Citizen Chronometer


One of the most beautiful vintage Citizen watches ever made is this one, the Citizen Chronomaster. They were made in stainless steel and gold filled cases (also solid gold). Mine is gold filled, as obviously seen in the pictures. citizen chronometer Some say it was born as an answer to Seiko’s Grand Seiko line. Others say it was made to demonstrate a point, that Citizen is capable of great things, so they constructed this awesome time piece, the best one! And it stands its grounds up to this day as both vintage and modern, classy and elegant, powerful watch no matter the reason it was made for in the first place. This model was launched in November 1962 and was produced for about 4-5 years. Being a Chronometer means it has a very high accuracy level, ranging from -1 to +10 s / day. The very large balance wheel and the fine adjustments along with the carefully designed and constructed movement proved it to be the best movement Citizen had at the time. The finishing is great too and even today I find it very pleasing to look at.  It is a hand winding movement (soon after this most of the watches were automatics) and runs at 18.000 bph while having a nice power reserve of about 53 hours. On Citizen page can be found a certificate (the picture below) that proves the quality of the watch, also I fond this solid gold marvel that sold for… over 16,000 USD! vintage citizen chronometerThe case on mine is gold filled (100 microns) and is rather large (and wears even larger) at 36mm diameter. This is mainly due to the large silver dial, small bezel and thick lugs. The crown is signed “C”. The dial is pure beauty, silver with a sunburst effect, with applied gold hour markers and black crisp markings. The three hands are also gold (plated?) The case back snaps on it’s place and is marked both on the outside and inside. The Eagle solid gold medallion is applied and makes the watch even more special. What else is to say? An awesome watch, a joy to wear and a bless to have!

Update Nov 2015:

I have managed to find pictures online with the entire package (not for one watch yet, but this collage is made from different puzzle pieces). So, here it is how the full package (box and papers) should have looked like:

citizen chronometer box papers

Next I will post a picture of the stainless steel one. 🙂

Update Dec 2015: And… here it is:

citizen chronometer stainless steel

And here it is with box and certificate:

citizen chronometer box and papers

Here it is the gold and SS version side by side, not a common sight, is it? 🙂

Awesome piece! So proud to have them!

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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.

Vintage Citizen Triple Calendar Watch


One of the oldest Citizen watches is the triple calendar, launched in 1952. It is also one of the most complicated watches they made (except for chronographs).

citizen calendar watch

Apart from telling the correct time it also has a complete calendar powered by the movement. That makes it unique among vintage Citizen watches. The running seconds are off centered, at 6. The date is shown by a pointer while the month and the date are displayed in a twin window on the upper part of the dial. The entire face of the watch is very well designed and balanced. On this particular watch the date hand is a replacement because it is too long, covering the date. On another dial design (for 17 jewels movements) the dates are positioned towards the edge of the dial and a longer date pointer is used. In this case the dates are closer to the center so a shorter hand should have been there in the first place. Because it is such an old watch I think at a certain time that one was replaced. The dial aged beautifully and it is still classy and elegant. The “C” logo, and hour markers are golden and applied, the dates are printed in blue, the month and date are black on yellow disks.

The manual “C” winding movement has 16 jewels and was inspired by the Swiss calibers at the time. The winding crown is at 3 and setting the time is done in the second position. The seconds do not hack. The date corrector is located at  4 while the month and day pushers are at 10 and 2. Very intuitive layout.

As more information will become available on this model I will update the page. So far… I can tell you I love the vintage elegant look of this awesome watch. The only thing I wish is that Citizen would have placed a moon phase in one of their watches. And this particular one would have been perfect for that. 🙂

Update 2016 July – Here is the booklet:

citizen triple calendar

Update 2018 April:

Here is my NOS one, I have it for one year already  but somehow only today felt like the right day for a photo shoot:

Read more about another (Citizen Monthly) full calendar watch HERE

Adam’s great story of Citizen Chronometer


Adam is a great guy from Australia with a great watch story to share. Without further ado I will let him tell you all about it! 🙂

“So…about the watch. I didn’t wear it to my wedding as the wedding was in Sydney 4 hours drive from here (Port Macquarie) followed by a honeymoon in Melbourne. I did not want to lose it.

We had an amazing wedding staying in Sydney, then in Melbourne.

