Founded in 1853 by the father-son team of Charles-Félicien and Charles-Émile Tissot in the Swiss Jura town of Le Locle, Tissot is today one of the largest Swiss watchmakers in the world, with a versatile and varied collection of timepieces for men and women, from dressy to sporty to high-tech, all offering one of the industry’s best value propositions across the board (every watch we showcase here comes in under $2,000). With such a breadth of options, it's difficult to compile a list of the standouts, but for this (admittedly very subjective) compilation of the 21 best Tissot watches we strove to include just about all of Tissot's major collections, with an emphasis on men's watches with mechanical movements, particularly spotlighting the variations on the proprietary Powermatic Caliber 80. (For those who find themselves enthralled by one or more particular models on this list, most are available right here at TeddyBaldassarre.com; just follow the shopping links.)
Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80
Price: $1,075, Case size: 46mm, Thickness: 16.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 600 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111
Tissot's ruggedly attractive Seastar family of dive watches, which debuted in the 1960s, welcomed its most robustly engineered member in 2021. The ISO-certified Seastar 2000 entices deep-sea enthusiasts with its integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, unidirectional dive-scale bezel with engraved ceramic insert, and its most eye-catching element, a turquoise-blue gradient dial with a maritime-inspired, engraved wave motif. The 46-mm steel case is water-resistant to a very "professional" 600 meters. As we’ll find with many of the watches that made this list, Tissot has installed one of its most high-end movements inside the Seastar Professional 2000 — the Swatch Group-exclusive Powermatic 80, which is based on the standard ETA 2824 but as per its name boasts an increased power reserve of 80 hours.
Seastar 1000 Chronograph
Price: $525, Case size: 45.5mm, Thickness: 12.8mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Quartz ETA G10.212
The Chronograph version of the core Seastar 1000 model (which as its numerical name implies is half as water-resistant as the Seastar 2000, 300 meters rather than 600) carries an ETA-built quartz caliber inside its substantial 45.5mm stainless steel case. The movement, behind a solid screw-down caseback, allows for 1/10-second chronograph measurements and “ADD/SPLIT” functionality. The unidirectional rotating dive-scale bezel, with an aluminum ring, surrounds a three-register dial that is offered in an array of brightly colored gradient iterations and hosts a set of highly luminous hands and indexes.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Price: $650, Case size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug to Lug: 44.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111
Tissot added to the growing roster of sport-luxury watches on integrated steel bracelets in 2021 with the re-release of the PRX, a watch that first hit the market in 1978. The “P” and “R” in the name stand for “precise” and “robust,” and the “X” is actually a Roman numeral “10” depicting the model’s 10 atmospheres (aka 100 meters) of water resistance. Like its predecessor from the disco era, the first modern PRX model had a quartz movement, but that one was swiftly followed by an automatic version containing the brand’s Powermatic 80 caliber. The stainless steel, barrel-shaped case of this green-dialed newbie from 2022 measures 40 mm in diameter, a relatively svelte 11 mm in thickness, and integrates smoothly into a supple steel bracelet. The dial features a distinctive waffle-pattern motif and a sunray finish. The Powermatic caliber is showcased by a sapphire caseback.
Tissot PRX Chronograph
Price: $1,950, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug to Lug: 46.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 7753
The Chronograph version of the Tissot PRX followed up the very successful three-hand models in 2022. The satin-finished steel case has been slightly upsized in diameter, from 40mm to 42mm, but still settles well on most wrists with its relatively modest 14.5mm thickness. In addition to the popular integrated-bracelet design, the PRX Chronograph offers another retro-yet-trendy visual element with its bicolor “panda” or “reverse panda” dial layout, with subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and a date window at 4:30. The Baton hands and indexes are luminous-coated, and the sturdy, self-winding Valjoux movement inside boasts an impressive level of high-horology finishing for a timepiece in this price range as well as an extended, above-average power reserve of 60 hours.
