The best Vintage Citizen calibres


I often get asked: What is the best Citizen made movement? It is a good question but there is no straight forward answer for that. What does it really mean “the best movement”? Is it the most complicated, the most decorated, the most precise? Hard to say because for each of us it could mean a different thing altogether.

Let me start by saying that when this question is asked, these three watches are the ones I think about. They are not chronographs but all are precise and regulated to high standards. They have beautiful movements and at the time they were made they competed with Grand Seiko and their Swiss counterparts and most of the time Citizen winning the game.

You can read about each and every one of them following the links below:

Which is the best? I don’t know which one is the best for you but for me there will only be one. 🙂

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Vintage Watches Dictionary Buying Guide


You love watches! Good for you, we all do. You can no longer ignore the call and you know the moment has come to dive into this wonderful vintage watches wonderland. But, be aware, diving in this Ocean is nor risk free. Close your eyes and see the old ship and the drunk pirates. Take a good look at the waves, the wind… There are sharks, stinging jelly fishes, singing blonde mermaids and a lot of other hazards made for you to lose your sense of reality and drown into the deep dark waters and never surface again. So… open your eyes and ears and take all necessary precautions swimming here. This beautiful Ocean is deep and can be really dangerous.

So… the Top Ten commandments for any WIS greenhorn. This is the least you should know before even approaching the Vintage Watches waters… (Vintage Citizen Watches included):

  1. Tropical – This should be the first undisputed one. When you hear the term “Tropical” just turn around and run as fast as you can. Most of the time “Tropical” means a badly deteriorated dial, maybe baked in the oven, tampered with to the point of becoming garbage. Since the dial is (probably) the most important part of a watch, you just don’t want anything labeled “tropical”. “Spider dials” and other similar terms included. Leave these watches for the old pirates who know their stuff.
  2. Never polished – Oh, yes! Never polished means most of the time that the watch was badly abused and is full of dents and scratches. Who knows what’s inside?! Better to leave it be. Walk away from “Never polished”. At the same time, walk away from “Polished”. You just need an honest watch.
  3. Rare and Ultra mega rare, Unique – Well… maybe it is rare but that doesn’t actually makes it valuable. Let the rare watches for the ones in the know. Keep it simple, keep it common, keep is safe.
  4. Collectable – Everything is collectable. So any watch is like this and “collectable” means nothing else than that the seller is trying to make an extra buck for this watch you are interested in. Is it advertised as “collectable”? Yes, it is, and so are all the other watches. Don’t let people tell you what is collectable for you or not.
  5. Project watch for restoration – This is a NO GO! This means that if you get it you will go mad or even die before restoring it. This is not easy and you will never make this project watch what you were made to believe you will. Project watches are not for you. Go away. Spend your time and money elsewhere.
  6. Mint and NOS – Mint watches and NOS pieces should be never opened, never serviced, no dings, no scratches and perfect in every way. Yes, this is the way to get them if you are lucky. Aim for them but don’t overpay for such a piece because once you start wearing it, the watch will no longer be NOS and Mint.
  7. Box and papers – Though is nice to have your vintage watch with box and papers this is not a must. Most of them don’t. Back in the days people didn’t care about the box and the bought the watch for wearing as they are supposed to be used, not for collecting dust in a bank safe for investing purpose as nowadays. So… box and papers, cool but not mandatory.
  8. Good investment – Really?! If it is such a good (once in a lifetime opportunity) investment, then why the seller does’t keep it himself? Watches can be good investment when you know, after a lot of years of learning the hard way and in the end… it all comes up to luck. Don’t be fooled with the “investment” value of any watch. Buy and wear what you like.
  9. Water proof – Just forget about even showering with your vintage diving watch unless you service it and water test it at a trusted watchmaker. Jus’t don’t!
  10. Homage watch, inspired by… – Do NOT buy fake watches! Ever! End of story.

