Hello and welcome to Stephen’s Citizen watch blog. If you’re a Citizen watch fanatic, you have come to the right place. Here you will find some of the finest and most comprehensive vintage Citizen watch archives in one place on the internet. I am pleased to be able to provide you with one of my watch restoration and service archives, as a contribution to Stephen’s hard work and effort.
My name is Brian and I am a master trained watchmaker in the State of Pennsylvania U.S.A. I had the honor to be trained by the School of Horology in Columbia Pa. Which just so happens to be right next door to Lancaster Pa., the largest watchmaking capital in the history of the United States. The only school that was left in the country at the time to actually teach watchmaking. It was an entire year of my life, driving 120 miles a day, 3 hours total for 5 days a week. Worth every minute. I got the chance to be trained by a very well regarded Master Watchmaker by the name of Jim Michaels. If you don’t know Jim, let me tell you a little bit about the man. I’m sure that you have all heard of Abraham Louis Breguet. Breguet was a very famous watchmaker that lived between the late 17 to 1800’s. He made some of the most valuable and beautiful complicated watches in the day. In the early 1990’s, Jim had the rare opportunity to create, from original blue prints, the missing pieces/parts for Breguet’s first minute repeater watch. Yep, serial number 1. Which is believed to be in Bruguet’s museum till this day. I am in awe of Jim’s skills, and with his teachings, and now I am able to bring you this.
The Citizen 67-9313 8110a ‘Speedy’ is a very cool, collectible, fully mechanical 23 jewel automatic chronograph of the mid 1970’s. Mint ones are rare and hard to come by. These watches were used hard and really worn out in the almost 40 years they have been in existence. Most of them have already in that time been hacked or butchered in some way. A couple of years ago, I restored a white dialled Speedy for my collection.
I have always liked the black dial version, and since then restored quite a few for customers. Their’s turned out so good, that I had to get one and add it to my collection.
This is what my example looked like when I bought it
Let’s take a good look on the outside to get a general idea as to what we have to work with.
As you can see, the bezel is not in that bad a shape. It’s a good thing because this part is a make or break item for the Speedy. You could spend $150 dollars just to find a good one, so this is a bonus.
No crown or winding stem. I stock these pieces and they can be bought new. They are not cheap, but NOS Citizen parts can be had. Note the case back:
This Speedy was made in February 1977 and is a low serial number. The pushers are intact and are in pretty good shape. That is important because they are not available from Citizen anymore. If you are missing one, or one is bent or chewed up from a previous watch butcher, you will have to find a parts watch.
The crystal is shot and originals can not be gotten anymore. I spent a lot of time buying different after-market crystals to see which ones are the best and exact spec. I am personally not a fan of after-markets, but have bought many different brands until one fits my spec and quality standards. I stock new Speedy crystals, and you actually can’t even tell they are after-market, as you will see. The original crystal gasket is a must have. This crystal gasket fortunately is there, and it’s a good thing because they are also not available nowadays. Let’s open the hood and see what we have next….
Remove the case back… and holy crap what a mess:
The rotor is gone, and something much more important……the movement holder. If you have read my other resto and service threads in the WUS forums, I make a pretty big deal about those parts and I will show you later in the resto as to what I mean. Now we can get a chance to see what’s under that scoured original crystal. The dial:
I have seen worse, and I have seen mint. This one is about a 6.5 condition. I can see that the minute recorder pivot is broken off and I don’t even have the dial off yet. Both the recorder hands are MIA (ed: Missing in Action!) and I will have to get those from my stock. Note how bent the minute hand is. The sweep second hand actually looks original. It’s faded, and I can barely see the fluorescent tip. Wow, look at that Citizen logo:
It looks like the side view of a bad rear end car wreck. All bent to hell. Those tiny Citizen logos are actually made out of metal, and are virtually impossible to straighten. On top of that they are extremely fragile and delicate. That’s OK, because I have a really nice spare from a 67-9054 donor dial. The logo has to be removed anyway for the dial refresh. I see so many vintage Citizens where that logo was messed up from yesterday’s botch-makers. Take a look at yours with a 5X eye loupe when you get a chance, if it’s perfect you can actually see it. One little bend and the reflected light will show you where.
When you’re this deep in a restoration like this, you have to look at every single thing. The effort put forth will be reflected, and pay dividends in the end. Worth it as you will see. Next we’ll take a look at the 8110a inside…….
My plan was to use a spare, 90% complete 8110a Challenge Timer movement in this Speedy. Then, I changed my mind. Once I saw this Speedy’s calendar wheels, and how good a shape they were in, I decided to fix its 8110a movement instead. The English/Arabic calendars are virtually perfect, a real a bonus when you buy a watch where you cannot examine it first:
Another cool thing to find….the metal movement holder. If you’re lucky to have one in your Speedy with all the screws and clamps, I will go on record and say that it “adds value to your Speedy.”