I never had the chance to get the watch serviced before the wedding as I was very busy.
When I was 10 years old I stayed with my Aunty and Uncle for a week. They live on acreage in a small village one hundred and sixty kilometres west of Sydney called Old Bowenfels. My uncle Karl was an elderly man who worked as an electrician for his entire working life.

As Australia was isolated when he was younger he had to be innovative or creative to enjoy modern technology. He built a television set using a radar screen, a valve radio, and a device that could record voices or sounds onto vinyl. He recorded my great, great grand parents singing Silent Night in English and in Danish.

He was an amazing man who still maintained the property into his mid eighties cutting wood and loading coal into the “Donkey” (a very, very old hot water system). He was very resourceful and refused to replace things that still work, if it failed he would repair it.

When I found the watch it was sitting on a shelf covered in dust and dirt. The watch had been sitting there so long that the leather band had dried out and gone solid. The watch must have had a pretty hard life as what you saw in the photos. I asked him if I could have it and being a generous man he said yes without a second thought. I took the watch home with me and always held it in high regard. He passed away two years ago after a long battle with asbestosis and dementia. Knowing he was unwell for a long time it was hard for me as I have never really grieved his passing or even cried.

I think of my uncle often because he was like a grandfather to me. I spent a great deal of time on their property and was very close to my uncle. He taught me to weld, basic electronics and like I said also served as a grandfather figure.
That is why I hold this watch in high regard because when I hold it, it reminds me of my childhood and of my time spend with my uncle.

I also feel guilty about the watch at the same time as my Uncle became estranged from his eldest son for a very long time, his grandchildren did not want to see him or my aunt as they felt that they were boring. At the funeral I sat near the front of the church. It was very awkward as my third cousins, his grand children were devastated at losing Karl. I think it was because they were sad for the time lost that they could have spent with him.

So now the watch sits in a watch case with many other watches that I like. I never wear it because I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of wearing it but also I like keeping the watch as it represents the time that I have spent with my Aunty and Uncle. It is something that is very special to me.”

citizen chronometer officialy certified

Thank you Adam! I am sure the readers of Vintage Citizen Watches loved the story just as much as I did! Many times the watches are a lot more than time telling devices and they have great value due to our emmotional connections and the stories they tell about our past, about our loved ones, about our memories.  

A few words about the watch: Citizen had a line of hi beat (36,000 bph) called Leopard. Adams watch was the top of the Leopard. They had their own logo and medallion as seen on the screw in caseback.  The case is gold plated, with a stainless steel caseback and a gold inlay medallion. All were 36,000 bph and most were made with 28 jewels, but there were also 31 and 32 jewels models. Adam’s watch has 31 jewels. These use the 7250 movement (7230 in the 28 jewel ones).

Read more about another beautiful Citizen Leopard here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/11/22/citizen-leopard-36000/

And another special Citizen Chronometer Officially Certified HERE.

Undersea Treasure – Citizen 150m 52-0110


The emotional connection with our watches is in fact the main force that drives us into collecting them. A 1969 great Moon landing story made the Omega Speedmaster the icon that it is today. Same goes with “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona, Heuer Monaco and many others. Patek takes the emotional connection to an art form level. Well, now we have a great Citizen story too!

Starting from this post and then with the contribution made on the Vintage Citizen Watches group page on Facebook  by Renato I am here to introduce to you this great story of the Citizen Undersea Treasure. Our hero is the vintage Citizen 150m diving watch model 52-0110. I also contacted the newspaper and Stephanie was happy to provide me all the information they had so far regarding this. Unfortunately they were more into the interesting situation and not into watches so a lot of details I had to figure out myself.

You can learn more details about this model (Citizen 150m 52-0110) in HERE.

