This Week’s Featured Watch #27 – the 520 Auto Dater

One gap that I was aware of in the Movement Table was for the 520 Auto Dater. Although I had seen examples of this model, I hadn’t got my hands on one, nor had I seen a detailed shot of the movement – so I couldn’t be absolutely sure of where it would fit. I presumed it would be related to the 540 Auto Dater, which is a date only model from the movement family used in the Crystal Sevens. The 540 seems to pop up a little more often (or should I say a little less infrequently!) and I had acquired one a little while back, and show briefly in this post:

So I was pleased to find a 520 recently, and I have now been able to add it to the Movement Table:

As expected, the 520 is ‘named’ after the movement it uses, and is a day / date model. Again this is as expected, since Citizen’s convention in their movement numbers is generally (but not always!) to use the first number ‘2’ (i.e. 5202) to indicate a day and date watch, whilst the first ‘4’(i.e. 5400) indicates date only.

I’m not sure whether anything other than 21 jewels were used in this movement, although I know the 5203 also came with 23, 27 and 33 jeweling – perhaps they were reserved for the Crystal Sevens. The movement hand winds, but no hacking, and has quickset date with the crown pulled one step out. Day is set by winding back and forth between 12 and 9 o’clock:

And here is the movement number, 5203, stamped in the usual place:

So this movement is the same one found in some of the Crystal Seven models – but since this watch is a plain 520 ‘7’, then I presume it lacked the hard mineral glass used on the ‘Crystal’ versions. But it still has nicely finished hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions:

With the transition from the thicker ‘jet’ movements to the oscillating weight type, the 520 is a fairly slim model:


The back is typical of its day, showing October 1966 production (I guess production was started in 1965, as for the Crystal Seven) :

Finally, the fluted bezel design as was often seen in the mid 1960’s:

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36 Responses to This Week’s Featured Watch #27 – the 520 Auto Dater

  1. desmondchieng says:

    Wow, that’s a rare vintage Citizen watch you have. Nice!

  2. tavodeoz says:

    yo tengo 2 citizen autodater 520 igual a ese, solo que son dorados, uno esta en buen estado y el otro aun lo tengo que arreglar de la caja, pero como dices es muy raro ver uno de estos.
    me tarde una eternidad en encontrarlo

  3. tavodeoz says:

    I have 2 520 autodater citizen equal to that only which are gold, one is in good condition and one even I have to fix the box, but as you say is very rare to see one of these.
    pm me forever to find

  4. tavodeoz says:

    claro, hoy las tomare y mañana en la mañana las subiré, le tomare a los 2 relojes para compararlos

  5. tavodeoz says:

    pero como vinculo las fotos aqui?

  6. Tavo de Oz says:

    find me on facebook with my email ( or send me an e-mail to the photo, since I could not upload

  7. saurab says:

    hi, i have my fathers 1964 citizen seven autodater watch. there is some scratch on the front glass. how can i change the glass and where i find it.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Saurab,
      it’s great to hear that you have your father’s watch from 1964 🙂

      I’m afraid it’s going to be just about impossible to find an original glass for it, but a good watch maker should be able to replace it with a suitable one. I’m not a watch maker so I don’t know exactly how it is done. Since it is a Seven Autodater and not a ‘Crystal Seven’ I think it will have an acrylic (plastic) crystal rather than hard mineral glass.

      How bad are the scratches? If they are not too deep, it is possible to polish acrylic ‘glass’ and they can be improved a great deal. Here’s a link to a tutorial on how to do it – I’ve had some great success in doing this myself, and if the dial is in good condition, it can transform the look of a watch.


  8. George Logan says:

    Have just picked up a watch, but am not sure where it fits into the scheme of time, model and name. Back is labeled Stainless, Waterproof, Automatic, 61-5552, Citizen, 9051140m 4-520564 Y ……. Front case reads on left side CITIZEN above Automatic and on right side 21 JEWELS. Bottom of front face reads Japan 6 521045-Y …… Has yellow-green lumed hour and minute hands and 7 in a crown above para 40M water and all else is in chrome or stainless finish, including face color. Is this the newer swinging weight movement, and am I correct in thinking that this is made in May of 1969? Thank you Sweephand for any info.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi George, it sounds to me that you have an export version (note it’s marked ‘waterproof’rather than ‘parawater’) of the 520 auto-dater. I presume it has date and day windows – where are they positioned? The case number indicates the 52 movement which is the swinging weight type as also used in the Crystal Seven line. Export models often have different dials, without the model name on them, even if in this case it’s only the number ‘520’! You’re right that the production date is May 1969 – it would be one of the last of these models, and by 1969 would have been superseded in the Japanese domestic market by the 72 series.


