This Week’s Featured Watch #31 – The 540 Auto Dater

A year after Citizen launched the ‘Crystal Seven’ line, several derivative models using the same base movement were also launched. These lesser known models didn’t all carry the ‘crystal’ badge, presumably because they lacked the hard mineral glass. I featured one of these a few weeks back – the ‘520’ – which has both date and day windows: https://sweep-hand.org/2012/03/20/this-weeks-featured-watch-27-the-520-auto-dater/, whilst other models did have the mineral glass but not the day window and were called the ‘Crystal Date’.

Citizen’s movement numbers often tell us whether day and / or date windows are present – the first ‘2’ in the number means that both date and day windows are featured, whilst ‘4’ means only a date window. So the ‘520’, using the 5203 movement has both windows, and the ‘540’ therefore has only the date, and uses the 5400 movement:

Unlike my 520 Auto Dater, this dial is quite plain. with no ‘7’ logo. A fluted bezel is typical of watches from the mid-1960’s. The 520 and 540 were both launched in 1965/6, and probably had only short production runs. My example is from July 1966:

Here’s the 5400, 17 jewel movement – with the swinging weight rotor that had replaced Citizen’s ‘jet’ rotor seen in their early 1960’s watches:

The movement number is stamped close to the balance wheel, as usual:

The crown has the older ‘C’ style signature – the ‘CTZ’ mark was to replace this at the end of the 1960s:

The advantages of the swinging weight rotor can be seen in the slimness of the case:

The ‘dauphine’ style hands are typical of the era:

Compared to the Crystal Seven models, the 540 and its 520 sibling are relatively unknown, but are interesting models using the same movement in a less expensive package – at the time the Crystal Sevens retailed from around JPY10,000, the 540 from about JPY7,000. You can see the movement ‘family tree’, and seek out the 520 and 540 models here:  http://homepage.ntlworld.com/stephen.netherwood/52FamilyTree.v1Secure.pdf

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9 Responses to This Week’s Featured Watch #31 – The 540 Auto Dater

  1. Marko Hyvönen says:

    Hello!

    I left a reply to here a few days ago, but nothing seems to appear here…? Have i done something wrong or is it still in progress…? If it´s in progress, please do not publish this one… 😀
    Thank you!

  2. Marko Hyvönen says:

    Hello again!
    I hope this link works:
    http://www.aijaa.com/folders.php?act=subfolder&i=67539

  3. Marko Hyvönen says:

    AAARGGH!!! I´m so poor with this… Please, tell me how to attach pics to here?

    Kind Regards, Marko

    • sweephand says:

      I’m afraid you can’t post an image, only I’m allowed to do that, but you can post a link to one. Alternatively I can e-mail you and you can send me the image and I’ll post it – let me know here if you want me to do that 🙂

      Stephen

      • Marko Hyvönen says:

        Hello Stephen!

        Please, send me an e-mail and i can then send pics to you?
        Thank you!

        Regards, Marko

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Marko, thanks for your e-mail with the pics.

          So here is Marko’s 540 Autodater:
          Marko540

          The serial number shows production in 1967, and is probably an export model since it’s marked ‘waterproof’ rather than ‘parawater’:
          MarkoBack

          Here’s the movement- note that when Marko received it, the movement was missing its upper jewel and shock absorbing spring:
          MarkoMvt

          Here’s a close up of the movement number, now with proper jewel cap and spring:
          2

          Marko’s watch has given useful info, in that previously I had not seen the 5420 movement other than in a very rare diver. And with a bit more research I have found another export model with this movement, a ‘Superking’ from 1970. So it looks like we can add a bit more data to the Movement Table and the relevant Family Tree 🙂

          Stephen

  4. Art Fuentecilla says:

    Hello Stephen
    I picked up a similar watch as Marko’s Citizen 540 at a flea market in Copenhagen last week. The only differences are that it has a black face and is 21 jewels. The back case is stamped ‘B52701’ and ‘80300442’. Can you tell me any info about my watch? I can attach a photo if that would help.
    Kind regards,
    Art

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Art, thanks for visiting my blog. There’s not a lot I can add to what I said about my 540 and Marko’s. As your example shows it came with either 17 or 21 jewels, and is a date only version of the 5200 movement family. Along with the 520 (with day and date), these have a plastic crystal, unlike the hardened mineral glass found in the Crystal Sevens. It seems to me that yours and Marko’s were export models since they are marked ‘waterproof’ rather than ‘parawater’ and use the model number B52701 instead of AUDS52701. The first three digits of the serial number give us a production date of March 1968 (803).

      It would be good to see a pic of yours since the black dial is a more unusual version. You can’t upload a pic directly to the blog, but you can post a link if you have a photo somewhere like Photobucket.

      Stephen

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