Bottom line: If you have experienced friends, ask for help. Ask for help but decide for yourself. What do you like, when are you gonna wear the watch, what is your budged? Learn about the model you are looking for as much as you can. Do your homework and buy the seller rather than the watch. Yes, I know it is not easy and it seems overwhelming but we all had to start somewhere and we all learn day by day. You will find so much joy and beauty here, friends, you will make cherished memories… enjoy the Vintage Watch World! Have fun doing it and do’t take it so seriously. And one more thing…. never forget… the Grail, the Perfect watch, the “exit” watch is not real.

Citizen Guy – instagram here

 

Vintage Citizen Crowns


We have so many details that we love when we look at our watches. Some of them are in the dial, some of them hidden underneath the case back and others are nothing more than these small round parts that we use to interact with them, the famous and indispensable winding crowns.

Citizen made a huge variety of watch models, had a lot of watch lines and of course… so many crowns, in different colors, materials, shapes, sizes, engraved or not. In this article I will write about ten interesting facts about Vintage Citizen Watches crowns.

Top 10:

  1. They can be made of different materials such as, but not limited to:  aluminum alloy, stainless steel, gold, titanium…
  2. Not all the times the crown material matches the watch case material.
  3. They can be coated (black, green, gold, gold plated, silver plated…) or made of solid material
  4. They have a huge variety of shapes and sizes
  5. Some of them are unmarked, some are engraved “C”, or “CTZ” or for special models “CH” – Citizen Highness, “GC” – Glorious Citizen
  6. The non – branded ones were first, then came the “C” and the last ones were “CTZ”. These types overlap.
  7. Some are screw-in type, some are not
  8. They can be made of one part or have two parts (as CH or GC – that have a push button as the central part)
  9. The same watch model can sometimes be fitted with slightly different crowns
  10. We will never know all the facts about them.

Conclusion:

Unless you know exactly the model, you have a NOS one, or some catalogue pictures… unfortunately you can never be sure what crown that specific watch is supposed to have. This search and documentation is also the curse and the blessing when collection vintage watches, and Vintage Citizen Watches. Enjoy the journey and share your findings (as a comment here or on the Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook Group so others can learn and grow too!

An inside view of Citizen Watch co, seen by VCW


For years, I’ve been collecting vintage Citizen watches. I spend a considerable amount of time researching, collecting, buying, selling as well as restoring and servicing these wonderful timepieces. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.

Yes, I had the chance to travel to Tokyo, Japan and be a guest at Citizen Watch co. Earlier this year, the company introduced a fascinating new facility – the Citizen Museum. I had the honor of being invited to visit this institution and admire the impressive collection from the company’s watchmaking history.

Let me start by saying that we cannot talk about Citizen without taking into consideration that this is a quintessentially Japanese brand, with the nation’s philosophy and lifestyle encoded in its DNA. Japan is definitely a must-see country. We’re all familiar with martial arts, Buddhism and Shinto. We love bonsai, ikebana, origami and, of course, Japan also means Samurais and Geisha, doesn’t it? It’s all of those things and so much more: respect, simplicity, tradition, work ethics and pride, innovation, art, philosophy… you can find it all in Japan and, indeed, in the wonderful world of Vintage Citizen Watches.

One hundred years ago, the Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. was born under the name Shokosha Watch Research Institute. Mr Shimpei Goto, the mayor of Tokyo, named the first watch “CITIZEN” with the hope that the watch, a luxury item in those times, would become widely available to ordinary citizens and be sold throughout the world.

His ambition materialized. “People appreciated and benefited from the institute’s results”. Prophetic words, indeed. With this statement, the seeds were planted for what would become the world’s largest watch manufacturer. In 1924, the first pocket watch bearing the Citizen moniker was produced. One of the first pieces produced by the company was purchased by Emperor Showa, Prince Regent at the time (Emperor Taisho era). In 1930, Yosaburo Nakajima laid the foundations for the Citizen watch empire. In 1936 the company expanded beyond the boundaries of Japan, exporting watches to many parts of Southeast Asia. This was the starting point of going global and the reason we can all enjy these watches no matter where we are.

