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I ask here since this is where I spend the most time and, from my experience, getting an answer in the other forum tends to yield no results. I have not pulled the trigger on this watch since I question the legitimacy of the dial but I can't find any solid info one way or the other. Supposedly this is completely original and authentic but the dial concerns me. I've seen some other examples that have a slightly different internal bezel and I can't find anything on the R on the dial.

Thoughts on this? Is this, or does this look, legit? There's no shot of the movement but I'm going to ask for one.

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I recently did a bunch of research into the authenticity of a vintage Citizen myself, so I did a quick bit of looking for this one. The case, caseback, and bezel belong to a Citizen 51-1811, and the caseback is dated to May of what is probably 1980. If you get a movement shot, it should have a Citizen 8200 movement.

Unfortunately, I think that the dial and handset are non-original. My research has turned up two models of 51-1811 that I would be confident in purchasing. The first is a pilot's watch with some sort of calculation bezel (looks vaguely like a slide rule, but simpler,) and the second has a more traditional diver-style bezel. The above example has the calculation bezel, and in what looks to be an uncommon color (most examples I saw online had a gold bezel, not a silver/white one.) The problem is that the other half of the calculator was on the outer edge of the dial, which your example lacks. In addition, both the pilot and diver types have baton hands that come to a point and have the ends painted black; these are gold throughout and have rounded ends. Finally, the seconds hand on the examples I saw had a tapering triangle form and not the stick form here. They also matched the rest of the handset in tone, possibly with a red-painted tip.

Here's a page with an example of the aviator-style 51-1811, for comparison.
Vintage aviator Citizen 51-1811 | Vintage Citizen Watches
 

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Thanks for the info. That's what I thought about the dial, hands and bezel but there's always the chance I was just missing another variant. Considering it would be coming from one of the hotbeds for redials I just wanted someone else to confirm my suspicions. Since you've made it clear to me that it's not 100% authentic I'll be taking a pass on it. A shame because I love the case shape but it's not worth buying if it's not all real. Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the info. That's what I thought about the dial, hands and bezel but there's always the chance I was just missing another variant. Considering it would be coming from one of the hotbeds for redials I just wanted someone else to confirm my suspicions. Since you've made it clear to me that it's not 100% authentic I'll be taking a pass on it. A shame because I love the case shape but it's not worth buying if it's not all real. Thanks!
My research started for similar reasons, a watch from a place known for redialing that I thought had to be too good to be true. In my case, every detail I questioned about the watch turned up in another photograph or listing somewhere else and I pulled the trigger. The lack of information on vintage Citizens out there can really hurt; sometimes all you can do is start searching for anything that looks like a model number on the dial or caseback and work out from that.

It's a pity that it's not original. Like you said, the case shape is fantastic. The 51-1811 is another gorgeous watch I had never heard of before today, and of course it's one that there's very little info about.
 
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You see a lot of these older Citizens and Seikos coming from the Philippines, and they are rarely original. Another reason to get a movement shot is that most of the ones that come from the Philippines have at least some pitting on the inside from corrosion, either on the case, or the rotor, or both.

Back before I knew better, I bought several, only to find that half the parts were aftermarket, and they had corrosion inside.
 

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My research started for similar reasons, a watch from a place known for redialing that I thought had to be too good to be true. In my case, every detail I questioned about the watch turned up in another photograph or listing somewhere else and I pulled the trigger. The lack of information on vintage Citizens out there can really hurt; sometimes all you can do is start searching for anything that looks like a model number on the dial or caseback and work out from that.

It's a pity that it's not original. Like you said, the case shape is fantastic. The 51-1811 is another gorgeous watch I had never heard of before today, and of course it's one that there's very little info about.
Yeah, I just discovered this model yesterday and I immediately was taken in by the case but I'm not willing to spend a couple of hundred on a watch that's not original. What immediately sent up the red flag though was the "R" on the dial. It's almost like it was trying to call out "Redial" right in plain sight. This one is in Singapore. I try to stay away from watches in certain countries for the most part.

You see a lot of these older Citizens and Seikos coming from the Philippines, and they are rarely original. Another reason to get a movement shot is that most of the ones that come from the Philippines have at least some pitting on the inside from corrosion, either on the case, or the rotor, or both.

Back before I knew better, I bought several, only to find that half the parts were aftermarket, and they had corrosion inside.
I've only bought one watch from The Philippines and it was a Seiko 6139-6002 as my birth year watch but I got it for a good price from a reputable WUS seller. It's all original and the movement has zero corrosion but the dial does have the black indice issue which means that there's a very light mold over the lume. I new about it going in but it was a good price and maybe I'll get it serviced one day (though the service would cost me more than I paid for the watch itself). In general though I try to avoid The Philippines, Singapore, India, Thailand and some of the former Soviet states that are also known for fakes.
 

