OWNER’S PERSPECTIVE: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

by Sameera Gamage

After over a year of ownership, the Tissot PRX has given me a new outlook on what makes a great, affordable luxury timepiece!

What We Love:

  • The finer design details comparable to more expensive watches
  • Variety of dial colours to choose from.
  • Affordable/entry-level luxury at its best.

What We Don’t:

  • The date window could have been placed better for a more balanced dial view.
  • Lack of colour choices to match the dials from the brand for additional straps.
  • Lack of finer adjustment on the integrated bracelet.

Overall Rating: 9.25/10

  • Value for Money: 9.5/10
  • Wearability: 8.5/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Build Quality: 9/10

When the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 was first introduced in 2021, it created quite a buzz! The timepiece came with an integrated bracelet design that had an AP-like shine, a waffle dial and a tonneau-shaped case with a circular dial. Those not versed in Tissot’s history didn’t know that this was a retake on one of the brand’s iconic 1970s designs (which I’ll touch on later) and saw this as a new kid on the block, one whose about to really shake things up in the affordable timepieces category.

One of the main selling points of this timepiece was its price. For what you get in return, this timepiece offers a lot—quite a lot, actually. The PRX was first released with a quartz movement, staying true to its original, and priced around $500. Then came what we watch aficionados were waiting for: a mechanical version with a pretty hefty power reserve.

1970s Vintage Tissot Seastar Automatic men’s watch Cal.2481

So, where did the PRX’s origin first start? We have to trace the lineage back to 1970 when Tissot created a series of timepieces that fall into the brand’s Seastar collection. While a lot of the models in the Seastar collection have design references used by the current PRX, one model, in particular, has almost all the same design codes as the PRX, and that is the Seastar Automatic Cal. 2481. As soon as you see this vintage timepiece, you can trace all the design codes of our modern PRX back to it. From the tonneau-shaped case with circular dial to the polished bezel and integrated bracelet, it’s almost like this vintage model fits in seamlessly with the current PRX lineup.

“We used tomography to be true to the original design,” explains Dolla, “keeping all the proportions the same just enlarged to 40mm. We started with the quartz because the original one was quartz and immediately went into the automatic. It was the fastest development we’ve ever done at Tissot.”

Tissot on creation of the modern PRX.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.091.00) – Green dial.

Tissot released the Seastar Automatic Cal. 2481 into the market at a time when watches like the Vacheron Constantin 222 and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak made the headlines. Timepieces that had beautifully integrated bracelets and luxury sports styling! But these pieces weren’t made to be affordable. And that gap in the market for an affordable timepiece that displayed the same styling characteristics is what Tissot aimed to dominate. Ironically, this is exactly what the PRX collection, when released in 2021, set out to achieve as well, and I can safely say they have done quite the job.

Initial Thoughts

Truth be told, I initially wasn’t a fan of dress pieces or simple three-hander watches. If you have been following my articles or the pieces I have covered on WatchAdvice, you’ll be able to notice that I love the technicality of the timepieces. Timepieces with functions on the dial, whether simple chronographs or, even better, open-worked dials whereby you can see the finer details of the movement without needing to look through the case back.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.091.00) – Green dial showing sunburst effect.

In fact, one of my first-ever luxury watches was the Breitling Navitimer B01(you can read my review of it here!), which was followed by a Superocean Heritage B01 Chronograph 44 and TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Day Date. I have also owned a more affordable Ingersoll, a manual-wound timepiece that beautifully displays the balance wheel, a second timezone and a day and night indicator, all on a skeletonised dial. The only three-hander I had in my collection was a Seiko Sports 5, and even then, it had a diver’s unidirectional bezel. So, for me to get a simple time and date-only piece, it had to be quite special.

When the PRX was released, I was intrigued by its design, especially the polished integrated bracelet. But it initially wasn’t enough to sway me into looking into it further. However, Chamath insisted that I go into the store and try one on. Pictures don’t always do these watches justice. So when I went to try one on, I was pleasantly surprised, but it had some drawbacks. The watch was slim in profile, and the bracelet felt almost weightless compared to the bulkier timepieces in my collection. This, and the available tapisserie dial colours of black and navy blue, just wasn’t enough to sway me into buying one.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.351.00) Hands-On – wrist shot showcasing beautiful ice blue dial.

