This Week’s Featured Watch #53 – the College Alarm

This week I’m featuring a ‘guest’ watch rather than one from my own collection. I am grateful to Matt Diehl for contacting me about it and then sending photos, along with permission to use them here.  Full credit goes to Matt for the first three images in this post.

This is an interesting and relatively rare watch, which is why I wanted to feature it here. It is one of Citizen’s alarms, known as the ‘College Alarm’. It has what looks to be a unique font for the printing on the dial:

Matt’s example is in excellent condition, having been used only a few times and then stored, so it is a very nice original piece. The movement used in this model is the 9810 with 17 jewels. This movement was first produced by Citizen in 1958 using a Swiss hand winding design, and there was also a 21 jewel version. The College models feature large winding crowns and as far as I know only use the 17 jewel movement:

Here’s the case  back, showing production in 1966 (the style of the back has the ‘transitional’ format as I’ve call it – see the case backs page: (https://sweep-hand.org/vintage-citizen-case-backs/) :

Seeing this back and production date prompted a little more research on my part, which confirmed that Citizen continued to use the 98xx movement alongside the later 31xx models, which has a date window and is only found with 21 jewels (first produced in 1964). The College was made at least until 1971 – here’s one in the catalog  from that year:

The College Alarm was the least expensive in the range of alarm watches, I guess with its name and price it was targeted at younger people.

Finally, here’s another example, seen for sale on Yahoo Japan – it looks like the model in the 1971 catalog (credit to the seller for the images):

Thanks again to Matt for permission to use his photos 🙂   This has allowed us to view a seldom seen model.

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11 Responses to This Week’s Featured Watch #53 – the College Alarm

  1. Matt says:

    Thank you for this fascinating analysis into this watch. I am still stunned by its effortless design which remains contemporary, and a surprisingly flawless movement which remains accurate.

    • sweephand says:

      You’re welcome Matt – thanks for the comments and your contribution to my blog. Good to hear the watch is running as well as it looks 🙂

      Stephen

  2. Andreas says:

    Hello,
    I think that this watch is another version of the “Lady Alarm”. It uses the old 17 Jewels 981 movement in a small case. Most of theese watches have a diving bezel (colored). I have posted a little video of my watch on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiuWBtwfEgA , but it has an awfully refinished dial. I just collect alarm watches, not only Citizen.
    Andreas

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Andreas, sorry for slow reply. Thanks for visiting my blog and posting a link to your video. I wonder if yours was originally marked ‘college’alarm?

      Stephen

  3. Andreas says:

    Hello Stephen,
    I’ve bought this red dial alarm some weeks ago on Ebay and I thought, that it might be the “Lady Alarm” because of the small case. There is a space at the bezel, which might be used for a diver ring. I’ve attached a scan of the book from Leo Beitl “Alarm am Arm”, which shows two examples of this watch. Don’t be confused because of the different measures of the photos. The watch cases are identic! http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t539/harse_de/ScanLadyAlarm_zpsd8b6716a.jpg
    This College Alarm was new to myself. I have all the other Citizen Alarms (Divers, Alarmdisk, 4H, with and without date). The last one I’ve got is a late example with a grey dial and it has a strange feature: All Citizen Alarms (like the AS 1475) have an alarm, which is activated and setted by the crown at 2 o’clock in position 1 (pulled out). This special watch has the inversed mechanism. You set the alarm time the common way (position 1), but the activation is in position 0 (crown pushed in) like the Poljot Alarm. Very strange but useful, because the activated alarm can’t accidently move.
    Your website and blog is great. Congratulations!
    Have a nice day
    Andreas

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Andreas – thanks for the link to the pics of the Lady Alarm. I have one pic, but the bezel is missing so seeing them from Leo Beitl is very helpful. Interesting to hear about the late model with the different alarm ‘on’ setting. I’d love to see pics of your Citizen alarms 🙂

      Thanks for your comments and contribution to my blog,
      Stephen

  4. dave reeves says:

    Hi the info was very helpful, i have one of these watches but under
    lparawater words it 21 not 17, the serial no is 60110497. I think the spring has gone but alarm works. Have original metal strap broken but repairable. Is it worth getting repaired and nif so by who? Dave

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for visiting my blog. I’m interested that you have a College Alarm with 21 jewels – I’ve only seen 17 jewels on them before. Do you have any pics you could share? Although you can’t post pics directly here you could link to somewhere like Photobucket. Sorry to hear that the alarm spring has a problem, and that the bracelet is broken. It’s good that you have the original one – I would think a good watchmaker could mend it, unless it needs new links which would be hard to find. What part is broken? I’m not a watch ‘techie’ so I don’t know what would be involved in repairing the alarm, but again if parts are needed it would be a challenge without a ‘donor’ movement. Parts might possibly be available since the same movement design has been used by Poljot (Russian maker) after Citizen.
      Whereabouts in the world are you? I could make enquiries with some contacts about who may be able to look at your watch.

      Stephen

  5. dave reeves says:

    Sorry it the watch spring that’s a problem it been turned too much. Alarm is good. If you send me an email address i can send photos. I’m in England.

    • sweephand says:

      I should have realised that since you said the alarm was working! I’ve edited out your email address since this is a public blog – I see email addresses when people post a comment. Email on the way shortly,

      Stephen

    • sweephand says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for sending pics, here they are (I’ve cropped to show as much of the watch as possible):

      This is a 21 jewel version, and was made in 1966 as shown by the serial number on the back:

      Before I saw this one I had only seen 17 jewel versions – Citizen made these at least until 1971, but the catalog from that year only shows a 17 jewel model.

      Thanks again for the pics and information.

      Stephen

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