Just in time for summer, Tissot is expanding its popular Seastar dive watch collection with a beefed-up version that also comes with a new wave-pattern dial. WatchTime travelled to Le Locle for a first hands-on with the new 46-mm Seastar 2000 Professional.
For Baselworld 2018, in retrospect the last time the brand participated in the traditional watch fair, the Tissot Seastar was reintroduced with a new design, much closer to the original version from 2003 with a conic bezel. The case, on the other hand, was kept closer to the previous generation of 2011, featuring recessed polished sections on both sides, but without the integrated helium-release valve at 9 o’clock. Perhaps most importantly, the Seastar 1000 from 2018 no longer came with the rather distinctive “snake head” hour and minutes hands of its predecessors, but with a much less polarizing set of polished sword hands instead. Only the T-shaped counterweight of the second hand has been kept almost unchanged since 2003. In short, when almost every watch brand started to focus on dive watches with retro designs, Tissot had introduced once more a refreshingly modern take on a mechanical dive watch, now successfully using some of the key elements from the last 16 years. And speaking of modern take, one year later, in 2019, the Seastar range was even used as a platform to introduce the Powermatic 80 (ETA C07.811) with “Silicon Balance Spring” in one of its references (T120.407.11.041.01), hinting at the strategic relevance of the range. Sylvain Dolla, Tissot’s CEO, commented, “The Seastar is becoming a very important line in terms of sales. It’s the fourth line at Tissot. Despite the fact that it’s a quite new line, we started the [current version of the] Seastar four years ago.” And he adds, “It’s also important because it can demonstrate what Tissot is capable of.”
Another undoubtedly conspicuous demonstration of this approach could be witnessed in the beginning of the year 2020, with the introduction of the 48-mm Tissot Seastar 1000 Professional Limited Edition Chronograph (Ref. T120.614.11.041.00): for the first time ever, Tissot had created and patented a bezel-locking mechanism (positioned at 10 o’clock) that also housed a helium release valve. From this point on, the add-on “Professional” became synonymous with saturation diving (where divers live in a pressurized environment, which can be a saturation system on the surface, or an ambient pressure underwater habitat when not in the water). While only a few divers will ever get the chance to use a mechanical dive watch in this environment (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only about 10 percent of commercial divers are working as saturation divers), there is usually nothing against a little bit of over-engineering for the rest of us when it comes to dive watches. But the new Seastar 2000 Professional not only comes with an integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, it also has an engraved ceramic bezel, which increases the visual appeal significantly (compared to the flat, polished ceramic bezel insert of the Seastar 1000). More importantly, the three versions launching this summer all feature a gradient dial with “a background pattern of waves designed especially for the Seastar 2000 Professional.” With a water resistance of 600 meters (or 2,000 feet), its 46-mm case puts it right between the 48-mm chronograph and the 43-mm Seastar 1000 automatic. The blue and the turquoise dial look rather spectacular on the wrist, while the dark gray version should be the perfect option for those looking for something a bit more understated (which is, with a diameter of 46 mm, generally hard to achieve).
Next to the wave pattern on the dial, the Seastar 2000 has a rectangular date window “in a metallic aperture at 6 o’clock,” and also meets “all the criteria of the ISO 6425 standard that governs dive watches.” It is powered by the Powermatic 80 caliber (ETA C07.111), a self-winding movement that first debuted in 2013 (in the Tissot Powermatic), celebrating the 160th anniversary of the Swiss watch brand. The movement itself is based on the 23-jewel ETA 2824, but offers an increased power reserve of 80 hours, thanks mainly to the reduced operating frequency from 4 Hz to 3 Hz (from 28,800 to 21,600 vph). Additionally, this version of the Powermatic 80 comes with an anti-magnetic Nivachron balance spring in titanium alloy. As its name suggests, Nivachron was developed by Nivarox-FAR, one of the leading Swiss specialists in the production of oscillating and escapement parts, and a member of the Swatch Group.
In short, the Seastar 2000 is the most extreme mechanical dive watch from Tissot so far (when it comes to water resistance), and the watch does undoubtedly have “a strong style, based on a combination of masculine colors, chunky dimensions, a unique dial, the expressiveness of a domed sapphire glass and an uncompromising design,” to quote Tissot. Perhaps most importantly, the Seastar 2000 Professional, like the Seastar 1000, is a modern dive watch with an excellent price-value ratio and a lot of wrist presence.
What does seem to be a bit inconsistent, however, given the name and positioning of the model, is the choice of a much more playful dial design (compared to the base model), the gradient colors and the almost elegant date window at 6 o’clock. But who said professional divers wouldn’t appreciate a fresh take on the design of a tool watch?
Manufacturer: Tissot SA, Chemin des Tourelles 17, 2400 Le Locle, Switzerland
Reference number: T120.607.11.041.00
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Movement: Self-winding mechanical Powermatic 80 caliber (ETA C07.111), 21,600 vph (3Hz), 80-hour power reserve, anti-magnetic Nivachron balance-spring in titanium alloy
Case: Brushed and polished steel case with transparent sapphire caseback, screw-down crown, water resistant to 600 m; domed sapphire crystal, dial with engraved wave pattern, date window at 6 o’clock, automatic helium release valve at 9 o’clock, unidirectional bezel (120 clicks) with black ceramic insert
Bracelet and clasp: Steel bracelet with folding clasp, or rubber strap with buckle
Dimensions: Diameter = 46 mm, lug width = 22 mm, height = 16.25 mm
Variations: With gray dial (Ref. T120.607.17.441.00); with blue dial (Ref. T120.607.11.041.01)