I picked up a Tissot Seastar Navigator from 1974 last week for a price that was hard to ignore. It was from a dealer I know well and is a genuine example of a watch that is growing in popularity, and it has aged exactly as you would expect; a few case marks, faded chronograph hand and a bezel that is just about readable 48 years later.
It needs a service because it is currently running about a minute fast per day, but for the first time I really do not care. I have historically been a little obsessed with my watches being as accurate as possible, but this watch has become jewellery for me. It just looks so good in the subtlest of ways and catches the eye from time to time thanks to the blue sub-dial, red second hand, faded orange chronograph hand and the faded black (now grey) bezel. It’s a curiosity of a watch that shows all of the design cues that so many brands are trying to replicate today, but there is no replication here. The Navigator is what it is and it shows its age in style.
Vintage watches can be expensive to buy and even more expensive to run. Buy yourself a 1970’s Rolex and you will be servicing it often if you wear it every day because, and this is from experience, they are not that reliable and were not particularly well built.
If you can leave behind the absolute need for a perfect timekeeper you can pick up a stylish timepiece that looks sublime in any situation and you may just find that the good design beats the bad timekeeping enough to keep it on your wrist. I am struggling to take this one off and so the end result will either be a service or only wearing it occasionally, but either way this particular model is, in my opinion, one of the very best vintage watches you can buy for a low price.