Tissot adds another retro hit to its lineup of homage watches based on its vintage library of iconic models. The original Tissot Sideral was launched in 1969 and featured a fiberglass case, which was a first for watches at that time. Fiberglass is used on the hulls of sailboats which might have been the inspiration. The new Tissot Sideral updates this retro-looking timepiece with modern materials and the Powermatic 80 movement to create a contemporary mechanical sports watch. The new model features a forged carbon case with a stainless steel core, a less common material used at this price range. We covered the release with our commentary in June when the watch was launched.
Review: Tissot Sideral S Powermatic
The Tissot Sidereal S Powermatic is owned by the author. And retails for SGD 1,430 inclusive of GST.
Case and Dial
The tonneau-shaped profile of the case measures 41mm in diameter by 14.4mm-thick, which includes the slightly domed sapphire crystal that sticks up above the rim of its bezel. The actual outer diameter of the bezel comes in at 39mm, and since the lugs are completely integrated into the shape of the case, the total lug-to-lug distance of the Tissot Sideral measures 46.5mm. The watch is waterproof up to 300 meters and comes equipped with a regatta gauge represented by a green and red colored sector on the dial, and a five plus five minutes countdown markings on the bezel. The watch has a rather thick bezel and overall case profile, expected from a 300m water resistant case. That said, I found it odd to be staring at a very thick case wall – or rehaut from the dial side. The rehaut in brushed stainless steel looks almost 4mm tall, provides contrast and might have a functional use in hiding a thick crystal; but makes one wonder if perhaps the overall height of the watch could have been slimmer.
The watch is highly legible, with multi-colored lume on the bezel numerals to the minute markers and the hour and minute hands. That said, it is a rather weak lume, that appears only faintly in regular daily wear conditions. For instance, it’ll be equally hard to see in a dark car while driving, although the white hands help a bit, but they are rather thin.
Of the three released color variants, blue, red and yellow, the red model’s dial most closely resembles the vintage dial shown in the comparison picture above, with the grey minutes track, while the yellow strap variant matches the yellow case of the vintage. The blue model incorporates blue resin in the forged carbon case which differentiates it from the other two models with a regular black carbon case.
The regatta gauge is a feature that is commonly found in sailing watches. It is used to help sailors time their starts during a race. The starting procedure of a sailing race involves a series of flags and horns, but in essence, it is a 5-minute countdown (in some rarer instances 10 minutes). For that reason, most regatta timers have timing countdowns of five minutes or increments of five.
Here’s how the regatta gauge works:
- 5 minutes to start: A flag and horn signal the start of the countdown. Engage your regatta timer on a five-minute countdown.
- 4 minutes to start: A second flag and horn sound. This is both a second timing reminder as well as a flag displaying starting rules of the race. If one didn’t start their 5-minute countdown, they can begin a 4-minute countdown now.
- 1 minute to start: Flag change and final preparatory signal.
- 0 minutes to start: Starting flag and signal.
The Tissot Sideral watch comes equipped with a regatta gauge represented by a green and red colored sector on the dial, plus a five plus five minutes countdown markings on the bezel. The five plus five minutes countdown markings on the bezel allow sailors to time their starts more accurately or when it is not starting on the hour.
After I purchased the watch, I first found the strap pins quite cumbersome when trying to wear the watch. Granted it took some time to get used to the stock strap’s dual pin design, and my closest experience to it is the Apple watch strap. Unlike the Apple watch strap, this pin and holes are smaller, and the pin is black colored steel with a flat angular shape rather than spherical. This makes pushing it in more challenging, tighter hole and rougher pin, and requires a learning curve before getting used to it. The strap however, is not a new creation, and might have in fact been an inspiration to the Apple watch strap. It is based on the original 1970’s Sideral strap, but now with a protruding lug edge rather than flushed like regular straps.
I personally like the red strap, and the comfort of the rubber with perforations, but quickly changed it to a black strap for a more muted look. I paired it with a regular Tissot black leather strap with deployant buckle which I had, at least till I order the OEM rubber strap in black. I also tried using a nato strap, but it was too tight between the bars and the case, which made it difficult or impossible to fit on. A perforated leather strap will likely give this watch an alternative rally look.
Unlike my experience with Seiko’s 6R35 movement, the Powermatic 80 from Tissot seems to be much more accurate. Both movements are low beat 21,600 vph, in exchange for an extended power reserve. But unlike Seiko’s -15 to +25 seconds a day accuracy, the Powermatics that I owned have been within COSC specs. This movement in the Sideral S also has a Silicon hairspring which makes it significantly more anti-magnetic than the non-silicon spring models. Movement accuracy is the main reason why I find myself wearing my Tissots more often as compared to similar price point Seikos in my collection.
The Tissot Sideral S is yet another win for Tissot. It is a refreshing addition to the dominant PRX line, and the more predictable heritage line of classic 3 hands and ‘large’ Valjoux chronographs. The tonneau case itself is quite fun to see in Tissot’s product mix of non-circle cases, and even better with forged carbon. The watch is a good size and highly wearable, lightweight compared to any steel, steel bracelet watches, and 300m water resistant for the occasional swimmers. For those who want something less colorful, a regular black strap or black OEM rubber strap will make the watch much more stealthy. The forged carbon is matte finished, and not as contrasting unless under bright sunlight. The colorful lume is also mostly muted. At least for the red version with the grey ring, the watch can be very muted when not on the red strap, which is the primary reason why I chose the red model. The watches are priced at US$995 before tax.