Baselworld 2018 – 100 years of CITIZEN


Citizen is having its 100th anniversary this year and we all know what a major event this is, a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a look at the past century of fine watchmaking and still have a glimpse at the next one. I couldn’t have missed it for the world!

Our trip to Baselworld trip story started a few months ago when visiting the Citizen Headquarters in Tokyo Japan. Our host Wakaba Kuroshima said she was looking forward to see us in Basel. Without even blinking I agreed: that would be lovely! So… fast forward to a few weeks ago when she sent us invitations for the Citizen 100th anniversary party. Thank you Wakaba! We were already accredited as press, to cover the event, but the official Citizen nominal invitations made me so proud to be there that nothing else really mattered those days. We booked a few hotels, cleared our schedule and fueled the car. Road trip to Basel! By the way, this is the first time I went to this well known world watch event and, I know it is hard to imagine, I only did it because of the Citizen party.

The trip was long but awesome! Five countries, 3000 km, 35 hours driving time, a few restaurants along the way and all this for just a two hours party?! Well, that is correct, it was not just a party, it was the Citizens 100th anniversary and there was not a chance I would have missed it. Sunny and snow, cold and rain, stuck in traffic on the highway and yet again doing 250km/h plus on German Autobahn… We made it in Switzerland just in time to meet a few on-line friends at the fair while taking a look at the new watch releases. Unfortunately, because of the tight schedule, I couldn’t meet all the friend I planned to. Hopefully next time.

So… we got our Press badges, entered the fair and took a short look at the Swiss watches. They were really cool and are covered on-line everywhere, but the main reason for our visit was Citizen, so finding the booth was the main goal. It was easy to find. We could’t linger, so back to the hotel we went for a shower and dressing up for the party. The watch I took with me was the first Citizen ever made, the pocket watch. It felt like the perfect choice and I was not wrong. I also had some original Citizen made accessories, with Citizen movements, tie pin and cufflinks that fitted the occasion and the location nicely. In fact, what you see in the pictures as shining little stars hanging from the Citizen booth ceiling were nothing else but thousands of Citizen movements. The design was spectacular and here it is what Tsuyoshi TaneAtelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects says about it:

“What is time?”
From prehistoric times until now, countless civilizations and tribal nations have asked this very question. The gears of time have been turning ever since humanity first became conscious of the concept, and it is no doubt that we will continue to contemplate time inthe future.

Born alongside time, we have it to thank for human emotions: joy, sorrow, and at times, even suffering. It has created our history and engraved our memories.

Entering the 20th century, however, time was presented with an additional element: speed. Thanks to a revolution in technology, time accelerated – or at least this was the illusion we were under. Before we knew it, humanity had begun to consume time until it had lost its very soul. And now, time has become digital, smart, and taken on a most cold and mechanical nature.

Consequently, CITIZEN has decided to focus on “What time means to the 21st century”.
The question that we have been posed with now – as citizens of the 21st century – is “What is time for?” The answer will depend on our meaning of happiness.

At the CITIZEN Watch Group booth at Basel world 2018, we will be paying homage to this elusive concept under the theme, “We Celebrate Time.” As we approach our 100th year anniversary, the CITIZEN Group as a whole will be holding a special watch exhibition and performance at what we have named Time Theatre. It will also feature the dazzling installation that “turns” light into time, LIGHT is TIME. We will be surrounding our visitors in 21st century-light through an installation of wrist watch main plates meticulously positioned to form a spectacular geometrical space. Bulova will also be holding an exhibition reflecting on time, “History of First” is a visual representation of the brand through the time span of its 143 year history.

Join us in our homage to time in the 21st century, as We Celebrate Time for the sake of the future.

Back at the party I was so pleased to meet Wakaba again and I had the opportunity to meet for the first time in real life my friend Hiroyuki Ohta, manager at Citizen Watch Co., who gave me a lot of support in the last years. Thank you my friend! Hope to see you soon and keep in touch!

 

The music was nice, perfect for the occasion and the light show was awesome, we had a Sushi bar with Japanese chefs and fine drinks. There was a beautiful dance moment “Light is time’ but the highlight of the party was the speech of mr. Toshio Tokura – President and CEO of Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd. Here it is a part of it:

What is Time?

