You know when a new watch has hit a nerve with the watch buying public when you see it on the wrists of people around you only a few days after launch. This was what happened with the first Tissot PRX that came in quartz in February last year, with the fever pitch momentum that it sparked off kicking into high gear with the automatic version that was launched a few months later in October.
Tissot had a hit with the PRX, achieving with this compelling release a state that all watch brands aspire to – overwhelming demand and waiting lists. What was the recipe for this success? Simple – great vintage styling and affordability.
The first PRX was a hit, and so when the pundits came to predict what would come next, the logical next release should be a PRX chronograph.
Well, here it is.
The PRX family expands with a complication
Does the new PRX Automatic Chronograph succeed then?
Well, to start it does come in at a higher price point from the previous PRX watches and that is understandable given that it is an automatic chronograph, which is a decidedly more complex entity than a typical three hander.
In this watch, the movement is called, in Tissot nomenclature – the Valjoux A05.H31 calibre, which to the typical watch geek should be understood as the Valjoux 7753.
Now this movement tends to appear in chronographs that have a more vintage inspired motivation, since the chronographs of the mid last century tended to the 3,6 and 9 sub-dial layout instead of the 6, 9 and 12 of the Valjoux 7750 which started to appear more widely towards the middle of the 1980’s.
It’s a more symmetrical layout for the sub-dials, which is a nice aesthetic choice that goes well with the vintage aesthetics of the PRX line, as does the reversal of the colours of the sub-dial against the backdrop of the main dial, which gives the “panda” or “reverse-panda” effect.
Both launch models showcase this, including the one with a vertically brushed blue dial contrasted with white counters, and the other with a vertically brushed white dial contrasted with black counters and with rose gold indices.
Aside from the time and chronograph indications, the watch also conveniently comes with a date window at the 4.30 o’clock position on the dial, making this a useful everyday watch. Interestingly, the background color of the date wheel is different in both models. With the blue dial variant, the date background is white, which contrasts with the blue dial, and somewhat proclaims its affinity with the white chronograph sub-dials as being the complicated aspects of the watch. In the white model, the date window has a white background, which allows it to blend in more and just be there when needed.
Related to this, it also has the Valjoux 7753 quirk of having the date pusher corrector on the case at the 11 o’clock position since no date adjustment is possible through the crown.
The PRX Automatic Chronograph as to be expected and being of the same family has the angular 70’s era style case that we’ve seen before, but this time it’s bigger at 42mm in order to fit the larger chronograph calibre within, with a correspondingly beefier bracelet since everything is larger overall. In effect then, it gives an additional option for those who were keen on the original PRX, but who want something more, either in size, or in complication, yet retaining the sport elegant feel of the original.
Price-wise, it comes in at an aggressive SGD2,550 or EUR1,495, which keeps the watch in line with the affordability ethos of the Tissot brand as a whole, and the sub-SGD$1000 PRX watches that came before it. Yes it is more, but you’re getting more in this watch, and it is at the lower end of the scale when compared to watches with a similar chronograph calibre as the one here.
So, if you’ve wanted to buy a chronograph for situations where a sport elegant option is more suitable (such as for work or dressy events), it’s hard to recommend anything else. In effect, at this part of the price spectrum for luxury watches, you’re getting solid value since the watchmaking and aesthetics are top-notch.
In fact, you really think about it, what you’re probably missing with this watch over pricier options are perhaps some bragging rights and a feeling or superiority over your fellow man. In the context of our current era of hype watch brands and models, what this watch and perhaps the entire PRX line offers, is in my view, a purer form of watch enthusiasm, that dispenses with the artificiality of status signaling, making your choice all about the watch itself rather than what people see in you when you wear it.