Two years ago, I started talking to Mr. Hiroyuki Ota (Otha), Deputy General Manager of Citizen Watch Europe GmbH, about a certain watch model featured in a commercial. Little by little, our conversation developed and we planned this visit to Tokyo headquarters. Once I arrived in the capital, I visited the flagship store to prepare for the following day. Of course I had a beautiful watch ready for the occasion. 😉 (Thank you Eric for sourcing and keeping the watch for me and for the great time we had in Tokyo!)

This is the watch I strapped to my wrist on Monday morning. It is the stainless steel Chronometer and you can read about it HERE. I like to believe it was a great choice, since our host seemed impressed. This model was also on display at the museum, not once, but twice – as a whole watch and in a section discussing its movement.

At 9:00 we were at the Citizen headquarters and we had no problems getting there. Once we got out of the train at the Tanashi station, the Citizen logo on their building was easy to spot. We took a short walk and reached the gate. Because the trains work really well in Japan, we were able to schedule out trip with such precision that we arrived at 8:57, since our meeting was at 9:00.

The doorman was aware of our visit and someone walked us into the waiting room. Two minutes later, at 9:00 sharp, we were met by Ms. Wakaba Kuroshima (Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) with whom I had communicated prior to my arrival. She was very helpful in providing all the information needed in order to get there in time and also a few welcomed pieces of advice about what to do in Tokyo. She took us into the museum.

Mr. Yasuyuki Sakamaki (Citizen Museum Director & Citizen Archives General Manager) along with Mr. Takeo Ishino (Manager Product Management Section & Product Marketing Department) and Mr. Shoiji Misono (Manager Product Planning Section & Product Marketing Department) welcomed us. They were all extremely gracious and evidently proud of their work and their company. Everything was clean, neatly arranged, well-planned and executed. Our hosts kindly showed us around and answered all our questions.

Our tour started with a short film that rendered some of the most important events in the history of Citizen and a few of the innovations made by them throughout the years, and there are a lot of them. After this, we were invited to see some watches, important pieces, hand-picked by our host and guide, the museum director. There are 130 watches on a 24-meter-long display. The 24 m represent the hours of a day. So we can witness 100 years of development in one single day.

We learned so many things about Citizen: the first titanium watch, the first Japanese water proof watch, the thinnest movement at a certain time, Guinness World Record for smallest watch movement, Eco-drive technology, radio wave…. and so many more world or Japanese premiers. The tour also introduced us to some machinery and because Citizen is a truly in-house made watch, the company manufactures the machines that make the machines that make the watches! How cool is that?! And Citizen is not only watches; they also produce car parts, led lights and a lot of other non-watch-related things, all with the greatest dedication. Inspiring!

 

After the tour, we sat down for coffee and I had the chance to ask a few questions.

  • Next year Citizen will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary. How does it feel to be reaching such a milestone?
  • We are proud of these one hundred years, but it is not the end. We don’t see it this way. It is only the beginning of the next 100.

 

  • How do you imagine the next centenary?
  • We focus a lot on the future and at the same time we treasure and cherish out past, the tradition. What we are aiming for is to look ahead and continue on our path the same way. Trying to improve, to be better.

 

  • Will Citizen go mechanical high end?
  • We do not, in fact, have this plan at the moment. The technology is there, but this is not our main focus. We have the Campanola…
  • I know Citizen has made a tourbillon, the Y01.
  • Yes, but it was a one-time thing and we have no plans of pursuing this path in the near future. In fact, there were only two pieces made.

 

  • How do you view the past? Citizen made awesome watches and we love them so much!
  • We are very proud of our past and we have a few watches on display that we treasure. Citizen had the same philosophy for a long time and the past watches, the present ones and future ones will show it too. Citizen had a lot of global and Japan “firsts” and we were always looking to improve, to offer a better product.

