1980 Citizen 51-2273 150m Automatic Diver

1980 Citizen 51-2273 150m Automatic Diver


For all of our love of everything Seiko, we’ve admittedly neglected the other major player in vintage Japanese watches. As they’ve been around since 1930, you might think we’d throw the occasional Citizen watch into the mix. There are more than a few references worthy of your research and your wrist. The 8100 and 8110 chronographs (check out the “bullhead” challenge timer) feature a true flyback, auto and hand winding, and a 28,800 bph for fans of fast. They also have a fairly storied history concerning dive watches, and made efforts to effectively compete with Seiko at every turn. History, however, is hard to come by, and most of the literature available is only in Japansese. As dive watches are a real favorite around here, we just couldn’t ignore at least one Citizen offering any longer. Seemingly built as a direct competitor to Seiko’s 6309 “Turtle,” it grabbed us by the wrist and hasn’t let go. I have waited for the right opportunity to present itself, and that day has come. Meet the 51-2273. Pitted head to head against the 6309, it’s a true rival, and the build quality is certainly comparable. The dial is a textured matte black with polished applied markers that have a bit more than a casual resemblance to Seiko’s, but the luminous material is a bright mint green that stands out nicely. A steep chapter with a minute track makes a great frame and creates enormous depth. The hands are like nothing else. Each looks as though they came from three separate watches, but once set, work surprisingly well together. The hour hand is a large “paddle” or “shovel” style that’s nearly identical to the 12 o’clock marker. The minutes are marked by a tapered sword style with a finely tapered end, and the needle thin second hand has a fat tail, and a square luminous window near the center. The bezel is uni-directional utilizing a spring style set up, and the insert has hash marks all the way around. The first 15 minutes have thicker marks, and the pip is a recessed bulls eye with a unique yellow coloring. The case has great sloping surfaces, and contoured lines, and in opposition to the 6309, the lugs are quite minimal. The crown and case back screw down tightly, and well protect the 8200A inside. A Miyota workhorse, it’s a 21 jewel automatic with independent day and date quick set, clips along at 21,600 bph, and unlike the 6309, it offers manual winding. It’s a bit smaller than the “Turtle” at around 42mm, but still has plenty of presence on the wrist. A fantastic looking and performing diver, it should be on your list. This example from June of 1980 is fantastic overall. The dial is perfect, as are the hands. The bezel rotates smoothly with a satisfying click, and the insert bears only moderate wear. Post service its keeping near perfect time, and it’s unpolished and completely original aside from a replacement crystal. We’ve paired it with a rust RAF NATO for a bit of color, and a secure fit on the wrist. Hard to come by in any condition, this is one you won’t want to wait on.

Clockwork Synergy Rust Double Layer Two-Piece RAF NATO (clockworksynergy.com)

Serviced 3/10/19

Diameter- 42mm

Lugs- 20mm

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