May 23, 2018
Tissot introduced a fair number of new models this year, but none of them had particularly stood out to me until this Tissot V8 Swissmatic was sent my way. The V8 is a vaguely automotive-inspired time and date watch that uses the Tissot “Swissmatic” movement. Since it’s derived from the Swatch Sistem51, Tissot is able to offer a lot of value for a reasonable admission of entry. The $450 price tag put this soundly in the ballpark of a high-value graduation gift or even a work week dress watch. Tissot incorporated a good amount of aesthetic variety in the release of this model, giving you plenty of dial and bezel options to fit your taste. There are a few hiccups in the V8’s design that I’ll get into later in this review, and while at this price point there are certainly going to be trade-offs, some of the design issues I noticed might actually be overlooked errors.
The V8 Swissmatic comes in a robust steel case measuring 42mm without the crown and roughly 50mm lug to lug. However, it wears a bit larger than a typical 42mm watch would primarily due to the longer lug to lug measurement. Finishing-wise, Tissot has applied some subtle polished finishes across the bevels of the case, contrasting the vertical brushing elsewhere. I have to admit it looks pretty good upon casual inspection. In spite of its large dimensions, the V8 rides the wrist well, and at slightly over 13mm thick, it will fit under a shirt cuff. I do have one minor gripe when it comes to the case: the bottom edges of the case are chamfer-less and rather sharp, so depending on how you flex your wrist, it can dig in uncomfortably.
The bezel is a fixed steel bezel with 10-minute markers alternating with plain dots. The bezel itself has a circular satin-type finish on it, and the edge of the bezel, where it meets the case, is polished. This is a nice touch and classes up the watch a lot. That being said, I mention in my video that the markers on the bezel don’t perfectly align with the dial, which bothers me and probably a couple of other people who obsess over these small details. Though the photos don’t perfectly illustrate what I’m talking about, the video will explain it in more depth.
The dial of the V8 Swissmatic is one of the features that originally caught my eye. It’s a black textured dial reminiscent of pavement or perhaps black vinyl that’s used in automotive interiors. There are dagger style indices at each hour with minute markers in between. The date window sits at 3 o’clock and has a polished border. The hands are skeletonized baton-ish style with a stripe of lume towards the tip. The second hand has Tissot’s “T” on the counterweight. It’s a simplistic dial that trends a bit more dressy than I’d expect from an automotive-inspired piece. Additionally, aside from the hands, the dial is non-luminous. Overall, it’s a pretty simplistic dial with very little lume and dial printing.
As the name indicates, Tissot chose their “Swissmatic” movement for the V8 line. This movement is used in a variety of models across their lineups and in my opinion, is a great example of value and affordability. As indicated on the movement itself, this is a 19 jewel Swiss movement, and as we discussed in the intro, this movement is derived from Swatch’s Sistem51. It’s non-hacking, but to counterbalance that, it features a robust 72-hour power reserve. Assuming that you’re wearing this as a sort of dress watch for work, you could take this off Friday evening and wear something else over the weekend, and it will still be running Monday morning as you head off to work. If you’re giving this watch as a gift, that benefit could be particularly valuable if the recipient doesn’t want to wear the watch over the weekend.
The V8 also features an exhibition caseback to view the movement. It is fairly unremarkable, with a signed rotor and little to no decoration, but one thing that I do like is how the mainspring barrel is skeletonized, so you can actually see how wound or unwound the mainspring is. Considering the price point, I’m not expecting to be blown away by the view of the Swissmatic movement, but it’s competently and relatively well done if a little uninspiring. Still, uninspiring is better than inspiring the wrong feelings.
Competitively speaking, I think that at this this price point, there could be a little more work done on the movement to justify the cost, especially when you compare it to some similarly priced Seiko watches that boast hackable movements and excellent lume. I understand that some folks will have issues with the Swissmatic V8 using a movement derived from the Sistem51, but in my opinion, provided that the movement maintains reasonable accuracy (my example is somewhere around -2 to -3/s a day), it doesn’t really bother me.
The bracelet on the V8 Swissmatic is a well-executed element. For the $450 MSRP, you’re getting a solid link, split pin constructed bracelet on a butterfly style clasp. Tissot gives you two half links to fine-tune the fit since there are no micro adjustments in the clasp. The bracelet does echo the problem of the case’s sharp edges, as there is little to no chamfering on the edges of the links, which may present some issues with comfort over time. The watch sports 22mm lugs, and with the textured black dial, it will look good on a bunch of different strap options, so if the bracelet either isn’t your style or is uncomfortable, there will be options. Per their website, Tissot is also going to offer the two dial configurations on a racing style perforated leather strap.
Ultimately, the Tissot V8 Swissmatic is a valiant effort that falls short on a few points. Seiko receives constant bad press for misaligned chapter rings, but for Tissot to have a fixed bezel that does not line up with the minute indices seems like a pretty major oversight in my eyes. The sharp edges of the case are a little difficult to get around, but not a deal breaker if you like the aesthetic of the watch itself. On the positive side, however, you are getting a watch that will hold time over a weekend of inactivity, a nice steel bracelet, and an interesting dial texture. Again, as I mentioned earlier, I think some customers will have issues with the adapted Sistem51 movement, but it doesn’t bother me in this context at this price point. Nonetheless, at $450, the watch world is littered with competitive options, from the Seiko Presage line to some of the Hamilton Khaki lineup. If you want to stay strictly automotive, you can even check out Tissot’s own PRS lineup. It’s going to come down to personal taste. If you dig the aesthetic of the Tissot V8 Swissmatic, I think it’s a decent offering. tissotwatches.com
>Model: V8 Swissmatic
>Would reviewer personally wear it: No, at this price point, I believe there are better options that would suit me.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who needs an affordable timepiece with a classy/dress look.
>Best characteristic of watch: The 72 hour power reserve.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The crooked bezel.