The Citizen Watch Group encompasses six unique brands: CITIZEN, Bulova, Arnold & Son, Frederique Constant, Alpina and CAMPANOLA-each proclaiming its individual achievements in innovative style and technology, which they have cultivated throughout their respective histories. By celebrating time, which includes understanding and acknowledging the time each brand has invested to reach this moment, we believe together as a group, we are better equipped to pioneer the next great advancements in the world of watches.

This year at Baselworld 2018, Citizen Watch Group is pleased to introduce the new Time Theatre, created under this year’s corporate theme, “We Celebrate Time.” The Time Theatre is open to the public and is a place where we hope people can gather and honor the special moments in their lives, from the past to present, as well as gaze into the future and the many amazing experiences that have yet to be realized. The Time Theatre also showcases the latest watches by Citizen Watch Group brands for those who share a common passion for distinguished design and craftsmanship in watchmaking.

In 2018, CITIZEN is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and throughout our existence we have continually sought to define the meaning of “time.” Whether it’s an accumulation of seconds, minutes and hours, all accounted for on our wristwatches-or perhaps the very stream of our lives, “time,” it can be interpreted simply as a series of momentary events that occur. Time truly is precious, so the tools to measure and communicate time must be accurate, and CITIZEN’s unwavering mission and pursuit for accuracy has continued since its founding in 1918.

We are also proud this year to announce the “Cal.0100,” the world’s first light-powered Eco-Drive movement to deliver an accuracy within ± 1 second a year. The Cal.0100 is completely self-sustainable, relying only on a light source and the mechanics of its internal movement to deliver precise timekeeping, autonomously and continuously. The technology allows us a more efficient and honest appraisal of time, and with it, the ability to better manage time and enjoy the precious moments of our life.

Please join us as “We Celebrate Time” at CITIZEN’s Time Theatre, where we will be displaying a number of innovative new products by CITIZEN, Bulova and other Group brands. We thank you for your continued patronage and support, as we set forth into the next 100 years at Citizen Watch Group, and continue our pursuit of excellence while pushing the possibilities of watchmaking design and technology.

Toshio Tokura President and CEO
Citizen Watch Co.,Ltd

During his speech Mr. Toshio Tokura also announced the Citizen  – Disney collaboration and this is a major thing. They became the official timepiece of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Marvel new media’s creative space. Among other things, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort will begin offering Citizen timepieces featuring designs unique to Disney Parks. Citizen will also become a red-carpet sponsor for the highly anticipated Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War film in April 2018, creating experiences surrounding the release of this milestone movie.

So many good news and for sure the future is looking bright for Citizen and Eco Drive but somehow I feel a little bit disappointed in not having a mechanical watch as a 100th anniversary. Well.. every watch brand is doing an homage and at least a few vintage inspired modern reinterpretations, and they sell like crazy, but Citizen was not. Why? I know why but still, the hope is the one that dies last.

The answer is deep in the Citizen philosophy: Small-ER, Fast-ER, Thinn-ER.  

As a gift, when leaving the party we got the Essence of Citizen 2018 catalogue and two beautifully presented lollipops shaped and the first Citizen and the newest one. Amezaiku – is a traditional Japanese candy craft art. Thank you Citizen! Domo arigato!

The new 100 years will be better and better, that is for sure! They were always improving and innovating so they will not stop.

Better starts now.

The challenge:
Accurate to ± 1 second

CITIZEN has pursued the essence and further possibilities of the watch ever since the company’s founding. There is one challenge that we have actively confronted throughout that entire time: superior precision.
In 1924, we developed our first pocket watch, the “CITIZEN.”
We debuted our first quartz watch accurate to ± 10 seconds per month in 1973, and in 1975, we debuted Crystron Mega, the world’s first quartz watch accurate to ± 3 seconds per year.
We continued to produce even more accurate watches with longer running times incorporating our proprietary light-powered technology Eco-Drive.
This year, as we mark our 100th anniversary, we have achieved yet another milestone: Calibre 0100, an Eco-Drive movement with annual accuracy ± 1 second, which tells the world’s most precise time.*
Calibre 0100 tells the precise time autonomously based on an internal mechanism with no reliance on time signals from radio towers or GPS satellites.
It marks the individual seconds in their purest and most refined form.
Like a strong person who achieves his goals through sheer force of will, it uses its own rhythm to tell the precise time for everyone, wherever they are, without depending on anything outside itself.
The Calibre 0100 marks the start of the next one hundred years of watchmaking for CITIZEN.

