At first glance, Tissot‘s Powermatic 80 automatic caliber appears to be just another ETA movement. But as I reveal in this article from my blog, Watch-Insider.com, that impression is way off the mark. Much like Swatch’s new Sistem 51 caliber, this one represents another quiet watchmaking revolution.
Tissot has been working hand in hand with ETA (both are owned by the Swatch Group) on the research and development of this recently introduced automatic caliber. Together, they strove to push the limits in terms of precision, power and, essentially, giving time a new status. The Tissot Powermatic 80 Automatic caliber not only demonstrates great precision but also has 80 hours of power reserve. Most standard watches usually have a mainspring barrel that lasts 36 to 48 hours before needing to be wound up again. However, with a new construction concept that integrates a new spring barrel, Tissot and ETA were able to provide this movement with a greater power reserve, allowing the watch to run for 80 hours before it needs to be wound. As if a greater power reserve was not enough, the companies also found a way of making the movement extremely precise and robust by concentrating on ways to improve the regulator system. One of the factors that contributed to that robustness was a new way of regulating the watch, which involves removing the index-assembly system and replacing it with a new, innovative technology. The high-tech escapement has no regulator; the rate is set at the factory with a laser, making the manual rate adjustments normally required by a mechanical watch unnecessary.
Tissot does not tell officially, but I assume the Tissot Powermatic 80 Automatic caliber, like the Swatch Sistem 51 movement, is also made entirely of ARCAP, an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc with exceptional anti-magnetic qualities. For more about the Swatch Sistem 51, read this article on the “Buzz Watches of Baselworld.”
How reliable and accurate is this caliber? We will soon find out definitively, when the next figures published by the Swiss testing agency COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). I have heard that Tissot could easily send more than a million Powermatic 80 Automatic calibers to COSC for official chronometer certification. This move would make Tissot the new number one company in Switzerland in terms of COSC-certified calibers, knocking Rolex from the throne. Rolex has been the undisputed king of COSC-certified watches, defending its position year after year by sending more movements to COSC than any other brand. (This does not, however, automatically mean that Rolex also sells the most watches. Click here to learn more.) In fact, Swatch could probably also send its Sistem 51 movements to COSC, and I am confident that they would pass the 14-day test easily. Of course, Swatch would not do this because the expense of testing the watch would make it cost-prohibitive; few customers of the low-priced Swatch brand would pay extra for a COSC certificate. Many Tissot customers, however, would recognize a COSC certificate as a proof of their watches’ accuracy and quality. And a COSC certificate would not increase the price of a Tissot watch dramatically. Below you will find the first Tissot watch equipped with the Powermatic 80 Automatic caliber, the Tissot Luxury Automatic timepiece. Certain models already bear the COSC certification. For more detail on the watch, click here for Mark Bernardo’s article on the watch on WatchTime.com.
Tissot describes the Tissot Luxury Automatic as the very core of what the brand stands for, namely, luxury at an affordable price — and at a range from $1,225 to $$1,575, I am inclined to agree. What say you?
This article was originally published on October 16, 2013, and has been updated.