Retro Time: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.

The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 traces its design origins to 1978, but this retro model also shows its best side in the day-to-day life of the 2020s. The dial and hands offer sufficient contrast, tapering links combine to create a supple bracelet that fits smoothly around the wrist, and the self-winding ETA Powermatic 80 caliber keeps running for 80 hours after it has been fully wound.

The modern automatic movement is highly resistant to magnetic fields thanks to a Nivachron hairspring. Little weights on two of the balance’s four arms can be turned to finely adjust the rate. Unfortunately, our test watch didn’t quite live up to the promise of its technically elegant escapement: the Witschi Chronoscope X1 timing machine showed a loss of 4 seconds per day, with a maximum of 11 seconds clearly separating the timekeeping in the several positions.

The case’s slim middle section and its moderate overall height of 11.3 mm assure that this watch can fit easily under the cuff of a dress shirt. The double folding clasp with push-pieces snaps cleanly open and shut, but it offers no quick lengthening option for hot days. With a sapphire crystal above the dial and a pane of mineral glass in the back, the individually shaped and cleanly finished stainless-steel case remains water resistant to a depth of 100 meters. Luminous material on the hands and narrow indexes lets you read the time at night. Regarding the hands: With their polished outer areas and matte-finished central strip, the hands are one of the highlights of this model’s elaborate design concept.

The embossed dial, which has an attractive silvery frame around the date window, is another asset. But what contributes most to the retro charm of the PRX Powermatic 80 is the tonneau-shaped case with its round, protruding bezel. The middle section of the case is satin finished lengthwise. The bezel, on the other hand, is shiny and brings the eye toward the dial.

Last but not least, the bracelet also draws the viewer in to this retro watch. Its broad attachment to the case is just as appealing as the individual shape and polished bevels of the links.

If you’re looking for a fly in the ointment, you might notice the somewhat sharp edges on the metal bracelet. Otherwise, this watertight, easy-to-read and long-running watch is a loyal companion to accompany you in all situations of modern everyday life.

The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 retails for $650.

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