Intermission concluded and we rejoin battle, the movement parts having emerged fresh from their bath. I always clean the mainplate and balance with the latter fitted to protect it from potentially traumatic interactions with other parts during the rather vigorous agitations of the cleaning machine. In the photo below, we have a nice view of the balance Parashock end piece free from the spiral spring jewel.
The reconstruction begins with the two mainplate Profix settings, the inner stem, clutch wheel and setting lever, the latter secured in place by the setting lever spring that I’ve fitted to the opposite side.
The yoke and its spring are placed into position next (below, left) and, having eased the spring into position, it is safely capped off with the yoke guard (below, right). The first potential spring-related calamity avoided.
The date corrector lever comes next followed by its spring, somewhat less fiddly to fit.
The whole shebang is capped off with the date corrector spring.
We can now turn the movement over and fit the centre wheel and its bridge.
We need to start thinking ahead to the barrel and train wheel bridge which still needs its winding rotor post fitting. This is accomplished by pressing it into place using a jeweling tool.
With that done, we can take a look at the sweep second pinion jewel mounted to the rear of the rotor post.
If we turn the bridge over, we can see the threaded part of the replacement rotor post, ready for action.
As is becoming increasingly common in my recent experience, I find myself once again having to wind a mainspring left-handed into a right-handed mainspring winder.
With the mainspring fitted to the barrel, and the train wheel bridge ready in the wings, we can continue to assemble the balance side of the movement. The next job is to fit the stop seconds lever and its spring, making sure that the base of the spring is touching the centre wheel bridge.
The scene is set for the gear train: the barrel (having first set the click and its spring), the reduction gear, double third wheel, fourth wheel and escape wheel.
The barrel and train wheel bridge finds its way into position with barely a murmur and we then seat the two pawl winding wheels as well as the intermediate winding wheel. By way of a cautionary note to any readers who may find themselves working on this calibre in the future, three screws, two long and one short, secure the bridge to the main plate. You must take care not to fit either of the long screws into the hole adjacent to the stem because if you do so, the screw will protrude through to the rear and dislodge the yoke. This is where the short screw belongs!
The intermediate winding wheel is secured into place with its screw and the automatic train bridge fitted.
We have reached the point where we can contemplate breathing some life back into this old movement. Two Parashock settings, one pallet fork and its bridge later, the balance eased back into position, a couple of winds of power, and the movement springs into life.
If we now turn the movement over, we can reassemble the rest of the dial side components, starting with the cannon pinion, minute wheel and its guard, the date driving wheel and the intermediate date wheel. This last component is secured into position with a left-threaded screw, identified as such by its black-anodised head.
The three arrows in the photo above indicate the location of three spherical jewels whose role is two-fold: they support the date dial and notionally therefore contribute to a reduction in the overall drag as it rotates from one date to the next; more importantly, they allow the manufacturer to boast of 33 jewels on the dial rather than 30. The 5203 day/date movements that I’ve been using to provide spare parts are 27 jewel movements, the difference being accounted for by a steel bearing used for the upper barrel arbor hole and upper and lower steel bearings supporting one of the pawl winding wheels. Interestingly, in place of the three spherical date wheel jewels in the 5410, the 5203 use three equivalently sized steel ball bearings. So perhaps they have a real function after all.
The rocking bar whose role is to act as intermediary between the clutch wheel and all setting actions, quickset included, is also secured into place using a left-threaded screw.
One of the fiddliest operations is securing the rocking bar spring and date jumper spring. They sit back-to-back with the latter in a state of unsecured tension for as long as it takes for me to fit the date dial guard.
The date corrector pinion, finger, spring and guard complete the puzzle on the dial side of the movement, barring the hour wheel and its film washer.
The hour wheel and film washer come next before placing the dial back into position.
The dial still needs a bit of a clean, but I wanted first to check that all of the calendar functions worked correctly before sprucing it up prior to refitting the hands. That will wait until the movement is back in the case but before we can do that, we need to refit the winding rotor to the new post.
