This page is dedicated to the work Brian has done on vintage Citizen watches, other than the 8110A mechanical chronograph featured here: https://sweep-hand.org/brians-8110a-restoration-the-speedy-67-9313/
As well as seeing examples of the many models Citizen produced in their mechanical heyday, it’s always good as well to see the detailed work that goes into servicing and restoration, especially when it’s been carried out by a master watchmaker.
Our first example is one of Mikko’s watches, and he has very kindly provided his commentary along with Brian’s notes…..and a massive thank you to Brian for allowing the use of his photos.
1. Mikko’s Custom V2, Model 67-0171, Case Number 4-722400
A. MIKKO’S DISCUSSION WITH BRIAN PRIOR SENDING THE WATCH TO HIM:
I was finally able to track down diver type Citizen Custom V2 which I have been hunting for a while. Exact model is:
Case back: BL,7200, 4-722400 TA, 21200683, 67-0171, Dial code: 720986 KA
NOTE: with Mikko’s help and further research, we can add more information about model variations and case numbers – see the end of this article
It has the hacking 23J 7200 series movement (7290). The watch runs, keeps reasonable time and date/day wheels seem to be in good working order. The black pvd case is in very good condition with the original crown. The mineral crystal is scratched and there seem to be dust particles between the glass and dial. I looked at the dial closely under the stereo microscope and the dust seems to be glass. So maybe the crystal had been broken earlier and changed, but the dust was not removed during the process.
What I would like you (Brian) to do for the watch is:
– full overhaul
– cleaning of the dial to remove the dust, hoping it’s not damaged: there might be a tiny scratch to the right side of the “CUSTOM” text
– crystal replacement, the original might be impossible to find, but a similar type of crystal will do, I trust your expertise on this one
– maybe renewing the lume pip in “diving ring” (if needed)
– case restoration is not necessary as it is pvd coated and in pretty good shape
– slight polish of the case back
– I wish after the service the watch would look as original as possible (see catalog photo from Stephen’s archives below)
B. SOME ADDITIONAL INFO I (MIKKO) HAVE FOUND:
This model was manufactured from 1970 to 1973. Here are the serial numbers of the five pieces I have found so far, including mine. They are a 1970 model from Canada, three 1972 models from Germany and a 1973 model from Thailand:
005004xx, 21200683, 21200622, 21200329, 30500967 All these examples have low serial numbers – lower than 1000 (last four digits of the number) which suggests low overall production numbers. Also of note is that the Canadian example is the only one with a black day wheel, as seen in the catalog, and a black coated case back with no model number. [Note: According to Citizen, the first black coated ‘Blackie’ watches were retailed in May 1970]
C. BRIAN’S SERVICE REPORT
This V2 is stellar – I have never seen another. I like the 7200 series a lot. I have bought 3 Leopards from the same movement family for my own collection. Two 28,800’s and a 36,000. I must say that the quality is really up there. The features they provide only Seiko could wish for. The 8110a’s are right up there too. It’s close to call but since the 7200’s are not chronographs I think it allowed Citizen to really go all out. We are lucky because this V2 didn’t have a ‘hacker’ in it. Looks like when the water got in, it was too far for someone with a limited skill set to restore. The 7200’s have lots of different versions with all different jewel counts. I think the tolerance in which they were made reflects in the quality and timing. You will be impressed with timing results of this one you will see later. Perfect beat error is found in watches made with precision 🙂
The V2 as I received it.
Dial and movement have corrosion spots. You can see where water or some kind of solvent leaked past the crystal gasket:
Case picture showing where the leak happened. With the case disassembled you can see the mad amount of crud and dirt packed in this thing!:
Dial after cleaning. There are 2 pics for this. About 90% of the specks are gone….but there is a few that could not be cleaned. Those ate through the paint. It looks very good. With the naked eye they are hardly noticeable and it’s too risky to try to touch them up. If it were mine…I would not, as the dial is really clean otherwise. Hands are in excellent shape:
Movement out of the cleaning machine. I was able to clean the corrosion off the main plate. The movement is virtually mint. I found a few screws that were loose and lots of oil everywhere. It looks like someone in the past tried to oil it but gave up. That’s a good thing, because they didn’t damage anything or ruin screws. The screws are perfect, as are all the parts including the date wheels. The hairspring is perfectly straight too, and that will count when it comes to the timing:
Finished movement – first start. Looks like new. Dial side calendars were heavily oiled and I hoped that they would not be ruined. Luck is that the oil has been completely cleaned off and they look sharp:
Finished completed movement with dial and hands installed ready for the case:
Old lume dot removed. Cleaned bezel and a new lume dot is made. Once that sets and dries, I’ll apply a epoxy resin dome dot to protect it like the factory::
Case cleaned and touched up. There were a couple chips that I touched up.
