A few months ago, we introduced a rather handsome and well-made timepiece from Tissot: The PRX. Our only slight qualm back then was that the watch is available with a quartz movement. Now, it seems like our prayers have been answered by the horological gods.
Since its introduction in the earlier part of 2021, the PRX has garnered quite a fair bit of attention. This can be mainly attributed to Tissot’s great social media marketing strategies, but more importantly, the product speaks for itself as well. Its good looks and compelling price point certainly helped to position itself as one of the best novelties to come out of 2021.
Now, Tissot has taken the PRX up a notch with a mechanical version. How does this stand against the ordinary quartz-powered PRX? Is it worth the premium? Let us find out!
Review: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Retail price begins at S$950 (inclusive of GST)
The new PRX Powermatic 80 is the extension of the popular PRX-line, which was inspired by the brand’s watches made in the 1970s. Not only does the new PRX Powermatic 80 feature a different movement (as suggested by its nomenclature), there are also some subtle but great touches with the other aspects of the watch as well.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
As mentioned in the previous review, the PRX is a 40mm timepiece that was inspired by the original model that was first launched in 1978. It features a barrel-shaped case, with an integrated bracelet that was pretty much a fad during that period (and now as well, with the resurgence of sports watches). Coupled with the case is a circular bezel, in which it features a shiny mirror-polish as contrasted with the brush finishing on the case itself. The play on shapes and angles is interesting here, as Tissot had used curves and circles on the bezel and case profile, while incorporating angular elements on the lugs and the bracelet. This makes the PRX a really interesting piece visually.
Since we are on the subject of the case, we reckon we should discuss about the integrated bracelet as well. The tapered looks work rather well with the overall design of the watch, and we particularly like how Tissot had taken the effort to alternate the finishing on the links of the bracelet (brushed on the outside, and mirror-polish on the inside/joining portions). This is despite its relatively low price-point, and we do appreciate the work done on it.
Next, we have another highlight of this piece. Unlike the quartz-powered PRX, the PRX Powermatic 80 is fitted with a tapisserie dial. This is definitely an upgrade, and the new dial certainly adds a great touch to this watch – especially since the plainer-looking brushed dial found on its brethren might perhaps be a little uninspiring for some.
On top of that, another minor but important touch is the surround of the date indicator. For this particular piece, Tissot had included a steel border on the aperture window. Whilst it is a minute detail, this is absent in the quartz model -which shows the greater attention to detail on the more premium mechanical timepiece.
Lastly, we have the hands. Faithful to the original, the PRX is fitted with a pair of stick hands. From what we have gathered, the hands on the modern PRX are thicker in width, which we think works better as well. Notably, as this is a mechanical version with a smooth sweeping seconds hand, the issue with the misaligned seconds hand from the quartz version has been resolved as well.
As mentioned in the past article, the PRX is indeed a handsome watch. We also like how Tissot had managed to retain the thin profile of the watch – this is despite the use of a mechanical movement and an exhibition caseback. Notably, this watch is only 0.5mm thicker than the quartz variant (which stands at 10.4mm). It is quite remarkable indeed.
The Movement: Powermatic 80
Powering the mechanical PRX is Tissot’s Powermatic 80. This movement should not be unfamiliar with most collectors, as it is widely used in Tissot’s mechanical pieces. The self-winding movement features a patented Nivachron balance spring, and it boasts a power reserve of around 80 hours. In addition, the movement also has a date function, in which the indicator is situated at the 3 o’clock position on the dial side.
The finishing of the movement is simple and in line with its price point. The only notable touch is the winding rotor, which features Tissot’s logo and some waves motif on it. Otherwise, it is a no-frills movement that does its job superbly and reliably.
The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is priced at S$950 for the steel version, and S$990 for the two-tone model which features a rose gold PVD coating on the bezel, hands, and indices. The full steel version comes in either black or blue dial, while the two-tone variant is only available with a white dial.
At this price point, the PRX Powermatic 80 offers tremendous value. It is rare to see Swiss-made mechanical watches being sold at a price point below S$1,000 – let alone such a well-made piece that also comes with an integrated bracelet as well. For what it is worth, we dare say that this is perhaps one of the most value-for-money offerings in 2021, and perhaps even extending it to the last few years as well.
In terms of competition, there are far and few as well.
The first is perhaps one of the most accessible mechanical timepieces from Switzerland: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm. At S$690, the Hamilton is very well-priced, but we do say that perhaps Tissot had a slight edge with its integrated bracelet and versatility. Having said that, the Hamilton – being a manual-winding timepiece with military-inspired looks – has its charms as well.
Next, we have the Yema Superman Steel Bronze. This is another vintage-inspired piece, with an impressive in-house movement as well (in the form of the YEMA2000). Again, in terms of versatility, perhaps the PRX does better. But in the other aspects, we reckon both the PRX and Superman offer great value. Interestingly, the Superman Steel Bronze is available in both 39 and 41mm variants, with a price point of €990 (approximately S$1,567).
Lastly, we have the Seiko Presage range. We have been great fans of Seiko watches, and its Presage range is perhaps one that offers the best value amongst its myriad of collections. The Cocktail series has many great pieces, and the 2017 edition – dubbed the Presage Cocktail Time “Sakura” – is a very solid piece in our opinion. The 40.5mm watch is fitted with the ubiquitous Caliber 4R35, and they were previously priced at €420 (approximately S$665). While you might be hard-pressed to find this exact variant in the shops these days, we reckon other mechanical pieces from the Presage range still offer great designs with a compelling price point as well.
Having spent a week with the PRX Powermatic 80, we have nothing but praises for this watch. For a watch that is priced at sub-S$1,000, it offers tremendous value. It is indeed a few notches above the quartz-powered PRX – especially with the addition of the tapisserie dial.
In addition, the 40mm PRX is well-sized and it fits snuggly on the wrist (approximately 6.75 inches for the author). It may feel small for those with a larger wrist, but in the Asian context, we do reckon it is sized nicely for our wrist. It is also pretty light and comfortable, which makes wearing it a breeze.
All in all, we feel that the PRX Powermatic 80 is perhaps one of the best novelties of 2021. It is well-priced, good-looking, and pretty solid in terms of built quality. It is another watch that is difficult to find fault with, and we do feel that this is certainly a great watch for any new collectors to begin their watch collection journey. We certainly have yet another winner over here!