If the highly successful PRX collection is in everybody’s minds these days, Tissot has much more to offer than these (objectively cool) 1970s-inspired watches with integrated design. Looking back at the 2022 collection, the Le Locle-based brand surprised us with a highly attractive chronograph inspired by the past, the Tissot Telemeter 1938. With its vintage design, cool dial with multiple scales, and handsome combinations of colours (the black-gilt edition is truly special), it made quite a sensation. Now, the brand adds 3 new models in what now becomes a collection, with the Tissot Heritage 1938 Chronometer watches, and the Tissot Heritage Small Seconds 1938. And yes, they are lovely little watches too!
The Tissot Heritage 1938 was originally designed as a multi-scale chronograph watch paying tribute to 1930s sports watches made by the Le Locle-based brand. In fact, it was modelled after a watch designed for its first engagement as an official timekeeper in 1938 where they timed a series of Ski races in Villar, near the company’s home town in the Jura mountains. A handsome watch with 2 dial options (silver or black), it was meant to be a modern watch with retro design, not a pure re-edition of the past. As such, it is a rather large timepiece (42mm), with an upgraded automatic 7750 inside. This year, there are 3 new models to discover. Simpler, more accessible, more compact too… and very attractive indeed.
The Tissot Heritage 1938 Chronometer
First is a couple of time-only watches that are powered by automatic movements… But not only we’re, for once, not talking about a Powermatic engine, but they are also focussed on precision. These two models come in a fairly compact case made of brushed and polished stainless steel, with a versatile 39mm diameter and a reasonable height of 11mm. The overall shape is typical of classic watches of the pre-WWII era, with a slight Calatrava inspiration. The slim polished bezel frames a modern domed sapphire crystal and the back also comes with a see-through crystal. Water-resistance is decent, rated at 50m. A small but nice onion crown sits at 3 o’clock. Simple, elegant-ish and just about right.
The dial is what matters. Following the Telemeter 1938, these two Tissot Heritage 1938 Chronometer sticks the same codes with Arabic numerals and thin glaive hands. Nice elements of design are to be seen all around, such as the historic Tissot logo and the railroad minute track on the periphery. I’m not so sure about the “chronometre” mention but it somehow had to be there. It could maybe have been smaller… Two versions of the Heritage 1938 Chronometer are released, one with a cool matte salmon dial with black numerals and hands, the other with a patina-like black dial with faux-aged lume and gold-coloured hands and logos.
Inside the case is one of the most classic movements ever created, an automatic ETA 2824. This 4hz calibre stores 38 hours of power reserve but, despite storing less energy than the Powermatic, it features a more traditional construction and is here presented in a precise chronometer-rated version. The view through the back is that of a standard finished engine.
Worn on a grey (salmon dial, reference T142.464.16.332.00) or brown (black dial, reference T142.464.16.062.00) leather strap with a steel pin buckle, these two new Tissot Heritage 1938 Chronometer are now available and priced at EUR 875… Not bad for a chronometer automatic watch.
Quick facts: 39mm x 11.1mm – steel case, sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, 50m water-resistant – matte salmon or black-gilt dial, time-only display – ETA 2824-2, Chronometer certified, automatic, 4Hz frequency, 38h power reserve – leather strap on pin buckle – EUR 875
The Tissot Heritage Small Second 1938
While sharing most of the design elements of the two aforementioned models, the Heritage Small Second 1938 offers a slightly more modern take on the concept, as well as a more striking, more contrasted design. The case is also measuring 39mm in diameter, with the same slim polished bezel and brushed lugs, but comes thinner at 9.8mm. It also retains a domed sapphire crystal, a see-through back, a rounded crown and a decent 50m water-resistance.
What changes is the display, which here integrates two additional functions; a small seconds at 6 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. In order to differentiate it from the two classic models above, this small second version comes with a grained dark grey dial full of contrasting elements; the sub-counter, the date disc and the railroad minute track are silver-coloured while the hands and the numerals are gold-toned (the latter being embossed in positive relief, just like the logo). Adding to the more striking look is a steel Milanese mesh bracelet, with an additional grey leather strap also included in the box, and both feature quick-release spring bars.
Inside the case is a well-known movement, the calibre ETA 2895-2, a small-second version of the 2892. With 27 jewels, a 4Hz frequency and a 42h power reserve, it is a reliable, thin and precise movement, also presented in this model in a chronometer-rated version. The Tissot Heritage Small Second 1938 (reference T142.428.11.082.00) is now available at EUR 1,045.
Quick facts: 39mm x 9.8mm – steel case, sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, 50m water-resistant – grained dark grey dial with silver and gold-toned accents, central HM, small seconds, date display – ETA 2895-2, Chronometer certified, automatic, 4Hz frequency, 42h power reserve – steel mesh bracelet and grey leather strap included – EUR 1,045
For more details and online orders, please visit www.tissotwatches.com.
09/11/2023 - update regarding the chronometer certification of the small seconds model - update regarding the price