TISSOT CHEMIN DES TOURELLES
Chemin des Tourelles Powermatic 80 GMT
Price: $875, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.661
True to its form, the Tissot brand offers one of the watch world’s most value-oriented mechanical GMTs on the market in its elegantly detailed Chemin des Tourelles family. The Powermatic 80 GMT comes in a 42mm steel case (including a gold-plated version) with a thin, polished bezel framing a wide dial bordered on its outer edge by a 24-hour numbered scale. The dial’s ring of applied hour indexes and Roman hour numerals is accented by a hobnail pattern, and the thin sword hands for the hour and minute are joined by both a sweep seconds hand and an arrow-pointed GMT hand that reveals a second time zone on the outermost 24-hour ring. This watch’s version of the Powermatic 80 caliber is derived from the ETA C07.111, enhanced with the extended power reserve and antimagnetic escapement.
Chemin des Tourelles Automatic Chronograph
Price: $1,175, Case size: 44mm, Thickness: 15.8mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA C01.211
Tissot’s Chemin des Tourelles series of dress watches takes its name from the street in the Swiss village of Le Locle where the company established its factory in 1907 (and where it still maintains its corporate HQ). The Automatic Chronograph merges sporty utility with classical elegance: a clous de Paris textured pattern decorates the periphery of the dial, punctuated by gilded Roman numeral hour markers; residing within this outer ring are three stacked subdials at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock and a date display at 3 o’clock. A transparent caseback shows off the movement, with its blackened, decorated rotor, which supplies the watch with a 45-hour power reserve.
Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium Blue Dial
Price: $775, Case size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Lug to Lug: 48mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.111 (Powermatic 80.811)
Tissot launched its Gentleman collection in the service of stylish versatility and quiet elegance, all at a price accessible to just about every watch enthusiast’s budget. The earliest models were outfitted with Swiss quartz movements, but recent releases have been upgraded to automatics for a truly enticing value proposition. This blue-dialed Powermatic 80 Silicium model is sized at 40mm and fits easily underneath a shirt cuff thanks in part to its downward-curved, wrist-hugging lugs. The dial stands out with its Dauphine hands and crosshairs pattern at the center. The Powermatic 80.811 caliber inside has had its lower balance frequency lowered to 21,600 vph (from the standard 28,800 vph) to ensure an extended 80-hour reserve. Additionally, the movement’s silicon balance spring allows for increased resistance to magnetic fields as well as longer servicing intervals.
Gentleman Powermatic Open Heart
Price: $850, Case size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA 2824 (Powermatic 80.601)
Adding an element of high-tech interest to the standard Tissot Gentleman is the Open Heart model, with a jaunty figure-eight-shaped cutout in the upper left of the brushed dial exposing the innards of the Powermatic 80.601 caliber. Sweeping over this aperture, under a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, are the sword-shaped, luminous-coated hands characteristic of the collection, which indicate the time on applied rectangular indexes. The steel case is slightly larger than those of the non-openworked Gentleman versions, at 42 mm, while still offering a substantial 100-meter water resistance.
TISSOT LE LOCLE
Le Locle Powermatic 80
Price: $775, Case: 39.3mm, Thickness 9.8mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.25mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111
Named for the Swiss watchmaking town in which Tissot was founded (and where many other watchmakers still reside), the Tissot Le Locle is a classically elegant gentleman’s dress watch that comes in just under the 40mm threshold. Its round case has a polished finish and its dial hosts applied Roman hour numerals, swept over by leaf-shaped hands, along with a practical and unobtrusive date window at 3 o’clock. The “pyramid”-style textured finish in the center lends the watch an added layer of refinement, and the self-winding Powermatic 80 movement inside ensures that it runs reliably for 80 hours.
Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC
Price: $975, Case size: 41mm, Thickness: 9.84mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.811
A handsome and elegantly understated dress watch, the Ballade is recognizable by the engine-turned patterns on its sloping bezel and by the long, faceted diamond-shaped hands on the dial. The bezel of the Powermatic 80 Silicium version features a fluted motif that calls to mind that of the more famous (and far more expensive) Rolex Datejust, and its automatic ETA-based movement boasts not only the 80-hour power reserve of others in the expanding Powermatic family of calibers but also a silicon (aka “Silicium”) balance spring for increased magnetic resistance and hence, increased timekeeping precision.
