An interesting and unexpected new watch by Swiss Tissot this year is the re-released version of the classic 1978 Tissot PRX 40 205 watches. For years now, I have been saying that quartz movement-based watches are going to have a renaissance period with watch enthusiasts, and in 2021, we are one major step closer to that. The 2021 Tissot PRX watches are important not for any particular innovation or features, but rather for being well-made, highly competent, and a solid value at under $400.
As of the time of this writing, Tissot has sold out of its first batch of PRX watches, and one can easily see why. First, Tissot knows that steel watches on integrated bracelets are very popular, once again. This renewed interested in “bracelet watches” began on the very high end with brands like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe but has since migrated into new areas and much lower price points. The real goal is a sport-ish design that features a case that is integrated with a matching bracelet. The visual experience of how the light plays with the many brushed and polished surfaces is really what enthusiasts are looking for. Tissot heartily delivers on this now-trendy concept with the PRX and also gets to look as though it had been cool all along since the PRX models are, in essence, originally from the late 1980s.
What I like about the PRX watches is their competence at an affordable price point. The case is fitted with an ETA caliber F06.115 quartz movement, which has the time and date complications with a roughly two-year battery life. Note that the movement has an end-of-life (EOL) indicator, which means that the seconds hand skips a step when the battery is low (informing you to get a new one). This movement also allows for the PRX case to be relatively thin at 10.4mm.
The steel case is 40mm-wide, with a roughly 44mm lug-to-lug distance, which makes it very wearable. Tissot updated the size (to be a bit larger) of the modern PRX from that of the late 1970s model, and durability is also enhanced with 100 meters of water resistance and a sapphire crystal over the dial. I would have liked for there to be AR-coating on the sapphire crystal, but that might not have been easily possible at this price point.
The PRX dials are simple and straightforward with a focus on legibility and cosmopolitan looks. These aren’t what you’d call exciting dials, but they are classic, conservative, and versatile from a style perspective. The blue, silver, or black dial colors are all nice, and the applied hour markers help them look their best. Overall the dial proportions are very good, and my only critique of the dial is that the hour and minute hands could have been just a tad bit less shiny.
Where the Tissot PRX really shines is in the case and bracelet finishing. This easily looks like a watch that costs several times the price, at a glance. More so, the tight tolerances and fluidity of the bracelet link articulation is very well-done, and uncommon to find in watches at this price point. Tissot is particularly proud of the fact that the case has a variety of different polished and brushed surfaces, which (again) are not typically found in watches at this price point.
The tapering bracelet is closed with a butterfly-style deployant and has links that are thin (period appropriate), which helps the watch wear more comfortably and, in my opinion, more stylishly. So many of today’s metal watch bracelets are far thicker than they need to be, so it is nice when a bracelet is svelte and out of the way. Tissot also includes a tool-less bracelet release system at the lugs, which allows you to remove the bracelet with ease. The propriety bracelet connection system doesn’t mean you can swap it out for any third-party strap, but it appears that Tissot may have in mind to sell optional straps for the PRX collection in the near future.
With the PRX, Tissot is offering even watch enthusiasts on a budget an authentic way of enjoying a hip-looking “steel watch on an integrated bracelet.” The vintage-forward design fits in line with a lot of what is popular at the brand, while at the same time, Tissot is also offering its ultra-modern T-Touch Connect Solar as a more futuristic option. Currently, the Tissot PRX is available in three variations, including the reference T137.410.11.031.00 (silver dial), T137.410.11.041.00 (blue dial), and the T137.410.11.051.00 (black dial), each with a price of $375 USD. Learn more or order at the Tissot website here.
>Price: $375 USD
>Size: 40mm-wide, 10.4mm-thick, and ~44mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As an unpretentious way of being casual-chic.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who wants an accessible way of rocking late 1970s and early 1980s retro-chick on their wrist in a respectable package.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent case finishing and construction for the money. Great wearing profile and nice bracelet.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Would have been that much more interesting (granted, as well as expensive) with a super-accurate quartz movement. AR-coating and hands, which are bit less polished, would have helped further refine the dial.