Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Review: THE Near-Perfect Swiss Watch and it’s Relatively Affordable
by Raman Kalra
Raman Kalra is the founder of The Watch Muse blog and has kindly agreed to share some of his articles with us here on Quill & Pad.
Tissot was a brand that I knew about and I often saw their watches, but they never really sparked any interest in me. This has nothing to do with the brand, but nothing caught my eye. Then the PRX was released, and I think like many others, I started to take an interest. Granted, it took two years since release to make my purchase, but as an owner here are my impressions of the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80.
How and why the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 ended up in my collection
Here is my conclusion straight up – Tissot really has created something special with the PRX. Having originally released the Tissot PRX 40 205 back in 1978, it very much followed the integrated stainless steel sports watch formula of the time. The PRX stood for “Power, Robust, X” where the “X” is the Roman numeral relating to 10 atm (100 meters) of water resistance, and Tissot continues to use the name on the current versions available today.
In the current market, it is no secret that integrated sports watches are the fashion. Whilst others were looking for ways to make their own variation, and in some cases actually doing a pretty good job (Frederique Constant Highlife), Tissot was fortunate enough to have a model in its back catalogue to bring back to life. And the best part was that they brought it back at a relatively affordable price. In 2020, the current quartz PRX was released, followed closely by the automatic Powermatic 80.
When released, people fell for it immediately, and I was one of them. The marketing photos and videos did the watch justice (tip of the hat to Tissot here). It evoked a 1970s emotion, had heritage, but was built for modern times. Again, all of this for a very reasonable price.
Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t purchase it straight away. The short answer is I purchased my Tudor Black Bay 36 in 2020, so my watch itch was scratched at the time. On top of this, I wasn’t oblivious to the fact they were being bought and flipped for nearly double retail at one point, and this whole process is not something I can be bothered to deal with.
Fast forwarding to 2022 and the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch. Wow. That is a whole different story for another day, but excited was an understatement. After trying, and failing, to get one at retail like many out there, I did start asking myself what I would be willing to pay for one on the gray market. That’s how bad it got. Until I saw a PRX and it clicked. For very little more than I what I mentally allocated to a gray market MoonSwatch, I could purchase an ETA powered, Swiss Made watch from a heritage brand with excellent reviews.
One month later, here I am wearing it as I write this, having not worn one other watch in that time.
Why is the PRX so good?
1. The Bracelet
The whole package that Tissot offers looks great, but it is the bracelet which stands out to me most. The bracelet integrates perfectly with the watch case and has a very good taper from the watch case down to the butterfly clasp. On first touch, it feels solid. Ok, it is not the same quality as some bracelets out there on the market, but when putting it in context with other watches in this price range, it blows the competition away.
It is extremely supple, hugging your wrist perfectly, making it very comfortable. It is thin so it can disappear below your cuff. Best of all, it is a wonderful mixture of brushed links, with intelligently placed polished surfaces where the links meet one another. This leads to some amazing light-play and perfect wrist rolls (even if you’re not recording it!). By far, this is the best part of the watch in my eyes.
2. The Case
Following straight on from the bracelet, the case gives exactly the same positive impression. The barrel-shaped case is very well made, with a combination of interesting lines and shapes. What do I mean by this? The case edges are sharp and angular, and the side profile has a flat center case with a round case back and bezel. It means whenever you look at the watch you are met with a level of depth and complexity, despite it looking like a relatively flat watch at first.
Building on the various lines of the case, Tissot does an excellent job at using different finishes. Very much in line with the bracelet, there is a satisfying combination of brushed and polished finishes. The combination of bevelled edges and a polished bezel against the flat brushed case looks amazing, but also provides a very luxurious feel.
The quartz version, which has the same case and bracelet as the automatic, can be bought for under £300.
3. The Dial
The dial is very good (I’ll try not to use to many superlative words here.) I have included the dial on my list of what makes this watch so special, but I think there is room for improvement. The Powermatic 80 is differentiated from its Quartz brother with the addition of a tapisserie dial, and what makes it so important for me is the addition of texture. It is very Royal Oak-esque, which can be good or bad depending on your own feelings, but I think why the texture is a positive goes hand-in-hand with the case size.