Read more about this calibre and the future plans of Citizen HERE.

 

Bottom line: As a collector, am disappointed? No, I am not, in fact I am even more proud of Citizen and even though my heart still wants a vintage inspired Chrono Master 500m my mind knows that this is not the Citizen philosophy. They are respecting the past and are proud of it but they are always looking forward, better and better. It is us, the collectors who are at a certain level stuck in the past, protecting and preserving the wonderful world of  Vintage Citizen watches. What I can do is write, collect and share data and respect them. I will let Citizen do what Citizen does best: be better, evolve and innovate. And yes, a light powered watch, accurate to a a second per year, is way better than a mechanical one. Such an achievement! Every reason to go this way, except for the fact that the heart wants what the heart wants. I will keep on collecting VCW and keep on dreaming of a time long gone, before I was born…

Thank you Citizen! I am so proud and humble at the same time to be a part of this wonderful story that keeps on going!

Happy bithday!

お誕生日おめでとうございます。
Otanjoubi omedetou gozaiasu!

Citizen Bogdan – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

Advertisements

Choosing the perfect watch for Baselworld 2018


In just a few days I will be at Citizen’s 100th Anniversary Party at Baselworld. Proud to be invited at this special, once in a lifetime, event. So… which watch should I wear?   I have to take so many aspects into consideration when making this decision: first of all, it should be an important watch in Citizen’s history, a rare one, a cool conversation piece, one of my best… Also, I have to think about the way I dress, about the over 12 hours drive to Basel, the weather maybe? Hm…. Tough choice! 

In order to decide I created a POLL on Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook group and here it is what my friends think I should wear:

Third place: The Citizen Glorious

The 1971 Glorious is one of the rarest and most appreciated Vintage Citizen Watches. It is not called “Glorious” for nothing. At the time of its launch it had one of the most precise and accurate movements in the world, and many say it was a lot better than the direct competitor: the best of Grand Seiko line. Awesome 36,000 bph movement, no doubt about it, perfect SS case finishing, NOS, a pride to have in such condition. Does it get any better? I would love to have it with me at Baselworld!

Second place: The Citizen Diamond Flake

The 1962 DF is so much more than a beautiful watch. It was, at the time of its first appearance, the thinnest three hands watch movement in the entire world, at only 2,75mm! This is the ultimate dress watch: thin, elegant, no date, no lume, manual wind movement, silver dial and…. let’s not forget that my example is made of solid white gold!  Talk about class! What better choice for a formal Citizen party?

First place: The Citizen Chrono Master 500m

This in my Holly Grail, one of my pride and joy watches, the 1969 beast diver! The best of the best! Would I strap this on my wrist, hell yeah! Is it a good watch to wear with a suit? Maybe it is not, but look at it, read about it and wear it! I wrote a lot about this awesome watch and no more words are needed, this is the “to go to” watch at any Citizen get together. But is it the best option for this occasion? My Facebook friends think so and this is still to be decided in the next day.

And a special mention, on of my favorites:  THE Shokosha Citizen 

Somehow this simple pocket watch went under the radar but think about it, after all it is the 100th Citizen anniversary and the watch that started it all, the first, the one to be celebrated here is in fact this one, the one and only, THE CITIZEN. So why not more votes for this one? I would vote for it and in fact I will right now and give it a chance!

The battle is on and one of these will go the 2018 Baselworld  for the 100th year anniversary party. So… which one should it be?

Will keep you updated. 😉

Citizen parawater parashock “Green Eagle” 63-1094


This time it is getting more simple, but is it really?! Well… let’s find out!

