Tissot's line of 80-hour power reserve automatics
Tissot is a watchmaker that most enthusiasts should be familiar with. The company has been around for over 150 years, having started as a family business in Le Locle, Switzerland. Today, Tissot is the "official timekeeper" for many of the world's most popular sporting events and their watches can be found in most major department stores (at least here in the USA). One of the great things about Tissot, and the reason I am a huge fan, personally, is that they produce high quality, interesting watches at an affordable price. The Tissot Powermatic 80 was my very first Swiss-made automatic watch that I purchased via an authorized dealer. Even at MSRP (I think I paid around $750), I feel that the watch represents significant value. Continue to read for a recap of my experience buying my Powermatic 80 as well as a review of the watch and my thoughts on the line of watches as a whole.
On the day I bought my Tissot Powermatic 80, I entered my local watch dealer a total novice without any particular watch or brand in mind. At this point the most prized watch in my collection was a Citizen Eco-Drive (I'm not knocking the Eco-Drive... I actually think they're great) and I had never before handled a quality automatic watch. I had managed to do a little homework the previous night and knew going in that with a budget of $500-$1000 I would be looking at brands like Tissot, Movado, Hamilton, and the sort. Surely enough, I landed at the Tissot display case and immediately became hooked on a rose-gold, white dial Powermatic 80. I must have been feeling impulsive that day because I made the decision to buy right there, in-store, rather than scope the web as I typically would for a discount. Since that purchase, my collection has grown significantly but the Tissot remains one of my most-worn watches.
The Tissot Powermatic 80 comes in a wide range of configurations. Tissot appears to have experimented with many different day/date display designs with this line. You can find examples with date subdials and other examples with the day of the week fully spelled-out at the 12 o'clock position. The edition I purchased has a simple date window at 6 o'clock. You'll notice that my watch has roman numeral hour marks, but this, too is optional. About half of the Powermatic 80s that I have seen use simple dash-indices while the other half use Roman numerals.
My favorite aspect of my own Tissot Powermatic 80 is the leather strap and butterfly clasp. The inside of the strap feels like suede and is extremely comfortable. After years of regular wear, this material remains smooth and soft. The butterfly clasp, like the case, is finished in an 18 karat rose gold PVD. It complements the case nicely and rounds off the overall look of the piece. The clasp locks securely and adjusts easily as well. In my opinion, the strap/clasp combination seperates this watch from the pack of similarly priced watches.
The movement of the Tissot Powermatic 80 is a modified ETA 28-24. The principle modification to the mainspring and its housing allows for the line's signature 80-hour power reserve. By slowing the vibrations (tics) per second from 8 to 6, Tissot allows the energy stored in the movement to last for more than three days on the shelf without a wind. The movement is extremely accurate and many examples have been awarded the certified chronometer distinguishment.
The Powermatic 80 movement winds smoothly and runs quietly. On the dial, you'll note that the reduced frequency of the mainspring cycle has a diminishing effect on the "smoothness" of the second hand while it is in motion. The exhibition caseback allows for a full view of the nicely decorated rotor. I included some close-ups of the movement below.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the Tissot Powermatic 80. Though I purchased mine from an authorized dealer, I would encourage you to look into purchasing your own online. The savings will be significant and since the movement based on an ETA 28-24 you will be able to handle any servicing needs with a general watch specialist. If you are interested, Amazon lists several Powermatic 80s at well under MSRP. I plan on writing an article soon analyzing the pros and cons of purchasing watches from authorized dealers versus online "gray market" sellers. In the mean-time please check out my review of the Glycine Combat Sub and my two picks for best watches under $500.