I’ve probably never seen more Tissot watches in a single place than at the MotoGP race at the Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, CA recently (a bit more coverage on that event here). Tissot and MotoGP have been working together for about 10 years I believe, and the connection between the two is profound. You’ll find mostly Tissot T-Race and T-Touch watches on the staff of MotoGP, as well as fans from all walks of life. The fans in particular love all the limited edition T-Race watches (of which there have been many). Below you’ll find three such watches. One is a limited edition T-Race for MotoGP as a whole, then you’ll find the Tissot T-Race Nicky Hayden 2010 limited edition watch (which I wrote about more here). Last you’ll find my favorite, a Valjoux 7750 mechanical chronograph based T-Race watch that is killer. Really nicely done in style and finish. Stock marketing images of the watch don’t do it justice all all. This is the best timepiece for watch enthusiasts who want to celebrate Tissot’s status as the official timekeeper of the popular motorcycle race series. Plus, the mechanical limited edition T-Race model isn’t that much, costing around $1,800 I believe. Please note and excuse the “red tint” on the sapphire crystals of the watches. There was something reflecting on the crystals when I was taking images. The crystals are not actually red in color.
To get really involved in the festivity and pageantry of the day, I go to the 2010 MotoGP race at Laguna Seca to see what the fuss was all about. Who are these fans, what goes on here, and how much is Tissot really a part of it. The reason this is a good question, is because countless brands will sponsor events in name only. They have no real involvement with the culture or practice of the event. Tissot is a bit part of MotoGP, and if you ask MotoGP fans what watch is associated with the event – they will likely glance at their wrists and tell you. Plus, MotoGP fans seem to be serious watch lovers – I spotted a number of good looking sport watches among the mechanically minded crowd.
In addition to being a part of MotoGP, Tissot is a sponsor of American racer Nicky Hayden. Riding for Ducati, Nicky Hayden is a nice Kentucky boy with a serious fan following. Check out the images here of him prepping for the race. Today he was sporting a sort of mohawk – just the kind of guy he it. The Nicky Hayden limited edition watch was quite popular on this day.
Tissot actually has a tent shop on the race grounds. The tent looks like a hangar, and inside people are buzzing over the pieces. It is great to see the enthusiasm of the fans for the brand. The collectors all aggressively inquiring “show me the limited editions!” MotoGP is a fun sport, and the fans all get in the action by having motorcycles of their own. Not many of those get up to 180mph, but there are some serious bikes in the crowd. It is great to see a sport, and then be riding home on your own bike imaging you are part of the action. Though I wouldn’t want to be racing on Laguna Seca. With its world famous corkscrew turn, you have to be a well-trained rider if you don’t want to eat dirt. I saw more than one rider skid out on the difficult track.
MotoGP is a worldwide event, with events occurring in a number of countries. Tissot is clever to team up with the race series as it is truly an international phenomenon, with exposure all over the planet. On the track itself are Tissot signs, and the winner of the race (as well as the pole position aware) receive Tissot watches. It is really hard to disassociate Tissot and MotoGP. This is a partnership done right, and if you are a MotoGP fan, chances are you’ll have, or have your eyes on a number of Tissot watches.
I also want to say something about the Tissot T-Race watch. As seen in a vacuum, it is a bit of a funny looking timepiece. Strange-ish design and dimensions visually, it really comes to life in person, and on the wrist. Just one of those watches you need to slop on yourself before being totally sold on it. I was skeptical the first few times I saw it, but have since come to appreciate its significant sporty (and motorcycle) character. Even the limited edition models are under $1000, with is a good deal for just such a Swiss watch. Until the next MotoGP event… I’ll be hearing those engines in my ears.