Vintage Citizen Watches case finishing


We talk a lot about watches because we love them. We love to strap them on our wrists, to wind them, to play with the chronograph, to turn the bezels. We enjoy to hear them ticking and to look at them. Most of the times we appreciate the details of the dial, the fonts, the lume, the movement… But let’s take a closer look at the cases, at the way these cases are crafted and finished.

Citizen watches are made in-house so the cases are also produced by them. It is not an easy task to make so many models. This means that a lot of  tools and work hours are needed. After all it is a business and profit margins should be there and case designing, producing and finishing are resource and time consuming. Let’s not take this work for granted. Today I will present to you three different watches. I chose one chronograph, one diver and one dress watch. The best of the best (in my opinion) when it comes to (not only) case finishing.

1 – Citizen automatic chronograph 67-9357, the octagonal “bull-head”

This piece has a stainless steel case, shaped like an octagon, and has 21 different surfaces, not counting the bezel. It is a combination of brushed and mirror polished ones. The top part (where the crown and the pushers are) is brushed laterally while the front part has a longitudinal finish. All the rest is polished. So manny angles and the way that the top part flows, from the powerful top part to the organic lower one! Lovely! This is for sure my favorite chronograph case!

2 – Citizen Super Autodater 39J 150m Parawater SADS52801-Y

The diver! The professional one, the first 150m with this design language. Well… this is the only uni body case 150m. This means that the movement comes out only if you remove the bezel and the crystal. Then you can remove the movement. The case-back is part of the case and it does not come off because it is safer this way when diving with it. After all it is the Professional one. All the case is polished, except the top part of the lugs. Now look at those lugs! Art! Just look at the beveled edges and the precision of the polishing. Perfect sharp edges everywhere. What a shape!

3 – Citizen Glorious

I can talk all day about it. After all, it is THE Glorious!  Just look at the pictures and realize that they just don’t do justice to the watch. In reality it is much better. And together with all the other details, the crown, the case back GC gold inlay, the GC stainless steel signed buckle… mesmerizing! So clean, so powerful, so confident without being over the top. All the precise lines and angles, the edges, the compact elegant shape… Yeah, I know that I am stating the obvious so I will better end it here and let you magnify the picture for better understanding the beauty of VCW.

As a conclusion, I will let you have it your own after you click on the picture and magnify it. Also click on the links above to read more about these models, you wont be sorry, but I have to warn you… it is contagious and soon you will find yourself craving for more Vintage Citizen Watches. 🙂 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