Classic Swiss

Tissot’s PRX Shows That Imitation Can Be Cool

Consider Tissot for a minute; once a prestige watch brand, that commanded a high price, it’s now an entry level name in the Swatch empire, with the great value Powermatic 80 and models like this PRX quartz re-issue. Well, not strictly a replica of the old 1970s PR100 or Seastar quartz models of course, although the bracelet on the modern one has the same graduated links, which smoothly shrink to a narrow point at the clasp.

It’s a very elegant watch and bears a passing resemblance to the AP Royal Oak, although it hasn’t got the angular case design of the Oak. But for £295 this classic everyday gents watch has a perfect balance between case size at 40mm, functional quartz movement (Ronda) and that slimline, 70s style that is arguably one of the best things about the entire decade. While Casio, Seiko and others were making digital watches that looked like baby computers, Tissot made quartz watches that looked exactly like an automatic model, but had the new tech inside.

Original 80s Tissot, with a definite AP vibe.

The original Tissot quartz  watches had a sort of hybrid movement in them, with mechanical gear wheels driven by a quartz engine. Lanco shared the movements, and I seem to recall fitting huge 301 size batteries inside them to get them going again. This modern PRX has a durable ETA 115 series quartz, which features three jewels and takes the 371 battery, very slim and easy to fit yourself. Assuming you have the right case knife and a steady hand of course. One thing worth noting with Tissot watches is that they often have a very slim, red plastic seal ring inside the caseback. This sits in a groove and if damaged, the caseback will not go on properly, no matter how many times you screw down the case press.

There are lots of quartz watches around the 300 quid mark but the Tissot name still has a little bit of kudos compared to some micro brands, or fashionista watches like Armani, Boss or Kors. Also better built than stuff like Boss or Armani which often have mediocre Miyota movements inside. Currently, the Tissot PRX is sold out, which just goes to prove that if you make something that looks like a Royal Oak for under £500 you cannot go wrong in 2021. Just saying.

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