1982 C. PLATH NAVISTAR CLASSIC SEXTANT 4 X 40 SCOPE
We are the premier source for all versions of the Plath Navistar premium sextants
and have specialized in their sale. We have sold more than any other dealer in the world! The pictures in this presentation
are all of the actual instrument.
Presented is a C. Plath Navistar Classic sextant, Serial No.62559,
with matching certificate dated 7.4.1982. This sextant served in a large motor vessel since it was purchased 32 years
ago by a shipping company. Our tests show that it is still in excellent condition. The sextant was used as
a back-up to what was then the early days of satellite navigation which was first introduced for commercial use in the early
1980’s. Back then, there were only six satellites in space so the fix interval could
be quite long, averaging 12-14 hours between them. Because of this time delay and because the coverage was not good
in certain areas of the world, ships still found the use of celestial navigation to be of great help. There is an old certificate
of inspection on the top of the case from B. Cooke & Son, LTD, dating back to 1984.
DHI LABEL: The Deutche Hydrographic Institute stamp of approval on the
index arm elevates it to the highest level because it indicates this instrument was tested by DHI, and found to meet the more
stringent standards for commercial use. Hence, this sextant sold for more originally then the regular Navistar Classic.
Back of sextant with 4 x 40 scope mounted.
The Navistar Classic was the top of the Plath
line and was made in limited quantities, and was manufactured with a guaranteed non-adjustable instrument error of 10 arc
seconds or less. It sold for a premium over all its other sextants. For example, almost 30 years ago, they sold for over $1000.00,
and as recently as 2001, the price had risen to $4000.00. In
our opinion, there is no sextant in current production that achieves this level of quality.
This is the type of ship it may have served in.
CONDITION: There is little
fault to find with the sextant except for some very minor paint loss on the top edge of the index shades and some minor signs
of use to the green shock absorbent cushion in which the sextant is held in its case. The Vernier has lightened with age,
and the small standard brush is missing. An electrician had installed two plugs one of which was wired, but it was
too small for the female receptacle in the handle. We installed the correct size plug and a fresh bulb so
now the light works. The case’s exterior shows some of the usual marks of age and use that you would expect, and the exterior
hardware shows some light rust spots on its top edge. All these things are minor and only mentioned for the sake of completeness.
The index error is 1 minute on the arc and there is minimal side error.
The red plug was replaced with a black one that fits.
WHAT IS A NAVISTAR
CLASSIC: There are some sellers, either through ignorance or on purpose, call some Plath sextants by this name or
claim they were made to the same standards or were the predecessor of this instrument.The Plath Navistar
Traditional which was made shortly before their sextant production ended.
You can identify the Navistar Classic by these clues:
1. It has a special micrometer drum
2. The Navistar brand imprint on the arc.
3. The vernier has six indents and reads to 10 seconds of arc.
4. Comes with a fine wood case with a green absorbent liner as standard
5.> And originally came with an instruction booklet, and Plath’s
certification with matching numbers. For the seven year period from 1978 through 1985, only 1693 Navistar Classics were made. That is only
211 per year to satisfy worldwide demand.STAR RANKING:
Taking the minor evidence of use into account and its years of service at sea, it easily deserves a 5 Star ranking. This is the 23nd Navistar we’ve offered. In our opinion, they are
the finest of the contemporary sextants. They will be equally desirable at sea or in a collection of only the best, and should
only appreciate in value.
Perfect horizon mirror
Equally flawless index mirror
Vernier with working light above index
Classic imprint and serial number
Top. Picture of closed case with COI on top. Bottom.
The open case with the sextant and accessories
This C. Plath Navistar Classic requires someone who
can appreciate the fine points of a sextant, and is willing to pay an appropriate price for this level of quality and excellence.
It is suitable for a collector or for use at sea.
OUR QUALIFICATIONS: We are one
of the few company’s still selling navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether Joel’s opinion counts, he was the editor of the chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of “Bowditch”, The American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9; a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Navigation Symposium, 1975 -1978; the authorof a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime Press,1975, and the founding president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which
partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction of the MS 733 Spica, the MS 833, Jupiter, MS 933 Venus sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. Joel is a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification as a Senior Skipper – Oceans. For six years he was a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Some of his memberships have included the: Association of Naval Aviation, Silver Wings, The Tailhook Association, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, McCampbell’s Aces Squadron, Naval Historical Foundation, and the Naval Order of the United States.
C. PLATH COMPANY HISTORY: In brief, Carl Plath started manufacturing sextants, in addition to other nautical
products, in Hamburg Germany in 1862 though the purchase of the David Filby instrument company though the company’s origin
dates back to 1837. As a result WW II, C.Plath was dismantled completely by the occupation forces. Around 1950, various prohibitions
were lifted, and C. Plath was allowed to begin production again of sextants and other nautical instruments. Also in 1949,C.Plath
was offered a gyrocompass patent and in 1951 the first gyrocompass designed to this patent was presented to the public. C.Plath
progressed from the role of instrument maker to that of a modern marine navigation equipment manufacturer. In the following
years the product range was expanded by many more modern designs such as autopilots, speed logs, radio direction finders,
etc. In 1962 C.Plath was acquired
by Litton Industries, a large American concern.The C.Plath North American Division was set up in 1978 in College Park near
Washington. 1996 saw the introduction of the world’s first fiber-optic solid-state gyrocompass by C.Plath. The first ever
gyrocompass with no moving parts. Sperry Marine was formed in 1997 with the combination of C.Plath, Decca Marine and Sperry
Marine with more organizational changes yet to come. After 163 years, C.Plath changes its name to Sperry Marine in May 2000.
In 2001 Sperry Marine becomes part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation. In the 1990’s Plath came out with a series of
new sextant designs with overlapping designs and confusing names. They seemed to have lost their way. Shortly thereafter,
C. Plath quit producing sextants. The parent company has completely liquidated everything including machinery, equipment and
spare parts.C. PLATH NAVISTAR CLASSIC SPECIFICATIONS: Measuring Range: -5 to 125 degrees
Telescope: 4 x 40 Coated optics
Frame:Bronze with black enamel paint and bronze arc.
Micrometer Drum and Vernier Scale: reads to 10 seconds of arc
Index Mirror: 59 x 44 mm. aluminized on the rear side.
Horizon Mirror: 57mm diameter.
4 for index mirror
3 for horizon mirror
Weight sextant: 4.2 lbs with 4 x 40 scope.
Weight case 6 lbs.
1 C. Plath Sextant frame
1 4x 40 star scope
1 Mirror adjustment tool
1 Plath Navistar manual
Certificat of accuracy
Missing is the brush