Plastic movement holders have also been used in the Speedy and many other 8110a model Citizens. Without a retaining ring, plastic holders do not secure the movement nearly as tight as the metal ones. Setting a precision time, or listening to a movement run in the watch is also much more difficult. Another interesting note is that metal movement holders are different in that they are model specific. In my other watch restoration threads I reveal what can be done to get past this hurdle. It’s pretty cool what you can make with a lathe – take a look here:
I prefer to repair and service an existing movement, and not break down a complete movement just for parts. I take these 8110a movements completely apart and examine each part one by one. Every jewel has to be looked at carefully. If it’s cracked or missing it must be replaced. If these movements are serviced to high standards, serviced properly and precision timed they will impress you with their incredible accuracy. I can get them within 4-11 seconds positionally with a zero beat error. 6-8 seconds is the average. Some of my customers will email me and say they have worn their 8110a’s for 3 months and they remain spot on. I have really enjoyed the positive feedback on the timing.
After disassembly and inspection:
I found the movement needed a barrel jewel replaced because of a crack. Plus a broken hour and minute recorder, and broken reset lever. The balance wheel had some corrosion, and the hairspring was slightly bent. This is where having good parts in stock really helps. I have a clean 67-9054 8110a balance and straight hairspring, straight minute recorder, reset lever, original crown and stem in stock. The minute recorder gets checked in my lathe for trueness – if they are bent, they do not get re-used. You can see it center right:
Note the crowns. The one on the left is the correct signed Citizen crown for the Speedy. The crown on the right is an after-market:
This is important for the value of your Speedy. The original crown’s quality surpasses any after-market one you can buy.
After about 4 hours, you have a fully serviced 8110a ready to start up. Note the amplitude. 250-290 is excellent for these movements:
The movement is now run and tested for three full days before getting its dial and hands. I use a 67-9631 hour hand to check that the calendars are working properly:
And speaking of the dial and hands, we’ll take a closer look at those next.
Since you cannot buy a new Speedy dial anymore..(I wish you could)..you have to like what you’re getting. Kinda of an “it is what it is thing.” I read an interesting reply in the WUS forum where someone had said that “looking through the crystal at the dial of a well worn watch, is like looking into a miniature museum of the past.” I like that, and you will see why a lot of detail needs to be applied when you restore a watch dial that is this poor:
This dial will get cleaned, relumed, touched up and the hour markers restored. You will see later how it transforms to a much nicer miniature museum:
Note the Citizen logo is removed. The watch tow truck hauled it to the yard. This process is very time consuming to do, but pays off when it’s done to a high standard. I call this an “original restoration to a dial”. A re-dial is when it’s stripped bare and reprinted. If you’re familiar with re-dialled watches you can usually spot the logo signature is off. It’s good to have Stephen’s blog as a reference to what original dials and hands look like. It has helped me with vintage Citizen watches that I have made, and restored, with originality kept in mind while customizing – take a look here for examples that show what I mean: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/citizen-67-9577-67-9631-8100a-custom-chronograph-s-restoration-service-31-jewels-910866.html
These hands are cleaned and ready for their restoration. I stood the Citizen logos up next to each other to give you a good idea of what a straight one looks like. I’ll use my white dial Speedy as a reference for the length of the fluorescent orange tip, since it has unrestored hands that are in really nice condition:
White dial Speedy’s are very difficult to restore because of the reflection they cast. 40 year old pearl mixed with white paint is next to impossible to repair. Mint, white dial Speedy’s are very valuable, and having them both as a pair regardless of condition is a must for the Citizen 8110a collector. I will showcase a variety of Speedy’s later at the end of this restoration.
We’ll be taking a look at the case and bezel next.
First order of business is to get the case, bezel and pushers removed. Large amounts of dirt must be removed and cleaned.
Case and pusher tubes must be checked. Anything bent or damaged must be replaced, or pushers may stick which is unacceptable. I have seen watches that were claimed to be serviced, only for the movements to be put right back in dirty cases.
It’s bringing all the tedious and time consuming restored parts together that make the reward. The last, final dust check with the 5x loupe:
Once the bezel and crystal goes on, it’s time to visit the timing and tuning shop. This is the final stage, and it matters. The 8110a, with patience, can be timed as well as the finest watches:
Take note of the zero beat error. If you put a Rolex chronometer in the timing machine, you would see the same perfect beat error. This is one of the marvels of the Citizen 8110a, and why I have devoted alot of time to them. They are so well made, and their timekeeping is excellent. Especially if they are serviced correctly, and timed with precision.
