Technological development has always been one of the key features of Tissot. Tissot has several achievements under their belts. Did you know for instance that they assembled the first non-magnetic watch in 1929? Or that Tissot was the first company to release watches made of plastic, stone and wood? Surely, once the brand from Le Locle became part of Swatch Group they were repositioned to serve the affordable segment. This however only fueled their desire to offer cutting edge technology timepieces at a very competitive price. The watch that we have here today for you is the result of such desire. A timepiece that offers a lot for way under €1000. I’m talking about the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC, the topic of our hands-on review.
When Tissot introduced the Powermatic 80 back in late 2012, it was groundbreaking in terms power reserve at this price level. Normally automatic watches run about 40-50 hours when fully wound, except for the more expensive double barrel watches. The Tissot Powermatic 80 is an automatic watch with 80 hours of power reserve with single barrel (barrel is the area that holds the spring inside the movement proving energy for the watch to run). Tissot achieved this by lowering the frequency of the watch from 4 to 3Hz. A lower frequency means less required energy. Now, this year during BaselWorld, Tissot released their latest model; the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC. This updated version of the original Powermatic 80 does not only have an automatic chronometer certified movement, it also has a silicone balance-spring.
At the heart of the Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC is an ETA movement. The base is the ETA Caliber 2824-2, which Tissot modified with their patented developments. The Powermatic 80.811 caliber has 25 jewels, automatic hacking movement with a date. There were already Powermatic 80 watches with chronometer grade movements and 80 hours of power reserve. That is not new anymore. This model has something else though; a silicone balance-spring, which reduces the possibility of magnetization of the watch. On the other hand it also lengthens the life expectancy of the movement. It’s highly durable, light, resistant to temperature change and unoxidizable. This technology is readily available for watches at a much higher price segment, yet the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC is the first watch in the affordable range to offer such features.
The Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC is a handsome watch. So much so, that colleagues and other people in my office building stopped me several times to ask about it. It has polished/brushed round 41mm wide case, less then 10mm thick and takes a 20mm strap. The only decoration is the engine turned (‘Clous de Paris’) bezel and the contrast between the polished sides and the brushed lug tops. The crown is simple; pull-out, 3 positions, thin and with the Tissot ‘T’ on it. The case back is see-through, displaying the movement and the nicely decorated Tissot automatic rotor. Around the case back you have the usual information about the watch (reference number, water resistance 50m, sapphire crystal). The Powermatic 80 COSC is easy to wear and matches a suit as well as the regular jeans/t-shirt combo. A great all-rounder.
The simple lines from the case continue to the dial of the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC. Decorated with raised silvery indexes and the Arabic numbers 12 and 6, it’s easy to read. The date window is at the 3 o’clock position, the name Tissot and 1853 (year of establishment) under the 12. The model name, “Powermatic 80” and “Chronometer” are just above the 6. The center of the dial has a similar engine turned motif as the bezel, framed by a raised smooth circle. On the rim of the dial, after a step, you can see a very small 60-seconds track. As the Ballade is an elegant watch, there is no lume on the indexes and hands. They are simple, steel dauphine-type of hands. The decoration gives just enough playfulness to the otherwise traditional dial.
We got to the weakest part of this watch in my opinion, the strap. Let me be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the black alligator patterned leather calf strap. In terms of quality, that is. A nice strap, thin, tapered. It comes equipped with a fine double folding clasp with push buttons. The strap just doesn’t fit to the watch. Or I should say; I think a different strap would be a better choice. This watch has tremendous value for its price tag but this alligator looking leather cheapens it. Why can’t Tissot be bold (like many other brands) leave this look-a-like strap game for what it is and release their watches on a plain and smooth black calf strap? I would love the watch even better, and I’m a huge fan of the Powermatic 80 COSC already as-is. Ok, rant over. You can put any 20mm strap on it if you want.
Let’s look at the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC one more time, shall we? What we have here is a Swiss made, automatic watch with chronometer certification, 80 hours of power reserve, 41mm diameter case and a groundbreaking silicon balance-spring with 3 years of warranty for a retail price of €890 (German retail price). I think it is safe to say that this sounds more than convincing. Should you be on the market for an affordable dress watch that also packs a punch, you seriously need to consider the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC. The watch is also available with a white dial and steel bracelet (€950), in yellow gold plated two-tonee version with bracelet (€1.050) or with rose gold plated on a brown leather strap (€950) so everyone can find a watch that matches his or her personality. As far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy with this on my wrist.
If you want to order this watch on-line or just have a look at what Tissot has to offer, please visit their site.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more