 

  • Do you have an archive for vintage? Do you service them, offer parts for restoration?
  • Citizen doesn’t keep an archive and doesn’t offer service and parts for watches unless they are in the warranty period.

 

  • Do you encourage the vintage market for VCW?
  • At the moment we don’t have a plan in this direction. We appreciate collectors such as yourself and are amazed by your watches and your passion. Why do you collect VCW and where do you find them?
  • For me, as a collector, I find a lot of diversity and quality still at a very reasonable price. My father had a Citizen, a blue-dial, that he bought when I was born. It was quartz but still made me love the brand. Finding them is not easy… I’ve spent hours every day for years, looking for the best pieces.
  • Thank you for everything!
  • Thank you, we are humbled and honored by the passion collectors invest in our brand.

 

  • Will Citizen recreate some important historical watches? A lot of brands are investing in this direction.
  • Next year is going to be Citizen’s centennial so… (spoiler alert – you heard it here first, on VCW) we are going to present a homage watch. But because Better starts now… we don’t search into the past, we are proud of it but we go forward and in fact we have several directions to follow.
  • Wow! What model will it be? That is such a great surprise. I’m sure the readers will be thrilled.
  • We can’t say right now but we will introduce it to Baselworld next year. You are invited to see it there and hopefully we will meet again. What I can say is that it is in the final stages of development.

 

  • Thank you so much! I will wait for it and will probably meet you again there. Do you have a message you would like to share with the fans of your brand?
  • Next year is an important passing point, (100 years) we look at our history but this is the beginning of the next 100. We try to send this message at Baselworld.
  • So keep an eye on Citizen! Thank you again! Arigato gozaimas!

Back to my visit, a few images that I hope you will enjoy. In the picture above you can see the Parawater and the Pacific buoy, in the picture below you can see some old machinery, some old tools and the cabinet (all made by the Citizen company).

The past was impressive and this is why we love it so much. They were trying from day one to provide the best watches they can do at affordable prices so everyone could get such a luxury item. Divers, chronographs, complicated watches… elegant ones in stainless steel or gold, platinum, titanium, stone, wood… and everything you can think of. Citizen was always pushing for a better watch and a better one. Their motto is Better Starts Now” and they promise and they deliver.

Present day is only a continuation of yesterday, so it makes sense to go a step further. Yes, they are not high end mechanical watches but they made watches that you can wear and enjoy at a daily basis while having fun. They still make reliable watches and innovation is their game and they are winning it. “We are the citizens, the people who see the world as a work in progress. A place to be improved. A place where time is measured not in seconds, but in steps forward. Some will say we are obsessive, but if you love something, why would you not strive to make it better? We don’t live in the glories of our past, our sights are firmly set forward. Are we aiming for perfection? No, for us, to admit perfection is to admit defeat. To stop. And if time never stops, why should we? We’re heading for better.”

Tomorrow will bring us an even better watch and I can’t wait to be there to witness it. In the picture above you can see the Citizen logo machined into a natural hair. Just imagine the level of precision of tomorrow! And based on the amount of innovation they accomplished on these 100 years, I can’t wait to see what the next 100 will bring. All we have to do is eat healthy, exercise, rest, love, collect VCW, be calm and stress free and we will meet here again in one hundred years. 🙂

 

As a conclusion: awesome people, awesome company and awesome watches! If I was a big Vintage Citizen Watches fan before the visit, now I am twice as much. I was so impressed by the modesty, respect and the warmth of the people at Citizen…. and a company is only as good as the people that work there. They do it with such love, respect and dedication! Love it!

Thank you Citizen, thank you all and I hope you found useful information here. Also, you can join the Vintage Citizen Watches Facebook group HERE.

Arigato gozaimas!

