A watch for a friend


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

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

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

Top 10 questions to be asked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Citizen Jet (Super Jet) Auto Dater


Citizen is famous for a lot of innovations and really cool watches and we can not talk about Vintage Citizen Watches without mentioning the Jet movements. What is a Jet calibre? Well… it is an in house Citizen made one, an automatic with a ring rotor unlike the common oscillating central mounted one that everybody is familiar with. Most of the people think that it is the first automatic calibre developed by our loved manufacture but it is not quite like this. In fact the first one was the Auto. But that one was soon dropped and in 1961 The Jet came to life, and what a fabulous one it was; short lived (1961 – 1967) but so beautiful. It came in a simple three hands watches, with or without a date and even a final day – date version.

Today I will introduce to you the (simple, dress style, non diver) date version, the easiest to find and enjoy the wonderful movement.

auto-dater-parawater-citizen-jet

As you can see it came with a variety of dial colors and configurations. The crystal is acrylic and usually they are on a leather strap. Most of them are made of stainless steel, a lot are gold plated and a only few are solid gold. All of them have a Jet movement and display the time (with a central non hacking second hand) and the date. The date is non quick set but changes by moving the hour hand over midnight and back to 21 and again at midnight. Some movements had a special feature called Easy Change that allows a fast set mechanism to advance the date. Just pull the crown in and release it and the date changes one time, do it again and it changes again. Just as easy as it sounds. They run at 18,000 bph and have a power reserve of about 45h. From what I know they all have hand winding too. (only some of the diver style earlier versions I know about might come without hand winding). You can read more about the 21 J calibre HERE. It also came with 23J and the top of the range 39 J Super Jet.

citizen-super-jet-autodater

What else? Well… I guess it is a feeling that has to be experienced, owning such a marvel, winding it, listening to it, watching it… So, take your chance, you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to read more about my favorite Jet, a diver, you can find it HERE.

Citizen Jet Autodater 120m – the first diver


It is always nice to know which watch was the first, the thinnest, the most this or that… It is extra nice to have one of each. With Citizen that is not so easy because there are so many models! One of the most collectable lines is the one of the diving watches, so which is the first real diver that Citizen made?

The first Japanese water resistant watch was the famous Parawater, launched in 1959. You can read about it HERE. But, that was not a real diver. In fact the first diving timepiece was this one, the one in this article, the Jet Autodater para 120m water. At about the same time another model was made, the Autodater 200m , the skin diver. Read about it HERE.

Here it is, the Citizen Parawater 120m Jet Autodater (ADRS51301-DA)

citizen jet auto dater 120m

Unfortunately the manufacture date can not be easily determined because there is no serial number but it is estimated to be somewhere around 1962 . Find out how to date a Citizen HERE.

The case is made entirely in polished stainless steel, with a screw in case back and a bidirectional friction type bezel. The crown is non screw in. The water resistance is obtained by using a rubber O ring and it is enough for 120m. Not bad I would say. 🙂 The acrylic crystal is domed and gives it a vintage feel. The dial is black, with luminous large trapezoidal hour markers and steel hands. The hour and minute hand have a black tip with a luminous central line where the black part is. The black painted bezel has a luminous dot at 12. On the black dial we see the date, located in a traditional way, at 3 o’clock.

The movement is a 19 J jet caliber, no hand winding. The date changes by advancing the hands pass midnight and back to 21, and again midnight… It is not a quick set date. The seconds don’t hack. So… not a phenomenal movement but one of my favorites. (the Jet – with a ring rotor and you can read about Jets HERE) This one is one of the earliest types, with no hand winding. Just a tool watch with a simple, robust movement.

citizen jet auto dater 120m

The strap that completes this awesome watch is a Tropic rubber one. Perfect match! Now, all I have to do is strap this piece of history on my wrist and take it diving! Well.. desk diving. 🙂

Citizen Highness 36000


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

citizen highness 36000

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

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

citizen highness manual

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

Read more about Leopard range HERE.

Diamond Flake, Diamond Flake Date, Flake Date


Diamond Flake… yes… the famous Citizen Diamond Flake (DF) had two younger brothers, the Diamond Flake Date (DFD) and the Flake Date (FD). The older, well known brother held the record of the worlds thinnest three hands watch, with a a movement as thin as 2.75 mm. Now, that is slim indeed! Citizen named this calibre 0700 and had 25 jewels and was gold plated.

citizen diamond flake dateAll three of them are made of stainless steel and are powered by the same base manual wind movement. The crystal is acrylic and the dial is simple and elegant for all of them. Obviously the DFD and FD have a date complication that adds some thickness to the overall appearance of the watch. This can be easily seen in the picture below.

citizen diamond flake, date flake

The shape of the lugs and the lugs width are also different. The crowns are similar and are not signed. On top of the added date, the youngest of the three are also marked Parawater for 40m.

diamond flake, diamond flake date, date flake

The case backs give clear indication to their age: 1963, 1964, 1966. The middle one had a beautiful diver engraving (the Parawater logo, not an indication that you should take it diving). The movements look almost identical but the third one is no longer gold plated and it only has 22 jewels.  The first one is Citizen calibre 0700, the second calibre 2700 while the last one is the calibre 2710 and it is no longer marked Diamond Flake. They all run at 18,000 bph.

citizen diamond flake thin watch diamond flake date flake

All three are beautiful watches, simple and elegant and a nice addition to any Citizen collection. Even though the DF is the famous one, the youngest two (DFD and FD) are more rare and more difficult to find in a good condition.

If you want to read more about the oldest one, the DF, click HERE.

