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 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 Auto Dater para40mwater Diver


Beautiful watch but such a difficult one to take a good picture of. Here it is the Citizen Auto Dater para40mwater, reference ADOS 3001-DM, Diver!

citizen autodater diver 40m ADOS 3001-DM

There are so many aspects of this watch that I like that I don’t know where to start from! Let me begin by saying that even though Citizen marked it so boldly “Diver” on the case back it is water proof only up to 40m. The unsigned crown is not a screw in type but the engraved case back is. The entire case is made of stainless steel, polished, with brushed lugs on the upper part. The case back, as mentioned before, screws in and is engraved with the Eagle motif and “Diver”, also “40m water proof” and “stainless steel” The ADOS 3001-DM reference number is there too, but no serial so an accurate dating of the watch is, unfortunately, impossible. As a result of my research I date this watch around 1965.

The dial is pure awesome! It is very dark satinated grey almost black. In bright light the sunburst effect is obvious but on low (normal) light it becomes matte pure black. Due to the domed mineral crystal the sunburst effect of the dial is enhanced and looks somehow… circular. The hands are simple, matching, with large luminous areas, the hour hand being shorter than the minute one. The sweeping central second hand is simple without any luminous material. The hour markers are applied and they glow in the dart too, just as the hands do. The bezel has no luminous dot at 12 but just a simple triangle. Speaking about the bezel, it is a bidirectional friction type and, as a particularity, it is a count down starting from 60, 50… all the way down to 10, 0. This way you can directly say how much time is there left out of an hour, not as usual the elapsed minutes.

Opening the watch we see the beautiful jet movement (read about these movements HERE). It has 21 jewels and can be winded by hand too. It can also display the date, in the widow at 3 o’clock.

The strap in this case is a vintage Tropic but it also looks gorgeous on nato, leather or stainless steel bracelet.

It is a beautiful piece, lovely addition to my diver collection and makes me so happy when I strap it on my wrist, especially on these sunny autumn days.

Read more about Citizen divers HERE.

Citizen Jet Para Water Professional


I was and I still am intrigued by the fact that the lume on Citizen watches doesn’t seem to age like the one on Omega or Rolex or other collectable brands. In fact I lusted for an aged, yellow-brown lume for some time now, on a vintage Citizen and was not able to find a good one. They are either perfect green like new, or, on not well preserved pieces, dirty. It made no sense to me. How can I get a nice patina dial? Finally my dream came true with this awesome timepiece!

The Citizen Jet Para Water Professional

Inside the case back the model no reads: JTI30705I

citizen jet parawater professional

This watch was made in 1962 soon after the introduction of the first water resistant Japanese watch: the Parawater. It also has the Professional label, a rare clasp, a Jet movement and an awesome case back engraving. This was an age when watches had a practical use and not the jewelry that they (sometimes) are today.

The case is made entirely in SS, it is about 37mm and has a simple dial, three hands and no date. The lug hols make changing the original SS bracelet changes so easy! In fact this is a watch that looks good no matter what strap you throw at it: nato, mesh, leather, even rubber. The winding crown is also SS and it is unsigned. At first sight it is very similar with the Parawater I told you about, but this one is not made for water use, but for aviation?. An indication of the link to the aviation is the Jet airplane engraving on the back and the Professional label on the dial. Also a Jet logo is printed on the dial too (Jet movement). In fact the dial has 12, 3, 6 and 9 printed, and the markings: “Citizen Jet, Para Water, Professional”. The hour markers are trapezoidal,  raised and polished. They are filled with (now) the beautifully aged luminous material and so are the matching dauphine hands. All things considered it is a beautiful, simple, balanced face that I like a lot! I have seen very few examples of this model and some of them have an arrow shaped hour hand and a thicker minute one with a flat tip.

The movement is the usual Jet movement with a circular swinging rotor. It runs at 18,000bph as all of them do. This one is the first one made, launched a few months earlier, in October 1961. My watch in made (3-4 months later) in March 1962. It is an automatic (hand winding also possible) with non hacking sweeping central seconds hand. It is called Citizen calibre 3010, Jet movement, and was the first movement that Citizen produced in relatively high numbers. The interesting fact about the rotor is that in earlier types it is marked “Automatic” rather than the usual “Autodater”. The date was added a year later, and so did the name “Autodater”.

And to add to the story… the clasp is marked: “Easy-O-Matic, Citizen Band, Pat.Pend. Stainless Steel” making it even more interesting if that was even possible. 🙂

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 Chronomaster 500m Chronometer


This is THE holly grail of Citizen collectors! This is one of the most sought after vintage watches! This is my dream, my so long waited one and the answer of all my intensive searches!

