Ask any diver in the late 1980’s which watch they wore and probably 90% would answer the same – A Citizen C0023 Aqualand. Immortalised by the film “Le Grand Bleu” the watch continued to gain mythical status right through the 1990’s and set Citizen onto the path of world dominance when it came to producing reliable, affordable diver’s watches. Often overshadowed in the Western Hemisphere by their main rivals Seiko, Citizen have a much deeper, and less explored history when it comes to producing Divers watches, starting as early as the late 1950’s.
In 1959 Citizen produced the very first Japanese water-resistant watch – the Parawater. This is the grandfather of all Japanese diver’s watches and the very first produced in Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1962 that Citizen made their first “professional” divers watch – the super Jet. Water resistant to 150m and with large trapezoidal shapedtritium markers, super dome hardlex crystal and having no rotating bezel, this watch was made for a combination of diving and aviation use.It used a high-grade Citizen 39 jewel gilt automatic movement and had a beautifully constructed all stainless steel case with neat quick set date function. The special X marked case had integrated case back which meant the movement could only be accessed by taking off the bezel and then crystal.
These watches are extremely rare, and few have survived over the last 50 years. Whilst the Seiko 62MAS is generally considered the quintessential vintage Japanese diver, it is actually the Super Jet. Very few examples ever made it out of Japan and for years experienced collectors didn’t even know they existed. They are beautifully made tool watches, that when compared to their Swiss rivals, easily rival functionality and build quality.
The Super jet was a watch ahead of its time and helped set Citizen on a future path that forever associated the brands with rugged, reliable diver’s watches worn the world over. Rolex Milsubs maybe rare, but the Citizen Super jet is even rarer!
Credit: Watch photos by Wayne Myers