Citizen Guy – www.vintagecitizenwatches.com

As Simple as That


As Simple as That

by Andrei Cherascu

 

From November 2005 until August of last year, I wore only one single watch. I wore it every day, with every outfit, for every occasion.

It’s a beautiful, solid piece, whose dark-gray titanium case and bracelet still look brand new after eleven years. Its design – round shape, a cool-looking black Arabic dial and white lume hands – seems ready to stand the test of time. The watch is made by a German company called Regent but its exhibition case back displays, of all things, a Citizen Miyota movement.

It was a gift from my father.

Even as a child, I’d loved watches. I used to jump at any opportunity to stare at them in magazines and shop windows. Far too young to appreciate their intricate mechanisms and fascinating complications, I was drawn simply to their incontestable beauty. There is and always has been something intrinsically elegant about wearing a wristwatch, something that transcends time and trend and even personal taste. Yet, for eleven years, I wore only the watch from my dad. For some reason, I couldn’t conceive the notion of owning or wearing more than one wristwatch, as if that very concept marked the limit of my imagination. When I got the Regent, I put it on and that was that.

I always used to say that I want to be buried wearing that watch. Of course, I was joking. First of all, I’m a science fiction author – I don’t want to be buried, I want to be cloned. Secondly, I would never do that to a watch. A watch is a dynamic entity par excellence, its existence justified exclusively by its relationship with the wearer. There’s a particular quality about this relationship that stands at the center of my fascination with timepieces, but I’ll get to that shortly.

As you can probably infer from the picture that accompanies the article, I managed to overcome my one-watch obsession and I credit our very own Citizen Guy with triggering the change.

One evening, over a glass of wine and a lengthy conversation about watches (the first of what turned out to be many) I mentioned my dedication to the Regent and also my related funerary plans. “You can still be buried with that one and also wear others while you’re still alive,” Citizen Guy said with that look of profound sorrow enthusiasts usually display when someone mentions they don’t like wearing watches – a look I’ve perfected myself over the last few months. What started as a joke left me with a very serious issue to consider.

The following days, I started entertaining the notion of actually wearing more than one watch. There was just a small step from that one nascent thought to becoming an amateur collector. My wife, Ioana, suggested we get each other watches for our twelfth anniversary as a couple, to help ease my transition to multi-watch wearer and maybe help reduce some of that over-attachment to the Regent. Surely, she reasoned, if the watch was a gift from her (with an added special occasion to boot) I would love it just as much as the one from my dad. Boy, did I ever!

Not only did I become completely enamored with the brand-new Atlantic Super de Lux I stumbled upon after an evening’s worth of watch-hunting, I also developed a passion for the Atlantic brand. Its focus on classy, old-school dress watches really resonated with me (especially after Ioana pointed out they’re exactly the sort of watches my main character would wear) and sparked my interest in the Swiss company’s almost cult-like status on the Eastern European markets. I started reading about Atlantic, spending hours researching its history and collections before branching out into the general history of wristwatches, watchmaking, brands and Basel and Patek and haute horlogerie.

Just a few weeks after purchasing my new watch and getting accustomed to wearing something other than my beloved Regent, I decided that I wanted to add another timepiece to what I was determined to grow into a collection.

From the start, I knew it had to be a vintage Citizen – one of Citizen Guy’s watches. It was just the natural progression of the narrative. Not only was he responsible with my newly-awakened interest, I’d also followed his website and Facebook group, read the articles and grew quite fond of this iconic brand and its rich history. To keep with the theme of story and symbolism, Ioana decided it would be my birthday present.

When I mentioned my intention of purchasing a vintage Citizen, Citizen Guy asked me a few questions, sounding suspiciously like a matchmaker. I told him about my preference for classic dress watches, that I wanted one with manual-winding and most importantly, that I was looking for one with a story. Later that evening, I found a Facebook message with a picture of three beautiful samples; among them, the absolutely gorgeous Parawater.

parawater-citizen-deluxe-andrei-cherascu

Being more familiar with Citizen’s well-known divers, I was completely taken aback by the classic elegance of the Parawater – a testament to Citizen Guy’s matchmaking talent. He agreed that it’s “the one” and later told me he hadn’t even intended on selling it, but he’d looked through his keeper box and this one had just screamed that it wanted to end up with me. He finally decided to part with it, with the peace of mind that he was selling it to a friend.

