Tissot Introduces the PRX Powermatic 80 35 mm

Smaller but still mechanical.

Tissot’s PRX Powermatic 80 has quickly gained popularity since its introduction more than three years ago as it offers the popular integrated-bracelet aesthetic at an affordable price point. 

In March, the brand added new dial options to the collection, and now it has added more horological power to the smallest model that’s 35 mm in diameter and was previously only available with a quartz movement.

Initial thoughts

A slightly disappointing aspect of the PRX collection was the fact that the 35 mm model only had a quartz movement, until now. Now anyone who wants a mechanical movement in a more wearable size is catered for. 

The overall design of the watch, including its waffle-pattern dial and brushed steel case, remains largely unchanged – a good thing since it is precisely these elements that first captured people’s attention in the first place.

The green version stands out as a personal favourite among the new models and I expect it will be a strong seller overall given the popularity of the colour now.

Starting at US$695 and going up to US$750 for the mother-of-pearl dial, the new 35 mm models are slightly pricier than the original. While the increase in price is perhaps linked to inflation, compared to many of the other integrated bracelet sports watches on the market, it still offers great value for the overall feel it gives.

Now at 35 mm

The latest version of the PRX collection introduces a remarkable decrease in size when compared to the original model which is at 40 mm. With a diameter of 35 mm and a thickness of 10.93 mm, the case retains its distinctive shape and features a brushed finish along with a matching bracelet. 

The new PRX remains faithful to the design heritage of its predecessors in the collection, taking inspiration from the Seastar ref. 40205, a three-hander model from 1978, where it returns to the original case size. This shrinking seems to follow the trend of decreasing case sizes, as we return to those diameters from the 60s and 70s.

The Tissot Seastar ref. 40205 from 1978

The dial of the PRX Powermatic 80 35 mm maintains the distinct waffle pattern that has been a hallmark of previous models. It makes its debut with four exciting dial variations: black, green, blue, and white mother-of-pearl. Additionally, it features a convenient strap-change mechanism, enabling a swift switch from the bracelet to a rubber strap. 

Notably, Tissot also offers a white mother-of-pearl dial that adds a touch of femininity to the watch, a logical variant since the 35 mm case easily suits both genders.

The new PRX models are powered by the same Powermatic 80 movement known internally as the ETA C07. Based on the ETA 2824-2, it has been modified by Tissot with several technical enhancements including a free-sprung balance wheel, an anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring, and an impressive power reserve of 80 hours.

Key facts and price

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 35 mm
Ref. T137. (blue)
Ref. T137. (black)
Ref. T137. (green)
Ref. T137. (white mother-of-pearl)

Diameter: 35 mm
Height: 10.93 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Powermatic 80.111

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with folding clasp, with rubber strap available separately

Limited edition: No
Availability: At Tissot boutique and retailers
Price: US$695 (blue, black and green), US$750 (white mother-of-pearl)

For more information, visit Tissotwatches.com.


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Hervé Schlüchter Debuts with L’Essentiel Regulator

Everything all at once.

The latest watchmaker to launch a time-only watch with a finely finished movement is Hervé Schlüchter, who makes his debut with the L’Essentiel.

A watchmaker who spent most of his recent career as a movement constructor at Bovet, Mr Schlüchter’s entry into the progressively more crowded segment features a regulator-style display with a day-and-night indicator and on the reverse, a hand-finished movement.

Initial thoughts

Having worked at Bovet and then spent time studying with Philippe Dufour, Mr Schlüchter has the background for a fine watch. Notably, Mr Schlüchter is an actual watchmaker, having trained as a watchmaker and repairer. As a result, the L’Essentiel is arguably purer in concept since it was developed and then produced by a watch-maker, rather than being drawn by a designer or engineer and then outsourced to specialists.

The L’Essentiel lives up to expectations in terms of decoration and construction. It has impressively high quality in most respects: the dial is engine turned by hand, and includes fired enamel, and aventurine. The movement shows off lots of black-polished steel, chamfered edges, and polished countersinks. At CHF78,000 before taxes, the L’Essentiel has a decent price-to-quality ratio.

But while watch is titled “The Essential”, it is ironically a lot, maybe too much, both stylistically and tangibly. As is increasingly the case with independent watchmaking, the product feels contrived because it wants to be everything that is popular and fashionable now. The aesthetic is overly fussy because the watch incorporates all the elements that new collectors will find impressive.

Having guilloché, fired enamel, aventurine glass, and a polished steel frame à la F.P. Journe gives the dial a confused look. And the movement has tubular steel bridges and wolf’s teeth on the winding wheels, both elements beautiful in themselves but better suited to an expansive, open construction instead of the tight squeeze that this is.

At the same time, the launch announcement of L’Essentiel includes a reference to Philippe Dufour, from whom Mr Schlüchter learnt the finer points of movement decoration. The Dufour endorsement is arguably less crucial than it once was, given the increasingly commercial inclination of the Philippe Dufour brand, and since the L’Essentiel can stand on its own as a good quality watch.

Mr Schlüchter’s debut watch certainly impresses in terms of its tangible qualities – namely the finishing and construction – but it feels too much like something that caters for the fads of today, rather than being a pure realisation of a watchmaker’s vision.

Dressed in Le Sentier style

A “philosophical regulator”

L’Essential has a steel case that’s 39 mm wide and 10.37 mm high, dimensions that suit a time-only watch of this type. It is done well but simply, while the rest of the watch wants to be a lot more.

According to Mr Schlüchter, the inspiration for the dial comes from a clock with a regulator display made by Antide Janvier, a renowned 19th century French watchmaker. The Janvier clock is typical of timepieces of the period and has an aesthetic similar to some modern-day Ferdinand Berthoud watches, which are based on clocks of the same era. The dial of the L’Essential, on the other hand, is a mix of styles.

Minutes and seconds are indicated with hands, while hours are shown on a disc with a 24-hour scale that doubles up as a day and night display. While the time display is straightforward, the execution of the dial is fancy. The chapter ring for the minutes is white fired enamel, while the central portion is German silver finished with guilloche.

And then the hour disc is aventurine glass featuring metallised Sun and Moon emblems, along with Latin phrases like hodie nunc, or “today now”. Surrounding the hour discs is a polished steel frame secured to the dial with screws in a manner that brings to mind F.P. Journe’s designs.

Over on the back, the view is equally busy. Although the movement is, at its heart, a simple one, it incorporates decorative elements that give it a highly complex appearance.

That is largely thanks to the style of the bridges and cocks, which are slender and reveal the gears below. The going train, in particular, is secured by tubular steel bridges of the sort that were traditionally used for a tourbillon carriage.

The calibre also incorporates several anachronistic features found in vintage pocket watches, namely the curved wolf’s teeth on the barrel ratchet and crown wheels as well as a “moustache” lever in the escapement.

Both require more manual work to fabricate and finish, but are not especially visible due to the small size of the movement, unlike in a pocket watch.

Visible at the far right is the lever that stops the balance wheel for the hacking seconds

Some elements are superfluous, like the spear-like tip of the stud holder that sits against a curved spring, resulting in something that resembles a swan’s neck regulator. But because the balance wheel is free sprung – with extra-large regulating weights – it does not require a regulator index and the spear is only used to adjust beat error, making these elements window dressing of sorts.

Key facts and price

Hervé Schlüchter L’Essentiel

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 10.37 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: HS-01
Functions: Hours on 24-hour disc, minutes, and hacking small seconds
Winding: Hand wound
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Leather strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: 25 pieces
Availability: Direct from Hervé Schlüchter
Price: CHF78,000 before taxes

For more information, visit Herve-schluchter.ch.


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