Style is automatic, say Tissot in their promotional video for the Swissmatic. This new watch is the Swatch Group’s response to the risk posed by the waves of cheap mechanical watches arriving from Asia. It has a unisex, minimalist design, a mechanical movement visible through a sapphire caseback, and those two words that have a lot of consumer appeal worldwide: Swiss made.
Minimalist case and dial
The Swissmatic has a Bauhaus design style, with various case options including steel and pink gold PVD, all water-resistance rated at the standard 3 bar, 30 metres, no swimming. It is 40 mm in diameter and 11.6 mm thick, and so it is approaching that sort of dress watch slimness that makes quartz watches by Daniel Wellington so popular. But the Swissmatic doesn’t quite reach the appeal of the finest Bauhaus-type watches. I think that the main problem is the depth of the inner bezel flange.
Industrial automatic movement
The movement is named Swissmatic, and it can be seen through the sapphire caseback. It has 19 jewels, it is self-winding, with a mainspring that provides a 72-hour power reserve. It will still be running when you put it on after having left it at home for a weekend. Finish is industrial, with a sort of granular black coating on the mainplate, and brushed finish on the oscillating weight. It is based on the Sistem 51 movement that powers the likenamed automatic Swatch watches, and so it’s probably not accessible to an independent watchmaker for repair or adjustment.
Price of the Swissmatic
The Tissot Swissmatic starts at €390 for the version with alligator-print leather strap and steel case, and reaches €495 for the gold PVD version. The Swissmatic with metal bracelet offers a different type of look with very small links, verging on Milanaise, at a price of €445. It’s an attractive entry-level price for people looking for a self-winding mechanical watch, but the industrial movement rather makes me yearn for a watch with a traditional ETA movement – also made by Swatch Group and still available in watches by many smaller brands, though who knows for how long – which has more of a traditional watch feel, and has the advantage of being accessible for maintenance and adjustment by any watchmaker. More information and online purchasing on the Tissot website.