I’m a ceremonious person, it’s just my nature, so I couldn’t help but organize an entire Citizen soiree, complete with a solemn “rite of transfer” that consisted mainly of Citizen Guy and myself staring at the Parawater and agreeing on how cool it is. I’m not going to go into technical details here; there are other articles on the website discussing it far more competently than I could. I’m just here to tell a story.

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful and elegant it looked. At just 36mm, this is a delicate, tasteful piece the likes of which are hard to come by nowadays, with most men’s watches (even in the dress category) seemingly designed for size rather than symmetry. I didn’t even realize this until I started wearing it and noticing that other watches felt strangely oversized. Even the (original) bracelet is slim and stylish, going extremely well with everything from leather jackets to suits and trench coats, making the Parawater – born of the Deluxe line – a surprisingly versatile instrument.

This feeling of versatility is enhanced by the gorgeous black Stick dial. Its elaborate trapezoid marks crowned with small dots ensure that it produces a veritable spectacle of contrast and color under various lighting situations. There’s some wear-and-tear visible on the hands, giving it a sort of timeworn wisdom whose effect I greatly enjoy. It helps substantiate the fact that this watch is over half a century old, a timepiece in the strongest sense of the word.

Even now, after the novelty wore off, I’m still fascinated by its implicit history, the complex string of stories and events that ended with it on my wrist. To quote Citizen Guy “It’s almost like everything this watch has been through over the past fifty-six years happened in such a way as to make it end up with you now. If someone had left it home on the table in 1973, or if the watchmaker had returned it early in, let’s say, 1991, everything could have been different.”

In the meantime, I’ve learned to date it and discovered that this particular watch (or at least its case back) was manufactured in April of 1960, the exact year and month that my father was born. As a storyteller, patterns and coincidences always make me happy.

When I put it on, I was surprised by how comfortable it felt. Even after prolonged wearing its weight never becomes burdensome or unpleasant, remaining merely a subtle reminder of its presence. The sensation of wearing it feels so natural it’s almost organic, as if the watch had grown right out of my wrist. Because of that, it quickly became my go-to watch, the one I wear the most often, which significantly accelerated the bonding process. Now, I can’t picture being away from it for too long and the thought of having to send it in for maintenance is distressing.

An added factor in the bonding process was the nightly winding ritual. As I previously mentioned, I’m a very ritual-oriented person and the sensation of manually winding a watch, being directly responsible for its proverbial heartbeat, is both fascinating and relaxing to me. I often have trouble sleeping and the act of listening to the spellbinding mechanical litany of its faint tick helps my brain go into a restful state. This is my first manual winding mechanism and the sensation is exactly as I’d imagined.

This brings me back to what I’ve written at the beginning of the article, about that particular quality about watches that I find so fascinating. I often think about this while I wind the Parawater. It’s that simple, straightforward honesty of mechanical and even quartz watches.

In an age where everything around you is multifunctional, has an operating system, high-end graphics and a plethora of applications that try to sell you other applications, a nice, old-fashioned watch is as straightforward an object as you can find. It won’t try to sell you anything, it won’t try to get you to click on a link, install updates or check your e-mail. It will just do what it was created to do, depending on its purpose and complications. All you have to do is take care of it and, in return, it will tell you the exact time to the best of its ability.

There is an innate honesty and implicit loyalty to a watch that is otherwise hard to find in this click-bait, high definition world. The very fact that it’s essentially outdated makes it all the more endearing. Its simple task can be carried out by a wide array of technology, yet we still often turn to its archaic design in spite of its aura of human fallibility – or, perhaps, exactly because of it.