In the meantime, I’ve cleaned the case and crown, greased the crown gasket, fitted the crown and rotated it so that its male coupling is aligned correctly to receive its female counterpart when I ease the movement into the case.
A little bit of jiggling is required to get the movement to seat correctly.
And with that done, we can refit the hands.
You’ll have noticed that the hands have aged somewhat differently compared to the dial markers, the former turning a creamy beige, the latter retaining their original greenish hue.
As I suggested at the start, information on and availability of spare parts for these vintage Citizens is very thin on the ground. I was able to find almost no useful information at all about this particular model and was assuming somewhat optimistically that the crystal fitted to this model would be similar to those fitted to the more common contemporary Citizen 150m divers watches, such as the 62-6198. My measurement of the diameter of the original crystal yielded a value of 31.8mm which is the same as that of the other divers models. Fortunately, I managed to find a seller on eBay with stock of what they described as exactly the same size and look as the original 150m Citizen crystals but made of sapphire rather than tempered mineral glass. Given the lack of alternative options, I had ordered one of these shortly after receiving my watch and with it in hand, we can assess to what extent it correctly mimics the original.
Obviously, the new sapphire is pictured top and the original glass below. The good news is that the base of the new crystal has the correct dimensions and its perfectly flat top correctly mimics the original; the potentially bad news is that the taper of the sapphire is shallower than the original which means that the diameter of the flat top is smaller. My numerous unsatisfactory experiences in the past with sapphire facsimiles of Seiko domed crystals meant that I was braced for the usual issues of odd optical distortions and chronic internal reflections obscuring the view of the dial. But as this was my only option, I pressed on with a reasonably open mind.
The photo above shows the crystal in position, fresh outer gasket fitted but the bezel still waiting its turn. This photo shows the crystal in its absolutely best light, aided by some artful photoshoppery to reduce the appearance of haze produced by internal reflections. What you should notice though is that the diameter of the flat top slices through the hour markers which means that you cannot get an unobstructed view of the whole dial when viewing the watch from immediately above. In the next photo, I’ve fitted the bezel and a strap and you should see more clearly the issue I have with these domed sapphire crystals.
It almost appears as though a mist is rising from the surface of the dial. I really don’t like the look and at this point felt that a great deal of what I have always liked about this model was being undermined by the havoc that the crystal was playing with the view of the dial. I didn’t seem to have a choice though because what are the chances of finding a correct original crystal? Vanishingly small, I thought, but that did not stop me having a nose around Yahoo Japan and eBay before stumbling upon an auction for an original Citizen Crystal for Divers, sealed in its original packaging, with part number 54-51810. The seller was in the UK but this was an auction with one bid already at £75 with several days to run. I bided my time, waiting until 15 seconds before the end of the auction before lobbing in a £90 bid, and secured my prize for £77 plus postage. I know, I know, this seems like a lot of money for a crystal but with so much time and effort invested in this watch, I wanted to top it off properly, allowing it to display its assets without impediment.
Out with the sapphire and in with the new old stock part.
You can see from this angle that there is still plenty of optical chicanery but it is far less extreme and importantly, the steeper taper of the sides means that the dial is viewable in its entirety from a perpendicular vantage point.
Before wrapping this one up, I should mention that I had to break and enter once more to tighten the cannon pinion; the watch was losing a minute or so each time it transitioned though the date change process, a sure sign of a slipping pinion. Two or three iterative tightenings solved the issue completely, and I have been left with a watch that appears to be keeping time as well as almost any vintage mechanical watch I own. I’ve been wearing this watch for the past 10 days since completing it and it has gained 13 seconds in that time.
