Judging by how many variations of the Gallet MultiChron Navigator we know, it is a surprisingly rare watch to come across. However, once we realize what the watch is capable of, it becomes quite easy to understand why.

About six years ago, a Zenith Sextant watch sold at Phillips for a staggering 46,250 Swiss francs. I haven’t followed the Zenith Sextant market, but I can tell you with certainty that in the last five years, I have spotted maybe three Gallet MultiChron Navigator watches offered by dealers or in auctions. The price tags didn’t reach the sky-high level of the previously mentioned Sextant, but even $10,000 for a 45-minute-chronograph watch is quite a remarkable result.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

The special Gallet MultiChron Navigator

As many of you know, most vintage Gallet watches out there are powered by the high-quality Excelsior Park calibers EP4 or EP4-68. Simple and clean “chronograph-only” versions of this Gallet or Excelsior Park watch with the so-called “hooked 7” or “coathanger 7” are pure beauty. Our very own Balazs recently reviewed a budget version of this design, branded Varix on the dial.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

Gallet ref. 994, which is commonly known as the Navigator, has some updates to the classy EP4 movement. Just a brief look at the watch will be enough not to spot the additional crown at 9 o’clock, the extra red hand, and the red 24-hour printing on the dial. One would think it was meant to be a GMT watch, but that was not its primary purpose.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

In this very educational thread on the Gallet MultiChron Navigator, I found a scan of the original instruction manual. This introduced the watch as the “New Gallet Chronograph #994 with Direction Indicator.” As the manual says, once you turn the hour hands in the direction of the sun, the small red “N” hand with an arrow tip automatically shows north. For it to work, you have to be sure the “north” hand is aligned properly. It is not possible to move this hand independently, and it makes one revolution every 24 hours. This means that if the hand setup is correct, all the hands will meet at midnight, not at noon.

The basics

For the record, you can determine the direction with any watch by pointing its hour hand toward the sun. Then you must divide the angle between the hour hand and 12 o’clock on the dial in half. The resulting imaginary line would point you south. If you stretch the line, the opposite end will point you north. With the Gallet MultiChron Navigator, the additional red hand saves you the work of halving the angle and extending the line.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

That is not all

If you look closely at the mushroom-shaped crown at 9 o’clock, you will notice that it sticks a bit off the case. This is not a defect; it was designed in that way. What purpose does the gap serve? It allows you to press the crown down, which stops the running seconds hand. In addition, after you press the crown, you can turn it in both directions to set the small seconds hand to your desired position. This function comes in handy if you want to align the time with, for instance, a radio time signal. Speaking of that, I highly recommend you read my archive story on the Mido RadioTime.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

The rich man’s rattrapante

It’s a bit of a workaround or a stretch if you prefer. Still, an additional crown that can stop and adjust the running seconds hand allows for a simple split-second synchronization. This feature resulted in the watch’s popularity with both military and civilian paratroopers, according to Gallet World. Well, you can do that on any chronograph, but the fact that you can easily align the central chronograph hand with the running seconds is a nice bonus.

The website also says, “Due to the higher cost of this complicated specialty timepiece, sales of the MultiChron Navigator were very limited. As a result, this unique watch is now a highly desirable item for the advanced collector.” We don’t know how many pieces were produced, but the fact is that they are not easy to come by. As I follow the Gallet chronograph market, I can say for sure that the Navigator ref. 994 is one of the top three hardest Gallet watches to find.


What’s equally fascinating is that there are at least four different dial variations of the Gallet MultiChron Navigator. In fact, the last three Navigators that resurfaced in the last few years all had different dials and hand setups. I would call mine the most elegant and the cleanest. There are no additional tracks and no lume at all, ust blued stick hands, exactly as we like it with Gallet.

The example on the right side was relumed and has changed hands multiple times recently. It has no additional track, but it does have one of my favorite minute-counter designs with five-minute markings and an arrow hand. The hacking crown was probably lost over the years. I guess an uneducated handler might have tried to pull it out like a traditional crown.

The black mamba

The one in the center is also missing the original crown at 9 o’clock. However, it has the most desirable black dial with white printing. This variation is the rarest; we have seen just a few examples. It’s basically an identical design twin to the Navigator on the left side. On top of what I have, they both feature red telemetric and outer tachymetric scales.

Gallet MultiChron Navigator Ref. 994

Gallet MultiChron Navigator on the wrist

This watch has everything that most of us would need. It’s elegant and sporty at the same time. It sits on my wrist perfectly, and it has one of the greatest vintage chronograph calibers out there, updated with witty features that make it a great talking point. The Gallet MultiChron Navigator is original and stands out from all the classy chronographs. What I really like is the immediate, precise, and crisp action of the pushers. The chronograph starts, stops, and resets with such ease and freshness, it’s like the watch left the factory yesterday. Happy hunting.