 

Read more about this model HERE.

Citizen Custom V2 automatic 21 jewels Blackie


How could Citizen not focus on younger customers? Of course they did! So… around 1970 the company introduced to the public the V2 line of watches. Most of them were black coated and some were even made in a wooden case. The design was fresh and fun.

citizen v2 automatic vintage 21 jewels blackie

This one is not black coated but dark olive green coated. In fact I think it looks better this way because of the golden accents it has: the crown, the hands and the dial itself with golden hour markers. It has a simple design, with barely visible crown when looked at. The day-date window situated at 3 o clock somehow breaks the perfect symmetry.

The case, as well as the entire bracelet, is made of aluminum alloy that is very light and it is dark green coated for a better protection. In fact Citizen claimed that is is even harder to scratch than steel to suit the young life stile of their target customers. You can read about this HERE.

The movement is an automatic (cal. 8200A), with 21 jewels. It can be manually winded too. It displays the time as well as the date and the day of the week. Setting the time is done in the third position of the crown, winding it in the first and setting the date and the day in the second. Turning the crown one direction will set the date while the other way will change the day. Easy enough.

Simple, cool looking watch that suits the purpose: tell time in a fun, fresh way.

Read about another V2 Watch that I like a lot HERE.

Great Japan Watch Company


Here it is a very special watch. It is one real piece of history and I will let you know why. 🙂 It is a small watch, one of the first wristwatches made by Citizen. It is in amazing shape for its age. You can read about a similar piece HERE.

citizen vintage watch

With the help of my online Japanese speaking friends so far I have this:

“During the war roman letters on domestic was outlawed so Citizen adopted the Japanese name. Dai Nihon tokei kabushiki kaishya 1938. In 1948 they were able to change the name back to “Citizen””

“大日本時計株式会社 (it means Great Japan watch company)” was an old name of CITIZEN in 1938-1948.”

“In those days, Japanese government commanded CITIZEN to change company name. So, this watch is very rare.”

Well… now we know. Do we really need more words on this amazing piece? Maybe not, but if you have more info on this, please let me know in the comments below.

Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater X case


Super Jet! Wow again! And a “X” case?! Super! 

Some say the best period of Citizen was around 1969, some say it was earlier and others believe it was after 1970. Well.. 1969 was at least an interesting year because Citizen had a lot of cool features intersecting around this time frame. The watch I will present to you today was made in June 1968. So… let’s see it!

citizen super jet auto dater 1

This particular time piece is loaded with a lot of cool features. It is the Citizen Super Jet Auto Dater, model SADS51202-Y. It has a polished/brushed stainless steel case, marked with a circled X. That means the case is unibody and it has no removable case back. In fact the movement comes out only if the crystal is removed. I also love the fact that it is marked “Parawater” (not the common “water resistant” or “water proof”). This was a therm that only Citizen used in order to show that the watch is in fact water resistant, and this one was up to 150m. Not having a removable case back eliminated a weak link into this water resistance issue. You can read about the first Japanese water resistant watc, the famous Parawater, HERE. The mineral crystal is domed, with a concave inner surface. The dial is matte black, with a somehow satinated appearance. It is marker with a 3 stars applied label, an indication to the awesome movement inside. The luminos hour markers (the hour and minute hands have luminous parts too), have a polished trapezoidal shape making time reading very easy to do. The date is positioned at 3 o’clock, where the unsigned winding crown is located too. By the way, the crown is manually winding the automatic movement, sets the date while the date changes only by moving the hour hand back and forward midnight.  I was so wrong! How come I missed the fact that the date changes by pulling the crown?! Just pull the crown in the second position and the date jumps! Pull again, it jumps again! 🙂

