As someone who has been involved in watch collecting for a significant amount of time, I’m often asked for recommendations from people who are not really interested in watches as a hobby, but want or need a good watch to wear on a daily basis. I imagine this is a fairly common predicament for a lot of longtime collectors and enthusiasts, particularly as watches continue to occupy a larger space in the culture and the hobby grows. There are obviously a lot of different ways you can go when recommending a first and only watch to someone who might not be inclined to fall down the rabbit hole. You have to take their particular use case for the watch into account, of course, but all things being equal, I think most first timers want something versatile, reliable, attractive in a way that’s easily understandable, and maybe from a brand they’ve heard of before. Tissot is a brand that I often circle back to when trying to answer these questions, and the new additions to the Chemin des Tourelles collection check a lot of boxes.
Now, normally, I’m not into the idea of “box checking” when it comes to making a watch decision. But putting myself in the shoes of someone who is new to all of this, I think it’s fair to make sure certain basic requirements are met. While a lot of collectors might immediately look to pure sports watches from Seiko, not everyone needs dive watch level water resistance, timing bezels, and a wrist presence that will get the watch noticed. The Chemin des Tourelles watches are more closely related to what I think most people picture in their mind’s eye when they think of a “nice watch,” even if they have a sober quality to them that might not capture the imagination of an enthusiast.
The new Chemins des Tourelles watches come in three case sizes: 34mm, 39mm, and 42mm. The smaller 34mm watches are clearly being marketed to women, and feature gold accents, brightly colored straps, and, in one instance, a mother of pearl dial. But the 39mm and 42mm variants present a wide variety of options, with dials in black, white, blue, silver, and ivory lacquer. Hour markers are applied batons, with the exception of a pair of blue dialed variants with Roman numerals at the cardinal positions. These are tasteful and clean dials, with just enough flair to raise them out of the insomnia inducing category. They have a subtle sunburst finish to them, and the dials are slightly domed in the style of mid century vintage watches. An especially nice touch is that the hour markers are curved to match the shape of the dial, which lends a certain coherence and refinement to the whole package, and is the type of small detail that is often overlooked in watches at this price point.
All of the references in this new batch of Chemin des Tourelles run on the Powermatic 80 movement with a Nivachron balance spring, making them largely resistant to magnetic fields. While the movement isn’t elaborately decorated or even particularly interesting mechanically, these calibers are known to be reliable and robust, and the 80 hour power reserve is impressive and brings a lot of value to the table. In terms of the hypothetical watch recommendation mentioned above, I think it’s important to keep in mind that someone purchasing their first mechanical watch to wear day in and day out will want something that will just work without any fuss, and that’s what the Powermatic 80 promises in a watch like the Chemin des Tourelles.
The Chemin des Tourelles watches are available now through authorized Tissot channels. Prices range from $695 (for the 39mm blue dialed variant on a strap) to $825 (for the two-tone variant with a silver dial on a bracelet). Considering the reliable, 80 hour movement and the small design details that make these simple dials come together, I think the Chemin des Tourelles watches represent a compelling value for a watch coming from a historic Swiss brand. More information and the whole collection can be found at Tissot’s website here.