The very early 1970s marked what was probably the peak of Citizen’s mechanical watch production, and their ‘Leopard’ line offered a range of quality models, all high beat, and (for mechanicals) capable of very accurate time-keeping. Often marked ‘superbeat’ the Leopards ran at either 28,800 beats per hour, with 22, 24 or 26 jewels, or at 36,000 beats per hour with 28, 31 or 32 jewels.
At the top of the Leopard tree is the Chronometer, tuned to Citizen’s ‘official’ certification, with a 36,000 bph movement of course and initially with 28 jewels. I’ve also seen examples with either 31 or 32 jewels, which may have been sold in export markets rather than in Japan.
Although part of the Leopard family, i.e. using the same movements, the Chronometer is graced with its own unique dial logo and a case back medallion in an Art Deco style:
My example features smart black hands with open centres over a brushed dial, and is marked as an officially certified chronometer. The beat rate is marked under the applied logo. On some models the dial is marked ‘Super Beat 10’ (i.e. 10 beats per second). Two movement versions were used, this is the 72 with date and day, the other is the 74 with date only. The gold medallion on the case back is surrounded by typical markings – this one shows production in May 1970 and a case number of 4-720300:
The medallion is not perfect, and although hard to see, there is a spot on the dial. The seller of this one also described some sort of auto winding problem, so I got this one cheaply (for one of these!).
The crown has the older style ‘C’ signature, and is a good size for winding – these hand wind of course – and they ‘hack’, i.e. the watch is stopped when the crown is fully out so that the time can be set precisely (see top pic). Date is quick-set, with the day set by winding back and forth at 12 o’clock:
The ‘Leopard’ Chronometer had only a short production, and they are a sought after model. I believe they were replaced with the ‘Highness’ models which, although still very desirable watches, don’t quite have the same special character:
I’m holding back on movement shots in this post because my Chronometer has been to see Brian aka 31 Jewels for a full service and to resolve the problem – and it was a significant one! His work on it will be featured later on his restoration pages.
It is running perfectly now, and is a pleasure to own and wear 🙂
What a beauty! Would be a pleasure to own one… :D. I wonder what that serial number actually means? Is it really so, that these have been made over 20.000 pieces in that particular year and month ???? If it is so, then the overall production have been quite many pieces?
i was about to write a comment to your last post,#72 Super Deluxe, but i´m such a busy now, so i´ll do it later!
Hi Marko – thanks for your comments. And an interesting question about the serial number. I’m not sure we fully understand the system, beyond the production date. I’ve had a look at my files and a quick look on the internet and the Chronometers like mine all have a 20000+ number. A gold one has a 30,000+ number. Only one very rare variant in a silver case has a low number – 00011. Although this could simply mean many more steel and gold plated models were made, it seems odd that I couldn’t find any like mine with lower numbers. So more research needed methinks 🙂
Stephen, could it be so, that when there is 20.000+ or 30.000+, etc., with a rarer models, it means, that the actual production number or amount is that last numbering, 873 in your watch ? It makes some sense, because those models were certainly very expensive compared to some more casual models…??? So, if there was a production of like 1000-2000 per month, it´s a reasonable amount, methinks ? :D.
This is of topic, but i have not time put this anywhere else so…. Look at this one:
Quite interesting watch! I didn´t bid it, `cause i had no such a money at that moment… Defenitely worth of buying! And look at that serial number, i would say, that this kind of watch have been made a very limited period, say a month or two??? So, there might be a limited edition of 4-5.000 pieces?
Hi Marko – makes sense to me regarding the serials. Would be good to know for certain!
Nice example of the Okinawa reversion watch and that’s not a bad price. I have seen these once or twice with a spare conventional dial so it could be changed for everyday wear 🙂
Good read. Posted a link to this at my forum
Thanks for your comment and the link 🙂
Stephen, Excellent post and beatiful watch. I would also like to own own one of these some day.
Hi Mikko – thanks. Hope you can find one!
wish to know if GN 3-5 4-740041Y uses the same case as GN3-5 4 720261Y. They are both high beat chronometer. Thanks.
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> Sweephands Vintage Citizen Watch Blog 於 2016年2月17日 上午5:47 寫道： > > >
Hi Ronald – thanks for visiting my blog. A different case number would normally suggest that the cases are different, although these two look very much alike. One supplier lists two different part numbers for the crystals which also suggests they may have slight differences.
Lovely watch Stephen. Is that a linen dial that I spy? Nice, but simpler gold medallion compared to the Chrono Master as well.
I’d describe the dial as being finely brushed in one direction – so not quite a linen finish I guess. The medallion is unique to this model, so is interesting for that alone.