Last thing to be done is install the rotor, and check clearance to the bridge and case back:
Then, turn it around and look at it for a while. Marvellous:
Dim the light – the re-lume looks like new:
The crystal is so clear, sometimes I think it’s missing, depending on the light angle. Worth all the time and effort.
Next, I have a collection of all different restored Speedy’s to show you in the next instalment. It’s a great time to bring them all together for a reunion 🙂
Thank you for viewing my restoration and service of the Citizen 67-9313 Speedy. As a tribute to this watch, I would like to show you some other Speedy’s that I have done for customers. This may be the most Speedy’s that have ever taken the stage at one place on the entire internet! Take a look…….
Speedy #1, owner – your host and Citizen blog owner Mr. Netherwood:
Stephen sent me this incomplete and needing alot of parts. This Speedy was going to be his daily wear, since he has another black dial example that is very minty. You would almost think at first glance how he could use this as a beater. His example uses one of my spec crystals.
Speedy #2, owner – Mr. Hines:
This is without a doubt the most beautiful and mint white dial Speedy I have ever seen in person. I can’t recall at the moment, but I think he is the original owner of this watch. It’s as mint on the inside as it is on the outside. This is one of those Speedy’s that if it ever surfaced on ebay, would blow past $600 dollars. Maybe even more. Mr. H had accidently dropped his watch on a marble counter top. The crystal was so shattered, that it stopped the watch. It was full of very, very tiny shards of glass and glass dust. It was everywhere. I found shards stuck in places in the movement that were so small it would stop the watch at anytime. What’s amazing to me is how much shock the movement took at impact. It blew the escape wheels cap jewel and spring right out, yet it did not break the pivot off. It’s a true testament to how well built a Citizen 8110a is. I actually sold my white dial Speedy’s original Citizen crystal to him, because this watch deserved something better than aftermarket. Speedy white dials are virtually impossible to restore, as you will see in a later pic.
Speedy #3 owner – Mr Vuong:
Mr Vuong’s White dial Speedy restoration is perhaps the poorest Speedy I have done of them all. I have to give Mr. Vuong props (ed: proper respect!) for his patience and commitment to saving his watch from the junk pile. His was missing hands, calendar window, crown, stem, movement holder, both pushers as well as many broken or missing parts. He supplied a rough, and mostly complete, Citizen 67-9119 as a donor. I was able to salvage many of the parts to repair and service the movement, as well as the watch itself. His dial had lots of imperfections which may distract someone who never saw this watch in its original state of despair. I restored everything to factory specifications using a new original signed Citizen crown, and my spec crystal. I must admit, his Speedy turned out excellent, and timed out superb. The dial has a nice glossy pearl reflection, and by carefully restoring matching patina, completes the look of originality. Hard to believe sometimes that this Speedy left the Citizen factory almost 40 years ago.
Speedy #4 owner – Mr. McGivern:
This Speedy was a special job in the fact that it didn’t need any restoration. I have to commend Mr. McGivern for leaving his watch original and un-restored. Take a close look and you will see the excellent details, and original condition – especially the dial. It was not without its problems….. and mostly due to inexperienced botch-makers for sure. There was so much oil in this watch that the calendar wheels were completely soaked. As a result of the oil bath service it had in the past, the print was eaten right off and these cannot be cleaned. I had one last set in really nice condition for him. Calendar wheels are getting hard to come by in mint, and un-faded condition these days. Other than a bridge screw missing, and a full going over, it turned out top notch. He decided to go with my spec crystal and keep his original, as it had slight hazing. I must say, a lucky man owns this one!
His restoration took two Speedy’s to make one. This watch was complete and running upon arrival but it had poorly painted faded orange hands, a bezel that was faded almost to blue in colour, and a filthy over oiled and dirty movement. It took a destroyed, white dial with a near perfect bezel, just to make this watch. He wanted it to have the factory original look, and with my spec crystal….Wow!
This is the watch that inspired me to do the restoration of my black dial Speedy.