At 40mm, the watch is a good size, but given the flat case and thin bezel, the watch does end up wearing slightly bigger. With all of that dial real estate, thin hour markers and minimal text, the tapisserie dial manages to pull it all together. The dial starts to feel more compact and this in turn makes the whole watch feel better constructed and purposeful. Maybe this is not the most logical train of thought, but in wearing the watch this is the impression I get.
The texture makes the watch feel less bare. On top of everything, it achieves this whilst also looking great.
This is not to say I do not like the sunburst Quartz dial. Actually, I am a fan of it given the watch doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be a Royal Oak. But for my wrist size, for my particular tastes, I found that the watch as a whole was on the larger side for me and the textured dial on the Powermatic 80 works better.
What could be improved?
Thinking of areas where the PRX could be improved is a difficult task. I want to stress again for a watch costing €745 it is genuinely pretty close to being perfect.
The next few points are minor, and are personal to me. And I’m having my work cut out to be critical.
1. Case size
My first wish is for a version with a 36-38mm case size. As I mentioned above, this is me being picky and it’s very much an individual want given my wrist size. Yes, I understand that they released a 35mm version in 2022, and I am sure that they will end up releasing an automatic 35mm version. I am also sure that it will open the door for many buyers that did not buy the 40mm because it was too large.
However, a 5mm case size difference between what is on sale currently is slightly too much. With the success of the range, if Tissot really wanted to make the model for everyone, it would emulate what Tudor did with the Black Bay range – a 32mm, 36mm and the current 40mm – or something similar.
Do I ever rely on watch lume? No. Do I find it a cool addition when I look at my wrist and catch the indices glowing? Yes.
The PRX does feature applied indices that are long, thin and are filled with lume. This is also the case for the hands. Even with purposefully charging up the lume to try and see how the watch performs, it is on the weak side. The hands are slightly better given they are thicker, but the indices are barely visible.
There are two ways to fix this. Firstly, apply more lume. Obvious, but it could come at a cost of making the indices larger which may change the elegance of the dial. Or secondly, remove the lume from the indices, keep it on the hands, and own the decision for it to be this way. It is neither here nor there at the moment, but could be addressed.
3. Strap options
My final wish for the future of the PRX is more strap options. The PRX does feature a quick release mechanism for the bracelet, and it has been a part of the model since release in 2020. Recently Tissot has released a couple of leather strap options, which is a start, but there is no clear method for purchasing one online.
I feel like they are missing a trick here. It would not be hard to add more strap colors to the lineup, a rubber version as well, all available to purchase separately. Maybe it doesn’t need to go this far, but you could view the PRX as the Apple Watch for Swiss watches. A solid watch, versatile, accessible, but customizable for all styles. Each year a few new colors could be released so you can keep changing your vibe, and Tissot could be selling them for £50 each.
You can thank me later Tissot!
Update: in march 2023 Tissot released a rubber strap.
If you made it this far, it’s not hard to see that I love this watch. It has been one of the most pleasantly surprising purchases I have made across any watch category.
I was expecting a watch with good style, which is obvious from the photos, but I was not expecting such a well-made, comfortable daily wear. Yes, there are areas for improvement that I find for future updates, but for the price you would be hard-pressed to find anything that can beat it.
For more information, please visit www.tissotwatches.com/en-en/t1374071105100.html
Quick facts: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Indications: hours, minutes, seconds and date
Case: stainless steel, brushed with polished accents, polished stainless steel bezel, sapphire crystal dial side, display caseback
Dimensions: : 35mm diameter x 11.3mm height
Dial: black, blue, green or white mother-of-pearl dial, waffle tapisserie pattern (embossed), applied indices and hands with Super-LumiNova
Movement: Tissot Powermatic 80 (upgraded ETA 2824-2), automatic winding, 23 jewels, 25.60mm, 3 Hz/21,600 bph, Nivachron non-magnetic hairspring
Power reserve: 80 hours
Water resistance: 100 meters
Bracelet: integrated stainless steel bracelet with triple folding clasp – brushed with polished details
You can read more articles by Raman Kalra at www.thewatchmuse.com.
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