for normal use; however, in the event that the watch glass has been damaged or broken, immediately carry it to the store where you purchased or to an authorized Citizen Dealer.” So, there are only traces of this material. No need to worry for radiation.

citizen 500m chrono master diver vintage

Most of the lume of vintage Citizen is still glowing brightly in the dark even today and keep, more or less, the same color as they had when they were made. Only a few of them get the desirable patina but making them so rare only makes the reward of finding one even greater. So, good luck finding the perfect Citizen patina! 🙂

UPDATE: Well… it seems that I had one 1978 diver with P-JAPAN-P 🙂 Read about it HERE.  Another watch I love, but it is made after 1978, is the Walter Wolf titanium fly back chronograph that you can read about HERE.