This Week’s Featured Watch #21 – Leopard 36000

The Leopard line is a favourite of mine, with its range of high beat watches beating at either 28,800 beats per hour (8 beats per second) or 36,000 beats per hour (10 beats per second). Launched in 1969 and produced into the mid-1970’s, there was a good number of models, mostly in traditional style, although some were also influenced by 1970’s style. The higher beat models are the more sought after, and are scarcer too.

One of my earliest Leopard purchases is a 36,000 bph model, in an oval case. It was described as running erratically, if at all:

The crystal was well worn, but was the original mineral glass. When I opened it up, I found a broken rotor, but fortunately the missing rivet was still in the case, so I was able to fix it, and, of course, solve the erratic running!:

 

The 28 jewel movement found in the 36,000 versions otherwise looked ok. You can see the fine adjuster on the balance and the hacking lever found on all Leopards, and note the movement number – 7230 in this one – stamped near the lower right edge of the movement :

Under the scratched glass, the dial was not in bad order, although the lume on the main hands is rather tired! The ‘tail-less’ second hand is a design found on a few of Citizen’s models. This dial is marked ‘36000’, some also have ‘Superbeat’ markings and a rather nice leaping cat logo:

The case back shows it was the 39th watch prodced in November 1973:

The chunky crown – a good size for hand winding which is a feature of all the Leopards – is signed. Date quick sets at first step, whilst day is set by winding back and forth between 12 and 9:

After a long time hand polishing the glass, it was significantly improved, reducing the yellowness of the dial as well as the scratches, and after the rotor repair, the watch runs well:

For more info on the Leopards, follow the Blogroll link on the right where you can find my reference article on these great timepieces.

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21 Responses to This Week’s Featured Watch #21 – Leopard 36000

  1. George says:

    Awesome watch! These are probably my favorite vintage watches. The level of quality and performance they were producing in this line is outstanding. It’s a shame they had such a short run, but I guess that just makes them that much more collectable.

    • sweephand says:

      I agree 🙂 I think if I were forced to collect only one type of Citizen, it would be the Leopard! There’ll be some more to see in the Featured Watch series over the next few months….

  2. CVADRAT says:

    I have purchased a Leopard 36000 in working condition in a flea market. The serial is: 91115033 Should it be from 1969? The 33rd watch made? Any idea about its market value?
    Thank you very much…

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Cvadrat – firstly congratulations on buying a 36,000bph watch at a flea market 🙂 It is from 1969, November of that year. I think it will be the 15,033rd watch made. Value is difficult to advise on since much will depend on condition. Obviously it is working, and the 36,000 models are harder to find than the 28,800 ones, but the condition of the case/bezel and crystal is important too. Since spare parts are extremely hard to find, there is not such a strong market compared, for example, to vintage Seiko. Also, is it stainless steel or gold plated? Steel is usually worth more than a gold plated watch these days. Have you any pics of the watch you could link to?

      Stephen

      • CVADRAT says:

        Case, bezel and crystal are Ok with signs of certain use, of course. It is stainless steel and with a grey dial. Yes, I have pictures of it. If you want just tell me where to send them to you.
        Thanks for your quick reply…
        CVADRAT

  3. CVADRAT says:

    Sorry, I didn´t read your message in detail.
    The links are the following:
    http://www.cvadrat.com/zaphyr/citizen 0101.jpg citizen 0102.jpg citizen 0103.jpg and citizen 0104.jpg
    Thanks for your interest
    CVADRAT

  4. Francesco Trifilo says:

    Hi, I have inherited a citizen leopard 36000 28 jewels. Its number is 10700001 and it is marked as parawater, rather than waterproof, so I am assuming it is from the 1960s. Am I correct? The watch works flawlessly, is steel, has a steel mesh strap and few markings. It’s an amazing watch! Could you confirm the date of production? Many thanks, Francesco.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Francesco, thanks for visiting my blog, and it’s good to hear you have a 360000 Leopard, a great watch. If you are wearing it regularly, it’s worth servicing if it’s not been done for some time. The higher beat means it will need a bit more care and attention than a regular watch. Your watch is from July 1971, and it was number 1 to be made that month by the looks of it – that’s a cool serial number 🙂

      The Leopards are from the very late 1960s to the early 1970s, and ‘parawater’ can still be found on some watches up to 1973. In fact one of my Leopards is ‘parawater’ from 1973. What is the model number if it has one (e.g. 67-2050) and the case number (e.g 4-720903) on yours?

