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Unlike decades ago when there were just a few watch brands we could fully trust, nowadays the list of options to consider is so much bigger. There are tens of companies that combine style, quality and affordability. But there are a lot more that bring neither or not all of the qualities required. This in-depth review will give you a better idea of which of the aforementioned groups Tissot belongs to.
Before we get into detail here, Tissot is a Swiss-made watch company renowned for producing stylish timepieces. Some of them are available for low-to-mid budget shoppers whereas others require a bigger investment. We will discuss the price-quality ratio later on.
When doing my research for this article, I’ve noticed that there are many recurring pre-purchase questions from users like you:
- Is Tissot a good watch brand?
- Is Tissot a luxury brand?
- How does it fare against other brands in a similar price range?
These are just three of many that you will find the answers for in this Tissot review. Together we are also going to take a closer look at some of the most in-demand Tissot collections.
As always when it comes to brand reviews on my site, I love to start from the very beginning – the history of the company. If you feel like this is the info you can do without, you can move straight to Tissot watch quality review.
Tissot Watch History
Tissot is now a worldwide name with a strong presence on over 150 markets spread across all continents. Like in the case of a few other long-standing companies in the watchmaking industry, though, it all started very small.
Tissot was a family business from the very start. The company was founded in 1853 by Charles-Felicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Emile Tissot, in Le Cocle, Switzerland. To further highlight the family influence in the business, the shop was given a very “unique” name – Charles-Felicien Tissot & Son.
In the very early years, the success of the company was hugely dependent on others. The soon-to-be-giant brand was working with a whole network of independent craftsmen responsible for delivering hand-made parts of every watch. One would deliver a case, another a crown, and yet another a strap.
Once all the parts were collected at the shop, Charles-Felicien and his son Charles-Emile would start assembling the watches. The first timepieces produced by Tissot were in majority pocket and pendant watches.
Fun fact: there was another similarly-sounding brand founded in the 19th century in the form of Mathey-Tissot. The two companies are in no way related, though.
At that time, the goal was to ship as many watches to the United States and it was reached immediately. Not many expected at that time that Tissot would expand to another major market soon after.
In 1858, Tissot watches started being sent to Russia. Tissot’s impressive expansion to Europe’s biggest country didn’t really take off until 1885. In that year, Charles Tissot went to Moscow with a mere goal of managing a local Tissot branch. Little did he know that there he would also find a wife and decide to settle. Thanks to his outstanding relations with locals and growing connections, Tissot became a huge hit in the country. And it still is now.
With sales constantly increasing, the next step of Tissot’s development was to open their own factory. The plan came to fruition at the beginning of the 19th century. The manufactory was built by Charles Tissot in Chemin de Tourelles in 1907. Funnily enough, Tissot’s headquarters are still there as of today.
About 3 years later, in 1910, Tissot women’s wristwatches became a huge hit amongst the shoppers. Thanks to the original design often decorated by gold, platinum or even diamond elements, they stood out amongst others.
At that time, wristwatches weren’t as popular as today but Tissot still managed to rack up an incredible number of sales. The unique style offered by Tissot timepieces was soon to be copied by many in the industry.
After setting up their own manufacturing company in 1917, Tissot started to come up with their own movements. That reduced the outsourcing costs and in turn made mid-to-high-end Tissot watches affordable for a wider audience. Luckily for us, that trend is still continuing as of today.
Tissot was behind many ideas that shaped the watchmaking industry for years. Firstly, they were the pioneers when it comes to non-magnetic wristwatches, releasing the first one in 1930.
They were also one of if not the first to produce watches made of plastic, wood, and mother of pearl. Last but not least, Tissot was the first brand on the market to use tritium for illumination purposes in their products.
Tissot, Omega and the Swatch Group
1930 was a kind of a breakthrough year for the company. After years of increasing their presence in the US and Russian markets, Tissot merged with another Swiss giant in the industry, Omega, to further accelerate the growth. The merge also marked the beginning of the first Swiss watchmaking association (SSIH).
In 1933, a special marketing plan was designed by Paul Tissot. The strategy was called “the Tissot Plan” and focused on targeting selected markets by handing out cost-free product catalogs to all retailers.
The second half of the 20th century saw Tissot manufacture both manual and automatic timepieces. It was also the beginning of collections targeting exclusively the young generation. Such watches were richer in colors and less formal.
Even though Tissot continued to be one of the leading watch brands on the market, the Quartz Crisis spanning from the 1970s to the early 1980s didn’t spare the company.
Looking for ways to rebuild the image and restabilize the name, Tissot considered many options. In the end, what seemed like the best one at the time was to join the Swatch Group, then known as SMH.
The merge with the Swiss watch giant happened in 1998 and people at Tissot haven’t looked back since then. The Swatch Group is still going strong and consists of many other world-renowned brands such as Omega, Longines and Harry Winston.
Is Tissot a Good Brand? (Quality Overview)
Usually, there are as many different opinions on watches as there are customers. This doesn’t seem to apply to Tissot.
The brand has been enjoying an ever bigger presence in the last two decades thanks to its awesome quality-price ratio. As a result, many people who love an expensive watch design and top-quality movement but can’t afford brands like Rolex or Omega, go after Tissot products. Belonging to the aforementioned Swatch Group allows Tissot to offer more for less. And, as its slogan says, they continue to be the “Innovators by Tradition”.
So, is Tissot a good brand? A short answer to the question would be: yeah, absolutely. But let’s dig deeper to find out why.
Are Tissot watches good? (Quality Review)
Absolutely, they are. During a period spanning through more than 3 centuries, Tissot watches found many admirers around the globe thanks to their Swiss-made quality and precision, and affordable pricing.
A testament to their success can be the fact that the company has been a proud sponsor of many sports events including the Ski Jumping World Cup, NHL and more. Tissot watches have been also seen on wrists of many celebrities including Angelina Jolie.
There are many reasons why I consider Tissot watches to be of good quality. Three that stand out are their movement, as well as straps and glass materials.
Tissot uses the ETA movement, which is one of the best on the market and is also used by brands like Omega. As an example, you can find the same ETA movement in Tissot Seastar 1000 and Omega Seamaster. The only difference is that you can get the Tissot product for less than half the price of the Seamaster.
For maximum dial protection and durability, Tissot watches use sapphire crystal glasses. These are considered premium material and are incredibly resistant to scratches and physical shocks.
Last but not least, you can’t go wrong with Tissot’s genuine leather strap. If you want something slightly less stylish but even more durable, many models come with a stainless steel bracelet.
Taking all of the above into consideration, I think it’s fair to say that Tissot indeed guarantees good quality of watches.
How expensive are Tissot watches? What is their starting price?
The beauty of Tissot watches is that the prices are flexible. No matter if you are on a budget or want something really top-end, Tissot is ready to deliver. In general, Tissot watches range from as little as ~$200 to somewhere around $1,000, depending on the collection we select and where we decide to do our shopping. Of course, it’s possible to find some models that will be an exception to this rule.
This collection presents the most traditional design of Tissot watches. The majority of T-Classics use Quartz movement although you will find some neat automatic timepieces as well.
For the fans of old-school, there are also 3 models with manual winding. In total, there are around 500 watches available in the T-Classic collection. Depending on where you shop online, these models can be purchased from around ~$200. You can check T-Classic watches on Amazon.
T-Sport collection presents the most sporty look of them all. Not only is the design of the watches less official and suitable for physical endeavors but a vast majority of them are chronographs.
Precision is of utmost importance in any sports and with this collection, you get just that and more. Currently, there are more than 120 T-Sport models, most of them using Quartz movement. Some of these watches can be bought even for around ~$200 across the web. There’s plenty of T-Sport models available on Amazon. If you like to combine the iconic style presented by Classic line with sports-like features, the Chrono XL series might be appealing to you.
A Tissot collection exclusively designed for ladies. T-Lady watches are definitely the most ornamented ones from all collections. What’s brilliant about them is that they still manage to keep the classic and elegant look we got used to over the years.
In total, there are around 90 ladies-exclusive Tissot watches available. Most of them use Quartz movement although there’s a T-Lady Heart line that is automatic. The cheapest T-Lady watch I could find online was available for ~$220.
During the long and rich history of Tissot watches, there have been some models that have shaped the company in particular, like the Tissot Visodate. Heritage collection takes pride in combining the looks of some of the most iconic models from the past with a contemporary style.
The Heritage collection offers 26 unique Quartz and automatic watches. For the collectors, there are also two manually-wound timepieces from the Heritage Porto line. Some of the models from this collection can be bought for around $350. Check the latest prices of Heritage models on Amazon.
If we can pick one collection that has been the biggest breakthrough in Tissot’s modern history, it would be this one. Tissot released its and world’s first tactile watch in 1999, naming it T-Touch. Soon after, more models were released and the collection became a huge hit amongst customers around the world.
T-Touch watches use a unique touch screen crystal that serves as the interactive cockpit of all new-tech functionalities that come with the collection. What’s unique about this collection is that all T-Touch watches are solar-powered. At the time of writing, the collection has 25 models, many of which were designed for huge sporting events like Tour de France and the NBA.
Due to their reputation and technology, they are one of the most expensive Tissot watches. Depending on where you shop, some of the models are available from around $500. Feel free to check T-Touch offers on Amazon.
Tissot’s famous statement of offering “gold value at silver’s price” is the perfect reflection of the T-Gold line. As you can probably guess, this collection consists of timepieces made of gold.
All T-Gold watches include 18K gold case, usually combined with a leather or a stainless steel strap.
The most luxurious models in the collection are fully made of gold and can cost you up to $3,000. The vast majority of them are Quartz watches, although you will be able to find some automatic timepieces as well. There’s also one self-winding model (T71546134). The cheapest options I found are listed at around $900.
Where are Tissot watches made?
A huge reason why Tissot watches are such an appealing choice for watch enthusiasts, collectors and everyday Joes, is their Swiss quality.
Swiss-made watches are renowned for their incredible precision and Tissot is no different. To be considered a Swiss-made watch, a product first and foremost must use a Swiss movement. Its assembly and inspection must also take place in Switzerland. Tissot watches meet all of the criteria.
Since the very beginning, Tissot headquarters and the factory have been located in Le Cocle in Switzerland. No matter what Tissot watch you are after, one thing is for sure: all its parts (including movement) have been designed and produced in Switzerland.
The best part about this is that, since everything is handled locally, the costs of production and assembly are a lot cheaper. This, in turn, allows Tissot to use high-end movements and watch parts at prices a lot more affordable than other industry moguls.
Is Tissot a luxury brand?
Yes, and maybe.
Yes, because I think that using the same movements that can be found in brands like Omega is a great indicator of how good and high-end Tissot watches actually are.
Maybe, because according to the Swatch Group itself, Tissot watches should be considered mid-end products. A brand that can be considered a luxury and that belongs to the group is the already mentioned Omega.
I said “maybe” on purpose. That’s because the benchmark provided by the Swatch Group is really high and doesn’t include watch brands only. What’s more, the ranking is based purely on the cost of products. If we were to take the presented ranking as gospel, we would have to assume that Longines is not a luxury brand either. I’m sure many experts and fans of the brand would disagree.
For me, what makes a luxury watch brand is the quality of material used with the watches and a stylish look. As we know, Tissot uses movements shared by many top-end brands. Other parts used with their watches, like straps and glasses, are also of the best quality.
I think more than anything, Tissot falls a victim to their own affordability. Many don’t consider Tissot a luxury brand only because most of their watches can be bought for less than $1,000. Tissot might not be a Rolex-like luxury, but their watches are still worth its weight in gold and should be considered as such. A luxury that many will be able to afford.
How to tell if a Tissot watch is real?
Just like in the case of any other world-renowned watch brand, there are thousands of counterfeit Tissot products sold every day. It might not be happening in the same numbers as fake Rolex and Hublot products but it is still a possibility to encounter one. As a rule of thumb you can assume: if Tissot watches price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In order to spot a fake Tissot watch when shopping online, you should focus your attention on the price and the serial number more than anything.
Remember that legit Tissot watches normally start at the ~$150 mark. Anything below that should raise a flag. Of course, many online stores offer seasonal discounts and sales but it’s really hard to find legit, brand new Tissot watches for less than $200.
Equally if not more important is the serial number of the watch. No matter if you are shopping at the official Tissot store or one of the online marketplaces, the serial number must be provided on all listings. If it isn’t, it should raise suspicion.
