Swiss Emporium

Tissot Watch History

Bringing affordability to the Swiss watch industry

Tissot as watch brand, is hard to miss on the dials of many watches in the market today. Not only it’s incredible more than one and a half centuries of history, but it’s frequent appearances on the wrists on many icons of the past and present have made it a relevant watch brand in the world of horology. These including Basketball player Tony Parker of Charlotte Hornets, Nascar's most famous female racer Danica Patrick ,even the Russian Czar Nicholas II and his royal court.

In this article, Swiss Emporium's Anthony Lieu dissects the brand's history and relevance today,


How did Tissot come to be the brand it is today ?

Well ironically one of the most budget friendly Swiss watch brands began its journey making fine crafted pocket watches. Usually in all gold, Tissot would see its watches during the mid 18th century and early 19th century sold initially in the Swiss market , but eventually expanding internationally. One its biggest market of the time; post revolutionary Russia where its Savonnette-style pocket were extremely popular and made its way to be worn by even members the royal court of the time.

It was only till 1919 where the brand after more than 50 years would begin to make watches. It’s first watch being the Tissot Porto. The watch was entirely in house made and designed in the Chemin de Tourelles factory; taking many inspirations from the Art-Deco style of the time. Although beginning with women’s watches, Tissot began producing male watches not long after and becoming a popular brand amongst men during the the 1920s to 1930s. In addition to being very popular, Tissot produced the Antimagnétic in 1930 which was ground breaking achievement in horology and for the company. This being that the Antimagnétic was the first ever antimagnetic watch to be produced for mass market consumption. Previously antimagnetic watches were produced explicitly for scientists and pilots mostly. It is to consider that Tissot during this period was more focussed on making luxury pieces rather than involve themselves with the utility aspect of design.

From there on, Tissot expanded as a company; amassing more popularity in the culture as time went on. It would eventually combine with Omega in the 1930's and later becoming a company under Swatch in 1983.


Modern Tissot... is it any good ?

Nowadays modern Tissot has expanded its range in regards to the style of its watches. Although they still release their well renowned 19th century Art Deco style watches time to time; Tissot produces modern diving watches such as the sea star and even ani-digital watches in its T touch range. Since its merge with Swatch group, due to the sale of Omega; the brand has moved from its previous precious metal builds to more accessible pieces . This becoming one of company's fundamentals ;continuously offering affordable watches, however with still exceptional quality. It is truly hard to find any watch they have produced over the 3 thousand dollar mark and without a high degree of quality the past decades.


My favourites and opinion

Well its easy to see I have a fondness for Tissot. It’s a combination of its affordability and reliability that I have an attachment for. Most of their watches aren’t exclusive, rather highly accessible which is nice considering how the watch market today is continuously restricting and cutting down supply; making it hard for enthusiasts or just normal consumers to purchase the watches they want. In addition, the company has an undeniably rich history which alone can be romanticised by horology lovers across the board.

My all time favourite has to be the Visodate on a mesh bracelet. Before I even got into watches I’ve always loved witnessing the stylisation of this watch as I use to walk past jewellery shops at a young age. There was something so elegant about it , but at the same time extremely suave. The font of the text, the simple design of the dial and the slightly domed crystal seems like the watch was ripped straight from the 1950s with all authenticity included. This is the watch that makes you want to wear with a pin striped double breasted suit or a soft floral rayon shirt in the summer, sitting on the beach. Stylisation aside the price for this watch ranges from 825 to 900 Australian dollars depending on features making it in my opinion one of the best value dress watches on the market.


What I’m looking forward to

I really hope Tissot continues to release new innovative watches for the market at an affordable price. In addition I hope the brand goes back into its archives, re release updated models from its early years. Reason being it’ll open up the ability for everyone to be able to experience and see what made this company soo great and desired in one of the arguably richest periods of Swiss watch making.