Whatever you think you know about Tissot, forget it.
The Tissot of today is one of the Swatch Group’s more accessible brands, but the Tissot of yesteryear produced watches of the highest caliber. Founded in 1853 and in nearly continuous production ever since, Tissot is one of the oldest surviving watch manufactures, sporting a back catalog replete with highly collectible wristwatches.
In the minds of many collectors, the golden age of Tissot was during the mid-20th century, shortly after the company merged with Omega and Lemania to form the partnership Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère, or SSIH. This partnership lasted until 1983, when SSIH and other watchmakers were brought together under the umbrella of the Swatch Group.
During the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Omega and Tissot were producing some of the finest chronographs available on the market. Taking full advantage of Lemania’s expertise in producing chrono calibers, Omega and Tissot were able to meet the public’s growing desire for chronograph wristwatches. We’ll forgive you if you aren’t familiar with the excellent Tissot chronos of this era, but we bet you’re well acquainted with Omega’s Caliber .321, which powered the Speedmaster Moonwatch. Yup, that was a Lemania movement, produced while the brands were wedded together as part of SSIH. To sum it up, any chronograph sold by Omega or Tissot between 1930 and 1980 was a fantastic watch.
This watch, circa 1950, is a beautiful example of mid-20th century chronograph design. Featuring the two-register layout typically found in Omegas and Tissots of the era, this is a handsome and classic watch that shows its age with patina, not dated aesthetics. The white dial with Arabic numerals and gold hands are as classic as they come, and pair perfectly with the gold case.
Tissot may not have as much name recognition among the masses as Omega, but savvy collectors wouldn’t have it any other way. Tissots remain a bargain compared with their Omega cousins, and it’s hard to find a better vintage chronograph for the money.
To learn more about Tissot, visit our friends at Worn & Wound, HERE.