      Stephen

      • Francesco Trifilo says:

        Dear Stephen,

        Many thanks for the information, and many thanks for the advice. I will certainly take it for revision. I must say that it works perfectly, and I have had it for some 15 years! Anyway, in response to your query (and if I am reading this correctly), the model number is 67-2050 and the case number is 4-720903 TA.

        All the best

        Francesco

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Francesco,

          you’re welcome 🙂 You have the same model as mine – as you can see from the pics I have posted it’s not in the best of condition, and needed a repair to the rotor, but it runs very well now.

          Stephen

  5. HIPdeluxe says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Firstly, I’ve been stopping by your blog for a while now and greatly admire your celebration of vintage Citizens…wonderful, generally underappreciated watches I think.
    I’d been after a Leopard for quite some time and happened across one late last night on a local auction site with the following description & one blurry photo: “Men’s Citizen with oval dial in stainless steel with adjustable strap. Automatic with battery
    Has been in storage since late owner deceased 20 yrs. needs new battery.
    Otherwise nice condition.”.
    After a request for a ‘buy now’ price was granted this morning, I was able to secure a 67-2050, on it’s original mesh strap for a ‘steal’!
    It should clean up a treat… 🙂
    I’m now looking forward to enjoying one of these very fine timepieces.
    All the best with your Citizens.
    Cheers,
    Mark.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Mark, thanks for visiting my blog, and for your comments which are much appreciated 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve got a great bargain, these are fine, high grade pieces that were pretty expensive in their day – I’ve heard of a few sellers who didn’t realise their watches were automatics and not battery driven! And also good to hear it’s on its original bracelet, as in top left here:

      Hope you will let us know when the watch arrives, and I hope it fires up ok. I got my 67-2050 for next to nothing too – it had a broken rotor rivet which was easily repaired (had to be easy since I did it myself!). Pictures would be great too, although you can’t post them directly I’m afraid, only through a link to an upload elsewhere. Or I can e-mail you if you wish so I can post them for you,

      Stephen

      • HIPdeluxe says:

        Hi again Stephen,
        Apologies for the (very) slow response…one of those months!
        I received the Leopard, although cosmetically very tidy throughout (crystal is fairly scratched though), unfortunately, it’s a ‘non-runner’ at this stage.
        All is clean & tidy inside, and everything moves nice & freely…it just doesn’t want to kick into life. When you’ve pulled the crown out to adjust, and push it back in, it will sometimes tick away for a few seconds…I’m hoping it’s just needing an oil/service?
        Anyway, the slight disappointment was tempered somewhat by the purchase a week or so later of a ‘Highness’!
        Due in part to your wonderful blog I’d convinced myself that I needed one of these beauties. 🙂
        I also just saw today’s entry on the UNI 19 Jewel, yours looks lovely…I have one from 1965, it’s the ‘double crown’ case model that looks very much like Seiko’s Silverwave from the time.
        If you’d like some photos, let me know.
        Thanks again for the wealth of information on your pages regarding these great vintage watches!
        Cheers,
        Mark.

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Mark, sorry to hear the Leopard isn’t running at the moment. It could just be in need of a thorough clean and service – hope so anyway. Great to hear you have acquired a Highness, not many of these are seen. Which model did you get and have you any photos of that yet?

          And you have the most desirable of the UNI models – I’d love to see photos of that, I think they look very nice indeed.

          Glad that my blog has been of use – always good to help somebody spend their money 😉

          Stpehen

  6. Billys says:

    Hi my name is Billy and i found your blogpage after i searched on the interntet about this watch!I cant find any more information on other sites so i decide to write here!

