This Week’s Featured Watch #54 – the Challenge Timer aka Citizen Bullhead, 4-901096

The Citizen Challenge Timer, usually known these days as a ‘bullhead’, was first marketed in 1972. It’s now probably Citizen’s best known vintage watch and there are often examples up for sale, however many have after market dials and refurbished cases. There were two case designs, one in base metal with a variety of finishes, and one stainless steel octagonal design. The base metal models were finished in three ways – satin polished, gold plated, and black coated.

This week’s watch is seen much less often than other models and is finished in black with a green dial. Citizen didn’t give this a model number, so it is identified by its case number – 4-901096:

Although the main dial colour is green, there are lots of other colours in the dial details and the hands, framed by the stainless steel bezel. The back is typical of the earlier Challenge Timers, with a serial number showing production in December 1973:

The movement is of course the high beat, fly-back 8110A (no movement shot since the back is on rather tight!). The case material code on this is BLS – black case, steel bezel. As can be seen from the above shot the black coating does wear and this means good examples are hard to find. Many are polished back to the metal underneath so it’s always worth checking what the case code tells you about the original finish.

The crown is signed, and mine is on a modern strap. I have found one pic of this model with its original strap, along with tag and instruction leaflet, with due credit for the image to the seller on Yahoo Japan:

For more info on the original Challenge Timer models please take a look here:

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