citizen super jet auto dater 2

Let’s open it up! Let’s not forget the X marked case, with integrated case back!  The first thing one have to do is to remove the bezel (this is also keeping the crystal into place). Use the right knife blade to pop it open. Then remove the crystal. I do that using a suction cup. On the lateral part of the crystal there is a black rubber seal and underneath the crystal there is a transparent one in order to facilitate water resistance. So, the crystal is out, and so are the seals. Now turn the watch dial side down and slowly turn the crown. The movement will fall, so pay attention. Now that we have the movement out, turn it so we can see it. The beautiful Jet movement, gold plated, 39 Jewels, three stats, in all its glory! Love it! Read more about Jet movements HEREReassembly is somehow similar. A special attention should be payed when placing the crown back. Press it into place only when in the right position into the movement, otherwise the stem can break. When pressure fitting the bezel back into place, be careful not to break the crystal. The stem or/and the crystal are not available for sale anywhere. So… take your time or take it to a watchmaker. 😉

citizen super jet auto dater 3

Anything else? Well.. not only that is in almost perfect condition but I can introduce to you how the original box should have been. Most of the times the box alone can double the value of the watch if it can be sourced. So… this is how a Super Jet auto dater box should look like.

If you want to see the 150m diver version of this watch, one of my all time favorite pieces, click HERE

I hope you enjoyed the article and found the info about the X case watches useful. Now, lets get them opened! 🙂 These movements need to be seen! Click on the images to magnify them if you need more details.

Special Citizen Center Second


I wrote before about Center Second and I find myself writing about another one again. Here it is one of the most elegant, about 30mm diameter, Special Citizen Center Second. It was intended as both a men and a ladies watch but by today’s standards I would say ladies would find it more attractive due to its size.

citizen center second special lady

This is a NOS watch, with original strap and buckle and it is so nice to find one like this, the way it was meant to be in the first place. Lets not forget that it is almost 70 years old! The bezel details are really sharp and so are the crown threads. It is a very nice feeling to wind it, gripping the new crown and turning it. All the details are here, making it a Special one indeed.

The dial, seen through the acrylic crystal, is beautiful, in two shades, a central one that has the writing “Special Citizen Center Second” and an outer part that has the applier golden hour markers, arabic numerals and dots for each minute. The three hands are are also golden.

The “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. This watch can be dated around 1951. The calibre is a 10.5 ligne (23.30mm) one and can be made with 8,11, 16 or 17 jewels. It was a development of Citizen’s first wristwatch made in 1931, (read about it HERE) which was developed all the way up to 1955. The earlier ones had a sub-second dial, then the Center Second models were introduced in 1948 as the “New Citizen”.  The “Special Citizen” was the second version of the center second models.

Read more about Center Second watches HERE

Citizen Blackie – coated watches


Citizen was always innovative and was never afraid of trying new technologies. So, in 1970 they started experimenting black coating their watches. They also coated their watches in a similar dark color, something more like a dark olive green. The reason for coating their watches was the same reason manufacturers are doing it today: it looks really good. They also tried to find ways to protect the case and bracelet material underneath. Most of these coated watches were made of a very light alloy, that is not really scratch resistant so the coating comes as a great addition.

In order for the public to buy them, with great confidence, Citizen promoted this “harder than steel” surface with some samples, where you can get a treated case and a scraping instrument attached to it. You were kindly advice to try it yourself. Scratch it!

The label reds: “New BLAKIE. Try testing hardness by scraping with a coin.”

blackie Citizen vintage watches

So, beautiful and resistant.

As a side note (after seeing a lot of used Citizen coated watches I can tell you that only the NOS and mint ones have really passed the test of time and most of the used ones are losing their coating on the lugs or sharp edges).

Here are a few of my NOS coated watches, black and dark green, side by side, and in the smaller picture is a part of Mikko’s collection. Thank you Mikko! Awesome collection, like always your contribution is greatly appreciated! citizen blackie vintage citizen watches coated

Thank you Citizen for giving us the chance to experience this material too. I love it!

Read about one of the very first Blackies HERE.