Sometimes a watch catches you by surprise and blows you away. And it doesn’t always have to be a grand complication to do so. This is the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph and it caught me totally by surprise. It’s a vintage-inspired automatic chronograph measuring in under 40mm with a solid movement inside. And it’s under $1,500. Yeah, like I said, consider me blown away.
Tissot’s been making value-conscious pieces for a long time, and some turn out better than others. I expected the Ballade to be this year’s highlight (and it is great – more on that later), but this chronograph was the sleeper hit for sure.
This watch is inspired by an actual watch from Tissot’s archive and a lot of the details are carried right on through to the modern piece. The stainless steel case is 39.5mm across and 11.9mm thick. Big props to Tissot for keeping this under 40mm instead of succumbing to the commercial pressures of making bigger watches. The twisted lugs are nice and crisp and the chronograph action pretty smooth for something in this price range.
The dial has an opaline silver color that’s pretty subtle and can look warm or cool depending on the light. There’s a minute track at the edge of the dial and the three sub-registers for the 12-hour chronograph at the center. I particularly like the round applied dot markers inside the minute track, but I could have done without the applied Roman numeral "XII" at 12 o’clock. It’s not bad, but two little dots would have made the dial basically perfect. My other gripe? Yep, the date window at 4:30. I’m not a no-date purist, but it looks out of place on this watch for sure.
Turn the watch over and you get a sort of strange view. Tissot has done this in the past, but what we’ve got here is a partially-visible movement, with two curved windows. It’s not my favorite execution – show me the movement or give me a closed back, since this just adds bulk and doesn’t show me much. However, the ETA 2894-2 chronograph movement inside is a great choice for a watch like this. It’s an automatic chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
This watch truly blew me away. I think it has to be one of the best value watches being show at Baselworld this year (or in the last few years, for that matter). Bravo to Tissot and I look forward to spending more time with this one down the road.
The Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph is priced at $1,400 on a leather strap or $1,450 on the milanese mesh bracelet. There is also a limited edition of 8,888 pieces (I use the term "limited" lightly here) that comes with a slightly different dial and a COSC-certified version of the same movement.
For more, visit Tissot online.