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You see a lot of these older Citizens and Seikos coming from the Philippines, and they are rarely original. Another reason to get a movement shot is that most of the ones that come from the Philippines have at least some pitting on the inside from corrosion, either on the case, or the rotor, or both.

Back before I knew better, I bought several, only to find that half the parts were aftermarket, and they had corrosion inside.
This is my advice for anyone looking to buy a vintage watch online:

Do your research: If the watch in question has a model number on the back or on the dial, run a web search for it, making sure to put the number in quotes so that it doesn't just find similar ones. This advice is typically useful for Japanese brands like Seiko, Citizen, and Orient, with Seiko likely having the best results. If an image search turns up a ton of watches that look like each other and not like the one you're looking to buy, keep walking. If it's a popular model like, for example, a Seiko 6309 diver, learn to spot the "tells" in aftermarket parts, such as the straight-edged day/date window on many aftermarket 6309 dials. It's not perfect (won't help you spot a redial, for example) but it will help you weed out some obvious problem watches.

Learn to spot the big things: Get movement pictures, and learn how to spot dirty, modified, or improperly replaced movements. Learn how certain complications work; avoid non-working slide rules, tachymeters on non-chrongraph seconds hands, worldtimers that don't have very clear hour markings. If a watch has specialty markings on it (military issue markings, brand markings like a Seiko Scubapro, etc) be thorough, as these can be more desirable and thus more often faked. If a dial has a matte (or "flat") coloration, especially in outrageous colors like pink, orange, or teal, move on. I've mostly seen these out of India, and they're usually bargin-priced Citizens, Seikos, or Orients, although I've seen a few supposed Longines and Omegas redialed in this fashion. If your prospective Russian watch has German military vehicles on the dial, run.

Learn to spot the small things: It's harder to determine when hands are wrong than it is for dials, but it can be done. Again, research helps here. Watch the quality of dial printing; if it seems too fat or gloppy you might be looking at a redial. If the watch has a bezel, check to see if the insert is proper; right font, right markers. If the watch has a day/date complication, see if the color of the day and date wheels is the same, as a mismatch could mean that one has been replaced. Any little detail that catches your eye and strikes you as potentially wrong is worth further examination.

Wear is your friend: Faking the passage of time is difficult. A few dings and scrapes or a slight bit of corrosion can tell you that that one part, at least, is old. A photograph of another example of your prospective watch all beat to hell can be a real boon, since that can tell you that it's an original.

There are exceptions to many things I have said above: Developing a good sense of what's good and what's bad takes time. Some of the guidelines I've listed above have their exceptions, and it takes time and study to learn them. I know I certainly don't know them all yet.

Here's an example. I saw this Citizen diver listed in an Ebay auction, with India as the seller's location.



The auction advertised it as a "rare" Citizen diver, but as we all know "rare" in an auction listing is effectively meaningless. The price was right, but several things struck me as slightly off:

The green color of the lume is unusual.
The seconds hand is white while the hour and minute hands are silver.
There's a desirable mark on the dial (the broad arrow you see on Promasters and the like.)
The water resist is written in a somewhat unusual "20bar" form.
You can't see it in this picture, but the crown is quite small for the case.

In addition, I had seen this style of dial and hands used before on 150m Citizen divers branded with either the "CQ" or "Crystron" marks.

I immediately looked at the caseback pictures, and came up with a possible model number - 3802-451732. This search turned up several examples of the watch above, some for sale in good shape from places other than India, and others absolutely beat to hell. From this research I was able to determine the following:

The green lume is normal, although it can apparently fade to a whiteish-grey.
The seconds hand is, oddly enough, correct. (When I got the watch, I immediately understood why - a silver hand wouldn't be nearly as visible.)
The broadarrow and "20bar" notations are correct; the 150m CQ divers have a different model number
The small crown is proper for this watch.
The bezel insert, with hash marks all around and thicker ones from 12:00 to 4:00 is correct.

One source described the watch as an early Promaster, although I couldn't verify this.

In addition, I also found references to a 3802-451741, which is the same watch with a Pepsi bezel.

All of this, combined with slight wear to the bezel and crystal, assuaged my doubts and I bought the watch. Having received it, I do wonder whether the day or date wheel has been replaced at some point, and I have determined that the drilled lugs were a modification done for an earlier owner. But I still think I got a good watch at a good price by doing some research and taking a chance.

I wonder if there should be a go-to thread about evaluating affordable vintage watches in this forum?
 
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I wonder if there should be a go-to thread about evaluating affordable vintage watches in this forum?
Good info and good post. I try to do as much research as possible and WUS is a wealth of knowledge. And I don't see a thread about evaluating vintage watches to be a bad thing. Granted there's a vintage forum but some don't wade in there.
 
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