Over the last few years, watches have become more and more popular. A potent mix of interest from a younger demographic (driven by social media and an appreciation for sustainable purchases over throwaway goods) has seen watches in all categories climb in value. Most manufactures have an awful lot to lean back on in terms of history, both design-wise and technically – and as a result, there is a lotta love right now for vintage and all things vintage-inspired. Few releases have captured this as well as the Tissot PRX Automatic. Before we dive any deeper – let's set the scene for those who aren’t familiar with Tissot.
Tissot launched as a father-and-son operation in 1853. The combined labors of Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile entered the watchmaking scene in Le Locle Switzerland, located in the Jura mountains. Highlights include the launch in 1930 of the world’s first non-magnetic watch. Labeled the “Antimagnetique” - Tissot’s creation addressed the issue of loss-of-time due to electromagnetic field influence. It was in this same year that Tissot merged with Omega. Their combined efforts lead to a long relationship with building stopwatches for sporting events. This included major skiing events in Switzerland, as well as other major international tournaments.
It was back in 1978 the Tissot PRX was born. The golden age of steel sports watch design with the development of the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and Vacheron 222 among others. This is not an imitator – but the real deal! And while there is also a Quartz variation available – as well as an automatic in black and white – this blue auto might just be the purist’s choice.
This is a fine looking, sporty-elegant 40mm steel watch. While you will no doubt have a feel for this look from seeing others wearing reimagined designs from the 70’s – this reference really does have its own DNA from across the room.
It is also versatile, with water-resistant up to 100 m and a super well-built integrated steel bracelet (which is also interchangeable for quick release which makes changing the strap a breeze). Turn the watch over and you have a clear view into the soul of the watch, with a Swiss automatic heart beating. The Powermatic 80 movement boasts 80 hours of power reserve, which is enough to continue telling time accurately even if the watch is not worn for three days. While it may not be the most beautifully decorated – there is no doubt it’s a solid workhorse caliber. While the sizing, bracelet, and movement are great, it is really all about that beautiful blue dial. Now, we see a lot of blue dials (and for good reason, they tend to sell far better) – but this one is a beauty! Adding texture and depth, it really sets the Tissot PRX off against its steel case and bracelet.
While the under $1k segment is competitive, few brands have the historical pedigree of Tissot and offer that build quality we know and love from the SWATCH Group. The Tissot PRX Automatic retails here for $650. For $575 you could also consider the more utilitarian Hamilton Khaki Field Auto or even something a little dressier at $750 in the Bulova Fly Me To The Moon. The reality is, the Tissot PRX covers all bases if there were only one.
If you’re looking for a slim, sporty watch with an authentic ‘70s vibe, look no further than the PRX Powermatic 80. While it has that vintage design identity, it is packed with twenty-first-century features. Not only is it a strong option for the first-time buyer – but it might be considered by many to be an essential if you are a lover of the classic designs over the decades.