    I realy dont know anything about watchs at all.I found on some lost boxes this watch after many years i had lost it. it was gift from my grandpa before he die! its a citizen automatic 36000 lepoard 28 jewels.
    on its back it say:
    4-720903Ta,Automatic,21100991,67-2050
    As i see you know many thinks about this watch so can you please help me and tell me first what this “28 jewels” and the 36000 number means and then what the numbers on the back means too? as i see on your post it contain the year of his creaton but i cant understand how you find the year from the numbers on the back 😀

    and for the record how expensive is this watch? i will never sell it as it is a gift from my dead grandpa just i was curious coze i tough it was just a regular watch and now i see its not that “regular” 🙂
    Sorry for my english and i hope i didnt bother u much! Thanks a lot!

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Billy, thanks for visiting my blog – the lack of information on the internet about vintage Citizens is why I started to do my research and then this blog 🙂 First of all, your English is fine! And secondly, your grandfather’s watch is definitely not a regular one; it is one of Citizen’s finest, a high grade model from the ‘Leopard’ family 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear that you have found it after it got lost for a while – something now to treasure in memory of your grandpa I think.

      Two things that immediately tell us that this is a quality watch are the ’28 jewels’ and ‘36000’. A good basic watch movement needs 17 jewels, which are tiny man made rubies that are shaped to hold the pivots of the watch gears and a drop of oil to keep them lubricated. Without these, the pivots would wear much more quickly, leading to inaccurate time-keeping and ultimately failure of the part. More jewels are added in higher grade watches to protect more parts from wear, so the jewel count then is seen as an indicator of quality with a higher retail price. ‘36000’ refers to the ‘beat’ of the watch, the speed at which it runs per hour. It’s the number of ‘tick-tocks’ per hour, so this one is 36000, or 10 per second. This is therefore a high-beat watch – in fact it runs at twice the beat of a typical standard watch movement at the time, which was 18000 beats per hour. The Leopard range was all high-beat, either running at 28,800 beats per hour with 26 jewels, or, like yours, 36000 with 28 jewels. They were expensive watches when new – here’s a catalog pic form 1971, showing yours at the top left:

      The numbers on the back relate to three things. 67-2050 is the model number, which is actually not that helpful although model numbers can sometimes help find other examples on the internet. 4-720903 is the case number (the TA is not part of that number – it may relate to the factory where it was made). This kind of case number is very useful since it indicates the movement that is inside. All Citizen case numbers start with ‘4-‘ so it’s the second part that’s important, particularly the ’72’ which tells us that the movement inside is one of the 72 family. From this original chart I have, you can see that the 36000 version of the 72 movement is the 7230, and that will be stamped on your movement:

      The number ‘2’ in 72 indicates that these movements have day and date complications (74 indicates date only). These movements are very good quality, and were at the peak of Citizen’s expertise in mechanical watch building. In good condition they are very accurate – high-beat movements can be finely adjusted to give excellent time-keeping – and the same movement that’s in yours was given some even finer tuning and was used in a couple of chronometer grade models. Although an automatic it can also be hand wound, which is helpful to get it going if it’s run down.

      If you are planning to wear your watch regularly, or if it is not running very accurately and/or stops when not in use after only a few hours, I would recommend getting it serviced. Not cheap, but important to keep it in good condition, especially given it’s high-beat since they wear more quickly than standard beat watches. If you are thinking of getting it serviced you must find a good watch-maker who knows vintage watches, and please be aware that parts can be very difficult to find (another reason for a service to keep original parts in good order). The last thing you want is a poorly skilled repairer to make a mess of it!!

      21100991 is the serial number, which is unique to your watch. The first three numbers (211) give us the year and month it was made. So it was November….but we need to know the decade in which it was made. And these models were from the very early 1970s, in fact they were introduced in 1970 and were only produced for a few years since the quartz revolution was then just about to start. This means that your watch is from 1972.