Speedy #6 owner – Mr. Royse:
The nice thing about Mr. Royse’s Speedy is the fact that for how well used it was, no one in the past wrecked the dial by miss-handling it. It arrived in virtually 100% unrestored original condition. Mr. Royse chose to have the whole watch gone over from top to bottom, replace the original crystal with my spec crystal and keep the watch 100% unrestored. The dial and hands are right up there with the likes of others here, in minty condition. The calendar wheels were virtually perfect and timing is top rate. It, like the others had, re-setting problems which I fixed, and was drowned in oil. I have to give props to Mr. Royse for leaving it unrestored. I like original watches….and with this one…it can be worn without fear of scratching it. In the car world, this would be a daily driver with a sweet interior 🙂
Speedy #7 owner – Mr. Daugherty:
I really enjoy getting great Speedy’s stories like Mr. D’s. This was a watch that he has owned since 1980. It was used at first, then ended up in a draw for over 20 years because it didn’t work. As with most Speedy’s I get at the shop, it had been in the hands of an untrained botchmaker! Loose screws, massive over oiling, and a rotor bearing that was never tightened correctly. It was rattling around in the watch upon arrival.
Mr. D chose to leave the watch completely original using my spec crystal.
If you find a Speedy with a dial and bezel this sweet…..buy it. These watches are going up in value, as basket case Speedy’s have reached the $250-$300 dollar range.
Speedy #8 owner – Mr. Max:
What’s trending in today’s market with watches and cars is…unrestored. Collectors are understanding that owning a factory original is much more fun, even though it’s not perfect. As with unrestored cars, watches like Mr. M’s Speedy can be used everyday, with out the worry of a bump or nick. With some minor dial restoration, and my spec crystal this Speedy is a good looker with excellent original patina. It’s been a real pleasure to have all these Speedy’s through my shop. Now….we see them all together in one place. All so different, and unique in their own special way.
Speedy #9 owner – Mr Richard Lloyd Williams:
Mr Williams got a lucky break shortly after he sent me his white Speedy.
A three watch package deal surfaced, and he was able to acquire a rough black dial Speedy with a very nice bezel, a Challenge Timer bullhead, and a decent 67-9119 with a near mint movement. With those donors, I overhauled and serviced the 9119’s movement, and precision timed it. The black Speedy donated its bezel and Citizen dial logo. I custom fitted the 9119’s metal movement holder to the Speedy case, and of all the pushers available….the best were used. A full lume, complete hand and dial marker restore compliments the watch very nicely 🙂 Other touches of this full restoration included a Citizen logo swap from the donors and one of my spec crystals. Another white dial Speedy saved and restored to the highest of standards, that will provide many years of enjoyment.
Speedy #10 owner – Mr Richard Lloyd Williams
This was a parts Speedy that I thought would be just that.
Mr. Williams had gotten a package deal where this watch had a dial and a parts 8110a movement thrown in a case. When they arrived I was not thinking I could bring this one back. So it was left for the white dial Speedy to be made – see #9 above 🙂 Mr. Williams wanted a black dial in the worst way and asked if there was anything I could do to save it. So…it flew back to Pennsylvania from the U.K. with the remainder of what was left from the two previous project. This dial was about as bad as mine….no… it was way worse. I gave no guarantees because it had solvent, or some type of water damage that left the black paint finish very unstable. I spent hours cleaning and restoring this dial with my blend of primer, using a single brush hair to repair paint loss missing near the sub dial numbers. Hour markers were restored and re-lumed as well as the hands. The movement was rebuilt/overhauled with the remaining 8110a parts. It was a full restoration to factory specs, using one of my spec crystals.
I am most proud of this watch in many ways. It is my finest dial restoration to date, and has survived. This dial tested my skill sets way beyond what most watchmakers would ever attempt. I must say that in the end, when you look at this picture in detail, it is hard to distinguish it from other finer examples presented here. It’s proof that when a watch you seek is in very short supply….you can still have one anyway 🙂
Speedy #11 owner – Mr Kulkarni:
Sometimes you get that one picture that captures the essence of a really nice watch. I am proud of how nice Mr.K’s watch turned out when it was finished. Mr. K’s black dial Speedy was a full restoration. Using a white dial donor for its bezel, all the best parts were used to create the best Speedy possible. Some movement parts were needed and, after the full overhaul/service and precision timing, it ranks in my top 10 list of the most accurate 8110a’s to date. I personally love the look of the “ghost” bezel – I have seen ghost bezels on very old Rolex Sea Dwellers, and it actually makes the black dial contrast very well. A very cool look 🙂 Mr.K’s Speedy is using one of my spec crystals.
Speedy #12 owner – Mr Miller:
Mr. Miller’s black dial Speedy has led a very hard life.
Even though its condition is worn, it’s still going strong today. When we look at watches like Mr. Miller’s, its easier to appreciate how the nicer ones look. How in our life time we may never wear a watch out to this point. A Citizen Speedy owner doesn’t care that his may not be the best, but the fact that he has one…and with probably the most miles…or seconds logged.
