Here we have a piece of the cool 1970s, the Tissot Navigator Automatic Chronograph.
Let’s start with the movement.
The Tissot 2170. Better known as the Lemania 1341 (any self respecting collector sits up when Lemania is mentioned). Automatic, 17 jewels and a cam operated chronograph. It has a 60 sub second dial, a centre 60 seconds and a centre 60 minutes chronograph hand and a 12 hour chronograph subdial.
Tool or sports orientated watches of this era were rarely subtle, often very big and heavy (look at the high sides of an Omega Flightmaster for example). This piece is different. These watches were made from about 1970-1975. Apparently Tissot stopped production as the movement was too expensive and therefore the watch didn’t really fit into the price range Tissot were pitching at. Breguet used a version of this movement for the Type XXs; the 22 jewel version of this movement, the 1340, was used, with an added 24 h dial, by Omega. Omega called it the 1040 and it served in both the Speedmaster Mk III and IV. So exalted company.
39mm, black dial. Class. Yes it’s showing its age (aren’t we all?) a little but check the photographs and you’ll see that it is still in very good condition for a 40 year old watch. The dial is well preserved, with patina to the luminous hands and dial. The watch case is unpolished. The chronograph starts, stops and resets properly. The watch has been recently serviced, so is keeping accurate time.
That case: All stainless steel with a screwdown back. The back is inscribed on the inside: CHs Tissot & Fils 45 501.
It’s also important to note that the case has never been polished, so retaining those lovely lines. Original signed crown too, so we are ticking quite a few boxes. Talking of which, it also includes its original polished wooden box.
The crystal is in good shape which is important as Tissot no longer make new replacements.
It wears well, with a nice weight on the wrist and is easy to read.
Tissot is a Swiss brand that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The First World War left many Swiss watch manufacturers in trouble. So to escape financial difficulties Tissot and Omega formed an alliance in 1930 and established SSIH (Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère). Lemania Watch Co. joined them in 1932 and became the manufacturer of not only movements but in some instances cases for both companies. Today they are both owned by the giant SWATCH group.
So if you are in the market for a piece of 1970s retro chronograph, look no further. They are great value, with a beautiful movement (just think of the difference in price between this and its Omega cousins that share that movement), clean lines, comfortable. It’s a keeper!