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 One of Their Finest Sextants Ever

This is the first opportunity we have had to offer
an absolutely outstanding and near flawless “Collector Quality” example of a C. Plath Navistar TRADITIONAL sextant. In this case, we present Serial No. 64251 in its magnificent, high gloss, Mahogany wood case. This was the last new, high quality, model Plath introduced IN 1989, just 12 years before their sextant production ceased. Don’t confuse this sextant with the Navistar Classic which had a “ladder” or “web” frame, which was made in greater numbers. Based on the scarcity of the TRADITIONAL, very few must exist. It has these new, and exclusive “state of the art” design features:

  • Special circular frame
  • Rotating vernier for always “0” index error
  • Advanced lighting system with miniature batteries and light emitting diode
  • Adjustable Makrolon handle for ergonomic fit
  • Newly designed telescope
  • Newly designed larger housing for horizon mirror reduces stray light
  • Deluxe high gloss, brass fittings, carrying case

DESIGN FEATURES: The Navistar Traditional, is second only to the Classic, in Plath’s line of premium sextants and was made in limited quantities. Because it was a new design in 1989 with many advanced features, it sold for more than other sextants.The Traditional’s visual clues are the Circle frame design, and the special micrometer drum with a rotating vernier, newly designed telescope and the Navistar brand imprint. The rotating vernier has six indents and reads to 10 seconds of arc. You turn it to match the “0” point with the “0” on the micrometer drum so that index error reads zero. As far as we know, no other sextant has this feature. It comes with its original detailed instruction booklet, and Plath’s certification with matching numbers. C. Plath quit producing sextants around 2001. The parent company has completely liquidated everything including machinery, equipment and spare parts.

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.The number of Traditional sextants made is unknown, but must be far fewer since they are never seen on the market.

CONDITION: There is little discernable evidence of wear or use so that it can be considered as near new in all respects. It operates like a well oiled piece of machinery, and has NO faults even minor ones. Both mirrors shows as NEW. The case is has what appears to be a liquid polyurethane coating which has some minor scratches, smallchips, and some scuff marks. The illumination works. The bronze arc shows “as new”. There is no index or side error. The original certificate is included. The keys are missing.

This is the only example of a previously owned C. Plath Navistar TRADITIONAL that we have
ever seen and is suitable for a collector or for use at sea . It 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.

STAR RATING: This super fine Collector Quality instrument
rates FIVE  STARS irrespective of age.

CREDENTIALS: We are one of the few people still selling navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether my opinion counts, I 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 Board, 1975-1978; the author of 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.
I  am also a retired Master Mariner, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification as a Senior Skipper – Oceans.

COMPANY HISTORY: In brief, Carl Plath started manufacturing sextants, in addition to other nautical products, in Hamburg Germany in 1862 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.


Measuring Range: -5 to 125 degrees
Accuracy: Tested to +/- 20 arc seconds
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: 57 x 42 mm. aluminized on the rear side.
Horizon Mirror: 57mm diameter.
Shades: 3 for index mirror, 3 for horizon mirror, Adjustable vernier for zero index error
Illumination: Yes
Weight sextant:   3.5 lbs, Weight case 5.3 lbs.

1 C. Plath Sextant frame
1  4 x 40 Scope
1 Mirror adjustment tool
1 Brush
1 High Gloss Mahogany sextant case. No keys
1 Original owner’s manual and certificate
GUARANTEE OF SATISFACTION: You must be fully satisfied with your purchase on arrival and that our description is entirely accurate or your money back. The only conditions are that an email authorization be obtained within three days, and that the instrument is returned in its original condition and packaging, and insured for its full value. Unfortunately, shipping charges are not included in this offer and are non-refundable unless we are at fault.

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Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

Our Unconditional 'No Nonsense' Guarantee

If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers worldwide.

Standard Forms of Payment

Bank wire transfer, cashier’s check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to us so that the use of credit cards or PayPal incur extra charges. Terms on overseas sales are different.

Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques

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