People ask me where did I find it? I am going to tell you the story of finding this one.

citizen chronomaster 500m

I started collecting vintage Citizen a few years ago. (I write this article in 2015 February) I always loved divers and chronographs. The first watch I had as a kid was a blue Volkswagen quartz “diver”. I still have that one.  Then as time passed I found myself over my head into buying and selling, repairing and loosing money because of my passion, reading, writing, comparing and… you know… collecting. 🙂  I learned that there are fakes, aftermarket parts, interesting watches and common ones. I found out what I like and tried to let the other watches go. I learned not to buy only because it is a good price. I learned a lot and I am still learning. Then about two years ago a piece of information came to me. It seemed that there is a certain diver made in stainless steel, Chronomaster, 500m WR, Chronometer grade. So I started looking for one.  Sometimes I dreamed about it, sometimes I thought I found a lead but time after time,  it was just a mind trick. In all these years I searched for one each and every day. I found four so far. I bought one. The first one was sold as “junk” in Japan for USD 4.100. The second one I found online, on a watch forum, and has a replacement bezel and bezel insert and is not for sale. The third one, on facebook, has a replacement crown, bezel and bezel insert and non original strap and is nor for sale. The fourth one is my watch.

One month ago (2014 December) I was on a trip in Hong Kong and of course I had my share of watch hunting. So I found a vintage watch store that had an Alarm Citizen. I asked if they had any other Citizen and was told to return tomorrow. They will look for more in the back of the store. This is what I did. The next day I saw 5-6 watches and got myself THIS Citizen Leopard. I got the watch and went to dinner. Waiting for the food, I googled searched the serial of the Leopard I just got. I might have entered the wrong digits because one among the images I found online showed a Citizen 500m. There was a new image that I didn’t see before. I clicked it. Imagine my surprise when I found that the Chronomaster was for sale in Japan, posted one day before! I tried to translate the page on my mobile and contacted the seller. They were not selling outside Japan. My world tumbled down! I wrote on my facebook page asking if maybe I have some friends from Japan. Eric said yes! So I wrote Eric. We never spoke before that day but now we are good friends. Thanks Eric! He said he was willing to buy the watch for me and send it my way. To make a long story short, I sent him the money, he contacted the site where the watch was sold, the site contacted the seller, the seller sent the watch to the site, the site said the watch is not ok and maybe they will cancel the transaction if they can’t solve it. The watch was running fast but I didn’t care. Eric said that if they don’t fix it they will not send it. I worried and I waited. What was I supposed to do? Nothing. It was not in my power. A few days later Eric had the watch! Then the watch was on the way to me. 🙂 Let me tell you that the original pictures of the watch were of a very poor quality and I had only a vague idea about what I was buying. Later I found out more information on the watch by talking directly to the seller. This was a very difficult task to achieve. Not easy to find the original owner, trust me on this one. 🙂 So, the only info I got is that the watch came from Kawaguchi, Saitama, Japan. I hope I will find out more. (I found nothing more – 2017)

So this is what I got:  A huge 44mm one piece stainless steel case (uni body case – the movement comes out through the frontal part of the watch, after removing the crystal and the bezel of course), thick slightly domed mineral crystal, unidirectional 60 clicks bezel, screw in crown, rubber strap marvel! I got the whole package! My watchmaker opened the watch only to find a perfect movement as the one in THIS Chronomaster (but Chronometer grade – Citizen 5440). Everything works as it should! I am so happy!

citizen chronomaster 500

Well… the hunt is over, the dream has come true, the wait was long. I am tired and so happy!

Thank you: Eric (Japan), Stephan (UK) , Claudiu (Romania),  Jack (Singapore), Fred (Austria), Daniel (Germany) for all your contribution. You all have your part in making my dream come true! Thank you my friends!

Update 2016: Here is another one. 🙂 So I have two now. (Well… I sold one to have the money for the other Grail, the Glorious – 2017)

citizen 500m chrono master diver vintage

Update 2017: Hard to believe but I found another one for sale in Japan (the best condition I saw, really beautiful!) at the asking price of USD 14,500. Not cheap at all! (pictures below and all credit for them to the seller – Kyotoya – Japan) This one was made in January 1969, the first production date I saw. Here it is:

Conclusion 2017 June:

In all the years of hunting these watches I saw only 10 pieces, in private collections or online. Putting together all the serials and details the conclusion so far is:

  • 8 of them are made in April 1969, 2 are made in January 1969 (901006xx)
  • there are two dial variations: “CHRONOMETER” & “Chronometer” Why?
  • the “Chronometer” variant has an aging yellow lume. The other remains green.
  • the serials range is from about 90400420 up to about 90401130 (except the January 69 pieces) How do the last 5 digits of the Citizen serial actually work ?
  • the finishing of the case  – all brushing should be longitudinal
  • they came on 20mm straight end Tropic straps with Citizen signed buckles and maybe another rubber strap model.

