Citizen 8970 ‘Mickey’

Citizen 8970 ‘Mickey’

Citizen made a number of amazing multi-function analog-digital watches in the 1980s.

Among these, the ana-digi-temp models, the ‘robot’ model, and this – the rare and sought-after 8970 ‘Mickey’ watch.

It’s nicknamed the Mickey due to the bezel that sits around the analog dial and two top digital dials which bears a striking resemblance to Disney’s tri-circle graphic depicting their famous mouse.

I don’t know how many of these they made but they are very hard to come by and almost always have LCD bleeding, partly due to the way they were designed and people working on them who don’t read the technical manual first.

Removing parts in the wrong order, or without the right tools, can easily damage the watch. The LCD is a single piece, with a hold in the middle for the analog section to go through, and removing the hands roughly with too much pressure on the LCD can cause it to crack.

Worse, still, often any new old stock replacements that might surface on eBay from watchmaker’s shop and estate sales have bleed as well. And, just like Citizen’s other watches of this style, battery corrosion can eat away the very fine traces on the circuitboard that sometimes cannot be repaired.

So with all this knowledge onboard, it’s very exciting to find one in working condition. Unfortunately I didn’t – here’s how my two 8970s came to me:

Patience is a virtue (and sometimes a necessity) when repairing/restoring old watches. After hunting for a long time on eBay and other sources all over the world, I was able to assemble enough pieces to restore these two watches.

And here they are – what a nice pair!

Features of the watch are 12/24-hour time, date, alarm (with animation), stopwatch, hourly chime, countdown timer, and analog time.

Overall, though, it’s the look of this watch that really sets it apart. Impractical in that the small dials are really too small to read at a glance, but it fits a lot into a small form factor and no one did this better than Citizen in the 1980s.

It’s a blast from the past and while they’re rare, they are only going to get rarer. If you get the chance to buy one – do; it might be the last one you see!

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