Hands-On Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde Review
Another week, another re-edition. This time it’s coming from Tissot. When we visited the Swiss brand during Baselworld 2018, we already reported on this timepiece. Though the dial design changed a bit, the basics of the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde remained. A sub-second white dial dress watch with Arabic numerals and manual wind movement. My personal opinion on the watch is that it’s a bit of a hit and miss. It is a great looking watch with a beautiful case. The display case back showing the movement is just marvelous. The dial is elegant and clean. It’s just a bit too large, I think. Especially if you consider that I have a 7.5” (19cm) wrist. Still, I was looking forward to the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde and when I got it, I was not disappointed in it at all. On the contrary.
Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde
Let’s get the controversy out of the way right in the beginning. When Tissot initially showed us the watch it still had “Antimagnetique” on the dial. It looked more vintage with “Antimagnetique” on the dial, but that could’ve been the only reason to keep it on there. Inasmuch as the watch didn’t meet the official standards to be called antimagnetic. Tissot told us that the word is only a tribute to the original watch from 1943 that they used as inspiration for this new release. Let’s be honest though, it’s like creating a watch that we name “Water Resistant” and not survive a light summer shower. So, in the final product, Tissot removed the word and renamed the watch. Don’t get it twisted, some other brands alter watches after Baselworld as well. Since many of the timepieces we see, there are still prototypes.
Antimagnetique or non-Antimagnetique the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde is a beautiful watch. The dial is simple, clean and elegant. The numerals look modern especially in light of the fact that they are exact copies of the original watch’s numbers. It just shows how forward-looking this design was back in the early 40’s. Everything is printed on the dial, no applied indexes or logo here. The color is white with a slight silver shine and vertical brushing. Due to its size, the face is rather large though the sub-second dial (where the watch got its name from) fills in the lower area. It has a prominent size with a circular pattern. As the Petite Seconde is a heritage piece you cannot find lume on the dial. It is against modern standards but so is the hand-wound mechanism. To complete the vintage, look the watch has long and thin, black leaf hands.
Case and back
I touched this subject at the beginning of my article; I feel that the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde could’ve been a bit smaller. The case is 42mm wide, however, due to the long lugs, it is 52mm from lug end to lug end. The thickness is 12.1mm even with the relatively high sapphire crystal that is not too bad. I feel that if it was around 39-40mm this would’ve been perfect. Having said that, even at this size I did not have a problem wearing it. The face is easy to read, the case fit under a jacket cuff nicely. The sides are brushed while the top and bottom parts are polished just like the sides of the bevelled lugs. While the tops of them are polished as well. Due to the watch being manual wind, it has a large crown with the Tissot T in the center.
The case back is one huge display window. So much so, that there is almost no metal part. The screw-on steel case back is about 2.4mm thick the rest is just the glass window. Surely, this allows us to have the perfect view of the movement. You don’t see this often at this price point in normal production line watches. Perhaps from Haute-Horlogerie pieces but it’s definitely not a custom from Tissot. Around this thin steel frame you can find the usual information that watches have; water resistance (50m), reference number (T119.405.A) and so on. The huge display back is exceptionally nice as through it you can see how the watch comes to life when you start winding it. Of course, it also means that the water (- or for that matter the antimagnetic) resistance will be less. Nevertheless, as a dress watch that is not Tissot’s greatest concern.
We now arrived at one of the most intriguing features of the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde; the movement. Inside the watch, you can find an ETA 6498-1, a 17-Jewel hand-wound pocket watch movement with 46 hours of power reserve and 18.000 vph. One could refer to this type of movement as a “savonnette” or “hunter” pocket watch movement. Savonnette-style pocket watches can be held in the right hand so the lid that covers the face could be opened by the thumb pushing the crown. Hence these calibers have the crown at 3 o’clock and a sub-second at 6. Due to the positioning of the crown, brands often use it in wrist watches, just like the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde. Here, the whole surface of the ETA 6498-1 has Cotes de Geneve decoration while the screws are all blued.
Black or brown
The watch that I received from Swatch Group Germany has a black leather strap. the size is 20mm on the lug side and 18mm on the buckle end. While I criticized other Swatch Group brands for their usage of a cheap-looking strap in the past, this one is actually very nice. It is somewhat distressed but does not look too vintage. The strap is soft and comfortable, and it has a bit of padding towards the top. A perfect fit to the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde, if you ask me. You can choose between black or brown leather straps, no metal bracelet option for this timepiece. To have more security when on the wrist Tissot added a deployant buckle to the strap. Some call it butterfly clasp, I call it double deployant with push buttons. The buckle is brushed and has Tissot written on it in a vintage font.
All in all, the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde is a nice watch with great wrist presence and vintage aesthetics. If you like heritage watches and can live with its size and that fact that the lume is completely missing from the dial, it is a watch to consider. I already shared my thoughts on the size, and the missing lume is not an issue for me. I also love the full display back and the large Unitas/ETA movement. Tissot did a great job with the Petite Seconde but I sincerely hope they’d consider making them a tad bit smaller next year. The price (in Germany) is €980 including taxes. Yet, all things considered, the amount (under a thousand euros) is very attractive for the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde.
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