Tissot Navigator World Time
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Tissot Navigator World Time

This watch has at its heart two driving principles: one, the wanderlust that gripped the world as the Jet Age took hold, and two, the relentless innovative spirit of the man who designed it.

That man was Oscar Waldan, who escaped the horrors of Buchenwald by apprenticing himself to the camp’s watchmaker, Manek. It was Manek who recognized the same curiosity and boundless, adventurous spirit that Waldan would later bring to his work. After the war, Waldan traveled Europe plying his trade, designing pieces for many of the great watchmaking houses before finding himself at Tissot just as the world was opening up.

The 1949 flight of the De Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner, shrank the world more than even the Wright brothers might have thought possible. Prior to then, a transatlantic or transcontinental journey was not one undertaken lightly—it required weeks of planning, and even longer for the execution. But with the emergence of jet travel, a person could break his fast in Rome and sup in New York that very same day.

To capitalize on the growing popularity of these jet-powered flights, watch companies brought out watches that could be used in the air, either by the pilots, airline personnel, or by the passengers. The Rolex GMT is by far the most recognizable of these, with its association to Pan-Am and even astronauts. But this watch, Tissot’s—and Oscar Waldan’s—gift to the Jet Set, is every bit as worthy of interest.

Moreover, it debuted in 1953, a full year before the GMT Master, showing just how ahead of the curve Waldan and Tissot were.

In creating it, Waldan conceived a playful take on a 1930s world time watch designed by Louis Cottier and used by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. However, Waldan coupled the 24-hour dial layout—including discs for the world’s timezones—with a fixed 12-hour bezel for local time. All of this was enclosed in a 36mm case, here in warm yellow gold.

It’s this choice of precious metal that makes this watch something that we could see on the wrist of a well-dressed jet-setting gentleman—either in the 1950s or today.

Details

SKU: AS02559

18k yellow gold case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Tissot Caliber 28.5N-21T Bumper Wind Movement. Circa 1950s.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with some signs of use and wear in keeping with age. Dial is in very good condition. Case back is in very good condition.

Includes one 18mm dark brown leather strap.

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