Neil Blakers of Cromer found this awesome watch while “strolling along the beach on Saturday afternoon”  on Long Reef Beach in Australia.  “I realized it was a watch but the face and body were covered in barnacles. It looked as though it had once been growing on a rock or at the bottom of the ocean and been thrown up by a heavy surf” he said. He treated the found object with lemon and grapefruit juice only to clearly notice that the watch was still ticking. In the pictures below the seconds hand is in a different position so the watch is for sure still alive. That was great news indeed!  Neil understood the importance of his find and took the watch to Citizen Watches Australia at Brookvale who forwarded it to the Tokyo Head Office where they determined at the Product Quality Section of their Tanashi Factory that the watch was made in 1977. Based on my knowledge about vintage Citizen divers it is safe to declare that the exact model number is 52-0110, type 1 dial variant. Read here about this dial.  The watch was found in 1983 but it is unclear for how long it stayed submerged into the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. Some researchers think that based on the way it looks we can assume it was “diving” for maybe 2-3 years.

citizen 150m automatic diver

In the picture we can see that the watch is still attached to the red nato strap so I will wear mine (same model, same year) like that for the next days. 🙂

citizen-lost-in-the-ocean-australia-52-0110-diver-red-nato

The nato strap and the fact it got lost there make me believe that a surfer lost it while riding a huge wave. It is a nice imagine to picture even though there is no clear evidence this is the true. In the end the mystery is the salt and pepper that makes a good story.  The water resistance of this model is 150m, it has a thick mineral crystal that is well fitted into the case and a screw in large crown. The caseback also screws in so in my mind there is no doubt that these are real tool watches. My 52-0110 diver was pressure tested by my watchmaker and to my excitement passed with flying colors. The movement inside is the automatic Citizen calibre 8210A with 21 jewels.

Read more about Vintage Citizen Divers HERE. 

Citizen Leopard 28800 4-720032TA


It is always nice to visit new places and when one of these places is Hong Kong there is no way that you should leave empty handed (pun intended). So, on a watch hunt I went. I talked to my friends from the city about the best places to find vintage watches around there and started roaming the streets. Little did I know that fate was going to prove that my hotel was perfectly positioned so, in the end, one thing leading to another, I found my dream watch only because I bought the one in this article (that is a another story to be told after I get THE watch in my possession). Back to the story, here is what I found:

citizen leopard 28800The interesting feature of this watch is the little word that describes, well… a big cat: the Leopard. The Leopard range is special due to the high beat movements. Some of them are 28,800 and some are 36,000 bph. This particular range of watches was introduced in about 1969 and only lasted for a few years, enough time for Citizen to make about 15-20 variations of Leopard movements based on 72xx and 77xx calibers. (as a side note: way too many variations and not enough DNA unfortunately) Also a great number of cases and designs were made so I am sure you can find a Leopard perfect for your taste. 🙂

This particular watch has a stainless steel polished cushion shaped case, a simple, smooth, polished bezel and a stainless steel case back. It was made in April 1974 (funny thing I have noticed – a lot of the Citizen watches I have/had were made in April). The quartz revolutions was about to change the watch world. Just think about the fact that Citizen today is the largest watch company based mostly on quartz, the very same quartz that almost killed what we love so much, the vintage mechanical Citizen watches. 😦 The dial is silver, simple, with a beautiful sunburst effect. The applied hour markers have a black line while the 12 o’clock one has two black lines. These black details work very well with the black hour and minute hands. The sweeping second hand is polished. The Citizen logo is also applied while the rest of the text is printed in black: “automatic, 28800, Leopard, 26 jewels”. One can easily understand from reading the dial that the movement inside is automatic with 26 jewels. On top of that it can also be winded by hand. The date is quick set while the day changes by advancing the hands past midnight. It is a hacking movement (the second hands stops when setting the time). The picture below is a part of the scans made by me of Citizen vintage catalogues.

Citizen leopard calibre 7200 36000

As a conclusion: beautiful watch and an interesting reminder of how fate works! 

Read more about Citizen Leopard 36000 here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2014/11/22/citizen-leopard-36000/

Citizen 150m diver bezel (original vs fake)


Call it fake, call it aftermarket, one thing is true: it is not original.

As a vintage watches collector I find myself often in the situation where I am wrong about some things I take too easily for granted. We all learn, sometimes it is the easy way, sometimes is the hard way, in the end, we all learn.

This time I’ve learned it the hard way with one of the most common and well known diver, the 62-6198 so I am writing this lines in order to help some potential vintage Citizen collector looking to buy a genuine one.  Read about the wonderful Citizen 150m HERE.

I already wrote about the original – fake dial for the Citizen bullhead octagonal chronograph. You can find that HERE

vintage citizen diver bezel 150m original fakeSo, lets see what sets them apart:

1 – First of all you should look at the luminous pearl. It should be matching the luminous material of the hands and the hour markers.

