Pakistan and India have fought four conventional wars since the inception of the former in 1947, with the second conflict fought in the mid-1960s.
Why mention this?
This mid-1960s Tissot Seastar PR 516 was issued to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during this time period, similar to Omega Ranchero and Seamaster watches. The most unique aspect of the Tissot here - being an air force-issued watch - is the “PAF” and military broad arrow inscriptions on the case back.
Following its inception in 1959, the PAF – in the mid-1960s – was comprised of 12 F-104 Starfighters, 120 F-86 Sabre fighter jets, and 20 B-57 Canberra bombers. The PAF, qualitatively superior to the Indian Air Force at the time, claimed complete air superiority after 48 hours of conflict. Most military histories of the conflict have credited the PAFs success to its U.S.-quality armaments, providing Pakistan with a qualitative edge.
The two countries have made contradictory claims of combat losses during the war and few neutral sources have verified the claims of either country, as is the case with most India-Pakistan conflicts. The PAF claims that it shot down 104 IAF aircraft and lost 19 of its own, while the IAF claimed it shot down 73 PAF aircraft while losing 60 of its own. According to most independent and neutral sources, the PAF lost some 20 aircraft while the IAF lost somewhere between 60 and 75.
More certain, after its 1965 debut, the PR 516 first appeared in Tissot catalogs in 1968, with many (many) eventual variants before it ceased production. Swiss watchmaker Tissot, founded in 1853 by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, would eventually merge with the Swatch Group in 1998. Fast forward to the mid-1960s, the company – inspired by automotive racing (which it began to sponsor), Tissot would support Formula One car-racing teams Lotus, Renault, and Sauber – released the PR 516, which was aimed at the car aficionado market.
Back to the PAF – by 2021, it had more than 70,000 active-duty personnel and operates at least 970 aircraft, with the primary mission pf the arial defense of Pakistan, with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and Navy when required, as well as strategic airlift capability.
In times of natural disasters, such as the recent catastrophic 2022 flooding, PAF engineers, medical and logistics personnel, and the rest of the armed forces play a major role in providing relief aid and supplies to stricken Pakistani civilians. Outside of Pakistan, the PAF has previously provided support efforts in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, among other countries.
The Tissue PR 516 was distinctive at the time it was produced due to its perforated bracelet – later earning the moniker “rally” – which was meant to resemble the design of the steering wheel of racing cars. Martial arts legend Bruce Lee would later rock his black-dial Seiko 6139 on two of these, but that’s another story told in-depth elsewhere on this site.
This PAF-issued Tissot comes on a leather strap, black nylon strap, springbar tool, and hard plastic travel case.
Pakistan Air Force-Issued Mid-1960s Tissot Seastar Seastar PR 516 Mechanical
DIAL: Tissot-signed black cross hair dial, with correct baton hands; lume has aged in a uniform manner.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 36.5mm x 41mm, with drilled lugs and a matching hexagon screw-down caseback. "PAF" and the military broad arrow are inscribed on the caseback, indicating this Tissot as one issued to the Pakistan Air Force.
CRYSTAL: Flawless domed crystal, crack and scratch-free.
BAND: Dark brown leather strap, with cream colored accent stitching; also included, a black nylon strap.
MOVEMENT: 17-jewel Tissot & Fils manual-winding mechanical movement.
CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown.