The list of brands producing quality Swiss-made watches is quite long and still expanding. More often than not, the biggest stumbling block we come across when trying to get a proper Swiss timepiece is the price. Although quality and higher cost usually go in pair, there are many Swiss-made wristwatches that come at Entry Level prices and deliver an awesome experience. Mathey-Tissot watches are certainly an affordable option – are they also a reliable one?
By reading this Mathey-Tissot review, you will get a better idea of how the brand fares against other, much more expensive Swiss watch companies. Depending on your budget, I will also suggest some of the best watches from the brand for your consideration.
As usual with brand reviews on my site, I like to start from the very beginning, and that means – looking at how Mathey-Tissot was created. You can always skip this part and go straight to the watch quality review. Take your pick below!
The first sign pointing to the fact that Mathey-Tissot is a reliable brand is its long-standing history dating back to the late 19th century. The enterprise was founded in 1886 in one of the villages occupying the Swiss Jura Mountains, Less Ponts de Martel. It was set up by a local watchmaker, Edmond Mathey-Tissot, and named the Mathey-Tissot Watch Company.
In the very beginning, wristwatches weren’t the main craft of the company. Instead, it was specializing in so-called “repeater” watches – an old-school type of timepieces that chimed the minute, hour and quarter-hour.
Increasing demand and “that” 2,500 watch order
Since wristwatches weren’t really “the thing” until the beginning of the 20th century, Mathey-Tissot was initially known for pocket watches. After enjoying initial success with these, the company moved its focus to the production of chronographs for which there was an increasing demand sparked by the 1899 outbreak of the Second Boer War. In fact, the need for Mathey-Tissot products overall was that big that a new factory had to be built.
One of the biggest admirers of Mathey-Tissot watches quality was an influential nobleman from Scotland. He was so impressed with the quality provided by Mathey-Tissot’s timepieces that he ordered 2,500 of them. All of the watches were gifted to men in his son’s regiment: the highest-ranking officers got those made of gold and others, made of silver.
The success of Mathey-Tissot chronographs
The growing demand for the company’s watches and positive reviews in the watchmaking industry didn’t go unnoticed.
During the prestigious Kew Observatory Competition, held in 1914 in Richmond, there were as many as six Mathey-Tissot Observatory Chronometers. All of them were capable of split-second timing which was a huge thing at that time. As a result, each of the products got the best-possible “A” rating with the additional remark “especially good”. Also that year, Mathey-Tissot won the Grand Prix award during the Swiss National Exhibition.
The U.S connection
With the reputation of Mathey-Tissot watches ever-growing, the company was approached by the United States Army to be its main watch supplier during World War I.
Mathey-Tissot precision chronographs were worn by Corps of Engineers regiment of the U.S. Army. The timepieces were such a hit amongst the personnel that General Pershing, the commander of the US Expeditionary Force at that time, used them as awards for selected members of his staff.
The fruitful relation between Mathey-Tissot and the US didn’t come to a close with the end of the war. The company continued to supply both the U.S. Army and the Royal Navy before, during and after World War II. By 1937, E. Mathey-Tissot & Co. was a trademark name in the United States.
Mathey-Tissot and Elvis Pressley
One of the most famous admirers of Mathey-Tissot watches was the king of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. The iconic 20th-century singer purchased more than 50 personalized Mathey-Tissot watches in 1969 and 1970. Each watch had an exclusively-designed bezel setting that had the name “ELVIS PRESLEY” and four stars engraved on it.
The automatic watch models bought by Presley were then handed to family members, friends, and staff. The main goal behind this idea was to grant a privileged right of access to concerts, tours, and shows for all those wearing them.
Mathey-Tissot and The Irishman
A more recent high-profile use of Mathey-Tissot watch has been spotted in one of the top film productions of 2019, The Irishman.
The epic Netflix’s crime movie, fuelled by some of the most impressive staff I can recall in movies featuring De Niro, Al Pacino and Pesci, tells a story of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran.
Frank was a high-ranking mob hitman in the city of Philadelphia. As a sign of appreciation for his ever-growing list of achievements with the Scorsese mafia, he was presented with a rectangular wristwatch boasting a gem-set dial and bezel. If you look closely at this particular shot, the timepiece’s dial seems to be showing a Mathey-Tissot signature.
Mathey-Tissot Watch Quality (Overview)
Although Mathey-Tissot watches might not be enjoying the same coverage as in its glory days, they are still a solid brand. A brand that’s definitely worth considering – especially for those who love Swiss-made watches but have smaller budgets to play with.
