Would you believe that I get more spontaneous offers for this little charming Art Deco Tissot than the majority of vintage pieces in my collection? 

I am never startled when I get a buyout offer after I post the shiny Mido Rainbow, the cult voice-recording Seiko, or the recently featured card-board-like dialed Cartier Santos on my Instagram. I remember that the first time I shared a picture of the Art Deco Tissot, I immediately got an offer to sell it. Well, I was pretty surprised. I didn’t expect a simple three-hander by Tissot to be so aspirational for my Instagram audience. Come to think of it, this Tissot is now the most demanded watch in my collection, with spontaneous offers coming in here and there. Let’s dig deeper into the charm that makes this watch more desirable than “common“ Instagram stars.


Disclaimer on the Art Deco Tissot

My wife loves rectangular watches. She loves them so much, that she even made me interested in them. Before I knew her, I had no square watches. Now I pay attention to them and even managed to collect (I don’t know how) dozens of them. Technically, the Art Deco Tissot is not mine. I bought it, that‘s a fact. The Tissot and I, we still live in one household together, but I forgot to mention it belongs to the constantly growing collection of my better half.


I decided to gift it to my wife the moment I saw it listed with Zsolt more than a year ago. Upon my next trip to Budapest, I stopped at his store and I picked it up in person. So you can technically redirect your next offers to my wife, although I‘m afraid you won’t be successful. To put it in racing terms, I’d say the Art Deco Tissot unshakeably occupies the pole position in her heart.

Writing #TBT is an opportunity to understand the watch better.

The perfect thing about writing #TBT articles is the fact that I spend a few steady and concentrated hours with a watch that I usually enjoy wearing, but never think about deeply. I know I like the watch, but only with enough time and uninterrupted focus am I able to pick out, encapsulate, and put the astonishing details into words. For me, writing #TBT is an opportunity to understand the watch better. The experience with this Tissot was no different.


The other tank watch

I know it will sound strange, but the Tissot Art Deco is like a tank. Anytime I unstrap it and put it on the table in front of me, I see a big massive tank. Strange enough it reminds me of a tank much more than actual “real” tank watch, Cartier Tank. Second of all, the Tissot Art Deco looks too clean and elegant to be compared to a heavy-weight military weaponry. But I can help it, with the non-tapering strap holding tightly to the case it looks very solid and firm.

Nicknamed Tissot

Most of the magic is dispelled by the dark dial. When I close my eyes, I see a gentleman in a tuxedo sporting my (sorry, my wife’s) Tissot almost 100 years ago. Since my wife renamed her Art Deco Tissot the “Dark Deco“, we won’t call it otherwise. The deep matt black with long indexes represents the best of Art Deco artistry.

The contrasting radial minute track within the rectangular case is epic. You might have seen some other watches referring to their minute track as a “rail”. I dare say this is one of its finest executions. In such a small case, printed far from case walls, it looks like a minute sub-counter on the biggest chronograph in your collection. The third and ninth hour index blatantly crossing the “rail” track is another one of my favorite details.


Aging at its best

At some point during this Tissot’s life, the white indexes and hands aged into their bone-like color. Considering the 39mm×22mm case dimensions, the hour indexes are quite wide and spacious. Wide enough for hundreds of tiny cracks to have appeared along the way. With the perfect and untouched black dial, the cracked indexes remind me of an old barn door and the top layer of an old painting peeling off the surface.

Sword hands

You don’t often see sword hands-on vintage pieces, let alone in today‘s production. The slightly-shorter-than-usual length of these Tissot hands make them even more appealing to me. Here and there you can see small chunks of color missing. The nude shiny metal seems like a wound on an unprotected body. It’s the lightly-but-consistently “beaten“ image that permeates through the whole Tissot Dark Deco. The never-before polished case carries so many tiny wounds, as does the original winding crown worn down to its bare metal.


The Tissot Dark Deco is one of those watches that you don‘t need to study long to see how honest it is. All is as it should be. The case, dial, hands, and movement walked through nine decades of glory. What I would give to know what it went through since its birth in the 1930s.

You feel the movement quality already.

Winding the Tissot cal. 20 is a great experience too. While winding, the watch makes a surprisingly loud and rattling sound. At the same time, one is surprised at how even and tuned it is. You feel the movement quality already. You shouldn’t be surprised to find out that it doesn’t lose much of its pace and its accuracy throughout the day.

Shotgun notes

The smaller sub-second dial sunken into the main radial railroad track is just as charming as the other watch elements. The small seconds hand style and the old-school Tissot logo are details that flatter any collector.

Last thoughts

Compared to many other early 1900s watches, this Tissot Dark Deco doesn’t have curly numerals, overstyled hands, heavy casing, over the roof engravings, or disproportions between elements. All things that would make it unwearable to me. It looks super fresh, modern, and cool. Seriously. And with a €200 price tag, it would have been a crime not to add it to my (wife’s) collection. Check out my earlier article on the Tissot Mediostat. I am surprised how overlooked and undervalued Tissot watches are. Well, I’ve never seen a second Tissot Dark Deco model, but if you spot one, I’d recommend picking it up for keeps.