Review: this year’s new Tissot PR516 Mechanical Chronograph

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The Tissot PR516 is a nod to the brand’s historical connection with motorsports, encapsulating a blend of vintage aesthetics and modern watchmaking. It’s part of Tissot’s heritage line, which pays homage to its classic models with contemporary updates. In particular, the mechanical model is a tasteful homage to the original chronograph, sized up to modern specifications but maintaining the classic look of a vintage motorsports chronograph.

Review: Tissot PR516 Mechanical Chronograph

The Case and Dial

The Tissot PR516 chronograph presents a robust design that pays homage to its historical predecessors while catering to modern aesthetics. The case measures 41mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness, with a lug-to-lug distance of 49mm, providing a substantial presence on the wrist. The thickness, partly attributed to the glassbox sapphire crystal, is noticeable, especially when viewed from the side, but it remains within the acceptable range for a Valjoux based chronograph.

The side profile of the case is straight and somewhat boxy, similar to the Tudor Black Bay case but with straight lugs. This might create a chunky appearance, but is actually less felt on the wrist.

The sapphire crystal has a blue tint anti-reflective coating, which makes the glass almost invisible from certain angles. It is housed by a bi-color tachymeter bezel with a mineral crystal overlay. Without a sidewall for the glass overlay, the sides are potentially brittle and can crack from casual knocks. Perhaps the use of a plexi glass cover may be more practical for daily use.

The dial execution is a standout feature, with a matte black base complemented by orange chronograph hands and subtle hints of pale blue and red on the 30-minute counter subdial. The silver, grained rings around the subdials add a layer of depth and contrast, enhancing the overall readability and visual appeal. Combined with the applied indices, polished steel hands with lume insert, the watch is surprisingly legible, even in low light conditions.

As for the bracelet, it is well designed, with pin fastened links, and a micro adjustment buckle. Overall well-finished, with matte surfaces and polished beveled edges. The quick release on the bracelet makes this watch very versatile for strap changes.

The Movement

At the heart of the PR516 lies the caliber A05.291, a manual wind chronograph movement based on the Valjoux 7753. The decision to use a hand-wound mechanism has allowed for a slimmer profile, despite the watch’s overall thickness. The movement has a 68-hour power reserve and operates at 4 Hz, providing a reliable and robust engine for the chronograph functions. The use of a weighted balance wheel enhances the precision of the timekeeping, as the distribution of weight on the rim ensures a more consistent oscillatory motion, crucial for maintaining accuracy. This is a welcome modification to the standard Valjoux 7753 movement, in addition to the nivachron hairspring for anti-magnetism.

In addition, the handwound movement seems to have contributed to the overall slimmer profile of the PR516 at 14mm despite the raised crystal. For comparison, the Hamilton Intramatic chronograph handwinding measures 14.35mm, and the PRX chronograph measures 14.54mm.


The Tissot PR516 hand-wound chronograph is priced at USD1850, positioning it as a competitive option in the market. It provides a good alternative to the thicker PRX chronograph at USD1875, the Hamilton intra-matic chronograph at USD2195 for mechanical bracelet and offerings from Seiko – Prospex Speedtimer. Since I purchased the piece, it has been highly accurate, well within COSC specs, which I once again doubt Seiko’s 8R movements can match at this price range, let alone the thickness. The Speedtimer has a movement rating of +25 to -15 seconds per day and a thickness of 14.6mm.

Seen here on a black shell cordovan strap

In summary, the Tissot PR516 offers a compelling package for enthusiasts of entry level chronographs. It is priced below its column wheel brother at Longines, and the more well-known Omega Speedmaster. It is an affordable alternative that does not stinge on the quality of case finishing and has superior movement performance. Compared with the PRX, the PR516 has alot more dial features and a thinner case. It also has a vintage motorsports look that has a heritage provenance. Its thoughtful design, mechanical refinement, and competitive pricing make it a noteworthy contender in the landscape of modern chronographs.


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