Over the course of its history, Mathey-Tissot has won many prestigious prizes. There were times when it was manufacturing movements and other watch parts for some of the Swiss watch moguls. The quality of Mathey-Tissot hasn’t changed nor has it disappeared. It just happens that in today’s market, other brands produce quality watches in bigger numbers and give them a much stronger marketing push.
Are Mathey-Tissot watches any good? (Quality Review)
Since I’m a big fan of Swiss-made watches in general, for me it’s hard to label any brands producing them as “poor”. We might not like some of the brands’ style, pricing or even movement – but it’s really hard to argue that Swiss watch companies provide good quality. Taking all things into consideration, Mathey-Tissot are indeed good quality watches for a variety of reasons.
First of all, they are one of the cheapest Entry Level Swiss watches out there. And since we are talking only about Swiss brands that are quite pricey in general, I suggest treating anything between $100 and $1000 as “Entry Level” here.
Depending on where you look online, Mathey-Tissot models can be found from as little as ~$100. The price might seem low compared to other Swiss brands but the gap in quality isn’t that big. Funnily enough, another Swiss brand producing many similar quality timepieces that are generally more expensive is Tissot. Here it’s worth mentioning that Mathey-Tissot and Tissot are in no way related (see also: Mathey-Tissot vs Tissot Brand Comparison).
Most Mathey-Tissot watches should stand the test of time. Depending on the collection, some of them come with a genuine leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. What all of them share in common is the sapphire crystal glass covering the dial of the watch. It’s scratch-resistant and should withstand most of what life throws its way.
When it comes to the movement of Mathey-Tissot timepieces, the majority of them are either automatic or Quartz movement watches. For the real old-school connoisseurs, there are also some self-winding mechanical models.
All Mathey-Tissot watches use Swiss movement types and are made and assembled in Chiasso, Switzerland.
How expensive are Mathey-Tissot watches?
The cool thing about Mathey-Tissot timepieces is that their pricing is really flexible. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got money to burn or are on a lower budget, the chances are you can get a good quality watch in any price range.
Most of the time, a Mathey-Tissot watch will cost you between $100 and $1,000 although there are few exceptions to the rule. Prices of some of the most iconic models, designed for collectors of the brand, can be a bit higher. I will mention them later in this section.
Both men and women have a plethora of collections to select from. Some of them were designed to serve as perfect sets for her and for him like the “Duo” collection. It combines the same watch models delivered in different sizes perfectly suitable both for men’s and women’s wrists.
Low price range
Funnily enough, one of the most sought-after watches is also one of the cheapest ones.
Mathey-Tissot Rolly III models come with a durable mineral dial window, stainless steel bracelet and a Swiss Quartz movement in the form of Ronda Caliber 515. There are a few color options to select from with the gold-silver bracelet, gold bracelet and white dial one being the most popular choice. Some online shops and marketplaces have these watches available from as little as ~$100.
Low-to-mid price range
The next in the queue as far as pricing is concerned is the Mathey-Tissot’s Edmond collection. This particular line of watches includes many models that come with genuine leather straps.
Dial windows of Edmond models are made of much more scratch-resistant sapphire glass, hence the slight spike in prices. The majority of watches in this collection use the Ronda Caliber 505 H6 Quartz movement. There are two limited-edition watches from this group that clearly stand out in terms of the expenditure. Depending on where we shop for these watches, they can be purchased from ~$250.
Mid price range
Another popular Mathey-Tissot watch collection is Vintage GMT. There are two lines with Vintage GMT models – the abovementioned Rolly and Mathey.
Both of these come at a higher price than the ultra-budget Rolly III models but not without a reason. Vintage GMT models use much better dial protection in the form of sapphire crystal. The same material is often used in many luxury brands such as Omega or Longines. When it comes to the movement, the GMT collection uses the 24h version of Ronda Caliber 515.
Other popular GMT watch models come with the ever-popular Pepsi bezel (see also: Mathey-Tissot GMT Review).
Most expensive Mathey-Tissot watches
Of course, there are many collections that haven’t been mentioned in this list. I’ve picked the ones that are usually very popular amongst customers and that can paint a clear enough picture of how Mathey-Tissot watches can cater to different budgets. You can explore more timepieces from this Swiss brand by clicking here.
