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 Leopard 28800 4-720032TA


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

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

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

Citizen leopard calibre 7200 36000

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

Read more about Citizen Leopard 36000 here:

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

Citizen 150m diver bezel (original vs fake)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S. Thank you Jack! 😉