March 17, 2023
by Ariel Adams
One of the latest versions of the Tissot PRX Automatic is this reference T137.407.11.351.00, which has a light-blue dial not entirely dissimilar to the trendy “Tiffany Blue” color. Light, playful colors like this are very popular right now and I think help add a dash of personality to watches that, in past years, would have almost exclusively had conservative dial colors including black, silver, etc. Of course, those dial colors are available in other versions of the PRX, which has become a very wide range of products produced by Tissot today. What I’d like to talk about in this review is how to think about the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 in the context of other watches on the market, as well as to better frame what its parent company — The Swatch Group — is particularly good at these days.
I begin with the premise that you don’t need to spend more than the cost of a Tissot PRX automatic to get the full integrated bracelet watch experience. Of course, the market is full of much more expensive watches with integrated bracelets, but from a product-experience perspective, they really don’t offer too much more aside from hand-finishing and other designs. Tissot has masterfully combined desirable elements into a single product family with prices that seem to lead the market. That’s right, in my estimation, the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is probably the best value on the market for a watch of this type. How is this possible?
What makes it possible is the core strength of The Swatch Group. Often, even passionate watch lovers cannot easily describe the various strengths and weaknesses of the big groups that own many watch brands. The biggest among them are European LVMH, Richemont, and The Swatch Group. What The Swatch Group does better than anyone else is industrialization and manufacturing. There is no greater force in the world when it comes to producing wristwatches than The Swatch Group. It can create nearly anything you can imagine, at nearly any price point, and, in many instances, do it better than anyone else in the world. That comes from the core foundation of The Swatch Group, which is to be a conglomerate of not just watch brands but also the various companies that produce parts for and offer technical know-how to watchmakers. When The Swatch Group wants to beat the market in a particular product category at a particular price point, it can.
Some of the downsides to being the most competent watchmaking group in the world is having a very factory/industrial mindset when it comes to product creation and marketing decisions. Creativity and risk are things that tend to be avoided when thinking with a factory mentality. That is an entirely different discussion altogether, but the point is that it has positioned The Swatch Group to be more responsive than creative when it comes to deep investment in products. In the case of the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, Tissot noticed that the market was keen on watches of this type, and relatively quickly sought to offer its “answer” to this market need. While Tissot wasn’t the first, it is, in many ways, the best when it comes to steel integrated bracelet watches at an affordable price. While I have mentioned this multiple times in the past, we live in an era when a Swiss Made Tissot PRX Automatic is often a significantly better value than much of the Japanese competition in the space. This requires a new way of thinking about the value of Tissot and its colleague brands because where they win so often is price and features.
The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 watch has a retail price that is under $700 USD. Just a few years ago, this was barely enough to get many Swiss Made quartz watches. Now, you can get a lavishly detailed watch case, dial, and bracelet, with a high-performance automatic mechanical movement. This represents a major shift in the economics of the market, since many brands’ efforts have been to create nice watches priced under what you might expect from those sold by a big group. The Swatch Group has made it patently clear that if you are a smaller brand trying to undercut its prices, you really won’t be able to. Really, the only way to beat products like the Tissot PRX is to attempt different designs and marketing messages. From a pure product perspective, there really isn’t beating The Swatch Group.
So let’s examine again the features of the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80. The steel case is 40mm-wide and has a combination of polished and brushed surfaces. The textured dial is excellent in execution when it comes to detailing, as well as legibility. Tissot even makes the bracelet detachable with an easy-release system and sells straps if you want to swap out the look. The case is relatively thin, but more importantly, it sits low on the wrist and doesn’t feel very thick. The case also has an AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial and caseback, as well as 100 meters of water resistance (without needing a screw-down crown). The watch wears very comfortably, and the butterfly-style deployant in the bracelet is relatively hidden, meaning that there is a nice flush look to the bottom side of the bracelet.
Inside the watch is The Swatch Group’s popular Powermatic 80 automatic movement. It offers 80 hours of power reserve operating at 3Hz. That said, tweaks to the materials and systems in the movement offer it the accuracy of a 4Hz movement, so you more or less get the best of both worlds. From a technical performance perspective, there really aren’t any better movements available in other watches at this price point.
Integrated bracelet watches are, in many ways, the new dress watch — but a bit more versatile. They are handsome and elegant, but not as stodgy as a simple round-cased watch on a leather strap. The sporty, architected feel of integrated bracelet watches makes them a bit more popular with people who do wear suits but also wear a lot of other more casual attire. Bracelet watches are a bit more decorative than most standard dress watches because the bracelet and case are part of the visual composition and not just the dial. What color or design you prefer for an integrated bracelet is really a matter of personal style choice. Tissot, alone, offers you plenty of color choices.
Tissot continues to impress with the PRX Automatic in comparison to the competition out there, and it is clear that this product family is very important and successful for Tissot. The light-blue dial version is just the latest iteration, tempting people who have not yet jumped on the PRX bandwagon. Price for the reference T137.407.11.351.00 Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 watch is $675 USD. Learn more at the Tissot website.