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 🙂