2 – The pearl should be dipped in the bezel, nor raised.

3 -The pearl, again should look a little darker on the original, not that clear and bright as the fake one.

4 – The triangle should be with clear borders, and on the top part it should be more space. The fake one has the upper part of the triangle almost touching the outer border of the insert.

5 – The numbers are not matching, take your time to spot the differences!

6 – Take the bezel insert of and see the color of the pearl on the other side.

As a conclusion: Take your time, do your homework, don’t assume you know it all and enjoy Vintage Citizen Watches!

P.S. Thank you Jack! 😉

Citizen Chrono Master Autodate 33Jewels


Chrono Master – this says it all.

Chrono Master was, and still is,  the most recognizable high grade line of Citizen,  a real competitor for Grand Seiko and Swiss made watches.

Vintage Citizen Chronomaster

I love the look of this watch, elegant, yet casual, perfect for a suit as well for any daily attire.

The case is made in stainless steel, having what I consider to be a perfect design. The lugs are beautifully designed and every detail shows the great care placed into drawing each line, each angle, each corner. The entire case is polished. The case back has a gold inlay medallion with an engraved eagle.  The winding crown is the right size and shape for the watch, signed “C”. The mineral crystal is flat, sitting higher than the bezel. It’s angled edge makes the dial pop and bends the light is mysterious ways.

The dial is silver, with an sunburst effect. Very clean and organized. The hour markers, the date frame, the Citizen logo and the eagle logo are polished and applied with a lot of care. The details are impressive. There is not much writing on the dial: “Chrono Master”, “Autodate” an “33 Jewels” – this all the information needed to see how this is not an ordinary Citizen. The hands are polished too matching the hour markers, having a longitudinal middle black line.

Citizen Chrono Master autodate 33 jewels

Citizen 33 jewels cal 5440

The movement is the Citizen calibre automatic 5440 with 33 jewels, beating at 18,000 bph. It can be also with a day (5450) or only date. The number of 33 jewels is high enough but not the highest. Some of these movements are also Chronometers, adjusted to a higher precision. This was possible by the adjuster positioned on the balance. The automatic movement can be winded by hand also. It is a quick set date, and it hack for better time setting. It is a beautifully made movement complimenting the overall design in a fortunate way. The movement print presented here is a part of Stephen’s scans of a Citizen catalogue. His work can be read here.

The strap, in this case, is an aftermarket black snake with a sharp stainless steel custom made buckle. I think this suits the watch very well. I wish I could find an original Citizen buckle of the era but I don’t have high hopes on that.

Conclusion: Beautiful design, wonderful quality, great watch! Every Citizen collection needs a Chrono Master!

Update 2017 September: Here it is a rare blue dial version. Notice the applied logo on 6 and the hands shape. (pictures from the on line seller)
And the bracelet version:

Read more about Citizen watches here:

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

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/

 

Dating a vintage Citizen watch


One of the advantages of collecting Vintage Citizen Watches is the fact that most of them can be easily dated. This is important for any collector. It is always nice to find a watch that was made the very same year you were born. And guess what, for Citizen you can go even further! You can date it by month also!

How do we do it?

Well… it is a combination of different clues:

1. First of all, we turn the watch over and look at the caseback. Most of the time over there we have a lot of information regarding the case model, the watch model, the material and, very important in dating one, the serial number. This serial number is usually 8 digits. Those 8 digits show the year and the month.

The first digit is an indication of the year. The next two are for the month.

In the example below the first digit is 6 so it can be only a year ending in 6 such as 1956, 1966, 1976 or 1986.

dating a citizen watch 2. The “water resistant” marking illustrates the fact that the watch was made after ’72-’73 because prior to this the term used was “parawater”. So we can narrow it down to 1976 or 1986.  Read about “Parawater” here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/26/citizen-parawater-citizen-parashock/

3. After we identified the serial and the possible year we go deeper. We look at the model and at the movement. Certain models and movements indicate a specific time frame so it is easy to identify the exact year. We know this model was not made so late as 1986 so it is made in 1976. 

4. The next two digits are 07 so the month is the seventh one – July.

5. By putting all the information together a Vintage Citizen Watch can be, this way, dated. The watch here is made in 1976, July.

Read more about Citizen history here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/26/citizen-history-from-1924/