Citizen – Why This Name?

The ‘Citizen’ Watch Company got its name in 1924 – prior to that the Shokosha Watch Research Institute, formed in 1918, had developed a pocket watch. In 1924 the Mayor of Tokyo, Mr Shimpei Goto named that pocket watch the ‘Citizen’, based on his hope that the watch would become available to ordinary people not only in Japan, but all over the world. Prior to that a watch was something of a luxury item.

By 1931 Citizen produced its first wristwatch, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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12 Responses to Citizen – Why This Name?

  1. You have brought me untold Joy Learning about Citizens I have Bought and LOVE three Alarm Daters and a Beautiful Chronoace 35 Jewel that imho Can stand next to my BEST Vintage
    61XX Grand Seikos

    Thank you for all you do

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Russell, it’s very good to have you visit here and post a comment – I’m very happy that my blog is useful to you, and it’s great to hear you have a few Citizens 🙂

      Thank you so much for your comment.


  2. Brian Pemberton says:

    Hello, I am being a bit slow here. but how can I upload photos to your website?
    I would like to show you my fathers 1970’s Citizen.

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Brian, it’s not you 🙂 I’m afraid it’s not possible to post photos directly to the blog, only I can do that. There are two options, either you can post a link to photos if you have on-line storage, for example at Photo Bucket, or I can e-mail you and you can then send the pics to me so I can post them here. Please let me know if you would like me to e-mail you,


      • Brian Pemberton says:

        if you could email me that would be a help, you are free to post the photos if you like, thank you. Brian

      • Brian Pemberton says:

          Hi Sweep Hands,   Please find attached photos of my fathers watch. Silver dial Citizen, Crystal Seven, 21 Jewels. I remember him wearing this watch every day for at least 20 years before by accident the glass broke. It remained in a draw for another 10 years or so, before his death and I took it to see if I could get the glass fixed. The dial over the years without protection got some damage, but eventually a factory friend of mine in China was able to have a bespoke glass made for it as Citizen and every other avenue explored could not: A. service the watch due to lack of parts, B. provide a new glass.   So here it is case cleaned up, the strap is a replacement my Dad added before I can remember, a Seiko Strap! But he was never worried about Brands. The movement has not been touched, but is keeping good time, with no noticable loss after a 4 day test, so must be within a minute.   The movement is a 520998Y which I can’t find on your chart.    I did see this other watch recently that I bought for 2 reasons. 1. My brother bought me a 70’s Seiko with a plain Orange dial, so this 70’s (I believe) Citizen with the Blue dial will make a nice addition and a collection of 3 from the same era. 2. I saw the Crystal Seven Logo being the same as well as 21 Jewels, so I am hoping it is the same movement. Therefore if I every needed to fix my Fathers watch I could possible use this watch as a donor? No idea if this is possible or not and I will try to find another in worse condition as an official donor to these two.   You clearly know all about these watches, so was hoping to get your feedback on them. Are they the same movement, do you ahve some more information about them?   Regards   Brian Pemberton  

        • sweephand says:

          Hi Brian, thanks again for the photos, and thanks also for posting the story of your father’s watch. It’s great to hear that you still have it, and took the trouble to get it repaired so long after the glass was broken.

          Here are the pics – I’ve done a crop to show us a closer view of the dial and case – it is a very nice shape and an unusual one. First is your father’s watch:

          And here is the potential donor (if these are the seller’s pics, can you let me know and I can add a credit):

          Unfortunately I have to dash now so I’ll add my comments and information later, but I wanted to get the images sorted as quickly as possible.


          • sweephand says:

            Hi Brian, further to my last reply with your photos, here is some more information about the Crystal Sevens. First of all, they are very good watches, as yours has proved with its excellent accuracy. They were introduced in 1965 and were produced up to about 1970. The serial number on yours – 00420068 – tells us that it was made in April 1970 so is late in the production run and fits with when your father purchased it. I’d be interested to hear where your father bought it, because I think it is an export model, since the dial is marked ‘waterproof’ rather than ‘parawater’ as on the case back. The design of yours is similar to the Crystal Seven ‘Custom’ models, which again suggests it was an export model since Citizen tended to put less model information on them – see this example:

            Your case back is also marked with a model number – 61-5196 – but actually this isn’t much help since Citizen’s model numbers don’t tell us very much, I guess they were more use in their day for watch makers who would have technical guides to find parts etc. The more useful number is the case number – 4-520998 – since this gives us the movement ‘family’ the watch is from, i.e. ’52’. The case number doesn’t give us the whole movement number though, which is why you weren’t able to find it in the movement table. Given that yours has 21 jewels it could be one of four movements – 5203, 5204, 5210, 5230. I think it’s more likely to be the 5204, but there’s only one way to be sure, and that’s to remove the back and find the number which will be stamped close to the balance wheel – here’s an example to show you where it is:

            Having said there are several 21 jewel versions, they do share an awful lot of parts – however I’m not a watch maker, but I have looked at the parts catalog for the 52 movements.
            Here’s a link to the 52 Family Tree I’ve put together where you can see where your model fits in, in case you’ve not looked at already:
   (NB: for some reason not all the content in some of the text boxes shows when viewing on-line, should be ok if you download it and view it ‘locally’)

            The blue donor watch you have should also have a 52 movement in it, and could possibly be exactly the same as yours – even if it’s a different version but many parts will be shared. This one is from 1968 and has one of the earlier type of case backs which has an older style case / model number – ACSS 2822a – which gives no clue to the movement used unless you know already what’s in a ‘Crystal Seven’! Again, to be sure what movement is in there, removal of the back is the best way to check.

            If you don’t have the correct tool to remove the back I would advise not to try with something else – it’s likely to damage the back. I’d have thought a watch maker could very quickly do this for you and let you know what is in each of them.

            Finally, although the replacement bracelet is not a Citizen one, I wonder if youe father got one that was similar to the original? If you look at the marketing scan at the bottom of the first link in this comment you’ll see similar original ones from 1969.

            I hope this information is helpful, please get back to me if you have any other questions,


  3. brian pemberton says:

    Thank you so much for the info. it makes a difference.

    mdo you have a chart or a blog explaining the number vs the date the watch was made for Citizen in general?

    thanks again

    • sweephand says:

      You’re welcome Brian – glad to help. There is a guide on how to date Citizens at the end of the Movement Table (page 12):

      I’ve put it there because the decade in which the watch was made needs to be identified to pin down the year of production. I’m also planning to add a page to the blog on this issue, together with an explanation of what information is found on case backs with examples of the different styles.

      If you get the backs off your two watches I’d be interested to hear what movement numbers are found.


  4. Brian Pemberton says:

    Thank you once again. It think you are right re the strap, I remember he said he got a similar one.
    I’ll get a local guy to open the backs and we’ll ahve a look at the movement numbers.
    Regards Brian

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