Tissot Introduces a Regulateur, a Hand-Winder and a Silicon Hairspring at Baselworld 2016

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Baselworld 2016 felt a bit quieter and calmer than previous years. Brands released fewer items, and most generally played it safer than years before. If these were signs of an economic down turn, you wouldn’t know it from Tissot, who had 240 new models (including all variants). In fact, Tissot is at the top of their game right now, saturating the European market and securing a position as the NBA’s official time keeper in the US. This year, they showed us a lot of great stuff, too much to show you here. So we chose three cool, different and high value pieces that will be coming out this year. Enjoy.

Le Locle Regulateur

Tissot’s Le Locle series is an undeniable bestseller for the brand. It’s not hard to see why; the line boasts an impressive blend of elegant styling and quality construction at an attractive price point, making it immediately appealing for customers across different segments. For Baselworld 2016, Tissot announced their latest addition to the ever-growing Le Locle family: the Le Locle Regulateur.

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The Regulateur, or regulator, is a type of watch featuring separate time registers, generally with a large central minutes hand, and the hours and seconds hands relegated to separate sub-dials. Historically, regulators were used in workshops as a point of reference to check the accuracy of pocket watches. It’s a bold design, and one of my personal favorites.

The Regulateur comes in a 39mm stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal on both ends. The dial stays true to the aesthetic of the Le Locle series, featuring a complex mixture of elements and finishes that give it the look and feel of a higher end piece. Raised Roman numerals flank the dial at 12, 3, 6, and 9, with indices as placeholders for the remaining hour positions. The two present sub dials are recessed, and the four quadrants surrounding them feature a wave-like Guilloché pattern—both features give the dial some welcome texture and dimension.

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The Le Locle Regulateur will be available in a number of variants, among them classic white and black dialed versions in a steel case, and a couple of two-tone versions with rose and yellow-gold accents. The Le Locle Regulateur will be made available on either a leather strap with butterfly clasp or a stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp and push buttons, with an expected MSRP ranging from $795 to $950, a great price for an automatic regulateur.

Heritage 1936

Vintage-inspired design has been a pervasive theme in watchdom for at least half a decade now, and it shows no signs of slowing down. This year, Tissot took a page out of the Longines playbook and dug deep into their archives. The result is the Heritage 1936, a beautiful hand-cranker based on converted pocket watches from the ‘30s.

TISSOT_HERITAGE_1936_3One of our favorite offerings from Tissot this year, and frankly a bit of a surprise, the Heritage 1936 stays true to its inspiration. It’s a big watch—45mm—and it’s almost all dial. The case features wired lugs—relatively narrow when compared to the width of the case—and as such the piece comes paired with a slip-through leather strap. The watch also features a hunter case back and a beautifully finished Unitas 6498 caliber, a reliable movement designed by Unitas back in the mid-twentieth century and originally intended for use in pocket watches. The onion crown allows for an easy wind.

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The dial borrows heavily from a pocket watch design discovered in the brand’s archives. It has a white glossy base with a splash of grey in the form of a large central circle. The black Breguet numerals and hands are bold and have a high-gloss shine, and as such really pop out against the dial. The Tissot logo is equally aggressive—perhaps even a touch too much—though it does balance well against the rest of the dial. There is a sub-seconds counter at 6 o’clock.

TISSOT_HERITAGE_1936_5The Tissot Heritage 1936 will be available this summer for an MSRP of $995.

Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC with Si Hairspring

As the watch industry struggles to right itself in the face of weakened international markets, one of the most exciting trends (for us especially) is the democratization of higher end technology in lower-priced watches. It seems that brands are realizing that adding value to lower tier watches might be a safer bet than simply moving up-market. Tissot, being a member of the Swatch Group, has long been a beneficiary of this trend, and 2016 was no different. With the release of the Ballade—a watch priced under 1000 CHF—Tissot just proved that “high-end” need not cost and arm and a leg.

TISSOT_BALLADE_6On the surface, the Ballade is an ornate offering from Tissot. The dial features applied markers and a central guilloché pattern encircled by a contrasting brushed band of metal. The case is then adorned with a decorative knurling along the bezel adding texture and a touch of bling. It’s certainly a classic look and a great option for anyone needing a dress watch to round out their collection.

TISSOT_BALLADE_5The internals are the real story. Powering the Ballade is Tissot’s Powermatic 80 caliber, a heavily modified 2824 with an 80-hour power reserve first introduced back in 2013. The movement is also COSC certified, which alone is impressive at this price. But Tissot didn’t stop there; the firm also equipped the Powermatic 80 caliber with a Silicon hairspring (noted by the Si on the movement)—something that has undoubtedly trickled down from the upper echelon Swatch Group brands. A brand introducing Silicon hairsprings is usually big news by its own, but to do so in a watch priced under 1000 CHF is unheard of, until now.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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