Tissot offers up a new T-Navigator watch for 2011 and it is a very desirable collection of timepieces. Relatively affordable and good looking, this range is going to find itself on a lot of wrists. The first thing that I noticed, aside from the aviator style dial, is the amount of detail that went into the case. Most aviator watches have rather blase, ho-hum cases that aren't very exciting. Offering a more technical and modern interpretation of the classic aviator, Tissot ensures that the cases themselves are as interesting as the dials.
Whether or not you like the cases is a matter of taste, but the crisp cut lines and alternating finishes is interesting. The crown and chronograph pusher designs aren't bad either. Coming in two versions, the cases are 43mm wide in steel. Tissot gives these T-Navigators rotating navigational bezels - the style of which is good, but I would have preferred 60 minute dive-style counters as I find those to be more useful. The bezels are well-designed and in black PVD coated steel.
Each of the models will be available with black and white or black and orange dials. Choosing one is going to be a hard choice. The orange is more bold and fun while the white is better as a daily wear. An interesting design feature on the back of the watch showcases a turbine style exhibition caseback allowing you to see the automatic rotor between the blades. The effect is cool and it is impossible to not compare it with Perrelet's Turbine collection of watches.
The Swatch Group is all hot and bothered for their still new ETA caliber C01.211 automatic chronograph movement. Designed on a Lemania 5100 base and positioned as a more entry level Valjoux 7750, the C01.211 is a 6 hour chronograph with 45 hours of power reserve. These movements are being heavily featured in higher-end Swatch pieces and well as a lot of Tissot watches. The new Seastar 1000 Chronograph for this year also has one. The design of the T-Navigator Chronograph dial is interesting, though not everyone loves it. Aside from the standard subdials, there are black on black lines that burst out from where the hands are placed in the subdials. Not a necessary feature, but Tissot designers were trying to spice things up a bit.
Over on the Tissot T-Navigator Automatic, things are much cleaner on the dial. Here, Tissot uses an ETA 2836 automatic movement with the time, day and date. This is really my favorite version of the T-Navigator even if the hands are a tad short. Further, while very legible, it would have been sweet to see the tone of the day and date discs in black with white or orange text.
Tissot offers the T-Navigator watches on either steel bracelets or rubber straps. The rubber straps have folding metal clasps and are neatly integrated into the case. The bracelets, however, are beautifully designed and I highly recommend it if you get one of these watches. Not totally sure if you can get the bracelet on the Automatic models, they may only be available on the Chronograph. Prices for the 2011 Tissot T-Navigator collection are $895 for the T-Navigator Automatic and from $1095 - $1150 for the T-Navigator Chronograph.