We all know that the real watch war is not waged for the throne of high complications, but for the far simpler three-hand and date models. Wristwatches are celebrating their first century of existence (they became popular after the WW1) and the idea that they are mainly a tool to accomplish a basic function (telling the time) has prevailed since then. That is the only information – along with the date – that more than 90% watch buyers are looking for. And they want it in round cases too. Once they have acquired the watch, it is going to be the only one they have and use for many years. That is why this segment of the market wants the watch to be as versatile as possible, so that they can use it on every occasion. And all that must be paired with an affordable price.
This is the stark truth of the watch business, and this is why the Tissot Gentleman has a lot to offer. You can have a wristwatch made of solid gold (not gold plated), with a precise and reliable calibre and looks that will appeal to the conservative buyer who does not like ‘fancy pancy’ stuff on the wrist and also to the watch aficionado who will appreciate the 1950s spirit of the watch.
Although we normally reveal the prices at the end of our articles, I think the Tissot Gentleman merits a spoiler: the leather strap versions cost EUR 1,200 and the bracelet version has a price of EUR 1,300. For that price, you normally get gilded metals but in this case, you get the full bezel in solid gold. Tissot even gives you a certificate with each watch.
versatility is the key
The cases have a diameter of 40mm and a height of 10.64mm, which makes them suitable for almost any wrist. To enhance comfort, the solid lugs are curved and sit flush on the wrist. The watches are water-resistant up to 50 metres, enough for daily use. Tissot has added a sapphire crystal glass to add to the durability and legibility of the piece.
The Tissot Gentleman has four different dials: one in shiny black lacquer, one in sunray silver, one in fine grain eggshell colour (probably the most attractive one) and one sunray brown. The indexes, rose gold-plated, are facetted and then brushed on the upper side to give a higher sensation of quality. There are small rectangles painted with Super-LumiNova crowning each index, the same as in the central part of the gold PVD plated hands. However, to be honest, have your mobile around if you want to know the time in the dark because the amount of fluorescent pigment is barely testimonial, and clearly insufficient.
The dial is marked with a crosshair that enhances its vintage allure. At three o’clock you get the date window which, as I mentioned, is also surrounded by a pink gold-plated frame. In the silver dial option, the logo and the name of the calibre are also gold-plated. I guess it is the huge industrial capacity of Tissot that allows it to offer so much without a price overflow, something other brands can’t even start to think of.
an even better powermatic 80
Tissot launched the Powermatic 80 back in 2012, and since then the automatic movement has colonised all the Swatch Group brands. Just for the record, the ETA C07.811 is based on the 2824-2, but the frequency was reduced from 4 to 3Hz to obtain a longer power reserve. The movement has proved to be as reliable, stable and precise as its predecessor, and there are even COSC-certified versions. In January 2017, Tissot presented a Tissot Ballade with a silicium balance spring for the first time, with COSC chronometry certification for just under EUR 1,000. While that was an important move, it ended up hidden among the multiple Ballade versions. Now with the Tissot Gentleman, the improvement gets the spotlight it deserves.
The only difference with the standard Powermatic 80 is a small circle with an engraved Si symbol. The only decorative elements are the “waves of time” which is a signature of the factory. Not much, but nevertheless, it is good to be able to see it through the mineral glass.
As I mentioned, the Tissot Gentleman comes with a leather strap (brown or black) or a 3-link bracelet, which is simple but well executed. With either option, the watch looks and feels good, and it gives an impression of costing far more than it actually does.
If there is somebody out there who will not be happy with this watch, it has to be a Baume & Mercier’s Sales Manager. This Tissot Gentleman is like a torpedo hitting the Plimsoll line of the Clifton Baumatic collection (which we saw with live pictures here). Offering a similar product to B&M (even if the Baumatic has higher-grade specs), but more than EUR 1,000 cheaper, it will be interesting to see how the Tissot Gentleman fares. In any case, the effort of the company to offer something so good for such a contained price is something to be commended. More information at Tissot.com.