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Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 The True Spirit of Classic Racing

Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 The True Spirit of Classic Racing

Sunday, October 11, 2020/ Editor -  

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A year after the overnight success of the first generation of the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973, Tissot launches a second series of its barrel-shaped chronograph. Traditionally an innovative brand, Tissot presents this expressive timepiece as part of the partnership that unites Tissot and the Kessel Classics vintage car racing team. This comfortable 43mm piece with high-quality finishes again mingles sports elegance with the neo-vintage design language.

A lineage confirmed by the engine


In developing the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973, Tissot summoned a model from its archives. Dating back to 1973, the Navigator Chronographe was essential in connecting Tissot with motor-racing. Beginning in 1973, Tissot worked with Alpine, which dominated the rally circuit. In 1974, the brand joined forces with Porsche for the Le Mans 24 hour Gran Turismo race. In 1977, Tissot even gave its name to a F1 racing team. But in particular, the brand forged a very strong bond with the Swiss pilot, Loris Kessel, a Formula 1 competitor in 1976. 

Like many pilots, Loris Kessel was fanatical about engines. He had founded car dealerships in the Tessin area together with a racing division and another division dedicated to classic racing. This network was taken over by his son, Ronnie Kessel. In 2018, Tissot rekindled its partnership with the Kessel family by becoming the official partner of Kessel Classics, which owns Tissot Formula 1. This black-and-yellow car has excelled in competitions like the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, which it won in 2016.

A new generation


To recognize the 2020 version of the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 at a single glance is as simple as focusing on the minute totalizer of the chronograph, located at 3 o’clock. The section between 0 and 5 minutes is coloured blue, in contrast with the rest of the counter. Indeed, the play on colour between the totalizers, dial and dial edge brings a distinctive visual identity to the Navigator 1973.

The first option features black counters against a white dial (the so-called “Panda” effect) surrounded by a black dial edge. The second option has white counters against a black dial (the “Reverse Panda” effect) with a black dial edge. The third and last proposition juxtaposes white counters with a blue dial and a coordinating blue dial edge. An important detail: this second edition is not produced in a limited series. 

The sports legacy


The sportiness that is intrinsic to the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 is evident at every level. At 46.6 mm high and 43 mm wide, this is a substantial instrument designed to be assertive. However, the choice of stainless steel for the case is an understated one. Indeed, the natural curves of the Tissot design envelop the arms. This is a comfortable, ergonomic piece, particularly thanks to the shortened horns which enable the strap to descend vertically toward the wrist. This effect is further accentuated by the domed transparent sapphire glass box which follows the same line as the curve of the case. 

Another sport-inspired aspect of the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 – a mechanical one – is the self-winding chronograph movement, the Valjoux A05.H31 calibre. While maintaining its 4 Hz frequency and therefore its full precision, it offers a 60-hour power reserve. This characteristic, rare among chronographs, makes it possible to leave the Tissot Navigator aside for two days and two nights. When strapping it again onto the wrist, it will still be on time, and still sufficiently wound to maintain its chronometric performance. 

An abundance of details


The dial edge of the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 is gradated with a tachymetric scale of up to 500 km/h. This is combined with mushroom-shaped chronograph pushers typical of the 1960s and 1970s. As a finishing touch, the racing-type strap, invented by Tissot in 1965 and recognisable with its large perforations, is designed to allow the skin to breathe in stressful piloting situations or in the considerable heat of a single-seater cockpit. Three shades are available, each coordinated with the colour of the dial: black, a medium cognac brown, and a dark, forthright brown. All reveal contrasting ecru overstitching, the ‘70s highlighting touch of the Tissot Heritage Navigator Chrono Auto 1973 colour palette.


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