Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven, 1960s.

This is a recent addition to my collection, a Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven wristwatch dating from the 1960s. The watch has a hand-winding movement which is working well. The watch has a 17-jewel hand-winding movement, Tissot calibre 782-1, which is working nicely.

Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven dial.
Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven dial.

Tissot

Tissot is a Swiss watch brand with a long history dating back to 1853. It was founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Émile Tissot, in the small Swiss town of Le Locle. Initially, Tissot built its reputation by building highly reliable, gold-cased pocket watches that found a strong and appreciative audience all over the world, particularly in the Russian market. Tissot quickly gained recognition for innovations in the watchmaking industry. They were among the first to introduce mass-produced pocket watches, making timepieces more accessible to the general public. Additionally, Tissot pioneered the production of watches with two time zones, which were particularly useful for railway workers and travellers.

In 1930, Tissot merged with another renowned Swiss watchmaker, Omega, to form the SSIH group (Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère). This collaboration allowed both brands to combine their resources and expertise, further solidifying Tissot’s position in the watchmaking industry. Throughout the years, Tissot continued to innovate, introducing groundbreaking technologies and designs. In the 1970s, they launched the Tissot RockWatch, featuring a case made from granite and other unconventional materials, showcasing the brand’s commitment to innovation and creativity.

Tissot expanded its presence globally and became known for its sports watches and chronographs. In 1983, the SSIH group merged with ASUAG to form the Swatch Group, which currently owns Tissot along with other prestigious watch brands. In recent years, Tissot has maintained its reputation for quality and innovation. The brand offers a wide range of watches, from classic dress watches to high-performance sports models. Tissot has also embraced smartwatch technology, integrating it into some of their timepieces while preserving their traditional Swiss craftsmanship.

Dial

The watch measures 34mm in diameter excluding the winding crown and the lugs. The case is stainless steel and it is in good condition, just light surface marking on the back of the watch. The case back is stamped ‘waterproof’ but, as with any vintage watch, it should be kept away from water and moisture. The watch has the original Tissot winding crown.

Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven case back.
Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven case back.

It has an early form of quickset date display where the hands are moved repeatedly backwards and forwards between 12 midnight and 8.30pm until the desired date is reached. It isn’t perfect, but it does mean you don’t have to scroll through 24 hours over and over again to get the date right.

The dial is signed, “Tissot Visodate, Seastar Seven, T Swiss Made T2”.

Tissot Seastar Seven

Seastar is Tissot’s range of water resistant watches. The Tissot Seastar Seven watch was introduced by Tissot in 1964. The “Seven” supposedly refers to seven “essential qualities” that Tissot felt set the watch apart from others in the same price range.  Bing Chatgpt came up with these seven advantages:

  1. Waterproofness
  2. Shock resistance
  3. Anti-magnetism
  4. Automatic winding
  5. Date display
  6. Sweep second hand
  7. Stainless steel case

The advantages can’t quite be right as the Seastar Seven were made with manual and automatics movements. I did stumble across a 1963 Tissot advertisement for Tissot Seastar Seven watches, the ad was in French which I managed to decipher thanks to Google Translate (unedited):

One-piece watch case: a thinner, more elegant, but at the same time more solid and precise watch. One-piece watch case: increased water resistance, because the Seastar Seven no longer needs a screwed back. One-piece watch case: prevent any corrosion. . A shapely watch in a luxurious guide (de-luxe dial and hands). All-new presentation of the Seastar Seven in a case made of unalterable and dimensionally stable polystyrene. Extremely favorable price range: in addition to all these advantages, the price of the Seastar Seven remains well within the range of the well-known advantageous Tissot prices. Worldwide sales and service“.

“T Swiss Made T”

The “Swiss Made” marking indicates that the watch was made in Switzerland under strict terms and conditions. It is a label or brand that represents quality in the global watchmaking industry. It is also a geographical trademark protected under a number of Swiss and international laws and treaties. The “T” on either side of the marking indicates that the luminescence on the dial is triggered by tritium, a radioactive element, reacting with the paint on the hour markers and hands. Originally, this would have allowed users to read the time in the dark. Tritium was used for luminescence from the 1960s until the 1990s. Although not as dangerous as radium, it still exposed users to a radioactive health risk. Today, watch manufacturers typically use non-radioactive luminescent materials such as Super-LumiNova or LumiBrite. These offer similar visibility in the dark without the health risks associated with radioactive substances like tritium.

Tritium has a half-life of about 12.5 years, which means that its radioactivity diminishes by half every 12.5 years. The luminosity of tritium-based luminescent materials typically lasts for around 10 to 20 years before the brightness noticeably diminishes. Any vintage “T Swiss Made T” watches are highly unlikely to show any practical luminescence. Vintage watch collectors, with a preference for originality, generally prefer that the luminescence is not restored.

Tissot 782-1 calibre

The Tissot 782-1 belongs to the caliber series 781-784, introduced by Tissot in the 1960s. These movements were designed with cost efficiency in mind and lack elaborate decorations or technical complexities. Despite their economical construction, the 782-1 maintains good quality and reliability.

The key features of the Tissot 782-1 calibre are:

  • Size: It measures 11 1/2’‘’ ligne (approximately 25.4mm in diameter).
  • Height: The movement stands at 3.70mm.
  • Jewels: 17 jewels.
  • Balance Type: Monometallic annular balance (with two legs).
  • Shock Protection: Equipped with Incabloc shock protection.
  • Escapement: Pallet lever.
  • Calendar Mechanism: The calendar advances within only one hour and can be adjusted semi-fast by turning the hands back and forth.
  • Other Features: It includes direct centre seconds (SCD) and a date indication (QG).

In summary, the Tissot 782-1 is a reliable movement designed for practicality, making it a suitable choice for timepieces that prioritise functionality over intricate complications.

Tissot 782-1 calibre.
Tissot 782-1 calibre.

Incabloc

The Incabloc shock protection system is the trade name for a spring-loaded system for the jewel bearings which support the balance wheel in a mechanical watch. This is designed to protect the pivots and bearings from damage if the watch is subject to a physical shock, for example, if the watch is dropped. The Incabloc system was developed in 1934 by Swiss engineers Georges Braunschweig and Fritz Marti, at Universal Escapements, Ltd, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

The components which support the watch balance wheel are fragile in comparison to the weight they need to support. Without shock protection, they are the parts of the watch most likely to be broken from a sudden shock. Before the widespread use of shock protection systems such as Incabloc, broken balance staffs were a common type of damage needing watch repair.

Incabloc protection system.
Incabloc protection system.

The Incabloc system uses a “lyre-shaped” spring to allow the delicate bearings to shift within their settings during impact until the stronger shoulder of the staff contacts the metal endpiece. This means that the pivots and bearings don’t have to bear the full force of the impact. When the impact is over, the springs guide the components back to their original positions. The staff itself does not move relative to the jewel bearing, but the whole bearing is carried in a metal bushing that is free to move in the metal endpiece, under the control of the spring.

Summary

The Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven is a nice-looking vintage watch which has aged well and keeps good time. It is accurate to within 30 seconds per day (fast) and has a good power reserve of approximately 49 hours when fully wound. It is a very welcome addition to my collection.

Related content

Tissot official website.

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