Read more about Citizen divers HERE.

Read about another ultra rare diver HERE the Citizen Super Auto Dater Professional

Read about another HOLLY GRAIL watch, the Glorious, HERE.

Vintage Citizen Diver – Seven Star 4-526970Y


This is not the usual diver, but it has the lovely look of one. In fact this is one of the first “divers” made by Citizen, the precursor of the famous Citizen real diving watches.

It is the Parawater model but it has no specific depth rating. The production date of this particular watch is February 1970.

citizen seven star diver

The case is made in stainless steel, thin, with a bidirectional friction type stainless steel rotating bezel. It measures 38mm wide. It has a domed acrylic crystal that gives a lovely look to the black, matte dial. The crown is marked “C” as most of the early Citizen watches did and it is not screw type.

The dial is simple, black, with luminous squares as hour markers. At three a clock it has the day-date window. Sundays , as usual, are written in red. The hands are common to Seven Star range at the era. The second hand has a luminous dot at the tip.

Citizen vintage diver seven star

The movement is the the calibre 5204 with 21 jewels. It runs at 28,000 bph and it doesn’t hack. The date changes in the second position of the winding crown and the day changes by advancing the hands pass midnight.

The bracelet is made in stainless steel, but I doubt the fact that is original to the watch. It fits the watch really nice.  The clasp, is as usual, signed “Citizen”.

Conclusion – Beautiful piece of history, a precursor of the real Citizen diving watches, the “missing” link between THE Parawater watch and the real diving watches made by Citizen.

Read more about Citizen diving watches here:  https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diver-vcw/

 

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919


Every man needs a real diver watch, and every woman (either a girlfriend or a wife of a true watch enthusiast) is going to get one eventually. 🙂 

This is the vintage Citizen ladies diver. This is the ultimate one, the real one.

vintage ladies Citizen diverThis model has all the specifications that define a diver. My better half says it is even better than the men model of the same time frame, witch is the 52-0110 presented in the picture. I tend to agree with her (well, I have no choice but to agree with her 🙂 ). Read about my watch here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/24/citizen-automatic-diver-150m-52-0110/ Mine was made in 1978 and hers in 1980.

The case is small,  made in polished stainless steel but with a brushed face that doesn’t reflect light the same way as a polished surface would. This is mandatory for a diver so the time can be easily read without light interference. Compared to the men model, this one has some other elements that gives it a nice diving touch: crown guards, lug holes (for easily changing the strap) and unidirectional rotating bezel (60 clicks). By contrast, the big brother has only a friction type bidirectional bezel, no crown guards and no lug holes.  The water resistance is similar (150m) and both of them have a large screw-in crown, an easy grip bezel with a beautiful aluminum insert and a thick flat mineral crystal. The underside of the crystal is concave, magnifying the hands and the dial.

The dial and the hands are very similar. Both the ladies watch and the men watch have a black dial with applied luminous hour markers. The hands are similar (Mercedes hours hand, spade minutes hand and a seconds hand with a luminous dot close to the tip). The small brother has a day and date window. Both of them are marked in the same way: Citizen, automatic, 21 jewels, water resistant, 150m. My girlfriend’s watch has a raised ring part of the dial with seconds markers. That gives a great depth feeling to the entire watch face.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919The movement is small too, suited for the small case. It is an automatic, 21 jewels movement. Citizen named it calibre 6601, and can be found in a variety of ladies watches. Not much to say about it except the fact that it displays both the day and the date, can be hand wound and a particularity is the fact the date changes by pulling repeatedly the crown.

The strap is the original (pretty impressive for a 30 years old watch), mint condition rubber, with a stainless steel buckle. It is very comfortable, very easy to find the perfect adjustment hole. The width at the lugs end is 14 mm, but it integrates really well with the flowing case design. I think it would look good on nato (still looking for one so small) and i have already ordered a mesh stainless steel bracelet for it.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919 citizen 150m

As a conclusion, all I can say that my diving watch found it’s better half and so did I. 🙂

Read more about vintage Citizen divers here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diver-vcw/