At a first glance there is not much to it, just a simple three hands manual wind watch, with a date… and a green eagle logo. 😉 This is the Citizen ParaWater, ParaShock, 63-1094.

vintage citizen parashock parawater green eagle

The watch is made entirely of stainless steel and has an acrylic crystal. The date magnifier is on the underside surface of the crystal. The winding crown in made of SS too and it is signed “CTZ”. So… the usual stuff. But then we take a look at the dial and we see the beautiful sunburst effect. And the striking feature is that the center of this effect is not in the center of the dial but at the 6 o’clock edge. It looks as a rising sun effect actually. Lovely detail! Then we see the raised applied multifaceted hour markers that reflect the light around, working perfectly with the dial. They are also marked with a luminous dot. The hands have also luminous material for better reading the time in the dark. Red and green. The dates are printed in red and the Eagle logo is green. Again, another visual detail that adds to the overall appeal of the watch. We will get to the green Eagle in a bit.

The movement is nothing fancy, just a reliable hand wind one, with a date. It is the Citizen calibre 1802, with 21 Jewels. It doesn’t hack and it is not quick set date. In fact the date changes by going back and forward passed midnight with the hour hand.

12038596_1652516901680966_503252284663377769_o

And back to the dial! The Eagle logo is interesting, but why is it there? I have seen it also on a Citizen Homer, but printed in blue. Well, we cant be sure yet. My friend Alexander thinks (and I tend to agree with him) that it is the Thunderbird. Thunderbird is the image that also is used by the Blue Angels (Citizen chronograph is currently a sponsored watch) of the US Air force. Since Seiko and Citizen were readily available to US service men in the PX stores back then (1970’s) maybe this is why ? Maybe the line Citizen was offering to target US air force personnel? Perhaps this was the way Citizen tried to market some of their models back in the 70;’s to a specific group in the US military in far east Asia, since military personal always bought non issued watches (mostly japanese) as they were stationed in either Japan, Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. Pilots and airmen were always stationed in rear combat bases so the watches marketed to them would be a little more formal/fancy as oppose to ground troops or navy personnel. And we all know how tradition is in the US military. This is how the new sponsored Citizen chronograph could have the endorsement of the current Blue Angels… tradition. 🙂

Sometimes details make all the difference, so let’s open out eyes, because the beauty is there to be seen. 🙂

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 Auto Dater 200m, the Skin Diver


Could this be the first real diver made by Citizen? Well.. maybe it is this one, maybe it is the 120m (that for sure I will write about in the future – read about it HERE). Either way, it is one of the first and what a beautiful watch it is! citizen autodater 200m skin diver The first thing I noticed about this is the “skin diver” engraving on the back, making it really special at 200m (para200mwater). It is the only diver Citizen made with 200m water resistance. The screw retained case back is not marked with a serial no, so unfortunately the date of manufacture is impossible to accurately determine. Because the watch is powered by the Citizen cal 1120 jet movement, and taking other aspects into consideration we can assume it was made somewhere around 1962-1965. The case is made entirely in stainless steel, having the top part brushed in a circular pattern while the rest is polished, with integrated lugs. The Tropic strap dimension is 19mm and is the perfect match for a skin diver. The frictional bidirectional bezel is a one piece design (no bezel insert) and painted black. Because of a lot of usage the edge becomes silver as the paint is slowly being worn away. After all it is a 50 years old tool watch that was used as Citizen intended it to be. On 12 it has a luminous dot, not the usual triangle. An interesting feature of the watch is the fact that the bezel is a count down type, starting from 60 and going down: 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 0, not the other way around as usual. Each minute is marked with a dot. The dial is painted in a beautiful glossy black with integrated hour markers that are polished. Wonderful design of the markers and the hands. On 3 there is the date window, that has a polished frame too. Citizen made the date reading better by providing an acrylic crystal with an outer date magnifier. The winding crown is not signed and operates the movement. It is not a screw in type. Although the Citizen jet movement 1120 ( 21 jewels )  is an automatic one it can be winded by hand too. This is done in the first position of the crown. In the second position the time can be set. The seconds do not hack and there is no quick set date. The date changes by advancing the hour hand past midnight.

