When someone is getting himself into nice watches and wants to make the first real Swiss made watch purchase, the is a big chance that Tissot is one of those brands he or she will come across. We sat down with Tissot in Basel and I have to say that we have not been let down by them.
My own very first Swiss made watch was none other than a Tissot PRC 200 chronograph, which I bought back in 2007. I loved the black dial with the yellow chronograph hands; the size was just perfect or my 7.5” wrist too. It came on a bracelet, which I later changed to a Hirsch Golfer starting some kind of a trend among WatchUseek’s Tissot forum members who had the same watch and were looking for a strap alternative. I still have the watch to this day and it still looks very cool and classic at the same time. However this article is not about my sentimental watch purchase stories but about the 2015 Tissot novelties we had the pleasure of seeing in the awesome red booth of Tissot a few months ago.
Tissot is a so-called middle-range (even though I love the term affordable much better) brand within Swatch Group. This does not mean though that they are not worth a look, on the contrary. They are a pretty versatile group of very well made, interesting watches. But enough with the intro, let’s have a closer look at them.
The first watch we had the chance of trying on and playing with for a little while was the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. T-Touch is one of the most well-known collectionss of the brand. Of course this is the active man’s watch playing in similar league as Casio’s G-Shock and brands like Suunto. This model offers everything a real outdoors sportsman would ever want with features such as; a perpetual calendar with indication of day and week number, two alarms, two time zones, weather forecast with relative pressure, altimeter with altitude difference meter, chronograph lap and split with logbook, compass, timer, azimuth, regatta function and backlight.
This updated version of the earlier T-Touch Solar Energy received a bit of a facelift as well for this year. Nice touch is the new bezel, which now looks like a compass – the old one had numbers on it – this only features the 4 quarters (North, East, South, West). Some dials are 2-tone so the lower part of the dial, which is dark, completely hides the display makes it looks like it’s part of the lower dial without noticing it’s actually not. Strap choices are wide too! From bracelet to rubber or even an awesome leather-velcro combo, you can pick which ever suits you best. Then of course you have the usual stuff the titanium PVD coated case, the Super Luminova dial and the 100m water resistance.
Let’s stay a bit longer with the active life but switch to motorsports. Tissot and MotoGP have a long history so it was only obvious that something new would be introduced. I am not much of a biker guy myself but even I am tempted to get one of these Limited Edition (of 3.333 pieces) Tissot T-Race MotoGP L.E. 2015 pieces. Especially after I got the explanation of certain elements. The watch, as the fans of this model already know, comes in a helmet box. This is no ordinary box though as it functions as a watch winder for the Swiss made automatic chronograph movement that beats inside the PVD coated stainless steel case. No bracelet is offered (which is a bit of a bummer) but a synthetic strap with deployant buckle, sapphire crystal, display case back and water resistance until 100m. Details: the pushers are shaped like footrests, the bezel is inspired by the brake disk of the bike, the back of the bracelet has the same pattern as the tire trace, the display back resembles the wheel of the bike and so on. The starting grid-looking indices are just the added bonus. As you can see this is a true biker watch inside and outside, one that is true to the heritage of the MotoGP.
The last of the Tissot sports models we had a look was the Tissot PRS 516. I have to say that even though I loved all of the watches we saw that day this was probably the one I liked best. Maybe because it reminded me of my little PRC maybe the fact that the vintage DNA is very obviously visible the watch spoke to me.
The Tissot PRS 516 is the result of reimagining the classical 1960’s PR 516 in a modern and contemporary yet classic way. The vintage elements like the big hole rally straps, the shape of the pushers or the fact that it’s a 2-sub dial chronograph are all features of the era when racing was pure and strictly technical. Watches were instruments used as equipment not a symbol of money. The Tissot PRS 516, like many other models of different brands, tries to bring this era back a little bit with their vintage-inspired pieces. The watch is pretty technical too. It has a power reserve of 60 hours, with ceramic or carbon bezel depending on the watchcase and sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating. If you have the vintage version you have to get this watch. Be aware that as soon as you buy this and you don’t yet own the vintage you will want that too. And that might be a bit of a headache to get. Just remember, I’ve warned you.
Now a bit more classical (yet still complicated, due to the chronograph function) themed watches! Tissot introduced the Chemin des Tourelles which is a truly elegant model line. The name comes from the street in Le Locle where the Tissot manufacture was established and still operates today. The collection includes chronographs as well as time only watches in various dial (silver or black) and case (stainless steel, bicolor, rose gold PVDed) colors for ladies as well as for gentlemen. There is not much to say about the watches other than they are true to Tissot’s classical collection and offer a variety of different models for people looking for a dressy alternative. Or just for a nicely sized, beautifully executed watch in general. We have seen this before with the Tissot Le Locle and Heritage models, which were extremely popular, and we have reason to believe that the Tissot Chemin des Tourelles is on the same path.
Speaking of Heritage I saved something special for last. After we’d seen all the watches Tissot had to offer we were presented with something you very rarely see in this range; a purely mechanical skeletonized Tissot pocket watch. The Tissot Bridgeport Mechanical Skeleton pays homage to the vintage pocket watches by the company in the most exciting way possible. The watch features sapphire crystal and a display case back. This, pairing up with the hand-wound skeleton movement and open dial makes the watch see through. How stylish is a pocket watch in 2015? – you might ask. The answer I don’t know, but one thing is for sure; that pocket watch shows that there are brands out there that do not always play by the rule of economy. Producing watches that are easy to sell and in large numbers, or exclusive with an astronomical price tag is the trend. This pocket watch symbolizes watchmaking in its purest form and apparently Tissot still knows this. Good for them, and lucky for us.
All in all it was a great meeting with some cool watches on the table. Tissot is still very close to their roots and heritage plays an important role in their vision for the future of their models. We enjoyed the time and hopefully soon will be able to provide you with some in-depth articles about some of their novelties when we receive them for review.