Mr. Miller’s Speedy is one example in which the 8110a movement that powers it was the most worn I have ever seen. Everything needed some kind of attention, so a full restore was in order. As you can see, even the dial has faded, and some careful touch ups were made. It’s so hard to tell because of the type of primer I use to match each individual Speedy’s watch dial. Mr. Miller’s Speedy received a full dial refresh and lume, plus a hand restoration/full overhaul/ “o” rings and precision timing.
Plus (+) 6-8 seconds per day positional is impressive, and it is why I continue to devote my watchmaking skills and effort to keeping all Citizen 8110a models running for future generations. 🙂 [hooray to that 🙂 – editor]
Speedy #13 owner – Mr Merson:
If you own one model watch of any kind, its very hard other than pictures of course to compare it to others. Having the honour to have this many Speedy’s through my shop has allowed me to compare and grade Speedy’s from every continent of the world, in various states and conditions. Mr. Merson’s Speedy has impressed me with the finest of dials (not a scratch or tool mark), case and bezel originality. This Speedy was a rarity in that it was so close to NOS that when I opened the back, I didn’t at first glance think it had ever been touched. You see some sweet bezels here, and to some just that part can make a man drool. Sadly, this watch had been in the hands of a hack. Someone in the past tried to oil this up to get it to run and broke the dial feet. Worse is they had used some kind of super glue to try to put the dial back on. The concentrated fumes had discoloured the near perfect dial in a couple places. Seeing this has educated me in the white dials because I always wondered what caused dial dis-colouration. Dials that were glued on with a strong solvent base react with the pearl white paint type used on a Speedy. If you look at other white dials here, you can see just that. Dials that were not glued on even in worse condition did not have this type of damage.
Other than a full overhaul/new gaskets and one of my spec crystals, this Speedy is about as close to NOS as I have ever seen or handled. Mr. Merson said that he even has the original steel bracelet. Now that friends, is a very rare thing to own. 🙂
Speedy #14 owner – Mr. Hoolihan:
Something that caught my attention about Mr. Hoolihan’s Speedy was its serial number. I had seen low serials before but none this low. I always have been interested in low/early number serial cars and watches. I had to check my Speedy data base and to my surprise found this is the lowest number of them all. Meet #34. I asked myself..hmm. Are there any earlier ones? Who has Speedy number #1? I’d love to know.
Mr. Hoolihan’s white dial Speedy was a full restoration, and the dial shows a yellowing patina. When this watch arrived, the bezel and crystal were glued in with a clear epoxy. I was able to find one last remaining crystal and bezel gasket. Did the glue cause the patina? I bet it did. When I removed the watch from the case….I could smell the strong fumes inside. It some ways it looks very cool because the patina is even across the dial. Mr. Hoolihan’s watch uses one of my spec crystals:
Speedy #15 owner – Mr. Whitfield:
Mr. Whitfield’s’s black dial Speedy was in really nice original condition. It looked to have little use, and was well cared for. The only real flaw the watch had was the minute hand had some noticeable chips. Not really sure what had caused that, other than some bad watchmaker work where tweezers may have been used.
I was determined to restore the hands, so I mixed a custom blend of enamel and carefully touched up the chips. Mr Whitfield’s Speedy even had its original crystal, but someone in the past tried to polish it and ruined it. So….. my spec crystal to the rescue. This is his birthday year watch, and was done for his enjoyment in addition to being an heirloom for his son someday. Very cool 🙂
Speedy’s #16 & #17 – owned by me, Brian:
My white dial Speedy shown here was a two watch package deal. The dial and hands are original, and unrestored. As I mentioned earlier, a white dial Speedy is almost impossible to restore. Depending on the light angle, you will notice Citizen mixed pearl in the white paint, and this is what makes a white dial Speedy so special. Have you ever seen a Citizen 67-9151, or a Citizen 67-9054’s dial? They are like that. You can’t get that effect with black.
At the time of this writing, I have no solution other than a re-dial, to repair damage done by tweezer scratches, or damage done by recorder dial hands being pressed down too tight. If you have a paint formula idea, drop me a line!
I posted a brief write up in the WUS forum using my Omega Speedmaster and my white dial Speedy. Here: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/8110a-citizen-speedy-meets-omega-speedy-650836.html. It’s something you might find interesting.
I sold the black dial Speedy shown in that thread, and really wished I had kept it. At the time though, I could’nt get a nice crystal for it, and longed for another. A journey which led me to the watch you see here today – my black dial Speedy, parked right next to my white.
I thank you for taking the time to view my restoration and service. And thank you Stephen, for allowing me to contribute to your vintage Citizen watch blog.
Copyright on all text and images: ’31 Jewels’ and Stephen Netherwood, 2016