Tissot added to the ever-growing roster of sport-luxury watches on integrated steel bracelets in 2021 with the re-release of the PRX, a watch the Swiss brand first put on the market in 1978. The “P” and “R” in the name stand for “precise” and “robust,” and the “X” is actually a Roman numeral “10” depicting the model’s 10 atmospheres (aka 100 meters) of water resistance. Like its predecessor, the first modern PRX model had a quartz movement, but that one was swiftly followed by an automatic version containing the brand’s Powermatic 80 caliber.
The quartet is made up of two new quartz-driven models, one with a crowd-pleasing, metallic green dial color, the other in the classic blue that with leather strap, and two new automatics, one in PRX blue with leather strap and the other in a darker shade of green than its quartz cousin. The stainless steel, barrel-shaped cases all measure 40 mm in diameter, a relatively svelte 11 mm in thickness, and integrate smoothly into either a supple steel bracelet or, in the case of the blue-dialed versions, a leather strap that echoes the color of the dial.
The dial of the PRX is stylish in its simplicity, with faceted, applied indices, a date display inside a faceted window at 3 o’clock, and a “Tissot 1853” inscription below 12 o’clock along with “PRX” logo in a ‘70s-style font at 6 o’clock. The indices and baton-style hands have a coating of SuperLuminova for easy legibility in the dark. The dial of the quartz PRX is vibrant and shiny, its sunray finish replacing the waffle pattern on its automatic siblings, while the green of the Powermatic 80 model is darker, more sober, and does feature the familiar waffle texture. A similar subtle variation can be found on the blue dials, with the quartz version offering a sunray surface and the Powermatic offering the familiar texture that (along with other aspects of the PRX, to be sure) conjures up images of a more famous and far more pricey watch in this style, the genre-defining Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
The cases are finished at an exceedingly high level for this price point, with uniformly vertical-brushed surfaces seamlessly flowing into polished areas, a practice that continues into the bracelets, whose center links are elegantly polished for an eye-catching contrast in ideal light conditions. The bracelets taper toward a two-button, quick-release butterfly clasp. The leather straps, which are designed to be easily interchangeable with the bracelets, have a crocodile pattern that helps to elevate the watches’ overall look and fasten to the wrists with a traditional steel pin buckle.
Tissot shares corporate ownership under the Swatch Group with movement mega-manufacturer ETA, which supplies both the quartz and mechanical calibers used in the brand’s watches. The quartz ETA F06.115 is a reliable movement made to fairly high standards. For the more expensive PRX models, Tissot uses the self-winding Powermatic 80, which is a remarkable technical achievement for ETA and a very useful development for the Swatch Group brands that use it, namely Tissot and its brethren in the more “affordable” market segment such as Hamilton, Rado, and Mido. To achieve its uncommonly lengthy 80-hour power reserve (most comparable movements offer power reserves around 42 hours), ETA’s engineers reduced the base caliber’s consumption of energy by reducing the frequency of its oscillations from 4 Hz (28,800) to 3 Hz (21,600 vph), and added a friction-reducing synthetic material to the escapement. They also shrunk the diameter of the barrel arbor’s core to allow for a stretched mainspring and thus a longer power reserve. The Powermatic movements, with its Tissot-branded rotor, is visible through a sapphire caseback, while the quartz caliber, as one would expect, is hidden behind a solid steel caseback.
With prices ranging from RM 1,350 (strap) and RM 1,500 (bracelet) in its quartz incarnation to just RM 2,650 (strap) and RM 2,800 (bracelet) in the automatic version, the Tissot PRX is clearly strong in its value proposition for fans of this particular type of stylish sports watch. Along with these models, Tissot has announced, will also come a new 35-mm version of the PRX and, perhaps most excitingly to some, a new PRX automatic chronograph, which we’ll surely be covering here again.