The New Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (Live Pics & Price)
The flair of the 1970s, fairly-priced, now automatic and greatly executed.
The trend for 1970s-inspired sports watches with integrated bracelet doesn’t seem to slow down. In fact, multiple brands are entering the race, whether in the entry-level segment or all the way up in haute horlogerie. One of the latest contenders in this very highly prolific segment is coming from Tissot, with the PRX watch. While already presented (but not here… more on that in a few) with a quartz movement, today the Swatch Group-owned brand unveils a more desirable mechanical version. And we have a closer look at this new Tissot PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80 in the metal.
If you’re a web-surfing, social-media-connected watch enthusiast, you’ve probably already seen the quartz edition of the Tissot PRX. While some fellow watch blogs/magazines jumped on the occasion, we at MONOCHROME decided to wait before having a look at the PRX. Call us posh if you want, I’d call us true to ourselves and to our love for watchmaking… Mechanical is our passion, battery-powered watches are not. But as the automatic model is presented today, we see no reasons anymore not to talk about the PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80 (let’s call it PRX Powermatic for simplicity reasons), as it does have a lot to offer, and at a very fair price.
A reissue of a vintage design
Tissot has a long tradition of designed watches, including 1960s watches with bold shapes, oversized cases, colourful and psychedelic dials or even pop-art watches that stood out from the norm. The 1970s saw the arrival of a new trend, that of the luxury sports watch, initiated in 1972 by the AP Royal Oak, which will be followed by a multitude of other brands, already back then in all price segments, from accessible Seikos to high-end Patek Philippes. The trend for the slender and shaped steel watch with integrated bracelet spread all over the industry and, while only a few will remain today known as true icons, there are some watches that deserve to be reminded.
So is the story of this Tissot. In 1978, the brand launched a quartz watch – batteries were popular back then – characterised by a slender barrel-shaped case, a prominent bezel, multiple sharp facets, a simple time-and-date display over a classic brushed blue dial and, most importantly, an integrated bracelet with large flat links that blended with the thin case. First unveiled under the name “Seastar,” Tissot later registered the name PRX, where P stands for Precise, R for Robust and the X, here a Roman numeral, refers to the 10 bars water-resistance.
In 2021, Tissot is bringing back this cool design in a new collection of accessible steel watches with integrated bracelets, first with quartz movements, and today with a more desirable automatic movement – as well as a few updates on the habillage to differentiate it from the battery-powered model.
The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Now that you’ve seen the past edition, which served as an inspiration, the design of the new Tissot PRX makes a lot of sense. Not only the watch strongly plays on the 1970s trend but it also is directly modelled after an existing vintage watch. Good point, as this adds some legitimacy to the new PRX, plus the original watch was actually pleasantly designed.
A first look at this new Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (or any model in this collection) leaves no doubt on the brand’s strategy; this is clearly a watch to catch the attention, and a model that is surfing on the current trend for luxury sports watches. We can’t blame Tissot for that, the PRX is simply answering the demand for such watches, in a price segment that isn’t yet too crowded. As such, the PRX features all the required elements: shaped case, brushed surfaces with polished facets, raised bezel, textured dial, (relatively) thin case, bracelet that is integrated into the overall design… And to be fair, the result is pretty satisfying.
The Tissot PRX mechanical comes with a barrel-shaped case, at 40mm in diameter. Nice point, the proportions are pleasant, with a 10.8mm thickness and a lug-to-lug measurement of 44mm. As such, the PRX is a compact watch on the wrist. As you can see on my rather skinny 16.5cm wrist, the watch doesn’t sit on top but wraps around nicely with a bracelet that is angled and not just falling down straight. This does not mean that the PRX is a small watch, it does have the required presence, but it is simply well proportioned.
Classic elements of a 1970s steel sports watch are there. The central case has a flat top surface, finished with brushed decoration. On top sits a raised bezel, with a discreet round shape. While the sides of the case are also brushed, multiple polished facets are applied on the casebands and the edges of the bezel, bringing a more dynamic style to this watch, as well as a feeling of luxury. Tissot has designed the case in such a way that the thickness is virtually reduced (it is partially absorbed by the caseback), a nice trick that makes it visually thinner than expected.
What comes as a surprise from a watch in this price range is the overall execution… Being used to see watches from far more luxurious segments of the industry, I sometimes tend to be slightly disappointed by entry-level watches, just to remind me afterwards to take the price into consideration. With the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, I must admit having been impressed by the precision and attention to detail – and that would have been true, even without considering the price. The case is precisely assembled, it feels solid and the execution of the brushed and polished surfaces are certainly neat. In addition, the edges of the case aren’t too sharp. A nice work that is in line with more expensive watches from the Swatch Group. For the rest, specifications are classic, with a comfortable 100m water-resistance and sapphire crystals front and caseback.
