Our host with the most, Mike is on holiday now so he passed on the torch for this week’s #tbt. However as you can expect when I get to do this every once in a while it is always a bit out of the ordinary. As some of you might remember I already wrote about this model over a year ago. That was among my very first articles published on Fratello Watches about Cool and Affordable Vintage Pieces. This week I have Part 1 of a project that hopefully will be followed by Part 2 in a few months’ time. We have a before review of a watch I bought for a project that will optimistically receive a full spa treatment and come back looking young and refreshed. Let’s stay with the details now and have a look at this week’s topic; the Tissot Navigator Yachting.
Tissot Navigator Yachting
First off, the name. While it is obvious that this model is a Tissot Navigator, as it is written on the dial, there isn’t much proof that it is also a Yachting model. Collectors tend to call it that way because of the obvious 15-minute countdown yachting bezel, the same Omega’s version has. That watch bears the Omega reference 176.010 and it is indeed officially called Omega Yachting. However we have very little information on the Tissot model and we can only assume that since the external (and pretty much the internal) features are very similar to the Omega Yachting, that this is not just any Tissot Navigator but a Navigator Yachting. No vintage adverts or old catalog images are known – at least to me – so we can only work with what’s available online and in printed publications. So let’s take the watch apart and see what needs to be done with it but most importantly what cool features it bears. Trust me this is one interesting timepiece.
We are dealing with a rather large and heavy watch. The watch head only is close to 100gramms in weight, which if you ask me is pretty hefty. The C case is 43mm excluding the crown however it’s not only wide but also pretty thick too at 15.5mm. The pushers should not stick out of the case too much so I reckon only the bottom one is original, well at least that’s closer to how it supposed to look anyways. The crown actually might be the original one as, contrary to Omega, Tissot did not sign the crown of the Yachting and it looks and feels matching to the case. If you had the watch from new you would have probably witnessed the beautiful sunburst finish on the top of the case, the sides are brushed and the thin streak between the top and the side should have mirror finish. Moving on to the case back you can see that, again unlike the Omega, this one is not signed or inscribed. Juts a plain and simple large screw down case back.
Pop the case open and let’s look inside the belly of the beast. The heart and soul of the Tissot Navigator Yachting is the Lemania caliber 1341 renamed by Tissot to caliber 2170; a 17-jewel, automatic, chronograph movement. Derivative of the one Omega uses in their Yachting but also in many other models. The 2 movements are not entirely the same; while Omega’s version is the Lemania 1340 under the name Omega caliber 1040, Tissot’s version is the 1341. The difference is the added 24-hour indicator at 9 o’clock that Omega models have but Tissot models lack. This was a very common and widely used caliber by not just Omega or Tissot but also Lemania itself in their own models. Wakmann, Enicar, Sinn, Hamilton or Bucherer among many other companies equipped their timepieces with this Lemania caliber during the years of production (between 1972-1980). The serial number on the rotor (17 mill.) places the watch to roughly 1974. Just like the dial or the movement the case back is also signed with “Chs. Tissot and Fils”. You can see that not only the company but also a number of watchmakers have left their marks on it and soon yet another master will join them to leave his signature there. Despite the overall look of the watch the movement is running and keeping time, the chronograph function is working as it should but the pushers and the crown are stuck, the hands to not reset back to zero entirely and it is obvious that the whole watch really needs some time to spent in the spa.
Last but not least the most important part, the face of this ugly duckling, the dial is what we have to talk about a bit. According to my knowledge the Tissot Navigator Yachting was produced with 2 dial colors; dark blue and this bronze/gold toned one. I have seen one or two examples with red dial but I doubt that they left the factory with that dial and the yachting bezel. I might be wrong though so if anyone has any information on this topic, please kindly let us know. Regardless of the color of the dial the yachting bezel was completely black with the grey-blue-red regatta scale. Sometimes you can find these watches with the same bezel but in bronze instead of black. It is the same bronze as my Tissot’s dial. This is not original to any Tissot model, but something you would find in the Omega Yachting’s gold version. Any other yachting, Tissot or Omega, which was not cased in a gold plated version, should have the black regatta bezel. As you can see from the pictures my bezel is gone due to some water damage but I managed to source a NOS Omega bezel. Yes, Omega and that’s not a problem. Since Lemania did not only provide the movement for both companies but the cases as well, they are identical and many parts between the 2 brands are interchangeable. So much so that actually when new the Tissot Navigator Yachting was released with an Omega crystal, where the Ω symbol was inscribed in the center of the acrylic. The dial layout is pretty simple; at 3 you have the quick-set date, at 6 the 12-hour counter for the chronograph and at 9 the continuous seconds counter. The chronographs second-hand and the 60-minute hand are also placed center with the hour- and minute-hands. The indexes are painted and coated with luminova, just like the minute-hand and the hour-hand. The brand name is below the 12 with “Swiss” underneath it and the model name “Navigator automatic” is between the center of the dial and the date window. The whole dial has this shiny effect where it gets brighter towards the center. From certain angles it looks bronze but from other angles more like golden.
It is really hard to tell the market value on these watches. Of course the price on this one would not reflect the market value but I bought it because a, I’ve always wanted to have Tissot Yachting b, it looked like a doable project and c, it was cheap. I would say fair price is somewhere between €600-800 for a serviced, in good to great condition Tissot Navigator. These Yachting models tend to fetch a bit more and they are much more scarce than your average white dialed chrono version especially the stainless steel versions, as you would imagine. They pop up on eBay and watch forums quite often so keep an eye out and for a great price you can get yourself a fine chronograph with a legendary movement.
I think it is safe to say that the watch is in such a state there is only one way for her to go and that is up. Other than the obvious tasks like changing the bezel, replacing the crystal, finding the fitting chrono pusher(s) the watch case needs a thorough cleaning and, if a lapping machine is in hand, refinishing. The movement needs to be completely stripped from the case, cleaned, oiled, assembled and regulated. I’m not an expert by any means so these are only my remarks and I’m sure a qualified watchmaker would add a few more points to my list. This job requires a skilled and well-trained horologist but in a few weeks or months time I hope this little beaten up chrono can be brought back to life for many more years to come. Now all I need to do is to find the right man for the job and be sure that when the project is finished I will do a Part 2 with tons of after photos.