Yes Sir….a genuine NOS Citizen crystal was not easy to find. It took 7 different suppliers to find and it is the last one…..so hopefully it stays scratch free . The new crystal is installed and sealed in the case. The new crystal did not come with a gasket, so diver sealer is used to set the crystal, which is pressed in:
Finished movement in the case:
Here are the timing results:
Amplitude— 266-298 – Excellent 🙂
Beat Error—.0 ms all positions – Excellent 🙂
DD —12 Not used in daily wear.
CD — +6
DU — +2
W — +1
CU — +1
Results are +10 s/d. Excellent. The perfect beat error in all positions impressed me the most. 🙂
Finally the completed watch and lume picture. Case back light polish. The lume dot may fade after some time to match the dial. Maybe?
More Information on this Custom V2 model: Mikko’s watch has case number 4-722400, and Mikko noticed that the case number in the catalog scan is 4-720636. This prompted further research to try and understand the differences. And, somewhat surprisingly, this led to us finding yet another case number, 4-721420, but with the same model number as Mikko’s – 67-0171. So we have three case numbers for essentially the same watch, but as far as we know only one model number. There are differences though – Mikko’s watch has a stainless steel back, and a white day wheel, whilst the other two have a black case back and a black day wheel. They all appear to share the same dial code (720986). The other two appear to be identical, so there is no obvious explanation for the different case numbers.
Here is an example of case number 4-721420:
Another example has a clearer case number (with credit to seller on the internet):
Now for Mikko’s second example – and another great showcase for Brian’s work, with thanks to Miko for compiling this excellent report, and of course to Brian for his comments and photos:
2. Mikko’s Alarm Date, Model 63-7050, Case Number 4-310055
A) SOME DISCUSSION I HAD WITH BRIAN PRIOR SENDING THE WATCH TO HIM
I was able to acquire this 1972 Citizen Alarm Date from its original owner. It was given to him as a birthday present in the early 1970s and it has definitely seen a lot of action. The original owner has a background of water sports and I’m very surprised that it has survived without water damage. The exact model is:
Case back: 4-310055 Y, 20811963, 63-7050, Dial code: 6-310524-Y
What I would like you (Brian) to do for the watch is:
– Full overhaul for the movement
– I would like you to keep the watch as original looking as possible (see catalog picture below)
– Mechanically watch seem OK and alarm function works, but the dial/movement moves when the crowns are handled. I’m not sure why this happens, but if you can do something about this it would be great
– Crystal is in bad shape and needs to be changed (preferably with original crystal)
– Dial looks good, but I can see tiny faint spot of maybe mould just under the Citizen text, which you can try to remove. This is not clearly visible by the naked eye through the scratched crystal. Otherwise hands and dial can stay as they are
– If you can save the original crowns, please do
– I would like to get watch surfaces polished/brushed, but not overly polished…. “life” can stay. I trust your expertise on this one. What I figure is that the upper part and sides of the watch have polished surfaces, but on the sides there are small diagonal angles which has a brushed sunburst finish. I hope the case would not lose the original angles
– the watch has faint engraving on the case back which can stay as I know the story behind it. Case back can be lightly polished though(scan from 1974 German Catalog)
B) BRIAN’S SERVICE REPORT
Mikko asked for an original NOS crystal for the watch and it was not easy to find. It took several different suppliers. This one doesn’t have the cyclops eye, but comes with the correct part number and it seems that both types were supplied. Crystals have been discontinued since 1991. I’m just glad this was found as it took a lot of time to hunt it down and it was the last one. (Mikko’s note: I asked for an original crystal and against all the odds Brian was able to find one. Brian could have easily chosen the easy way out and just order after market parts, but he didn’t. He used a lot of time to fulfill my wish. This is also true with other parts the watch needed, shown later in Brian’s commentary. These parts are extremely rare these days and I’m still astonished he was able to acquire them. I truly appreciate Brian’s devotion to his customers.)