We can’t talk about such watches without paying attention to the bracelet. Of course, Tissot for its PRX has opted for a classic “integrated” style where the lines of the case extend directly into the bracelet without recourse to the traditional lugs. Finished in the same way as the case, with brushed surfaces and polished accents, it relies on large links. Again, comfort is great with a thin profile and good flexibility. The bracelet makes for an ergonomic feel on the wrist and a soft contact with the skin. The bracelet is closed by a concealed triple folding clasp. The two elements that remind of the entry-level positioning are the absence of fine adjustment and pins to size the bracelet – but this is forgiven knowing the price…
Let’s now talk a bit about the dial, which is the main difference between this mechanical version and its battery-powered sister. Well, yes, it certainly feels familiar. While the quartz models are equipped with a vertically brushed dial, this Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 features a waffle-like textured dial, named “raised honeycomb” motif by the brand. This pattern, obtained by a stamping process, is certainly recalling the “tapisserie” motif found on a certain 1972-launched watch, even though Tissot mentions that such dials were used in the past… Surely, it looks good and participates in the appeal of the watch. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if Tissot should have gone for something different…
The rest of the dial is classic and nicely executed, with thin faceted applied markers and hands with polished and brushed surfaces. The date, classically positioned at 3 o’clock, is also framed by a metallic element. Luminous paint has been applied on markers and hands and legibility is very decent, day or night. For this hands-on session, we had the black dial model, however, the steel Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 will also be available with a blue dial. Finally, a third model with a silver dial is available, yet with a gold PVD bezel and gold-coloured indexes and hands.
Inside the case is Swatch Group’s calibre Powermatic 80, a movement that we’ve explored in details here. The idea was to start from the Swiss industry’s best-known movement, the ETA 2824-2, and to improve its chronometry, its reliability, its efficiency and its comfort. Most of the critical parts (kinetic chain and regulating organ) have been improved, resulting in this Powermatic 80 movement. This means an 80-hour power reserve (more than doubled compared to an ETA 2824), obtained thanks to a revised frequency of 3Hz and a stronger mainspring. A difference with the Tissot Gentleman we reviewed here, the present movement isn’t equipped with Silicium parts, but instead relies on a Nivachron hairspring, which also provides anti-magnetic properties.
No debate, the Tissot PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80 offers a lot for the money. The overall quality is above suspicion and almost unusual in this price range. The attention to details for the case and bracelet is impressive and, to make it even better, the design is pleasant and the proportions are just right. In the same vein, the Powermatic 80 is a great entry-level movement that gives the Swatch Group brands a clear competitive advantage. The only question that I have is about this dial. Sure, it does look good, but there’s a reason why it is appealing, being associated with another (far more iconic) sports watch with integrated bracelet. Personally, I don’t mind but I’m sure some on social media will have a word to say about that…
Availability & Price
The Tissot PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80 will be available from retailers as of June 2021. The retail price will be EUR 650 for the black and blue models and EUR 690 for the silver version with gold PVD accents.
For more details, please visit www.tissotwatches.com.
WOW. Pricing is interesting… and I one can try it on at a store. Way to take it up to micro brands.
If only the movement were a little larger, it would be very tempting. As it is, the date window is a tad too far towards the center, IMO.
That’s a great overall package for the price! How does the finishing compare to what I would previously have considered as a good entry point integrated bracelet sports watch? https://monochrome-watches.com/frederique-constant-highlife-collection-integrated-bracelet-sports-watch-review-price/
Ok, the FC is COSC certified, but it’s 2.5x the price of the Tissot – and I actually prefer the detailing on the movement of the Tissot. The dial on the FC is much more unique though.
It would appear it’s not for sale yet on their site. Quartz only.
Were it not for the dodgy dial and lack of the day complication, it looks very like a Seiko that I have had for the last 30 odd years. I often wonder what sports these “sports watches” are for. Conjures up crown green bowls rather than rally cross.
Hi Sandy, Xavier had the FC in his hands and is on vacation this week. Brice had the Tissot in his hands. So difficult to give an opinion from one person but next week we’ll come back on this!
Guys this has the 23 jewel movement with the plastic escape… can’t believe they did this…. so disappointing
I see quick release tabs on the bracelet. Swap a rubber strap like a VC Overseas? Interesting..
what do you think about the Lacroix Aikon at twice the price ?
This is the 23 jewel powermatic movement with the plastic parts inside (you want the 25 jewel one). 100% disposable, poor purchase
Really no creativity here, a badly executed copy of a jumbo AP
Pretty well executed as far as I can see without paying for an expensive elephant.
I like the watch so much but it seems powered by the Powermatic 80 with only 23 jewels while the Tissot Gentleman uses the 25 jewels version. I’m afraid the 23 jewels model could be the one with the plastic escapement. To me this is definitely a dealbreaker. Any info about the movement?
@Mario – this one has a Nivachron escapement, so metal alloy, which is anti-magnetic. All good on this side!
How reliable is the movement ? And is it true it’ll be having those plastic parts ? Or is it nivachron ?
The automatic in blue looks too good to resist.
And at this price point – is it truly all Swiss made ? Or 70 to 80 percent Swiss made and rest made in parts of Asia ?
Compared to a longines conquest heritage automatic ? ( I know the comparison is unfair)
What do you suggest ?
Planning my first tissot.
Have a victorinox airboss mechanical
And a victorinox alliance mechanical
And a few citizen and seiko usual mechanicals in the budget section.
According to several reputable sources, this version of the movement (C07.111) with 23 jewels has a High-Tech synthetic escapement. In other words, plastic components are indeed used in the escapement assembly. It has a Nivachron hairspring, but both the pallet fork and escape wheel are made of a polymer (instead of metal or silicon).