The 1970s were certainly not a great decade for the production of timeless classics in fashion or music, but they were a time of major transition for watch enthusiasts. Indeed, they gave us the quartz crisis, a revolutionary technology straight from Japan that led to a series of transformations not only in electronic watches, but also in mechanical horology. And it also gave us what has become one of the most ubiquitous wristwatch categories today: the stainless steel integrated band sports watch along with the Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet and the Nautilus from Patek Philippe leading the charge, not forgetting the Girard-Perregaux Laureato.
Tissot, founded in 1853, was certainly not the first brand to embark on the perilous exercise of sports timepieces with integrated bracelets, but it quickly followed suit. Back to the past in 1963. The Swiss manufacturer unveils a watch that will become the flagship of its catalog: the Seastar. Gone are the pop, psychedelic, colorful and oversized pieces of previous years, the Seastar is a first-class diver with rock-solid waterproofness. A few years after its launch, in 1978, a new one-piece version of the Seastar was presented by Tissot. This featured an integrated bracelet, a thin, flat barrel-shaped case, a blue dial and a 1970s quartz movement.
It was this last variation that laid the foundations for the new “PRX” – a P for precision, an R for robustness and an X which designated the ten atmospheres of depth corresponding to the water resistance of the watch, i.e. 100 meters – unveiled. by Tissot in 2021. A line reissued first in a Swiss made quartz version, then in a second time in automatic mode with the PRX Powermatic 80. Now and for 2022, the brand has recently offered a new complication to its collection PRX, Tissot’s most popular, with the presentation of a brand new automatic chronograph – with more “bodybuilt” lines than the 1978 model – and equipped with a Valjoux engine.
Until now, the Tissot PRX had only been revisited with a time and date function. The line makes a comeback with a highly successful high-performance automatic chronograph in an iconic 1970s retro design that should capture the hearts – and wrists – of modern watch enthusiasts in search of authenticity. The 42 mm chrono in satin-brushed steel and with a sleek barrel-shaped case is available in two so-called “Panda” options. An affectionate watchmaking term that does not designate the famous Chinese teddy bear, but sports watches with a relaxed style whose dial is often white with black sub-dials – in reference to the face of the animal – born in the 1960s and 1970s with the Rolex Daytona 6262 and 6263.
The first of the two new models is a classic “Panda” with a white-silver dial on which three black counters dance while the second is a “Reverse Panda” with a blue dial background and sub-dials whites. At 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, the dials feature a 30-minute totalizer, a 12-hour counter and a 60-second counter. They feature slender rose gold-plated hands and each of the two variants features a “controversial” date window, which is placed at 4:30 for a statement yet somewhat quirky look.
Under the hood, Tissot has chosen to equip its chronographs with a Swiss automatic Valjoux A05.H31 caliber which is exposed via a transparent caseback. A movement already famous for having equipped many chronographs in the 1970s and 1980s and known for its precision and reliability with 60 hours of autonomy. Waterproof up to 100 meters deep, in homage to the 1978 model, this new PRX is completed with a gray steel bracelet with simple horizontal links – like those of the PRX unveiled in 2021 as well as the watches of the 1970s – flanked by polished interiors bringing a sense of dynamism to the integrated geometry of the case.