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A Pair of Citizen X8 Watches - 1st and 2nd Versions

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A couple more watches from my collection of early Japanese battery powered watches. The majority of my collection are Citizen and whilst I add and delete frequently, these two are permanent fixtures.

There is already an excellent reference on all things X8 and Cosmotron here - http://sweep-hand.org/the-x8-cosmotron/ so I won't repeat anything already written there but I will try and add a few nuggets to the X8 Hive-mind.

The two watches shown below are the X8 'Electric Watch' with the 0801 electronic movement and the X8 'Electronic' with the 0802 electronic movement. Both watches are from 1966, May and September respectively. I'll point out a few of the differences between them.... after a few photos...






At some time between 1966 and 1968 the 'Electronic' 0802 was re-branded as 'Chronomaster' (nice photos on the previously referenced website). It is interesting that the 0801 was apparently only produced for a few months during 1966. I think it is likely that the original "Electric Watch' X8 was rushed to market, not uncommon for fancy new products like this. Apart from the apparent lack of thought given to the branding of the watch by the marketing department - 'Electric Watch' is both a little clumsy and technically incorrect for this electronic watch - the changes made to the movement between the 0801 and 0802 movements perhaps just show the refinements that could/should have been made at the pre-production stage.

One interesting detail on the 0801 movement is that the plate is stamped with the movement number "0800". The 0802 movement is correctly stamped "0802". There is no mention in any of the period literature of an 0800 movement and personally I'm quite happy that this is the correct marking for an 0801 movement. One possible theory is that the X8 movement was developed by Citizen engineers, inside their design department, as Cal 0800 and that when they came to release the watch they incremented the movement number to 0801 but used the 0800 plate in unchanged form for the production watches. In any case it seems to me to be further evidence of a rush to market for the 0801 'Electric Watch'

The 0802 movement has a functionally similar but much more robust stem / hacking mechanism. The 0802 has a more practical battery contacts. The 0802 has a larger diameter hairspring and a micro-regulator. Other cosmetic differences include red lettering on the 0801 bridges vs gold lettering on the 0802. It is quite possible that changes were also made inside the sealed red electronic unit. The case and ancillary parts are the same (...not the stem though). The back covers are identical between the watches - only the serial numbers and the damage from incompetent opening distinguishes them.

There is an interesting marketing photo on this webpage - http://seikoholics.yuku.com/sreply/477/Citizen-Cosmotron-X8#.VZLTIPlVikp - showing the newer 0802 'Electronic' model. It is interesting because it shows the plain seconds hand that seems to have been used during 1966 before the 'tulip' seconds hand appeared. Both seconds hands have the same central hub design but the 0801 seconds hand is 0.5mm shorter - it doesn't quite reach the peak of the mirrored dial ring as the 'tulip' seconds hand on the 0802 and the minutes hands on both 0801 and 0802 do.

Other than the very obvious branding differences to the dials, the 'Electric Watch' dial lacks a part number as seen at the bottom of the later 'Electronic' and 'Chronomaster' dials.

Some more photos showing the dial, movement and second hand differences....


0801 'Electric Watch' -



0802 'Electronic' -



0802 'Electronic' -



0801 'Electric Watch' -



0801 Hacking Mechanism -



0801 Plate Stamp -



0802 'Electronic' -



A few notes on straps... I believe that all versions of these watches were available either of the two straps shown on the watches in this post. The mesh strap isn't that uncommon - they survive pretty well. The black croc strap is somewhat less common. On the sweephand.org Cosmotron page there is a scanned diagram pointing out the differences between the 0802 and the 0840 / 0880 movements - it is interesting because it shows the back of the black croc strap including the stamped 'C' of the 'Citizen Watch Co' stamp - its a bit tricky to photograph but this stamp on my strap has managed to survive the last 50 years -








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I've been meaning to add a few things to this post for a while -

1/ I'm not sure if the two styles of seconds hand a quite so simply first/early style and second/late style as I put in my original post. I think there was some overlap in usage.

2/ The word "Electric" on the back of the watch cases was changed to "Electronic" after a while - I think approximately when the dial design was changed to the "Chronomaster" style

3/ late 1965 and early 1966 production date watches seem to have movements marked 0800 as detailed in my original post. But I now have another "Electric Watch" with a mid-1966 production date. The movement looks identical to the 0800 marked movement except that it is marked 0801... So perhaps there was an 0800 movement after all. Not 100% sure about what is going on with these numbers yet.

4/ The 0800 and 0801 watches do appear to be production watches and not pre-production. In fact there is an image of the pre-production watch available in one of the Japanese watch books (different case/dial design - production date mid-1965 - described as the 'mass-production prototype')

5/ What may (or may not...) be pictures of a really early prototype electric watch from who-knows-when (pictures from Yahoo Japan...) Chronomaster on the dial, "For Test" engraved on the back. I don't recognise the crown-battery hatch orientation from any likely Japanese movement... Who knows.



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