That was until Tissot released new colours for PRX. In particular, the ice blue dial. I’m a sucker when it comes to coloured dials, so when I saw the ice blue dial being advertised on Tissot’s website, it was like a flip had been switched on in my brain. When I went into the local store next to try the watch on, it was set and done. It’s crazy to think how a simple dial colour change can make a timepiece go from good to great! In the process of me purchasing the ice blue dial, I also bought my dad the green dial variant!

Case Design

A mixture of curved and angular surfaces makes the 40mm case on the PRX simple and very aesthetically pleasing. Of course this modern PRX range isn’t a totally new design. It stays faithful to the original Seastar Automatic Cal. 2481, bar a few exceptions. The original 1970s model is made from a solid block construction and, from its side profile, can be easily seen as quite a thick case. The watch has angular surfaces on either end to transition the bracelet smoothly, which also gives the appearance of the bracelet fitting the curve of the wrist nicely.

Vintage Tissot Seastar Automatic men watch Cal.2481 – Side case profile

For this modern rendition, Tissot has given the PRX a much slimmer profile, while retaining the angular end profile. This gives the PRX a total thickness of just 10.9mm, providing an elegant fit for the wrist. The finishing of the case is one thing that stands out well for me. After owning the Iced Blue PRX for more than a year, I’ve really come to appreciate more and more the “attention to detail” you get from what you pay.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.351.00) close up showing vertical brushed and polish finishes.

The surfaces of PRX’s tonneau-shaped case come with vertical brushed finishing, which is then beautifully complemented by the polished finishing of the bezel and case back. The case chamfers also come with polish finishing which helps to accentuate the detailed finishing on this timepiece further. Another element of detail is Tissot “T” logo that’s shown on the crown. This attention to detail is, for me, what gives this timepiece its wrist presence (besides the bracelet). The combination of mirror-like polished finish contrasting against the vertical brushed finish of the case gives the watch an elegant and luxurious finish.

Tapisserie Dial

Where the modern rendition of the 1970s classic truly steps it up is in the dial. The PRX has been given an eye-watering tapisserie dial or “waffle dial”. That’s not all, however, as Tissot has also gone the extra length to give it a sunburst finish. While the tapisserie dial is an impressive finish, especially for a watch that’s marketed as “affordable luxury”, what i feel the brand has done well is releasing the PRX in various dial colours, not only to appease certainly individual tastes, but also to help see this dial in a “different light”.

What I mean by this is, take, for example, the original black and blue dials, while they have a more contrasting effect with thour hour indices and hands, the tapisserie dial isn’t that prominent until you start playing with the dial’s sunburst effect at different angles of light.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.091.00) – Green dial turns to black at different light angles.

Now, take the ice blue dial PRX variant, and the dial pattern is almost immediately noticeable, especially from some distance. The sunburst effect is just an added layer of depth. If I were given the choice of whether to take the black dial PRX or green dial PRX, I would opt for the green dial quite easily. This is purely the fact that the green is almost seen as black at certain light angles or even low light conditions. Directly looking at the watch in low light conditions, the dial looks almost black (as can be seen by the above photo), with only the sunburst effect giving it away that there’s green underneath the dark appearance.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.351.00) – Close-up showing stunning tapisserie/ waffle dial in ice blue colour.

The date window at 3 o’clock comes with a white date wheel. On the ice blue dial, this doesn’t seem to be nearly as much of an issue, as it almost blends in with the background. However, if I’m being very nitpicky, it’s on the darker colours that the date window and its placement can seem a bit unbalanced. Tissot should have retained the original 1970s Seastar cal. 2481 design, where the 3 o’clock hour marker is removed in order to accommodate the date window, providing a more proportional look to the dial.

Integrated Bracelet

The PRX’s integrated sports bracelet design is one of its strongest arsenals when it comes to the luxury look of this timepiece. While the case and dial constriction and design are above what you’d expect for an affordable luxury watch, this integrated bracelet really hammers it home. To put it into perspective, a bracelet with a brushed and shiny finish is what you’d find on a much more expensive timepiece.

The quality of the PRX’s integrated bracelet sets it apart from many of its competitors in a similar price bracket. Thanks to the case’s tapered and angular design, the bracelet seamlessly transitions from the case. An impressive detail is also the clasp design. The butterfly clasp follows the same link pattern as the rest of the bracelet, which, when closed, allows the bracelet design to flow uninterruptedly.

However, I really like the bracelet’s polished finishing details. Each individual link contains the same vertical brushed finish as the case, while the angular surfaces of the links have a polished finish. This minute polish detail makes a world of difference, allowing this bracelet to shine from some distance!