Pic 1 Watch as received:
Pic 2 This thing had a ton of oil oozing out of everywhere. You can see in pic 2 that it’s a pool. LOTS of loose screws! Whoever was in this watch last did some butchering and botchmaking:
Pic 3 shows the WRONG screw forced into the Ratchet wheel and into the barrel arbor for the mainspring. This is a special screw that has 3 notches cut into it, to designate left hand thread. You can see it at the top on the (large) geared wheel screw. Someone in the past lost the screw, and cross threaded a right hand thread screw into it:
Pic 4 – Needless to say, it broke:
Pic 5 – The threads cannot be removed from the arbor….it’s ruined.
Pic 6 shows an image of a movement from the net. You can see that the lower larger ratchet wheel uses the 3 slotted screw:
Good news is…..I called my suppliers to locate the correct screw, and a new barrel arbor. We got lucky 🙂 I found only one supplier that has both the screw, and the arbor new….. and they are NOS Citizen parts (After Brian consulted Mikko about the prices, parts were ordered.)
The movement apart, in order as described:
Pics 7-11 Movement disassembled. Other than the broken arbor screw and arbor for the mainspring , everything looked in excellent condition. The nicest of the 3 others I’ve done. It took 2 trays for all the parts. Lots of springs and levers:
Movement out of the cleaning machine and ready for assembly. Your new arbor and screw in the Citizen packages. Last pic is the dial side of the main plate prior to assembly:
It just gets better and better 🙂
Finished movement first start – Bench Tests:
Pics 15-20 Finished movement balance side. The crowns and stems are all in excellent condition. None are bent, and they can all be re-used:
I also resolved the problem Mikko had when you would wind, or set the watch where it would move in the case. I’ll address that later with pictures.
Pic 21 – The dial cleaned. It is virtually mint. I found only one stain by the “C” in Citizen. It’s faint and is hard to see. It could not be cleaned. I’ll get you a clear view later. Color is just awesome. There are glue stains on the outside. I think this is factory and is needed to steady and secure the inner bezel. You won’t see any of that with the bezel on, and I have to re-seal the bezel to the dial in the same way.
Pic 22 – The inner bezel. Just magnificent! It’s flawless. It took some careful cleaning and wow! I am just so impressed with this watch. Its gets even better… You will like the next stage of pics of the dial. I shot some real detailed pictures of it as it was being assembled. Note that the hammer is not on. I’ll show that later too with some nice detailed pictures:
Pics 23-25 I “very lightly polished everything”. The crowns are done by hand. They look like new as I’ll show you in later pics. I looked so forward to using a new Citizen crystal. It gets better…. 🙂
I…..like Mikko, like original. I’m a big fan of leaving case patina and crisp lines. All the original brushing and details remain on the entire watch. The outer crystal bezel is just out standing! Wait until you see it reflect light. It glitters! I thought the images on the blue glass facing the western sun would look cool to show you the case:
Pics 26-27 – the finished movement mounted in the alarm’s movement holder. If you note there are 2 pics. They show the case screw (left side). The screw that was in the watch was not original, that holds the movement to the movement holder. However…it has the same threads. It would not hold the movement tight in the holder because it has a tapered thread style at the head of the screw. To correct this I used a citizen 8110a movement clamp instead of a washer so to keep it all 100% Citizen. Now it’s tight and does not allow the movement to rattle. Problem solved.
Pics 28-29 – Dial side with calendars. The calendar ring is perfect. It cleaned bright and is oil free. This watch does not have a quick set calendar. It does have a safety built into the movement that if it was wound backwards, would not break the calendar advance. I don’t think it’s designed to set the calendar that way and I would advise not to set the calendar, or time, in reverse.