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 Seven Star Para100mWater APSS2812-Y


The watch I introduce to you today is a variation of the Vintage Citizen compressor style diver 4-520343 Y, I wrote about HERE.

I called it a compressor style case because it is not a real compressor one but it only has the look of one. It has two crowns and an internal bidirectional rotating bezel that is operated by the crown at 2 o’clock.  Because I have already reviewed the sister model in the article about 4-520343Y HERE, I will only post the pictures and point out the differences.

citizen seven star parawater compressor diver

So, this is the blue dial one, as clearly seen in the picture, and the dial in marked Seven Star. The case, movement, hands, crowns and straps are shared between the two models. The dial on this one is marked parawater and has the Seven Star logo “7” applied. The caseback is also different with different engraving.

For this particular watch I think the Tropic strap is a good match and really nice to wear.

Read about more diving watches here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diving/

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.

Vintage 1968 Citizen College Alarm


Citizen has a beautiful range of vintage alarm watches, some of them with date, some of them more simple, like this one, without a date.

vintage citizen alarm

Here is the no date version of the Citizen alarm, the Citizen College Alarm. It is marked Parawater and this fact, along with the serial no, is dating it to March 1968. The design is simple and clean, the case is made in stainless steel, with a domed acrylic crystal. Read about how to date a vintage Citizen here.

citizen alarm vintage

One of the best feature of the watch is the pie-pan dial look. On closer examination the dial turns out to be flat but the two types of finishing and tone gives it this lovely appearance. The central part has a silver sunburst effect while the outer ring has a circular one. On this circular part we can see the polished applied  hour markers that have a black painted line or two (for 12, 3 6 and 9). It is marked in black writing: “Citizen College Alarm” at 12 and “parawater 17” at 6. The 4  polished hands are for showing the time and the shorter one, with a triangular tip is for the alarm. The hour hand (as well as the minute one) has a a central longitudinal black line, to match the hour markers.

The case is made in stainless steel, with 38 mm diameter, the lugs are elegant and the two unsigned crowns are easy to operate and still very well suited to compliment the elegant design. The bracelet and the clasp is made in stainless steel too.

citizen college alarm vintage

The movement is the Citizen calibre hand winding 9812 (no date), 17 Jewels, 18000 bph. The crowns are one for the time and the one for the alarm. The crown at 2 o’clock in first position is winding the alarm and the alarm is deactivated. If you pull it in the second position you can set the alarm (counterclockwise) and the alarm is activated. Pressing it while the alarm is ringing will stop it. The crown at 4 will wind the watch and pulling it out will set the time. The alarm will ring for 13-16 seconds. The movement has a power reserve of about 40-45 hours and it runs great if winding it once a day. It is Parashock.

Read more about another beautiful Citizen alarm, the Citizen Alarm Date here.

Citizen Parawater – THE Parawater


After presenting the first watch manufactured by Citizen, the beautiful pocket one (read about it HERE), it is time for another milestone in watchmaking. This time, the first Japanese waterproof watch, THE Parawater! This makes it the grand, grand father of all the Citizen divers we all love so much!  Please note that this was not intended for diving, but it was up to the task for swimming!

In 1959 the company produced the first Japanese water-resistant wrist watch. This was the “Citizen Parawater”. It was powered by the Citizen Cal. 920(2B). It was produced with  19, 21 and 23 jewels. Soon after, the Parawater completed two trans-Pacific tests and one in the Sea of Japan. The result, needless to say, was positive. As time passed Citizen was growing as a company and exported more and more watches, so (unfortunately IMHO) the term “Para Water” was changed to the universally recognized (an boring)  “Water resistant” somewhere around 1970-1973.

Back to this particular one! The line chosen to be modified so that it will become water protected was a success already, the Deluxe. Citizen changed the design of the case, added rubber seals and greatly modified the tube and crown assembly. By doing that and after a lot of research they were able to stand by their product in public demonstrations.

Citizen Parawater Deluxe

After intensive search I managed to find this particular watch, in an non working state, the bracelet and the clasp was destroyed beyond restoration and the crystal was badly scratched, but what an awesome find! I had to take the plunge! (pun intended 🙂 ) This is how I got the pictures from the seller in Greece:

Citizen Parawater

Now, after a long time deciding how invasive the restoration should be I went with a bracelet swap with a similar design from the same time frame by Citizen, a light crystal polish and I got the movement running again.  This is the end result:

Citizen Parawater Deluxe

Interesting facts: The black dial has lume dots and the hands are also with luminous material, making it very rare (the only one I saw) and very beautiful. Another detail is the fact that the entire dial in printed and there is no applied logo.

The caseback has the inscription: “All stainless steel”, “Antimagnetic”, “Parawater”, “STAR”, “Citizen Deluxe” and the serial no. By the way the watch is made in 1959, making it one of the very first pieces.

Beautiful lug holes for easy bracelet replacement.

Don’t forget to magnify the last picture for more details!

Conclusion: I am so happy to introduce to you this wonderful piece of history and I hope you like it as much as I do! The watch found a new home with Daniel in Germany and for sure it is a great home! Enjoy it Daniel!

Later edit (2015): 

I here present to you my keeper Para Water, that I found this year in Hong Kong (thanks Anthony! 🙂 ) Excellent condition, fully working 100% original, made in 1961.

parawater citizen deluxe

Here are the three dial variants, Two white ones (one with a star, the other without) and the black one.

parawater citizen

Update 2016 APR

Here it is a commercial advertising sign from the period:

the first parawater citizen

Read more about vintage Citizen divers HERE