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.351.00) – Integrated bracelet fit on wrist

Movement:

The engine inside the PRX is Tissot’s Powermatic 80 movement (hence the name PRX Powermatic 80!). The Powermatic 80 movement is not an in-house movement, and nor do we expect it to be for this price point. However, the movement has been developed by ETA for Swatch Group (Tissot’s parent company). The movement is designed to be an affordable powerhouse, boasting a power reserve of 80 hours.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 caseback showcasing Powermatic 80 movement and it’s finishing.

However, the power reserve has come at the expense of high frequency, as the movement operates only at 3hz (21,600 VpH) (read our article on movement frequency here!). This is why when you look at the dial, the second-hand does not have a smooth motion but rather a very fine ticking motion. With this movement frequency, Tissot states that the accuracy of the movement is in the range of a deviation of (-15/+15) seconds per day.

Through the sapphire crystal of the open case back, we get a glimpse of the Powermatic 80 movement. While a lot of it is closed off, we still get to see the balance wheel in motion and are also treated to the winding rotor finished in a wave pattern.

How It Wears:

As I mentioned earlier in the article, I prefer to wear timepieces that are a bit heavier and bulkier so that I can feel their wrist presence more. So when I started wearing the PRX, it was a completely different shift for me. The watch has a slim profile (measuring only 10.9mm thick), and the bracelet is lightweight, which makes for comfortable wear overall.

I have fairly slim wrists (measuring 6.7 inches), and I found that the integrated bracelet fits quite nicely. However, I’ve had to remove several links to do so. The watch sits atop the wrist without protruding out, and this is mainly thanks to the angular end shape of the tonneau case.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T137.407.11.091.00) – Green dial on the wrist.

I like to wear my watches tight on the wrist, and I found that even with the smaller links removed, I didn’t quite achieve the perfect fit. The only gripe I have with the bracelet is the lack of quick-adjustment, but who am I kidding? This is a $1k timepiece, not a $5k + one.

For an affordable luxury timepiece, the wrist presence is next to none. I’ve received so many compliments on this timepiece, especially the ice blue dial. In fact, here is a fun story: I had a complete stranger come up to me while I was out shopping and compliment me on the timepiece, sparking a conversation about watches.

Final Thoughts:

I know I’ve harped on about it several times, but this timepiece’s value proposition is immense. When you look into the finer details of the watch, what you are paying for vs. what you get feels like two different things. When I think of the ideal entry-level luxury watch, it’s hard for me to look past the PRX. The timepiece looks, feels and wears like one that punches well above its weight (think of AP Royal Oak, Vacheron Constantin 222). And isn’t that what you want in a luxury timepiece, entry-level or not? To feel like you are getting your money’s worth.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Ice blue (ref. T137.407.11.351.00) & Green (ref. T137.407.11.091.00)

One area I feel Tissot can improve on is offering additional straps. Currently, on the website, the brand offers black, brown, and blue leather straps with rubber straps in the same colours plus an additional white. However, none of these colours match the dial colours of the PRX in this article. A dark green/green strap and a sky/baby blue strap would work wonders for the two PRX models shown, offering more flexibility and versatility in wear with this timepiece.

The Tissot PRX was also a learning curve for me. It introduced me to a different segment of horology that I had previously steered away from—not because I didn’t like the design, but because my personal tastes were different. But that’s what being a watch fanatic is all about, right? Like anything, it’s about trying and experiencing different things so your tastes and views of the world (in this case, horology) grow!

Reference: T137.407.11.351.00 (iced-blue dial), T137.407.11.091.00 (green dial).

Specification:

  • Size: 40mm Thickness: 10.9mm
  • Case: 316 stainless steel case with a mix of polished and vertical brushed finishes.
  • Dial: Variety of dial choices. In this article are the iced-blue dial (ref T137.407.11.351.00) and green dial (ref. T137.407.11.091.00)
  • Movement: Tissot Powermatic 80 with patented Nivachron balance spring.
  • Power reserve: 80 hrs
  • Water resistance: 10 bar (100 meters)
  • Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with antireflective coating
  • Case back: Sapphire with anti-reflective treatment
  • Strap: Interchangeable quick-release stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp with push-buttons.

Australian Recommended Retail Pricing: A$1,150

Availability: Available now through Tissot boutiques and authorised retailers or online through tissot.com.au

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