With the increase in popularity of "vintage-reissue" watches in recent years, watch brands continue to search their back catalogs for past models to remake. Of course vintage divers have been all of the rage for a while. By now, I'm sure that you've also noticed another 1970's trend that has resurfaced. Yes, stainless steel sports watches with integrated bracelets are "in." It's to the point that giving five (or more) figures of your hard-earned money to Audemars Piguet or Patek Philippe to buy such a watch from them is considered a massive privilege.
Luckily, for the rest of us, more affordable brands are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Tissot is one of the latest, with the (very faithful) reissue of its 1978 PRX model. I had recently bought a very similarly-shaped Tudor North Flag, but I wanted to see what Tissot had to offer for roughly a tenth of the price. I've since also reviewed the similarly-shaped Autodromo Group B.
Its 40mm diameter, and 10.4mm thickness sounded promising, and the case and bracelet design and finishing looked fantastic in photos. I was excited to check one out in the metal. I found a black dial model at a good price on eBay, and decided to jump on it (you can check out available Tissot PRX watches on eBay at this affiliate link). A silver grained dial with gold indices, and a blue sunburst dial are also available.
Once it arrived, it did not disappoint. Sharp case edges, and precise finishing is quite good for a watch under $400. The Unique one-piece links make the bracelet feel like you are wearing...well...a bracelet. All around, the watch has a jewelry quality to it, yet still feels masculine due it its sharp edges. The polished bezel, case chamfer, and inner chamfers on the links adds a bit of bling too. The bracelet also features quick-release springbars. A nice touch, except that I'm not aware of any straps that will fit it (let us know in the comments if this is something you're interested in).
At 40mm wide, and 40mm lug to lug, the size will be ideal for a lot of people. One thing to note though is that the first set of links on the bracelet sit flush to the case. Thus, the lug to lug in practice is nearly 52mm.
Moving to the dial, legibility is excellent. Minimal text is used, and small strips of lume on the hands and markers put the "sport" in this dressy sports watch. That being said, the lume is...present. It is not very useful in full darkness, but the white color still helps visibility even during the day. My main complaint is that a white date wheel is used. I understand cutting cost and not providing a custom blue date wheel on the blue model, but Tissot should have at least specced a black date wheel for black dial models (the automatic version at least has a metal surround which helps to better integrate the date).
Until I had been wearing the watch for a while, I didn't realize that the dial has a subtle vertical graining to it. It looks nice, but I'm almost not sure why they bothered. I'd prefer it to be either all black, or have the graining stand out a bit more.
It's obvious that a lot of thought was put into the handset. The hour and minutes hands are faceted, with polished sides, and a slightly matte center. This helps them to reflect light at different angles and not blend into the black dial as many dress watches tend to do. Often quartz watches have minutes and seconds hands that are much too short. On the PRX, they are well-proportioned.
Yes that's right, watch snobs will be disappointed to learn that the PRX is powered by a quartz movement. I'm one of those snobs, but I will say that it's nice to have a watch this versatile that is ready to go at all times without having to worry about setting it. It's also nice that it has an End of Life indicator function for the battery. I contemplated waiting for the upcoming Powermatic 80 version to go on sale in June, but for cost reasons (and my impatience) I decided to try out the more affordable (and available) quartz version.
Overall, for the $375 MSRP, the Tissot PRX is a great "Go Anywhere, Do Anything Watch." Its styling won't look out of place at a formal event, but 100m of water-resistance, and durable construction should mean it will stand up to a bit of abuse.
What are your thoughts of the Tissot PRX? Is the quartz movement a deal-breaker for you? Will you wait for the automatic, or do you prefer the simpler and less expensive version? Let us know in the comments.
Name: Tissot PRX
Reference Number: T1374101105100
Dimensions: 40mm diameter, 40mm lug-to-lug, 10.4mm thick, 12mm lug width
Movement: ETA F06.115 Quartz with EOL (battery end-of-life indicator)
Water Resistance: 100m
Bezel: Fixed, stainless steel
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with push-button butterfly clasp