Let’s finish with two more views of that gorgeous dial, comfortably the equal in charisma of anything Seiko was producing at the time. The first, an oblique perspective:
In many ways, this is a perfect watch: at 37.5mm diameter, crown excluded, it is, for me absolutely hitting the sweet spot; its dial and handset are wonderful; the inner dome, flat top crystal lends a super additional three-dimensionality to the dial; its movement is sophisticated and highly specified, with hand-winding, seconds hacking and quick-set date complication; it appears to be fantastically accurate; and its beaten up case means there is no reason at all to baby it (ok, yes, the crystal is vulnerable, but I’m prepared to take the risk!). I don’t see Citizen elbowing Seiko from my affections, but I am very pleased indeed to have made its acquaintance.
For those of you interested in learning more about the vintage Citizen universe, I heartily recommend you take a look at vintagecitizenwatches.com and sweep-hand.org.
Di Lin Ng said:
Excellent post! Great that you are doing Citizens now.
How would you rate the Citizen 52xx vs the Seiko 83xx quality-wise? They seemed to be contemporaries in the mid 60s. Did Citizen use the double third wheel before Seiko did in the 5106?
I would love to see you do Orients next! Keep it up!
Many thanks for your message. I have been very impressed by the Citizen movement, both in terms of the sophistication of its design and in its timekeeping. It feels a bit like an amalgam of the Seiko 83 series and 51 series in terms of design but with very distinctive approaches to particular elements of the design. I can’t really make much comment about absolute quality differences and certainly don’t have a bias one way or the other. All I can say is that I have been very pleasantly surprised and have very much enjoyed working on this one.
I should probably add that this has tweaked my interest in vintage Citizen but my enthusiasm will be tempered by the difficulty in identifying and then sourcing any parts that I might need for future Citizen projects. Ultimately, I buy watches that I like and this Parawater is one I’ve admired for a long time.
I know very little about vintage Orient although did own a modern Orient about 10 years ago.
Thanks for your contribution.
Pip Neville said:
Great two part write up, enjoyed with a nice brew. Thanks for sharing, I learn plenty from your excellent descriptions. It also sounds like you had a fantastic result with your mystery box of bits… was that from one of the watch fairs or somewhere else?
Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I bought the box of bits on Yahoo Japan about three and a half years ago for the grand sum of £8.50. It contained about twenty watches in various states of disassembly including numerous old Seikos, but also vintage Citizens and Ricohs. Probably the best watch investment I’ve ever made!
Very nice article! I enjoyed a lot Reding it. Thanks for sharing.
No problem. Glad you enjoyed it.
Very interesting read, I find these vintage 150m Citizen’s with their x cases very interesting. I first acquired a nice condition SADS 51202-Y with Y shaped 12 0’clock lume from 1966 afew years ago, then followed by a same reference Super Auto Dater with no lume from February 1967, and then today received in the post an AUDS 52802-Y with beautiful miss match hand/hour lume just like your example dating from March 1967. As far as I can tell, all three examples share the same case and 39 jewelled movement, and aside from that, they all have subtle differences.
Thank you. There is certainly a lot to discover in taking an interest in 1960’s Citizen watches. I really like my example of the Crystal Date Parawater.
Fantastic post and a great job Martin! Thanks for the efforts you have put into this. I have a question. As a Citizen fan I’m searching for a left handed mainspring winder but I can only find right handed ones. You use a right handed one to wind left handed springs. Could you please explain to me (us!) how you do that? It would be a great help! All the best, Bert
Hi Bert, in the absence of a left-handed winder, you can take two approaches. The first is to simply wind the mainspring into the drum in reverse but this requires the nub on the winding handle post to be able to gain purchase on the hole at the end of the mainspring. The second approach is to wind it in right-handed and then fit the mainspring to a retaining ring of the sort that is supplied with a new mainspring. You are then free to fit it to the barrel in either right or left-hand wind orientation.
Thanks for your prompt reply Martin! Never thought of that but I will give the second alternative a chance tomorrow. Thanks again for your efforts and look forward to your next educational post! All the best from Holland, Bert