For its past few Basel releases, Tissot has managed to wow connoisseurs with its Heritage collection – a line of “re-issued” watches styled faithfully to the timepieces of the 1930s and 40s. This year’s release is no different with the affectionately-named Tissot Heritage Antimagnétique. The timepiece in question harks back to a line of horologic-significant wristwatches was part of the Tissot collection in 1943.
Historical Considerations of the Tissot Antimagnétique
Magnetism has always been the Achilles heel of any watch, and is an issue which watchmakers have been trying to shield their creations against. In 1930, Tissot introduced the Antimagnétique: a mass-produced wristwatch that offered protection against magnetic fields. Though not to the standards of today’s watches, their innovation was considered a breakthrough and paved the way forwards.
The Case, Dial and Hands
Despite its historical roots, the new Tissot Heritage measures in at a contemporary size of 42mm. The watch is well-built and has a faithfully-executed style, featuring a stainless steel case with an alluring blend of brushed and polished surfaces. Its tapered lugs are sharp and faceted, giving off a elegant and classy vibe on the wrist. To top it off, the piece features a signed crown – a nice finishing touch.
The Tissot Heritage Antimagnétique dons a handsome vertically-brushed silver dial with circular stamped small-seconds sub-dial. Although not finished to haute-horlogerie levels, the dial manages to punch above its weight and makes for a pleasant time-telling experience. Similar to Tissot’s previous Heritage releases, the Antimagnétique features the signature cursive-printed logo: one that harks back to Tissot watches in the past. Additionally, the large arabic hour markers contributes to its high legibility. Finally, a polished thin stainless steel bezel encompasses the dial, giving it a wider appearance.
Protecting the dial is a domed sapphire crystal. The usage of sapphire, we feel, is an interesting choice due to the nature of the piece. However, there is no denying the benefits of modern sapphire in terms of its durability. Furthermore, the dome evokes a rustic charm and adds depth and contrast to the dial, contributing to the time-telling experience.
The black leaf (feuille)-shaped hands used in the new watch is reminiscent of those used previously in certain vintage models. They radiate a stylish and tasteful appearance, and contrasts beautifully with the silver dial. Though there is no usage of lume on the watch, we feel that given its essence, it would be redundant. Overall, the hands provide great legibility while adding to the vintage-esque allure of the piece.
Furthermore, the timepiece’s thickness of 11.35mm allows it to sit nicely on wrists and slip under most cuffs effortlessly.
Turning the watch over, you’ll find a see-through sapphire crystal case back that is engraved with “165th ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION XXXX/3333”.
Powering the Tissot Heritage Antimagnétique is the ubiquitous ETA 6498-1 – a well-respected and versatile caliber in the realms of horology. First introduced in 1950, the 6498 was originally designed for pocket watches and subsequently converted for usage in wristwatches. It has a 46-hours power reserve with 17 jewels, and runs at a leisurely rate of 18,000 bph. It also hacks and hand winds, and is a tried, tested and proven caliber. Thus, no surprises for its choice.
An intriguing fact about the 6498 is its small seconds placement at 6 o’clock, which harks back to the original Tissot Antimagnétique watches of the 1940s.
In terms of finishing the ébauche 6498, it rather typical with basic luxury decorations such as the Côtes de Genève and blued screws. Nonetheless, we find it commendable to see attention to detail being emphasised, especially on a watch at its price.
An interesting aspect about the movement is its anti-magnetic capabilities. The International Organisation for Standardisation 764 (ISO 764) classifies a watch as anti-magnetic if it is able to resist magnetic fields of 4,800 A/m – 64 Gauss in layman’s terms. Although Tissot does not specify, it’s generally believed that the ETA 6498 caliber fitted into the watch is rated to roughly 64 Gauss. Although this constitutes the watch as anti-magnetic, we speculate its “Antimagnetique” dial signature was done more of as a “homage” to the originals.
As we suspected, we just received confirmation from Tissot that it is indeed not anti-magnetic but just a homage. The production piece will not feature the “Antimagnetique” signature on its dial.
The Tissot Heritage Antimagnétique has a recommended retail price of SGD 1,510 / CHF 950. Considering its build and overall finishing, we think it’s good value for its price point. No doubt, in the sea of horology, there are many watches that would rival it.
Perhaps a direct competitor would be one from within – the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph. Launched during Basel 2017, the nostalgia-inducing model is visually stunning thanks to its opaline silver dial and attractive twisted-lugs. The nostalgic charm is also reflected in its usage of applied dot markers and period-correct domed acrylic crystal. Driving the piece is the workhorse ETA 2894-2 caliber, which features a tri-compax chronograph layout. Despite its complication, the watch has a thickness of 11.9mm – a shy 0.6mm more than the aforementioned timepiece. The Heritage 1948 is available on either a leather strap or mesh bracelet, priced at USD 1,400 or USD 1,450 respectively.
Next, we propose the Longines Heritage 1945. There is no denying: the 1945 is a good-looking piece. Sized at a modest 40mm, the watch wears nicely and is almost a perfect homage to the original. The blued steel leaf-shaped hands provides a rich contrast against its handsome brushed copper-tone dial. And, did we mention the alternating Arabic and appliqué dot numerals? Lovely. The watch is powered by the Longines L609 – a 28,800 bph automatic movement with 42-hours of power reserve. Perhaps the only flak it receives would be its sub-seconds register, which we felt sat too high. The Longines Heritage 1945 comes on a beige leather strap, and retails for SGD 2,700.
And for connoisseurs who’d like a blend of vintage charm and modern innovation, we have selected the Omega De Ville Co-Axial 41 mm (ref. 4220.127.116.11.02.001). It’s clean and elegant design is one that’ll remain a classic now and forever. The watch is driven by an in-house Co-Axial caliber 8500, and features anti-magnetic properties such as the Si14 silicon balance spring. Although considerably more expensive than the Tissot, we feel that given its innovations and overall quality, the De Ville is able to pull its weight. The De Ville Co-Axial 41 mm is available in a slew of dial and band variations, and starts at SGD8,100.
Handsome and stylish, the Tissot Heritage Antimagnétique is a piece that’ll tug at the heartstrings of collectors. Although not technologically advanced, the piece was not designed to be a serious “tool” watch in the first place, but rather one that reminds us of Tissot’s contributions to horology. Limited to 3,333 pieces and given the current popularity of vintages among collectors, we reckon that Tissot have hit a home-run.
Edited 3:38pm 24 May, to reflect official Tissot position on anti-magnetic properties of the watch.