The popularity of vintage- or retro-inspired watches is evident, as we see new releases based on old designs pop up almost every week. Most of these date back to original creations from the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps the ‘Golden Age’ of watch design. This is the era that brought us watches like the Royal Oak and the Nautilus (and the PRX!), handsome chronographs like the TAG Heuer Carrera and Monaco but also a literal smörgåsbord of cool and capable dive watches. This was also the period Tissot had some fun with incorporating newly conceived materials in watchmaking, such as fibreglass! At the time, this was a groundbreaking and still quite novel material, which found its way into the Tissot Sideral. Now, decades later, the Sideral makes a return not with fibreglass but forged carbon fibre instead!
The Tissot Sideral dates back to the late-1960s, and it is quite a special watch in the brand’s history. Tissot has often played around with innovative and unusual materials, and the Sideral is certainly one of the most outstanding ones. As said, it was the first watch to use a monobloc fibreglass case back in 1969! Two years later, the Sideral S was introduced, a sportier take on the concept with the famous yellow rubber strap and innovative fastening system.
Fast-forward to 2023, and the funky barrel-shaped Sideral makes quite a faithful retro-cool return. Faithful in looks for sure, but a bit less in terms of material because time has not stood still. It is presented in three brightly coloured variations, retaining the signature styling cues of the original watch but with modern materials and mechanics. It’s a cool little mix of groovy 1960s/1970s design with 21st-century watchmaking technology.
As mentioned in the intro, the fibreglass is exchanged for forged carbon fibre instead. It has a barrel-shaped case made of forged carbon fibre and stainless steel that measures 41mm in width and 46.5mm in length. The cases for the black & yellow and black & grey models show the natural colours and pattern of the forged carbon fibre. The black & blue one, however, comes with blue flakes embedded into the material – a very cool touch! The unidirectional rotating bezel on top is fitted with a black insert and a graduated regatta scale in white. The screw-down crown ensures it is water-resistant to 300m. A sapphire crystal covers both the front and back of the watch.
The dial is predominantly black, with either a grey, blue or yellow minute track. This segmented track is accompanied by a green and red regatta countdown section between 12 and 2 o’clock. This is used to countdown the start of a yachting race and matches the one on the rotating bezel. The hour and minute hands are white and matched to a red-lacquered central seconds hand. At 3 o’clock you have a date window. A fun fact about the dial is the multiple colours of Super-LumiNova, upping the funkiness dramatically at night!
The back of the Sideral reveals the Powermatic 80 automatic movement. This is Swatch Group’s go-to automatic for several brands and is essentially a heavily modified ETA 2824. The reduced frequency and strong mainspring ensure a comfortable 80 hours of running time, while the Nivachron hairspring brings anti-magnetic properties to the table. The rotor is decorated with ‘Tissot 1853’, the year the company was founded.
The final talking point of the new Tissot Sideral is obviously the coloured rubber straps. Inspired by the original yellow one, the revamped Sideral also comes with a perforated rubber strap in yellow, red or blue. The perforations aren’t purely decorative, as the Sideral has an innovative fastening system, just as it did back in the 1960s & 1970s. You put one end of the strap through the loop of the other end and align the black pins with the correct hole in the strap. Push down to insert the pin in the hole on both ends, and the strap is secured. Simple, comfortable and in line with the original Sideral! Additional coloured straps are said to be available too.
Tissot’s reputation of producing solid and accessible watches is upheld with the new Sideral, as each variation will retail for EUR 1,075. They should be readily available through retailers now. The style might not be to everyone’s liking, but at least it adds a good dose of funky versatility to the brand’s portfolio! The fit and finish are pretty bang-on, and thanks to the lightweight case, the characteristics of the original have been preserved and even improved on. It’s quite frankly a brilliant and fun summer watch at a relatively affordable price!
For more information, please visit TissotWatches.com.