      • George Logan says:

        Hi Stephen,
        The Day is located beneath the 12:00 position, and the date is located next to the 3:00 position. There is a line running from 9:00 position to the 3:00 position with Citizen above it on the left (facing watch) above automatic and 21 Jewels on the right side. The surface of the crystal has a raised ‘bubble’ over the date window and the case is smooth around the edge of the crystal, unlike the 520 shown above. I wondered if it was normal that it had Para40Water on the front, and WaterProof on the back, but figured that it was moving toward a change. It seems to be losing about one minute in 36 hours so far, and is much quieter winding (automatically) than my 1966 CitizenAutoDater 25 Jewel with ring winder. Looking at it, I didn’t think that the hour markers were lumed, but noticed in the dark, that they glowed too, at least for a while! It also has the squared off day window of the 520, rather than the more rounded window of my older AutoDater. Is it possible to get new crystals for these watches? In my small town, the jewelers send mechanical watches to Philadelphia, Pa for repair, and I was quoted 250 dollars to clean one of my Citizens, I’m afraid to ask how much to replace a crystal!

        • sweephand says:

          Thanks for the info on the watch. The dial design sounds similar to this ‘Superking’ model – again this was an export model and the Superking name was used with different movements:

          (found on the internet, with credit to the seller)

          The ‘Para40Water’ is a bit of a puzzle when the back is marked ‘proof’. I don’t think any of the 520’s I’ve seen have been marked parawater on the dial. If you can get the back off it would be interesting to see just what movement is in it – it should be stamped near the balance wheel, and would be ‘5203’ if it’s the same as the 520.

          Time keeping doesn’t seem too bad, and like you I’ve found that the swinging weight rotors are quieter than the Jet rotors, which can be quite noisy.

          Replacement parts are going to be just about impossible to find. A competent watch repairer should be able to find a new replacement crystal to fit I would think and I’d expect that would be cheaper than a service since it’s a lot less work!


  9. George Logan says:

    Hi Steve,
    I took the back off, and found the number, but I couldn’t get a decent photo of the number. However, I think that the plot thickens……the movement number is 5270……
    Now I’m wondering what I’ve got here! Mix and Match, or what?
    Compared to the photo of the SuperKing, the differences are the Para40Water and that the time designators are two pyramidal blocks, rather than the rectangular blocks of the SuperKing.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi George, thanks for checking out the movement number. I’ve just done some more checking in my reference materials and I don’t think you should worry too much – the 5270 movement was produced with 21 jewels, and was used in the Superking and Seven Star models (see the 52 Family Tree), and they also had case numbers like yours, i.e. 4-520xxx. The dial code also looks ok since it’s consistent with a 52xx movement, and the day window shape is also a 52xx style. So I would think that yours is likely to be ok. Have you any pics? It would be nice to see it 🙂
      NB: you can’t post images directly but can link to a URL, or I can e-mail you and you could send to me if you wish.


  10. George Logan says:

    Edit the time designators, they are short conical rods, and are at 1,2 – 4,5 – 7,8 – 10 and 11.
    12, 6 and 9 are pyramidal markers.
    One question, should any lubrication be placed on the threads of the back after it has been removed?

    • sweephand says:

      Hi George, a little silicon grease (specifically for watches) can be applied to the gasket, to keep it soft. Not too much so it doesn’t get anywhere else! Other than cleaning the threads nothing is needed on them.


  11. George Logan says:

    Hi Stephen,
    If you’ll email me, I’ll send you photos, and you can discard, edit or post to be most informative.

    • sweephand says:

      Will do George, thanks,


      • sweephand says:

        Here is George’s watch – thanks for the pics 🙂

        The lumed hands are nice on this one:

        The back shows production in 1969, so this is one of the last 52xx watches:

        The movement is a 5270, as also seen in some versions of the ‘Superking’:

        Thanks again George – always interesting to see different models 🙂

  12. George Logan says:

    My Pleasure SweepHand! It is really nice to know the history behind the watches that we find, Thank You for your site and forum!
    George Logan

  13. Pete Bullivant NZ says:

    Steven, Please send me an email, as I think I have a very rare one, Pete.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Pete – email sent 🙂

      • Pete Bullivant NZ says:

        Hi Steve, You got my pic of my Citizens, Is the 520 missing a emblem 7? As you can see they are all in very nice condition. Thanks Pete.

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Pete – the dial on yours is fine. I’ve just sent you an email, with a pic of another example. Some 520’s have the 7 emblem printed on the dial but not this model, i.e. with the day window at 6 o’clock.


  14. Pete Bullivant says:

    Hi Steve, The pic you sent of the Citizen 520 has the wrong hands on it, mine are correct, as the watch has never been serviced, well no watchmakers marks inside back case.

  15. Remco says:

    I have a citizen auto dater 520 21 Jewel can you tell me more about it?

  16. sherwood23pm says:

    Hi guys,I picked up a citizen auto dater on top and 27 jewels para40Mwater on the bottom of the dial the back serial number starts with 4 anyone tell me if any good,thanks.

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