Sometimes it’s doesn’t take much. It could be a friend’s recommendation. It could be a brands heritage or even how they finish their movements that draws a collector. It’s always fascinating finding out what that tipping point was for a particular collector on a particular occasion. Often we get caught up in the price we are asked to pay for a watch and it is always refreshing to hear a collector smitten with a watch that is not out of the reach of the many. And this week, this watch is the affordable Tissot Heritage Navigator.
This is not the first time Koen Simon has featured on the series. We covered his IWC watches here and here. Many may not be aware of the vast history Tissot boast. They were in actual fact the first manufacturer to introduce a mass-produced pocket watch in 1853. They released the first pocket watch with two time zones the same year. They also released the first mass-produced watch to feature 24 time zones, the Tissot Navigator, in 1953, which is the precise watch that inspired the Tissot Heritage Navigator we’re about to discuss with Koen for this week’s Collector’s Series.
Koen, when did you come to own your Tissot Heritage Navigator?
I bought the Navigator exactly one year ago.
What was it that attracted you to Tissot as a brand?
I would not say that because I was attracted to the brand, I checked out their watches and ended up buying this one, but I have been familiar with Tissot for a long time.
This being said, there are multiple reasons to believe that Tissot is an attractive brand. One of those reasons is that Tissot has always been an innovative company. One of the modern watches that perfectly reflects their innovativeness is the T-Touch. Besides the T-Touch watch, we should not forget that in the early days of the company, Tissot was the first one to make a pocket watch indicating two time zones. So it is fair to say that Tissot has a quiet innovative history.
Why the Navigator from their range?
All my watches are pretty dressy. The main reason for me to get the Tissot Heritage Navigator was that I wanted to have something classical again, but that could be easily worn in a playful way as well. So that aspect played the key role in my decision. It also explains the “polka dot” NATO strap that I later placed on it. I case some of you might think that that it is an absolute crime, I pledge guilty as charged.
What I also really like about the Navigator is that is has a stylish and elegant appearance on the wrist. It’s a watch that you can wear on multiple occasions. It will be a good choice for the travellers, as well as young urban students who want to wear something with a less common look. I believe it suits many styles.
It’s also different from the other watches in my collection. Earlier, we discussed my IWC Ingenieur Vintage and Portofino Moon-Phase, and it is obvious to see that this is something different. Not only because of the complications, but also by style in general. The worldtimer is something special by itself. You don’t see too many of them on the market within this price bracket. Especially with a chronometer grade movement.
In your opinion, where is Tissot going as a brand?
I think that especially young people are interested in new technology. Therefore, I am convinced that watch brands which operate within the same price bracket as smart watches will get hit by these gadgets sooner or later. I think one of those brands will be Tissot. We know that Tissot has a wide range of interesting watches for roughly up to 750 Euros. A serious question for brands similar as Tissot is if young people will continue to be interested in mechanical watches, or if they will fall for new technology and maybe get a smart watch instead? Let me make a clear statement here. I don’t believe that a smart watch can compete with a true mechanical hand made watch, because that is just two worlds apart. However, Tissot operates on a different level. So to answer your question, I believe that Tissot will be of the brands that will face a challenge competing with smart watches. I strongly believe that the 500-1000 Euros price bracket will see interesting changes in the future.
What powers the Tissot Heritage Navigator?
The watch is powered by the calibre 2893-3. The base of this movement is an ETA 2892-A2. It’s a watch that features, like mentioned earlier, chronometer precision (COSC).
From an aesthetic perspective, the dial has a lot going on, is it easy to read?
I have to be honest here. I don’t actually use the worldtimer that often. Within the year I have owned this watch now, I have used it maybe 10 or 15 times. To read your own home time, it is very easy, but it takes a little while to read the worldtimer. Certainly not at a quick glance to say it like that. Maybe I just have to get more familiar with it to be able to read it quicker.
As a collector, do you tend to be drawn towards dress watches?
For what I have in my collection for now the answer is yes. I have only one watch that I use for sailing and other outdoor activities. That is my Seiko Arctura. It was a gift from my parents for my 16th birthday. All my other serious watches are dress watches. However, I would like to add a sporty styled watch to my collection. In my opinion, a watch with a sporty identity can often be worn in a dressy fashion as well. One of those watches is the Tudor Black Bay. I would personally go for the blue bezel, because well…I just like blue. Simple as that.
What, if anything would you change about the Navigator?
Although it is smaller than my Portofino, it has a larger appearance on the wrist (case is 43mm). The lugs are pretty long. I would have liked the watch better if it would be smaller and if the lugs would be shorter.
When does it tend to find itself on the wrist?
For me, this is my fun watch. I wear it whenever I don’t have to be serious or want to bring something different on the table at a collectors GTG. I wear it at school sometimes (yep, I’m still a student…), but I mostly wear it in the weekends. Fresh pair of sneakers, light blue jeans and a cool t-shirt. That’s the way I like to wear it for now.
What is also nice about this watch is that you can easily switch straps, which gives it a completely different look and it still looks great. I have worn the watch on the original leather strap and also on a Milanese bracelet. I think the way you can influence the look of your timepiece by simply changing the strap is a bit underestimated. It is fun to play around with straps and to see what the result is. I know a gentleman from Belgium who owns a Speedmaster who wears it on both blue and red NATO straps. It is of course a personal choice, but I think it looks great.
Is it a keeper?
Although I really like this watch, I’ll possibly sell it in the future to get something new. I still have many watches on my wish list.
If you were to describe the Navigator in three words, what would they be?
Playful, elegant and timeless.