Tissot, Started in 1853 and bought by omega in the 30s before finally being bought by swatch group in 80s, has always represented Swatch’s budget option compared to the likes Omega and Blancpain. With this brings it the connotation that they only produce unoriginal 44mm quartz watches aimed at the mass market. However, in my opinion Tissot is a hugely under appreciated brand by both nerds and the watch-curious. This is because time after time they have utilised Swatch’s enormous R&D budget and Tissot’s respectable heritage and design ethos to make killer mechanical watches way below comparable pieces’ price point. Yes a lot of their stuff is low end quartz stuff with pretty uninspiring designs but they do produce some exceptional mechanical pieces very quietly and humbly.
My first example of this is demonstrated by the 1948 Heritage Chronograph that was released last year. At 40mm with a Valjoux7750 and wonderfully vintage inspired aesthetics reminiscent of the revered Omega-Tissot chronographs of the 40 and 50s, Tissot really outdid themselves at a retail price of £1,200. Also at 40mm, Tissot would have done everything in its power to make the watch as small as possible around the Valjoux 7750, which is notoriously one of the larger movements. This tells me that this watch was produced for the real nerds and Tissot enthusiasts with absolutely no interest in appeasing the soulless mass market. This can't be said for Longines who's initially fantastic looking heritage pieces are all 42mm or larger and much more pricey, evidently aimed at maximising the pull of the mass market.
The phenomenal Tissot 1948 Heritage Chronograph oozing with vintage style and class. I mean look at those fucking lugs...….
Secondly, we can talk about the Tissot ballade. Value for money of Seiko proportions. This phenomenal watch has a COSC certified movement with a silicon balance spring and 80 hours power reserve all housed in a 41 mm case. How much is it? The older Tudor black bay with the standard ETA will still cost you around £2,000 second hand. This Tissot costs £700 at retail. The design of the watch doesn’t get me sweaty and nervous but the specs of the movements sure do make it difficult to stand up in public places. The creation of this line again proves that Tissot were striving to obtain horological excellence within Switzerland at a reasonable price. I believe this is something any good brand should do, e.g. Omega producing the co-axial chronometer in the seamaster line, Grand Seiko using their Spring Drive movement in piece sub £3,000 and Rolex producing a remake of their famous GMT pepsi with a fixed Jubilee bracelet for £8,000...…..(That's sarcasm if you didn't notice).
The Tissot Ballade is the ugly girl at school with great banter, 10 for personality 4 for looks. Interestingly these girls always grow up to be the full package. Interesting parallel now that Tissot have produced the Powermatic Gentleman using the same movement...
These two examples are good enough to justify the statement that Tissot offer probably the best value in Switzerland, however I am not writing this article hungover on a Sunday about the brand Tissot itsself. I am writing this article about their newest piece which reinforces and, arguably, amplifies this statement. I am writing this article about the Powermatic 80 Gentleman.
Now, as I said, the Tissot Ballade is like the ugly girl at school: great personality but you don’t want your friends to see you with her (What my dad often refers to as a BOBFOC: Body off Baywatch, face off crimewatch). But the new Powermatic 80 Gentleman is like that girl you take home to meet your parents: 10 for looks and 10 for personality. Inside the 40mm case sits the same COSC certified movement boasting an 80 hour power reserve and magnetic resistance thanks to the silicon balance wheel. However, the exterior design is sharp, understated and classy with a solid Gold bezel, 316L case and multi-textured indices achieved through two different finishes. Furthermore, the sharp swords hands are very Grand Seiko-esque and work perfectly with the Omega Rail Master crosshair on the dial. As the chaps at Worn and Wound pointed out, a 38mm case size would be the icing on the cake but at 40mm and 10mm thick it has the dimensions of the Older Omega Seamasters which are a great size.
The awesome Egg Shell sand effect of this dial option works fantastic with the Gold indicies and bezel
Finally, one of the dial options is this Egg Shell white with this kind of sand effect which works perfectly with the gold bezel and catches the sun like a sun kissed Victoria Secret model. And what's the best part? This costs retail £1,005 pounds. In my humble yet often loud and northern opinion, this is the best value proposition coming out of Switzerland. No other brand in Switzerland, or Europe for that matter, is producing anything of this calibre in this price point. The closest watch is probably a bimetal Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra which will set you back around £6,500-7,000....... If that doesn't put it into perspective I don't know what does. Once again though, I predict this watch will be released quietly with little fuss and on direct order from Tissot collectors and no big article from Hodinkee. But Tissot if you see this, we will review this watch for you and make a big song and dance about it if you send us a watch...….
Another option on a steel bracelet with polished centre links and a grey champagne dial
The dark purple sunburst dial option. I actually have no idea what colour this is but it looks awesome
The icing on the cake is the fact it has an exhibition case back. I greatly appreciate an exhibition caseback because it is more hassle for them to take time to decorate the movement and show off. Theres a reason Rolex don't have any watches with an exhibition case back........
Co-Founder and Editor