I won’t hide the reality: finding a genuinely elegant watch at a fair price isn’t the easiest of tasks. Dress watches, while often free of any complications, are not the most represented timepieces within the portfolios of accessible brands. Naturally, there are some candidates to consider, but finding an affordable dive watch is far easier. In this field, Tissot enjoys a high ranking with multiple models to choose from, such as the Chemin des Tourelles. However, when it comes to classic elegance and timeless design, the Le Locle, a collection celebrating its 20th anniversary with the present edition, has a lot to offer.
With this watch, Tissot pays tribute to its most classic collection, a watch that was released 20 years ago. It’s also important to note that this lineup was launched as a piece commemorating the brand’s rich past. Founded in the small town of Le Locle in Switzerland back in 1853, Tissot celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2003 by releasing an elegant, refined, yet affordable collection aptly named Le Locle. For two decades now, the Tissot Le Locle has been the brand’s most traditional, conservative offering. Don’t look for fashionable elements here or bright, fancy colours. The Le Locle was and still is a reserved and moderate watch. Is this a bad thing? Certainly not. Some people don’t need a statement watch; some enthusiasts simply want an elegant, classic watch for daily use, something that flies under the radar and yet offers a lot more than what its quiet looks might imply.
This is exactly what the Tissot Le Locle collection is all about. But with this new 20th Anniversary Edition, the brand is spicing things up. As you can imagine, over its 20 years of existence, the collection has been gradually updated – something we explored in late 2022 with the Powermatic 80 Open Heart version. Not only is the movement now the Group’s highly efficient and technically advanced Powermatic, but the design has also been slightly refined.
The Tissot Le Locle 20th Anniversary Edition is, like its “normal” siblings, a watch of moderate dimensions. At around 39mm in diameter, it will fit most masculine wrists (note that Tissot has also released a feminine 29mm model) with enough presence for a modern look, yet without the inconvenience and discomfort of so many 40mm-plus so-called dress watches. The sub-10mm thickness is also welcome, and despite not being able to call this watch ultra-thin, it’s slender enough to fit under a cuff. Almost ideal proportions for business attire.
The conservative look continues with the polished top surfaces and vertically brushed flanks of the case. Not only does this tone down the overall shininess, but it also adds a layer of animation and reveals the attention to detail. The fact that the connection between the lugs and the case is slightly sculpted, with a clear and sharp angle, is a nice touch that adds to the overall elegance. It might be a detail, but we often come across accessible watches with soft cases; this is for the simple reason that sharp angles are more difficult and, thus, more costly to produce than a soft, rounded case. Overall, the Tissot Le Locle is not demonstrative and keeps a low profile, but it’s detailed enough to stand out when worn. The complex caseback is, however, another story… And the 30m water-resistance will, no doubt, disappoint some.
Under the slightly domed sapphire crystal is a highly traditional dial. As you can imagine, over its 20-year lifespan, the Le Locle collection has evolved in many directions with smooth dials with baton markers or dials with a vertical pattern and Arabic numerals. Recent models have moved back to the present style, with a combination of an embossed and reversed clous de Paris pattern – it’s unreasonable to expect a hand-guilloché dial in this price segment – and a sunray-brushed chapter ring. The hobnail is also repeated on the periphery of the dial. The smooth ring is home to applied Roman numerals – again, a conservative choice. The numerals of this 20th Anniversary Edition are blue, matching the central hands. The brand’s logo, as well as the name of the watch and the movement type, are printed in dedicated cartouches, and the date sits in a neatly cut window – blue numerals on the discs could have been a nice touch, though. Overall, the blue and silver colour scheme is slightly more bold and modern than traditional versions and, depending on the choice of bracelet or strap, it brings some animation.
Now, under the odd-looking caseback is a fairly interesting movement. Many of you will already be familiar with the Powermatic 80, but it remains nevertheless a noteworthy calibre. Developed over Swatch Group’s cornerstone ETA 2824 architecture, it’s been revised with a slightly slower frequency and an improved kinetic chain, resulting in more than double the power reserve. In addition to its efficiency, the automatic Tissot Powermatic 80 is also protected against magnetism – the main reason for watches to be sent to after-sale service – thanks to a Nivachron hairspring.
With this 20th Anniversary Edition of the Tissot Le Locle, the brand offers an alligator-like leather strap with its own folding clasp and a 7-link stainless steel bracelet, allowing you to change from a formal to a casual look in a few seconds.
Overall, Tissot presents a compelling package. This Edition, like the rest of the collection, is a moderate, discreet watch that doesn’t draw too much attention – which, in all fairness, is exactly what the brand was looking for. But mostly, at EUR 775 or USD 750, you’ll get a lot of watch for your money. For more details, please visit www.tissotwatches.com.