Antique 3 Ring (Dreikreis)
C. Plath Quintant/ Sextant

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Very Rare C. Plath Early 20th Cent THREE CIRCLE (Dreikreis) QUINTANT/SEXTANT


Rare three circle quintant by C. Plath, Hamburg,
Ca 1900

Presented is an antique quintant, meaning a sextant having a range of 144°, or an arc of
It was m
ade by C. Plath of Hamburg, Germany,
around the Turn of the 20th Century. It has one of their rarely seen three circle (Dreikreis) frames. In fact, this
is only the second of this type that we’ve offered for sale making it ideal for the serious collector. See It comes with a star scope, a collimation scope and a sighting tube for shooting terrestrial objects.

Based on
our proprietary register of C. Plath instruments’ serial numbers which dates back to 1895, and earlier if we include
those made directly after Plath’s purchase of the David Filby company in 1862, and the inclusion of a similar three ring
design, but with micrometer drum in a 1902 catalog, we date it to be Ca 1900 to 1912. This compares favorably with serial
number 7777 which, four years ago, we estimated to have been made Ca 1910 to 1918. That one was originally
made as a surveying (Vermessung) instrument without shades (filters) and was purpose built to measure angles both on land
and at sea, for doing surveys, making nautical charts or setting navigation aides. This is established by its arc which
reads to 150 degrees rather than the customary 120 degrees for a sextant. Instruments designed for this purpose were
not fitted with shade glasses so the ones installed here were fitted later as was the micrometer drum. This is not so with
this earlier example which clearly was made as a vernier quintant with shades.

        SN 6270 over early “Stick
Man“ logo
    Adjustable rising piece. A worthwhile feature
         Horizon mirror has one
cracked shade
Perfect index mirror

CONDITION: Except for a few minor faults, the quintant is in exceptionally fine condition having
about ninety five percent of its original lacquered, mid-night black, finish remaining. The same holds true of the original
varnish on the three telescopes. It shows very little corrosion of its bronze parts and elsewhere it is in like new condition.
The index mirror is clear, sharp and without blemish. The horizon mirror shows the affects of salt spray. The interior horizon
shade is cracked, but tight in its frame and still usable. The tangent screw shaft has a slight bend, but is functional.
The Ebony handle provides a nice contrast to the metal work. The mirror adjustment tool is a replacement.

The bronze arc is calibrated -5 to 155+ degrees with a vernier that
reads from the right, from 0 to 1 minute of arc, and can be estimated to one sixth minute. Serial
Number 6270 is imprinted to the right upper side of the arc and just above an old style “Stick Man“ logo
which Plath referred to as their “Sun Shooter” trademark or “Sonnenschiesser” in German. Normally,
you would expect to find that on the arc’s left terminus. The sextant has four index shades and three horizon

The instrument is housed in a fitted wood carrying case with brass hardware. There
is no key for the lock. Inside is a plate with the Plath logo and an address at 25 Stubbenhuk 25, Hamburg. The case is in excellent
strong condition with a nice patina of age to its varnish finish. There might be a rag or a brush missing.

This is only the second C.Plath three circle quintant/sextant we have ever seen. They are
not even pictured in the definitive work on the topic of sextants, “Taking the Stars” by Dr. Peter Ifland. It will make a
rare addition to an important collection or as a gift of importance.

                Handsome hardwood case
Lower view of frame

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 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 their sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. Joel is also a retired Master
Mariner, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification as a Senior Skipper – Oceans.
From 1995 through 2000, he
served as a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.

This quintant is an outstanding
example of an elegant Plath three circle frame model and rates 5 Plus Stars.

    Ca 1902 C. Plath catalog page showing
Surveying model with micrometer drum.

Please scroll down for gallery photos!


CASE  11
1/4″ x 11 1/4″ L x 5 1/2″ W    
Star scope
Collimation scope
Sighting tube
Length of index arm   9
Width of arc                10
Diameter 1 circle         2
1/2″ ID
Index Mirror                
47 mm x 30 mm
Horizon Mirror            
32 mm x 22 mm

3 lbs 9 oz 
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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.

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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.

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