One very rare variation of the skin diver is the silver dial one with gold accents (bezel, hour markers and hands). By contrast this one has a “normal” bezel counting up not down as the black version. I have yet to find another, or a catalog picture, to be sure this is all 100% original. (Stephen provided another picture of a similar one but without a bezel so it seems it must be legit. Thank you! ) Update: Both variants are now a part of my collection. The silver dialed one is on original rubber bracelet with Citizen golden buckle.

autodater citizen skin diver 200m

All things considered, black or silver, this is a beautiful, rare, awesome diver that has it’s own place in Citizen history, and ofcourse, in my collection. 🙂 Read more about other Citizen divers HERE.

Read more about the first Citizen diver, the Jet Autodater 120m, HERE.

VIDEO – Citizen Shine


Citizen launched the “Shine” model in 1960. An official press release states that in 1967 a number of 215 watches were donated to 29 different countries to help the blinds, as an effort to support the United Nation program of promoting friendship and world peace. In 1975, 45 years after the first ever Citizen was produced, the company donated 5,000 of these watches to all 10th to 12th graders visually impaired students in Japan.

 

Read more about this model here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2015/01/31/citizen-shine-braille-watch-4-300017ta/

Enjoy!

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

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 Crystal 7 – 33 jewels


Among the interesting vintage Citizen, this one has it’s special place.

It is the para water Crystal 7 with 33 jewels and a uni body case.

citizen crystal 7 33The watch is the perfect size for a dress one, not too small, not too large just as it should be even by today standards, at 37mm diameter. The case is elegant, entirely polished, made in one piece of stainless steel. That means that the case back can not be removed and the movement comes out only by removing the mineral flat crystal. This is a nice feature that makes the case a little more water resistant by eliminating the risk of water entering the watch through the back. Because the case back is the same piece with the entire case it is possible to place the beautiful engraving in such amanner that it is always crown side up. This is a nice bonus to the overall look of the watch. The engraving shows the water resistance by “para water” marking and the uni case body is marked by a small “x” inside a small circle. The model is ACSS 51401-Y and was made in April 1966.

The dial is silver, with a sun burst effect and a lot of applied markers. The hour markers are applied, the day and date frames are applied, the Citizen logo, the 7 logo and 33 marking are also applied. The “Crystal” writing is in black and so are the minute markers. The hour markers have a longitudinal black line just as the hour and minute hands. The overall look of the face is beautiful, silver with black, elegant accents. The only color used is the “SUN” in Sunday on the day wheel.

citizen-crystal-7-33 copy

The movement is the automatic (hand winding is also possible) 33 jewels Citizen cal 5204 ? , beating at 18,000 bph. It is a quick set date while the day changes by advancing the hourhand past midnight. It proved to be very good at time keeping; some people even say it is very close to Chronometer grade and Citizen Chronomaster line.

The strap is a replacement black leather Citizen strap with a simple stainless steel tang buckle. I think it fits the watch and adds to the overall elegant look.

Beautiful, elegant, classy day-date vintage Citizen.

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.

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 google 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 him. 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! One thing I found (June 2017) is that the eagle engraving on the back is not actually directly on the case but rather on a steel inlay (like the gold inlay used in the dress Chrono Master) I didn’t remove it but I am quite sure I am right. Anyway, back to the story. 🙂 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!

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 (it got sold). 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:

Update July 2017  – I bought and instantly sold another one, the first serial January 1969, never polished, 100% original. Here it is:

Conclusion 2018 February:

In all the years of hunting these watches I saw only 13 pieces, in private collections or online. I had three of them. Putting together all the serials and details the conclusion so far is:

  • 7 of them are made in April 1969, 3 are made in January 1969 (901006xx) (I cant see the serial of the other three in order to date them)
  • there are two dial variations: “CHRONOMETER” & “Chronometer” Why?
  • the “Chronometer” variant has an aging yellow lume. The other remains more green.
  • the serials range is from about 90400420 up to about 90401130 (except the January 69 pieces, the first one being is 90100xx) 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 that I am still investigating).

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.