At the same time, the lack of the serial number doesn’t always mean that the watch is counterfeit. You can always ask the seller to provide it and send you a real-life photo of the back of the watch. You can then head to Tissot’s official website and check whether a watch with such serial number exists. It’s worth noting that Tissot serial numbers always come on the back of the watch and consists of 9-11 characters, without spaces or dashes.
If you are in the minority and shopping for the watch offline, you get the advantage of actually getting to see and touch it before the purchase. In this case, pay attention to:
- weight – original quality Tissot watches are hardly light as a feather. If it does feel surprisingly lightweight, I’d recommend against buying it.
- mechanical work – try winding the watch and look for any internal resistance while doing it. A legit Tissot watch is easy to wind and the process is smooth and soundless.
- winding handle – all the winding handles of genuine Tissot watches have an engraved letter “T” on them. If it looks as if it’s glued or it’s not there at all, the watch is probably counterfeit.
- luminescence – Tissot watches radiate a very powerful, easy to read light after dusk or in pitch-black rooms. A low glow or a complete lack of it would suggest the watch is fake.
Where to buy Tissot watches?
To minimize the risk of spending your hard-earned cash on a fake Tissot watch, consider only trusted online destinations.
The first choice is the official store of Tissot. For obvious reasons, this is the safest option but at the same time, the most expensive one. The store itself very rarely offers promotions so most of the time you would be buying the watches at catalogue prices.
Another option that I consider more than safe is Amazon. Unlike many other marketplaces, they are full of authorized sellers and offer a 90-day refund policy so the risk is next to nothing. The best thing about shopping for Tissot watches on Amazon there is that most of the time the prices are noticeably lower. There are thousands of them available and every day brings a new range of discounted models. When going for this option, consider only products that have already been reviewed and the average score is no less than 4.
If it happens that you find a Tissot watch you love at an unbeatable price somewhere else, make sure to check if the shop is on the Tissot’s authorized retailers list.
Tissot Warranty Policy
As long as you buy a genuine Tissot watch from any of the authorized dealers, your product will be covered by a two-year international warranty from the date of purchase.
The Tissot warranty covers both the material and manufacturing defects. The company will first try to repair the watch and if that turns out impossible, they will send you a brand new product matching the one you bought earlier. Of course, all the costs linked with the process are covered by Tissot.
Here it’s also worth noting that the mentioned warranty, unfortunately, doesn’t cover issues with the battery. What’s also not considered for cost-free repair/replacement are defects like tears and scratches caused by the owner’s own actions.
In case of watch issues related to your negligence or simply terribly luck, you can always ask Google for help. Simply type “nearest Tissot Service Center” and voilà! By using an authorized Tissot center, your watch will be taken care of by qualified specialists that offer repair and cleaning services at costs affordable for any owner.
Tissot Watches Review: Conclusion
I really hope that my review of the Tissot brand has managed to answer all your questions related to it. It is a pretty long read, I admit, but it was made so on purpose. Speaking from my own experience, I know that usually the more expensive the watches, the more questions we ask before the purchase. And it totally makes sense.
To finally conclude, I think it’s fair to say that indeed Tissot is a good brand. I will go further and say that it is much more than that. To put things into perspective, when it comes to the overall world’s watch ranking, it’s a TOP 15-20 brand. It would also easily make my TOP 10 in the Swiss watch brands ranking.
When buying a Tissot watch, you are getting a product from a reputable brand that has been on the market throughout the last 3 centuries and has seen off a plethora of serious competitors. Many times in their rich history, Tissot has been the pioneers behind many innovative ideas that many others followed. An example of this is the release of the first plastic-made watch and the world’s first tactile watch.
Swiss watches have been always known for their precision, style and longevity. In these aspects, Tissot is no different. The super-precise movement of Tissot watches is the main reason why it’s often used during some of the biggest sports events in the world. Some of the timepieces are also worn by professional athletes in lucrative sponsorship deals.
If I were to choose just one thing I like the most about Tissot watches, it would be the fact they offer best-in-the-industry movements at prices much more affordable than some of the other brands originating from Switzerland. As one of the famous Tissot slogans says, you get a “gold’s value at a silver’s price”.
If you feel like I’ve missed some points or some of them are still not clear to you, feel free to reach out to me via email and I will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also post Tissot your question in the comment box below. Let’s interact!