This is the third of my three Citizen Auto Dater watches, and is the second of two Jet Auto Daters in my vintage collection. It’s a stunning, all-silvertone watch with a brilliantly polished coin-edge style bezel that, when combined with a more dress-style mesh bracelet, gives this watch an amazing “pop” of light-shine on the wrist. Other features that make the watch positively flash with bright, rich-looking light are the highly-polished baton hour markers, the super-polished Dauphine-style hands, and even the cyclops magnifier at the three o’clock position. And finally, when the dial is combined with the aforementioned chromed coin-edged bezel, the watch provides some amazing bright flashes of light during the day, giving me a nice excuse to look at the dial and do a bit of dial drooling. (Say that five times fast…c’mon, now: do a bit of dial drooling, do a bit of dial drooling, do a bit of dial drooling…) Not that I need an excuse to do that.
This brightness also serves to make the watch look super expensive; that and the positively elegant script dial that tells you that this is a Citizen Jet Auto Dater. (And you needn’t say that five times…fast or slow) There is just something about that name, Citizen Jet, that makes me think back to the early years of jet travel, which just so happens to be the era this watch hails from. There was a genuine sense of glamor surrounding jet travel, and new, ultra-modern airport buildings sprang up in many U.S. cities to reflect this, most notably the “Worldport” Pan Am terminal at JFK Airport (sadly gone as of 2013) in New York, and LAX’s huge, spider-like structure that served to hold a large, revolving restaurant, where strolling violinists moved their way among the diners to provide a continental atmosphere as they ate dinner and watched the planes take off and land. (This iconic structure was nearly torn down in 2003 due to neglect and a rather large price tag to put it back into operation, but Angelinos had come to love this unusual, UFO-looking building, which had long before been named an historic landmark, and it didn’t take long to raise funds to renovate it to its former glory. LAX also built the worlds ugliest control tower not long afterward, but that’s another story for another day…)
LAX "Theme Building," circa 2013 - Imaginative name, eh?
Pan Am "World Port" Terminal, circa 1965
I genuinely feel that this watch reflects that glamorous era with ease, featuring beautifully laid out components that would have caught the eye of even the most jaded First Class seatmates, inspiring them into asking that question all of us watch lovers hear more than a few times over the years: “Ooh, can I see that watch?”
Manufacturer: CITIZEN WATCH
Model: Jet Auto Dater
Country of Origin: Japan
Age: Circa 1963-64
Condition: Pre-owned, working
Dial: Original script-signed, silver sunray finish with silver Dauphine hands, arrow-style seconds hand
Case: Original, 10-kt white gold-filled / plated stainless steel
Case Width: 38mm (40mm with crown), 44mm Lug-to-Lug
Case Thickness: 9mm (13mm with “high-rise” crystal)
Lug Width: 20mm
Band: Contemporary stainless steel “dress mesh” (replaces an aftermarket, generic black leather strap provided by the seller)
Crown: Original unsigned
Crystal: Original acrylic
Movement: Citizen Japan automatic, caliber 4100, gear-tooth rotor, 27 Jewels incabloc, signed
Accuracy[u/]: ~+15 Sec/Week
[u]Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; date window (with inside-the-crystal cyclops magnifier)
Power Reserve: ~36 hrs.
Miscellaneous: Angled coin-edged bezel; VJ7750-like movement “wobble”
Like my other Citizen Auto Dater’s, this piece is built around the very unique ‘gear-tooth rotor’ movement, the Citizen Japan automatic, caliber 4100. There is little difference between this movement and those in my Citizen 7 Auto Dater and gold Citizen Jet Auto Dater, save for the number of jewels in each: Citizen SEVEN: 17 jewels; Citizen Jet (gold): 35 jewels; Citizen Jet (silver): 27 jewels. These rather large delta’s do not appear to have any effect on how each watch operates, but my guess is that the more expensive the Auto Dater, the more jewels Citizen installed as a matter of course. Whether or not a watch really needs 35 – or even 27 – jewels is an argument I’ll leave up to the other WIS’s, though I have heard that anything over 25 is a waste of gemstones.
In truth, there isn’t a whole lot of detailed information out there about these movements, but what I’ve been able to ascertain is that from 1961 to 1964, which was the last year of Auto Dater production, only small proprietary changes were made, focused mainly on making the gear-tooth movements operate more smoothly and efficiently. In all honesty, I don’t notice any difference between the three, other than a minor delta in accuracy; Citizen 7 AD: -12 sec/day; Citizen Jet AD (gold): -10 sec/week; Citizen Jet AD (Silver) +15 sec/week.
Like its two siblings, I have come to genuinely enjoy the look and feel of this watch on the wrist. After trying on about six different types of bracelets/straps, I settled on a semi-heavy dress mesh, which allows the watch to be worn as a sports/casual piece or a proper dress watch; given the spectacular shine of the dial, case and bracelet – especially with the mesh playing off the coin-edge bezel to create some amazing effects – there is very little doubt in my formerly military mind that this wonderful watch can go anywhere, anytime, and look perfect once there. It’s that good…
As always, thanks so much for stopping by and saying howdy to this month’s Mort’s Moldy Model; it’s truly appreciated.