      Finally, value is a difficult one – I try to avoid giving an opinion since values can vary for a variety of reasons. From a collector’s point of view, a high-beat watch is of interest since they are higher quality, so that’s in its favour. Citizens are not collected nearly as much as other makes though, which holds value back so it’s not going to make big money. Condition is, of course, very important. To state the obvious, a piece in very good or mint condition is going to be much more valuable than the same model with lots of wear. To get an idea of value, try a search of eBay (using ‘vintage Citizen Leopard’ for example) and you should find information. There’s an example of your very model on eBay now with a ‘buy it now’ price of about $220 (195euros).

      Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions 🙂

      Stephen

  7. Billys says:

    WOW Stephen thats huge info 😀 it must took you to much time to write it all!! thank you so much my friend i have no words about the work you have done!! i realy realy thank you so mucht!! If somehow i can pay you back the favor i will be glad to do!!may i dont know anything for watchs but i am photographer and i can make anything you want with photoshop like rebuild old photos, new graphics etc etc so PLEASE if somehow i can help you with something too i will be very happy!!

    I dont have any more questions exept 1, you just explaned ALL so perfectly and now i know anything about this watch 🙂

    The only think i wanna ask you is if i dont use the watch and just use it 1-2 times per year like christmas events etc it could be damage the watch? i am not planing to use it regualry…. and i am worry if this damage the watch. so whats your option? its better to use it so it charges and keep working every day or just leave somewhere safe and dont move it at all?

    Just for the info yesterday i learned that the watch it wasnt just a gift that my grandpa bought from a shop for me. But it was HIS watch and he wanted to gave it to me so when i grow up i could keep it!!Its rly in good condition and exept a rly small scratch on the crystal it seams new! i wanna keep it alive in years so i can gave it to my grandchildrends too when the time comes…!

    anyway i hope i didnt bother you again 🙂
    Thanks for all… 🙂
    Billys!

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Billys, you’re very welcome 🙂 I am always happy to provide info on Citizen’s vintage watches. It’s very kind of you to offer help with photography, I shall have to give that some thought!

      If your watch is running well, keeping good time and the day and date change properly, then I would think there is no problem in wearing it occasionally as you describe. I rarely wear some of my watches so I don’t have them serviced if they are working correctly. If the old oil has got dry, then prolonged running is likely to cause excessive wear, so as you know I would advise against any frequent use unless it is serviced.

      It’s great to hear that you have inherited the watch form your grandfather and that you intend to hand it down to your grand children in the future 🙂 In the meantime wear it in good health!

      Stephen

      • Billys says:

        Hmm, then i will save it until i find someone that can service it, I hope it will survive the force of ages hehe…:-)

        anyway i realy thank you for all the help! you helped me realy much, i couldnt find any of these informations on internet and i appreciate all the work you have done! Thanks a lot.
        I will be very hapy if i could help u somehow with my photoshop skills so if you need any help with photos etc etc dont hesitate and e-mail me here : *********** !
        Thanks again for all!
        Have a nice day
        Billys.

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Billys – let me know if you want advice on finding someone to service your watch. But remember if it’s running ok you can wear it occasionally. I have removed the email address you posted since this is a public blog and I don’t want you getting spammed. I’ve saved it though 🙂

          Stephen

          • borutrpin says:

            Hi sweephand, thanks for all the information you’ve provided so far.

            I’ve just won one of these on eBay. It’s actually the exact same model as the one in your post and it’s still on the original mesh bracelet, although I’m planning to replace the strap and keep the mesh in my drawer. What’s the size of the strap, 18mm?

            I’ve been looking for an affordable high-beat (36k) and/or oval watch for a very long time and now it’s finally on its way to me. It’s described as working, but I guess it could be in need of service. I usually have my “normal beat” (18k or 21.600) vintage watches serviced by my respected watchmaker.

            However, I’m slightly worried about this one – how probable is it that he won’t be able to service it because the parts are somewhat exotic? Could you suggest somebody for a service of these vintage Citizens?

            It’s my first Citizen, my first oval and my first high beat watch. I’m excited and I want to keep it in good health!

            Thanks!

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