Tissot Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary Review

Featured | Popular | Review | 07.10.2013

It’s been a trend as of late with some of the larger brands that have been around for a while to bring back a classic model from their archives. Whether as a special edition or as a retro mainstay of their line, these reissues stand out amongst modern watches, often surpassing them in style. Tissot continues this trend with a complex watch that is a dazzling today as it must have been when it was first released; the Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary.


The story of the Tissot Heritage Navigator 160 starts in 1953 with Tissot’s 100th anniversary. The 1950’s marked the dawn of commercial air travel. It was trendy, sexy and luxurious, so it is of no surprise that watch brands began designing for the jet-set. Famously, you have watches like the Rolex GMT-Master, with its iconic “Pepsi” blue and red bezel as well as GMT function for tracking multiple time zones. For their centenary Tissot created a very innovative World Time watch, which could be used to tell the time, at a glance, for major cities around the world, as well as jump forward time zones with the press of a button. With commercial and business travel becoming more widely available, one can see how the World Time watch took the GMT concept to next level.

For their 160th anniversary, Tissot recreated it as a modern watch. They kept much of what made the original design interesting and charming, but increased the size dramatically from 36mm to 43mm, and used modern components through out. The design of the watch mixes function and style, with a busy, but elegant dial that was as unique in the 50’s as it is now, in fact, it’s perhaps more now. The watch still functions the same way, giving you accurate time worldwide at a glance, but now features a Chronometer grade ETA 2893-3 movement, which replaces a GMT hand with the world time disk. As such, the pusher at 2 that would advance the disk is gone, and instead one uses the crown.

Fine vintage examples of the World Timer from the 1950’s easily go for 4k, which isn’t bad for what it is. World Timer’s are uncommon to begin with, and ones from that era are especially rare. The new Heritage Navigator in steel will cost $1,650 and be available this fall, which while not inexpensive, is much less than the original and a good price for a COSC certified ETA 2893. And what you will find with the watch, apart from function, is that it really is unlike other watches you’ve seen or worn. It has a very distinct personality that is fun, elegant and a touch luxurious.

Movement: ETA 2893-3 COSC
Dial: Silver/White
Lume: yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Leather
Water Res.: 30M
Dimensions: 43 x 51mm
Thickness: 10 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 5.5 x 2 mm
Warranty: Yes
Price: $1,650


The biggest, pun intended, difference between the original World Timer and the recreated Navigator is the sheer size of it. The difference between a 36mm watch and a 43mm watch is like the difference between a Smart car and an Escalade… they are worlds apart. And while this seems as though it is in response to general trends towards larger watches (which thankfully seems to be waning a bit) I believe the size increase was functional too. This is a very busy watch, and even at 43mm you can find yourself a bit overwhelmed by information. At 36mm, I imagine you would have needed a magnifying glass to read the inner disk.


So, the stainless steel case measures 43 x 51 x 10mm, which includes the gently domed sapphire crystal. The width of the case is tempered by its thinness, which prevents it from feeling or looking bulky in anyway. The watch is actually very flat, and plate like, which emphasize the all-business topside. The design is also very simple and faithful to that of the original watch, with a wide bezel and fat straight lugs as the main formal attractions. The crown at three is also fairly small, measuring 5.5 x 2mm, which keeps it in scale with the height of the case.

The case also has very simple finishing, with polished surfaces on the topside of the lugs and bezel, and vertical brushing on the side. The watch has an “all-dial” feeling despite having a wide bezel, as the non-rotating bezel is a functional part of the dial. As such, the lack of fancy finishing or case geometry is actually to the watch’s benefit. Anything ornate would create more visual interference, making the watch too busy for its own good. That being said, what is there is well done, every edge is very crisp and the polish is nice and bright.


The display case back is a bit more decorated, with an elegant scrip font and some filigrees inscribed around the aperture. The large sapphire window gives a great view of the 2893-3 movement inside, which is minimally decorated. The most standout visual element of the 2893-3 is the large golden rotor, which is decorated with Cotes De Genève and a bit of text. Oddly, this is the only place on the watch that indicates that it is a chronometer, or has been certified by COSC.


The dial of the Navigator displays a lot of information at one time, doing so in various levels. It’s actually a very clever design that utilizes every little bit of dial real estate to indicate something. It also really stays true to the original. As I had mentioned before, the dial really starts with the bezel, which contains your typical 12-hour index consisting of numerals for the even hours and triangles for the odd. The markers are all etched into the polished steel dial, and filled in black for contrast.


Stepping in, and down, you have a brushed silver ring with a 24-hour index of applied steel markers. Once again, the even hours are indicated with numerals and the odd with small triangles. The 12th hour is missing, however, to create a gap for a vintage Tissot logo. At the very edge of this ring are small black printed lines for the minutes. This is one of the little tricky things to read on the watch, as the minutes index has 60 markers, and the 24-hour index doesn’t divide evenly into that, so you end up having to ignore one index to read the other.

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  • http://URL Alex Kerr

    Tissot seems to have a wealth of great designs to pull from their heritage. I really like the somewhat retro selection of cities and names (Bombay). I would love to try this beaut on! Great review

  • http://URL Sharaf V.

    Wow this is a great watch and a great review as always, i have always loved Tissot watches would love to get my hands on this piece too bad its way out my price range currently.

  • http://wornandwound.com/2013/07/10/tissot-heritage-navigator-160th-anniversary-review/ Toni

    It’s probably just me, and I would like to like this watch but something seems off.

    Perhaps the exterior 12 hour bezel is just too wide and polished – narrower with smaller numbers would be more elegant – without numbers possibly best. This would have allowed for a slightly more classic (read smaller) size as well.

    The flat slab side of the case could use more detailing as well.

    I do like the city names radiating out from the centre, but perhaps a small bevel in the centre would complete the city “disk”. The middle of the watch just seems to float to me.

    Love the buckle though!

  • http://Www.teeritz.blogspot.com Teeritz

    I’ve had a Tissot Visodate Heritage model for about three years and I gotta hand it to Tissot when it comes to reinterpreting models from their archives. This Navigator model is another beauty, although the 43mm diameter is larger than I would prefer. Still, it’s a hard watch to fault.

  • http://URL Gomez

    This heritage watch looks nice, but in reality a piece of garbage. I bought one in November 2013, but from the beginning it was bad. First it was extremely fast (30sec/day). So I took it back to regulate. They told me in the official service that it was put together as shit. They corrected it and they said it is ok now. This was not true. Actually since the beginning the second bezel (time zone disk) was not synchronized wth the main time and was not possible to adjust it. In addition it started to be late( 20-25 sec/day). I took it back, they said that they cannot be repaired on the spot, but it has to be sent to the central service to Switzerland. It will take 6 weeks. This is terrible from tissot no quality control and sell garbage for more than 1000€. Do not buy it!

    • http://URL Gunjan

      Would you care to sell the watch to me? I would love to own this watch at a more affordable price than for a new one, along with the defects.

  • http://URL David

    Thanks for the very nice review. Has anyone seen the version with the black dial? The Tissot marketing photos show it having a deep jet black color, but Google images have many photos where it’s actually more metallic and light gray looking. Very different looks.

  • rfortson

    Nice review. I’ve owned this for a while and still enjoy it. I’m not wild about the strap, though it’s nice enough. I prefer something a little more matte finished. Finding replacement straps is hard unless you want to put up with a notch in the strap where the buckle tang would normally go. Finally, I wish it was about 41mm instead of 43mm. It wears large with the bezel, though it’s nice and thin for it’s size.

    Overall, a cool piece that I enjoy wearing. I feel intercontinental when I wear it.