T-Race Swissmatic Blue Dial
Price: $625, Case size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.04mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug to Lug: 50mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA C15.111
Tissot's T-Race collection, whose design language is derived largely from motorcycle racing, consisted mostly of quartz-powered chronograph watches until 2021, when this non-chrono version with a self-winding mechanical movement made its debut. With a 45mm case in steel or rose-gold PVD, and a straightforward three-hand-and-date combo, the watch can be dressed up or down, and the magnifying lens over the 3 o’clock date window adds another layer of legibility to the dial, which also boasts large, luminous-coated hands and applied indexes. Typical of the T-Race series, the case and lugs are designed to evoke the frames of motorcycles; inside the case is the ETA-based “Swissmatic” movement that gathers a 72-hour power reserve.
T-Race Automatic Chronograph Khaki Dial
Price: $775, Case size: 45mm, Thickness: 16.58mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug to Lug: 50mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA C01.211
An even more rugged and sporty alternative to the three-hand T-Race model is the T-Race Automatic Chronograph, available in a number of materials and colorways but which finds its most outdoorsy expression in this khaki-dialed model on a tough rubber strap with khaki nylon inlay. With a steel case treated in khaki-colored PVD, it’s one of the biggest watches in the Tissot portfolio, with a lug-to-lug measurement of nearly 50mm and a thickness of more than 16mm. The dial sports a tricompax arrangement of subdials (at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock), a date at 3 o’clock, a tachymeter scale along the flange, and gray hands with luminous coating. The 100-meter water-resistant case contains the automatic ETA C011.211, beating at 28,800 vph behind a clear caseback.
Tradition Powermatic 80 Open Heart Black Dial
Price: $750, Case size: 40mm, Thickness: 9.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.111
Like the Gentleman model spotlighted previously, the Tradition Powermatic 80 Open Heart rivets the eye with the strategically placed dial cutout that allows the wearer to peer into the workings of the movement and glimpse the oscillations of its balance wheel. The cutout is smaller in this model, a simple circle at 12 o’clock rather than a figure-eight shape that dominates an entire quadrant. A single Roman numeral “12” joins this aperture at the top of the dial, with the rest of the hour positions marked by bar indexes, and a subtle guilloché pattern adorns the center. A transparent sapphire caseback exposes the rear side of the self-winding movement, with its decorated rotor.
Carson Premium Powermatic 80 Blue Dial
Case size: 40mm, Thickness: 10.25mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111
The Carson series takes its place alongside the Le Locle and Tradition within the overall "Classic” branch of the Tissot portfolio, offering entry-level prices and dressy simplicity. The Carson dials are subtly recessed in their center and feature leaf-shaped hands, a date window at 6 o’clock, and hours designated by either simple indexes or, as on the snazzy, brushed-blue-dial model shown here, stylized Roman numeral appliqués. The quartz-powered versions of the Carson were joined by the Premium Powermatic versions in recent years, which display their self-winding movements behind clear sapphire exhibition casebacks. The Carson’s 40mm steel cases are mounted on either color-coordinated leather straps or five-link metal bracelets.
Price: $1,400, Case size: 39.5mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug to Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 2894-2
As one might glean from its name, the Heritage 1948 takes its cues from a watch produced by Tissot in 1948, now residing in the brand’s museum, which targeted “engineers, technicians, doctors and sports men.” The modern version debuted in 2014, sporting a 39.5mm stainless steel case with alternating satin and polished finishes and melding retro elements with contemporary ones. Retained from the historical piece are the chronograph pushers, vintage minute track, leaf-shaped hands and stud hour markers, and distinctively shaped lugs. Modern touches include the three-register dial with an applied Roman numeral XII at 12 o’clock, and the date display at 4:30. The partially see-through caseback, with elegantly engraved details, displays the watch’s self-winding movement, the ETA 2894-2.