The last two watches I wish to briefly discuss are limited-edition models from the aforementioned Edmond collection. The two models clearly stand-out in terms of the pricing, currently being the two most expensive products the company has produced. The cheapest I could find them available online was just over $1,000.
They are also unique when it comes to their movement. Both products use self-winding, mechanical movement that many collectors and brand’s connoisseurs will find appealing. What’s more, they have the so-called “open heart” case back, allowing the owner to observe in awe the gear and wheels of the hand-wound masterpiece.
Is Mathey-Tissot a luxury brand?
Although I’m a big fan of their timepieces, it’s hard to label Mathey-Tissot a luxury brand.
Considering the number of quality Swiss watch brands, it really takes something special for one to be considered luxurious. Although many Mathey-Tissot models are on the outside reminiscent of some of the most expensive watches in the world like Rolex or Omega, their quality is not anywhere near as good. Which actually shouldn’t be surprising at all considering the gap in prices.
On the other hand, Mathey-Tissot watches use good quality movements and watch parts that are frequently present in more luxurious brands. The highly-rated Ronda Swiss Quartz movement used in many Mathey-Tissot products is a fine example of that. Leather straps and sapphire crystal glass are also marks of luxury watches and both are frequently used in Mathey-Tissot collections.
Mathey-Tissot Warranty Policy
If you are buying Mathey-Tissot watches from their official website or an authorized dealer, they come with a 2-year international warranty.
Similarly to most brands, the Mathey-Tissot warranty covers material and manufacturing defects that might be visible right away or arise during normal use. Any damage like window scratches or tears, caused by your negligence, won’t be considered for a refund.
What I particularly don’t like about the warranty policy is the refund process that’s mentioned in their T&Cs. According to Mathey-Tissot’s official site, in case your watch breaks down and you sent it back to them, you will get a refund in cash only if the price of the watch didn’t exceed ~$500. If it’s more than that, the refund will be in the form of a voucher that you will be able to use for other products at the store.
Where to buy Mathey-Tissot watches?
Normally, advising to buy products at the brand’s official online store is the obvious thing I do. In this case, though, I think there are better places to do your shopping.
As explained above, for some strange reason, Mathey-Tissot’s official store provides money refunds only for watches which cost doesn’t exceed $500. If you wish to own a more lucrative product but it turns out faulty during the 2-year warranty period, you will be refunded in shop vouchers.
Furthermore, it’s glaringly obvious that prices of the same watches available at the Mathey-Tissot website are much higher than at some authorized dealers. For these two reasons, I advise you to look elsewhere. Two sites I recommend for shopping are Amazon and Jomashop.
Is Mathey-Tissot a Good Brand? Conclusion
I certainly hope that my Mathey Tissot review provided you with strong enough clues about whether their watches will serve you well. To summarize this article, let’s again look at the strong and weak sides of these timepieces.
Definitely what’s greatly appealing with Mathey-Tissot watches is their price. For quality and reputable Swiss brand that they’ve been for more than 130 years now, even the savviest shoppers will find many of their watches affordable.
Their popular collections including Mathey Tissot Rolly 3 are available from ~$100 at some online shops and marketplaces. At the same time, not many models surpass the $500 mark in general. Hence, I consider the brand to be a great Entry Level alternative to more pricey Swiss counterparts like Omega, Longines or even Tissot.
Often with a lesser price, comes much poorer quality. Although it would be unfair to say that Mathey Tissot produces as good watches as the abovementioned brands, it still provides a great quality-price ratio. The vast majority of timepieces come with durable and high-quality materials like scratch-resistant sapphire glass, stainless steel bracelets or genuine leather straps. Let’s not forget the fact that all the watches are run on Swiss movements.
Perhaps the biggest issue I have with Mathey Tissot watches is their somehow odd warranty policy. Although the 2-year period is absolutely fine, I don’t really like the fact that they are not refunding money for faulty watches that cost above $500, instead offering reimbursement in the form of shopping vouchers. Here it’s worth noting that this seems to only apply to their official store.
All in all, I think it’s fair to say that Mathey Tissot is a reliable, long-standing brand offering Swiss-quality products at prices most of us will find surprisingly affordable. Their watches might not be Omega or Teg Hauer-quality but they will surely bring you a lot of joy for years.
Finally, I’m also eager to hear your thoughts about the brand. At the same time, if you feel like some of your questions haven’t been answered in this article, make sure you reach out to me via email. You can also leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Let’s interact!