This watch has been sitting in my safe and waiting for its moment for ages! After several weeks of heavy-hitting Gallet chronographs, I spotted a watch lying face down in the corner of the safe. I turned it over, and there it was — my abandoned crazy-lumed Citizen Auto Dater 7. I took it out to show it mercy, and I couldn’t have chosen any better!

Do you want my confession? Maybe you don’t, but here it is: I have not worn this Citizen Auto Dater 7 a single time since it arrived. Don’t ask me why because I do like the watch a lot. I instantly liked it when I saw it, didn’t research it, and ordered it on a whim.


Setting the mood

If there are a few stereotypes you can rely on in the watch world, one would be the omnipotence of so-called “lume dots” (sending hugs to Rolex). Typical rectangular indexes are a boring standard, ground zero. Lume dots represent one’s character, even lifestyle. They became synonymous with the underwater world and all people with adventurous spirits eager to jump into the ocean with the watch on their wrists. Lume dots created a league of their own. No one dares to question them. Lume dots are usually good enough to make any watch attractive.

Lume disruption

Here comes my Citizen Auto Dater 7, which I had never seen before and you probably haven’t either. There is nothing “special” about this watch, yet it stands out so much to me and shines like a Rolex watch with bubbles on the dial. It’s all about the lume squares. I was, and I am now once more, blown away. This lume is eternally cute, unusual, amusing, and creative. I have never seen another lumed dial like this, and it is spectacular. I don’t even mind the wabi-sabi patina, which is so typical of Japanese watches.

Citizen Auto Dater 7 APSS52903-T on wrist

Look at the macro shots and wonder with me. The indexes and lume application are very unusual. The lume doesn’t sit on the dial directly. Rather, it’s applied on top of tiny and shiny square pillars. What boggles my mind is that the lume does not fill in metal frames. It rises above them, but it doesn’t bleed out. This lume looks so sharp, almost like someone chopped it with a knife on all four sides to form a perfect square. It looks like a piece of a minty (square) pie served on a shiny plate.

Citizen Auto Dater 7 APSS52903-T

More details to observe

I believe that’s where I could call it a day. The lume indexes were the one reason — well, 12 reasons — why I bought this watch, and they are why it stays in my collection today. In case it wasn’t enough for you, I paid it a bit more attention. Here are some other details worth mentioning.

I didn’t expect the crown to be signed, but it is. Some crowns just have a “C” signature, but this one reads “CTZ” on the top of its hat-like form. What is equally unusual is the mix of styles. The lume on the dial almost makes it look like a dive watch, but check out the case profile. The watch is surprisingly slim and hides under a cuff super easily.

What I didn’t notice at the moment of purchase were the lugs. Their beveled edges are so wide that they appear to be the main lines. Notice also the abrupt cut on the tip of each lug. These lugs are shaped very interestingly indeed. On the wrist, this Citizen Auto Dater 7 is very subtle and light, while the 37mm diameter provides a nice presence.

Last thoughts on my Citizen Auto Dater 7

APSS52903-T is not a reference number I will remember if you ask me about it tomorrow morning. It’s irrelevant to me. The only thing I need to remember is the dial. Ah, but I do know why I have never sported this watch. The original crystal with the magnifier is perfect, but the day written in Japanese bothers me a lot. That’s also why I don’t have any chronographs with French or Italian day discs. I can spell all the weekdays in German, but it still bothers me to see them on a dial.

Citizen Auto Dater 7 APSS52903-T wrist shot

Anyway, if you are looking for an unusual watch that will make you look around for your magnifying glass, here you go. If you can live with the Japanese day disc, I bet this dial will give you a lot of smiles. I did some quick research, and it seems this line of watches has multiple creative executions, but none are as magnetic as this one. All the others are just too dressy. Happy hunting!