The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles is a straightforward daily watch with a slightly formal air. Before the rise of sports watches as everyday pieces, this Tissot model would have been considered “a watch” — in other words, not the type of piece that an enthusiast site like Fratello normally covers. However, the new Chemin des Tourelles Squelette adds just enough pizazz to warrant further examination.

Open-worked-dial timepieces are a different breed. High-end pieces show incredible workmanship, ingenuity, and detail. More affordable offerings display battery-powered movements and bring some level of style to what might otherwise be very boring watches. In the middle, though, some companies display the inner workings of a normal mechanical movement. The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Squelette occupies that space and does a fine job.

A step back in time

Before we cover the Chemin des Tourelles Squelette, I’ll share a brief story. In the early ’90s, I entered high school. Caring about clothing and how I looked was completely new to me, and I began to notice what others were wearing. A person in my class had a Fossil with a see-through dial, and I was attracted to the look. Back then, Fossil was a new name on the scene, but it was mounting a hefty challenge to Swatch, the reigning heavyweight in the field of fun, inexpensive watches. So I took $50 of my hard-earned money from a part-time job at a grocery store and went to Bloomingdale’s. I still remember picking out a gold-tone Fossil with a fake skeleton dial and embossed black reptile-like strap. I wore the hell out of that watch, and even though the skeleton look was cheesily done, it was still cool. So, yes, even I can be taken in by the inner workings of a watch — real or otherwise!

The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Squelette

The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Squelette is a 39mm by 43.7mm watch with a 50m water resistance rating. This version has no date function, which is good because a visible date wheel would have crowded the aesthetic. For the first set of releases, Tissot has come with three distinct offerings. All use stainless steel cases with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, but there are differences. The first model has a blue dial and Roman numerals. It comes on a 20mm-wide five-row stainless steel bracelet. Then, there’s a sporty black PVD-coated version with a matching black dial and leather strap with a pin buckle. Finally, a stainless reference with an ivory dial and khaki strap is available.

The Chemin des Tourelles Squelette watches offer front and back views of the Swatch Group’s well-known Powermatic 80 movement. It’s a straightforward self-winding caliber that is attractive to view despite its industrial level of finishing. For most buyers, I assume it will provide some level of amusement to see gears and springs moving while it’s on the wrist. It may even spark conversation.

The dials

Some open-worked dials contain odd cutouts. The Chemin des Tourelles Squelette opts for a ring around the outer edge of the dial. On the blue model, a combination of a hobnail pattern and Roman numerals is paired with an inner minute track. The ivory and black variants have a simpler design with baton indexes and outer minute pips. Notably, there is no luminous material on any of the watches. Also, see the large “Tissot 1853” printed on the underside of the domed sapphire crystal. This reminds me of vintage Accutron Spaceview watches. It’s fine but a little large for my liking.

The Chemin des Tourelles on the wrist

Due to its middle-of-the-road footprint, the Chemin des Tourelles Squelette works well on many wrists. At just 11.2mm thick, it should also fit under a sleeve nicely. For my money, I prefer this watch on a strap because it looks less ornate. That’s odd because I normally enjoy a bracelet. In this case, and perhaps because it is only available on a version with Roman numerals, it’s a bit shiny. Still, the colors are nice, and if both the stainless models are too staid, there’s always the PVD edition.

Pricing and availability

The three Chemin des Tourelles Squelette watches are now on Tissot’s website, although the two models on straps are not in stock yet. The bracelet model sells for €1,045, the PVD retails for €1,025, and the ivory version is listed at €975. That pricing is certainly in the range of other models with the Powermatic 80 and only a slight premium over closed-dial variants.

For more information on the Chemin des Tourelles Squelette watches, visit the official Tissot website.

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Watch specifications

Chemin des Tourelles Squelette
T139.836.11.048.00 (blue) / T139.836.36.441.00 (black) / T139.836.16.261.00 (ivory)
Blue with Clous de Paris pattern or black or ivory with sunray finish and skeleton center
Case Material
Stainless steel or PVD-coated stainless steel
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 43.7mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.2mm (thickness)
Domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal, snap-on
Tissot Powermatic 80: automatic and manual winding, 21,600vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve, 23 jewels
Water Resistance
5 bar (50 meters)
Stainless steel five-row bracelet, khaki leather strap, or black leather strap (20mm width)
Time (hours, minutes, seconds)
€1,045 (blue dial, stainless steel on bracelet) / €1,025 (black dial, PVD) / €975 (ivory dial, stainless steel on strap)
Two years