Pics 30-33 – Here is the movement complete with the hands cleaned and installed. I wanted to photograph the watch from different angles to let you see how nice the dial is. At this stage the watch has been running for 5 days prior to the hand installation. I indexed the alarm hand first to calibrate where the correct position would be for the hands. The calendar change is about 5 minutes to midnight and the alarm is spot on for the time set. As with the rest of the watch, the hands and dial are in excellent condition. It reflects a real nice glow depending on the light angle. What I like is that Citizen used this hand style on the Crystal 7 models. I like the square lume area’s as well as the squared ends. The alarm hand is unique and in excellent shape. It would be very difficult to replicate the black design over the silver hand:
DD– +15 Amplitude–238——-Beat Error– .01
CD– +15 —————180————————-.0
DU– +3 —————217-230——————-.01
W– +3 —————201-189——————-.02
CU– -9 —————-172————————–.03
I want to say that Citizen went all out to make these movement precise. Being honest, they are not built to the tight specs of the 7200 series V2 or the 8110a. This caliber reminds me of Stephens’s 1958 auto wind movement. Precision was not at the fore front with this calibre. I spent a great deal of time on the timing machine to tighten the different rates. As you can see, the crown down position had us. Since DD is not used in daily wear, there is not much time you can pull from the DU and W positions. DU must always remain the key position. Subtract the CU and you’re left with (+3). So she can’t be made slower than (+18 S/D) As long as it does not see a CD position for too long it will probably stay under (10 s/d), maybe less? Beat error is still very very good considering….it’s just not a tuned watched like an 8110a or a 7200 series.
Pics 34-37 – Setting the bezel to the dial. What a perfect bezel 🙂 It is fastened from the factory with glue. I used a modern, non-silicone sealer to secure it to the dial. No matter what temperature, it will not melt or bleed. I wondered if the stain near the “C” was caused by the factory. I don’t think so, but the glue from the factory may be the culprit. As it aged on the dial…it showed up possibly from being exposed to the light. Even with the wear the watch had, I don’t think it had been exposed to the sun a lot…which may explain the reason why the dial is so nice, and the original lume still glows pretty bright.
Pics 38-41 – Everything getting a final dust check. There is a new case back gasket installed, and it can’t be seen in the pics. It’s the last thing I do before the back gets snapped on. I don’t like photographing with water proofing grease near any clean parts until I’m ready to snap the case back tight. Pic 4 is one of my favourites. The light reflected was from my shop window, and it made a neat effect for the picture.
Pics (42-45) The peg wood shows the little hammer that strikes the pin inside the case back. That’s what makes the chirping sound for the alarm. I noticed prior to any work on the watch that it didn’t have a real clear “cricket chirp sound”. I think it’s because the hammer mechanism was in dire need of new clean oil. I used synthetic D5 instead of grease for all those parts, because the grease creates way to much drag, and does not allow the hammer to run full speed and actually “ring the pin” inside the case back. If you look closely……you can see the pin riveted to the inside of the case back. Very cool! 🙂
Pics (46-47) A nice view of the original Citizen signed crowns polished by hand to match the case refinish:
Pics 48-55 – The final product. I took 3 pictures in the watch tray to get you a different light angle. Then I took the watch outside and shot some pics in the sunlight. It’s just amazing! The NOS Citizen crystal really made the job special, and I’m glad to have found it for Mikko. I actually like that the date window magnifier is not there.
Final words by Mikko: I was very impatient to see the watch and once it arrived I was totally blown away by the transformation. Brian had exceeded all of my expectations. These last two pictures show the watch before and after Brian’s treatment. Since the bracelet was not original, I decided to go for black heavy duty Hirsch Liberty leather strap with white stitching and I think it matches nicely with the black and white details in the dial. The case is a perfect size for my wrist and very comfortable. The watch keeps good time (+4sec per day at the moment) and the cricket function works perfectly. I tested the alarm in the weekend and it is very loud indeed! The whole household woke up as a result of my little experiment…even the dogs 😀
And finally, here’s a pic of both of Mikko’s watches, expertly and beautifully restored by Brian: