I was browsing the Tissot website when I stumbled upon a newer collection I’d not seen before. I’m glad the Tissot Gentleman series caught my eye. Since 2018, Tissot (part of the Swatch Group) has been absent from any of the major watch trade shows. That, and the current reality of the pandemic means that a lot of watch media is learning about a large number of new timepieces from a lot of important brands much more slowly than has traditionally been the case. In fact, only Bilal from the aBlogtoWatch team had seen the Tissot Gentleman when covering the watch collection when it was a new hands-on on aBlogtoWatch. I’m glad that I also discovered the Tissot Gentleman because I think the Swiss Made brand did something so correct here, and it isn’t just for entry-level watch enthusiasts.
The core appeal of the Tissot Gentleman is three-fold. First, the watch is stylishly very versatile, ranging from business attire to business casual or even casual. Tissot has a slightly generic, albeit refined, timeless looks that can fit someone young or old. These are like a black-colored sport jacket, in that you’d never be faulted for wearing one on most any occasion. Second is that the Tissot Gentleman has a pretty interesting mechanical movement that is both uncommon and designed to perform well. I’m not saying that it is the best or most well-made movement, but rather that from an engineering and performance perspective, this is a pretty cool mechanism that most any movement lover would be more than happy to rock at this price. Finally, the T-Gold version of the Tissot Gentleman has a solid 18k rose gold bezel (5.5 grams of it, according to the certificate that comes with the watch) and isn’t very expensive. That means even at retail price, you get a Swiss Made watch experience with a decent amount of real gold for a price that you pretty much could not find just a few years back. Call it “packaging innovation,” but at least it proves that Tissot is paying very close attention to holes in the luxury watch market — and where it might be able to fill in gaps. Whether or not it feels like it, Swatch Group brands make it their business to understand you as the consumer and what you want.
Tissot starts the Gentleman line with quartz-based watches starting at just $350 USD. The Gentleman Automatic starts at $775, which feels like a super-good price for the design and quality. The 40mm-wide case is in very well-polished steel. It is just 11.5m-thick and has 21mm-wide lugs (a slightly odd size). Over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal and the case is water-resistant to 50 meters. The case polishing is better than the bracelet polishing, which is actually quite common since these components are often produced by different factories. The bracelet on the watch is fine, but it doesn’t feel as superlative as the case and movement.
The Swiss Made ETA Powermatic 80 Silicium is a neat little movement that is very modern in its way of thinking and production. The movement is designed to take advantage of modern materials and manufacturing techniques in order to improve upon the mass producibility of high-performance mechanical movements. This is an interesting problem in the watch industry still today, and that is the fact that less expensive mechanical movements seem to be less precise. Indeed, quartz electronic movements solved that problem from the perspective of consumers, but this was not the case back in Europe where watchmakers still cared about mechanical timekeeping. The legacy to build a high performance “people’s watch” still lives on in some way in the Swatch Group, given the founding principles and companies that comprised its corpus.
The specific movement in the Tissot Gentlemen Automatic is the ETA Powematic caliber 80.811. It operates at 3Hz and has a power reserve of 80 hours. It also contains a regulation system produced from silicon. This might be the most affordable movement on the market with a silicon balance spring — quite a feat, if you ask me. While this particular watch doesn’t have a Chronometer movement, I do believe the Powermatic 80 Silicon has been COSC Chronometer-certified in other watches. The point is that, in addition to being more efficient to manufacture, it is also a good performer. The idea again is that you don’t need to spend many thousands of dollars for a mechanical watch with a decently performing movement. In many ways, this is a novel innovation, and one that Swatch Group probably isn’t given enough credit for.
Adding gold to the product mix is interesting and highly emotionally charged. There are plenty of watches just like this which have gold-tone bezels produced with a PVD-coating or gold-plating. That this Tissot Gentleman Automatic T-Gold uses real 18k rose gold makes the product something altogether different. It firmly places it in the luxury category — all for a price that is rare, to say the least. And the watch has more to its credit than “there is some real gold here.”
Gold can be very empowering to wear, if only for its social (and actual) currency value. Gold’s visual warmth is real, and it is also true that you can’t really polish faux gold treatments like you can real gold. So the trained eye can both appreciate the experience and appearance of real gold as a precious material for a watch. The question does remain as to whether or not the target demographic for this watch will appreciate all of these nuances. Enough will I am sure. More so, the ability for the Tissot Gentleman to have so much going for it as a watch collector-worthy product means that established watch collectors might happily get one of these as a throw-around “suit watch” or even as a daily wear when the idea of wearing real gold on a beater watch seems fun. It certainly can be. That’s sort of what feels great about the Tissot Gentleman T-Gold. It has the price of something you feel comfortable throwing around, with and material that is usually reserved for special occasions. Together that makes for a rather special combination of attributes, and indeed there are lots of consumers out there for it.
Good dial legibility (with just a hint of lume) and proportions help round out the appeal of this dressy-tool watch. Not at all cliche in the execution is the application of the crosshair motif on the dial. It is a seemingly innocuous design element and yet it helps the overall watch feel more “instrumental.” Tissot produces a small range of its Gentleman Automatic T-Gold watches. Currently, this reference T927.407.41.031.00 with the silver dial is the only one that is available on the matching steel bracelet. Even though there are at least a dozen SKUs of the Tissot Gentleman Automatic watch to date, I fully expect this to be a collection the brand continues to develop for a few years. Price for the reference T927.407.41.031.00 Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium Solid 18k Gold Bezel watch is $1,350 USD. Learn more or order at the Tissot website here.