This one wasn’t the planned featured watch for this week – but once it arrived, I thought I’d change the plan! So this week it’s the Highness, a high grade, high-beat automatic from the early 1970s.
When I first started collecting vintage Citizens, I hadn’t heard of a model called the ‘Highness’, but as I gathered more information, I found more references and finally pinned it down in one of the ‘museum’ books. Launched in 1971, probably followed by only a short production run, the Highness was made in two versions – the 7730 movement with day and date wheels, and the 7430 with date only, as in mine:
So where does this model fit in the Citizen line-up? Essentially it is a member of the Leopard family, and uses either the 72xx movement as its base (for the 7430) or the 77xx movement (for the 7730). The Highness movement though has been tuned to meet what Citizen called the ‘Highness Standard’ (‘Highness mis-translates to ‘Haynes’ in this quote from Citizen’s own historical site):
It is highly accurate mechanism (machine type) clock that represents the citizen. Accuracy has been achieved by original “Haynes standard” that has the same degree of the performance, “Excellence class of the chronometer”
Citizen produced in the Highness a chronometer level Leopard, using the 36,000 beats per hour movement to achieve the required level of accuracy. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any documentation or certification on the Highness Standard.
Let’s take a closer look at my 7430 version. Firstly the back is a standard design, with serial number indicating a production date of July 1971:
If you know Leopards, then you’ll immediately recognise the movement and rotor design as is found on the 36,000bph models – with 28 jewels and a fine adjuster on the balance as you’d expect of a high grade watch, and the movement number clearly stamped :
No fancy finishing on the movement:
The case and silver dial design is plain and simple – a classic look typical of high level mechanical watches from Citizen and Seiko:
The Highness logo is a unique font, and the high-beat nature of the movement is also clearly indicated:
Other Highness models featured ‘CH’ on the dial in place of Highness, and crowns were also signed ‘CH’. This is not the case in mine, which may indicate a replacement since it is signed ‘CTZ’.
Here’s a catalog scan from 1973, showing mine retailing at 24,000JPY, which was more expensive than the Leopards in that catalog, other than the solid gold versions:
Here are the other Highness models featured in the 1973 catalog, note the price differences for the two movement versions, the type of case finish and whether on strap or bracelet:
Since these models were probably made only for the Japanese domestic market and for a short while, they are seldom seen, certainly outside Japan – finding the Highness, and other vintage Citizens, has been one of the joys in my modest journey of discovery!