Heritage 1973 Chronograph
Price: $2,100, Case size: 43mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 7753
Released in 2019, the Heritage 1973 is a motorsport-inspired chronograph whose retro design hearkens back to the Tissot Navigator, a watch worn in the 1970s by Swiss Formula One driver Loris Kessel. Tissot worked with Kessel’s son and his racing team to produce this modern homage, with an expanded, cushion-shaped 43mm steel case with an array of high-end finishes and a sharp, black-and-white “panda”-style dial bordered by a black tachymeter scale on its periphery. The front crystal is scratch-resistant sapphire, while the back exhibition window uses a more period-appropriate mineral glass to showcase the automatic integrated chronograph caliber inside, with its golden rotor engraved with a Tissot logo. The black calfskin strap with racing-style perforations is a reproduction of the original.
Heritage Porto Mechanical
Price: $2,100, Case size: 43mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manually Wound ETA Valjoux 7001
The slim, tonneau-shaped case of the Heritage Porto Mechanical reaches back to the Art Nouveau era of the very early 20th century to re-create a classic from 1910 for a modern audience. The watch takes its name from the Portuguese city whose arching Dom Louis bridge inspired the curvilinear case shape. The Arabic hour numerals are executed in a historical Art Nouveau font on the opaline dial, joining a set of blackened poire hands, a railroad minute track that follows the case contours, and a uniquely stylized small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The movement inside is the ETA Valjoux 7753, a rare example of a hand-wound mechanical caliber in Tissot’s portfolio, which stores a 42-hour power reserve when fully wound.
Heritage Visodate Powermatic 80 Champagne Dial
Price: $650, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.1mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.121
Evoking the styles of the 1950s — and specifically reimagining a model from 1957 — the Heritage Visodate is among the most value-conscious Swiss-made automatics on the market. Its vintage Tissot logo at 12 o’clock immediately calls attention to its historical roots, along with the sharply angled Dauphine hands and thin, trapezoidal hour indexes. The prominent, dual day-date window is a nod to modernity, replacing the simple date display of the original watch. The shiny Champagne dial of this model is gently curved to echo the contours of the domed sapphire crystal. The ETA-based Powermatic 80 movement, its rotor etched with the same retro Tissot logo as the dial, is on display through a transparent caseback.
Heritage Navigator Automatic 160th Anniversary
Price: $1,650, Case size: 43mm, Thickness: 9.62mm, Lug to Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA 2893-3
For its 160th anniversary in 2013, Tissot issued a modernized version of a world-time watch that it debuted in 1953, its centennial year. Its distinctive design uses a stationary bezel with alternating, engraved hour numerals and markers for the local time on a 1-12 scale, and a 24-hour dial, with each of the 24 numerals corresponding to a city name, to indicate the time in every other time zone around the world once the local time has been set. The 43mm case is constructed from stainless steel, with a water resistance of 30 meters, and contains an ETA-based automatic caliber whose golden rotor can be glimpsed behind an exhibition caseback.
Price: $1,950, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.9mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux A05.231
Hitting the market in Fall 2022, the Telemeter 1938 channels the retro charm of its namesake year with its two-register chronograph dial with subdials framed by railroad track scales and a concentrically oriented, spiraling scales: a telemeter scale that can be used in conjunction with the built-in stopwatch to measure the wearer’s distance from a visible, audible event like a lightning strike, and a tachymeter scale to measure speeds over a set distance. Also evoking the 1938 original, which Tissot built to time ski races, are the sword-shaped hands and period-appropriate Arabic numerals. The new automatic movement inside, the ETA Valjoux A05.231, stores 68 hours of power and includes an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring to increase precision.
TISSOT PRS 516
PRS 516 Automatic Chronograph
Price: $1,895, Case size: 45mm, Thickness: 16.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux A05.H31
Among the handsomest of Tissot’s watches inspired by automobile and motorcycle racing (the company is heavily involved in sponsorships of both), the PRS 516 Automatic Chronograph contains a proprietary ETA movement that holds a 60-hour power reserve. Motorsport-influenced details abound in its design, such as an engraved, black ceramic tachymeter scale around the dynamically designed bicompax dial; chronograph pushers shaped like pistons; and a perforated leather strap that evokes the look and feel of old-school driving gloves. The red contrast stitching on the strap matches the details on the predominantly black and white dial, and the screw-down crown keeps the watch water-resistant to 100 meters.