The Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80, now in Ice Blue and Radiant Gold
Tissot has brought the Ice Blue dial and PVD-coated Radiant Gold PRX Powermatic 80 models to life in 35mm, with both having previously only been available in 40mm. In doing so, the brand has wisely acknowledged the widespread adoration of the smaller size.
What we have here is what many of us really wanted. The Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80 has always been the star of the show, oozing retro cool that the 40mm, despite its best intentions, struggles to match. Obviously, however, Tissot feels (and the market reflects) that both diameters are popular enough to coexist. But in light of the rabid reception to these two core additions, can anyone really argue where the magic lies?
Explaining the new Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80 models
Sometimes, some things just fit. Nobody remembers Joe Montana in a Chiefs jersey; it’s the 49ers all the way. As talented as the late River Phoenix may have been, anyone but Harrison Ford in the iconic role of Indiana Jones is just wrong. And as many catchy tunes as they produced over the years, whenever anyone thinks of Paul McCartney, they think of the Beatles rather than Wings.
Of course, some people will disagree. Anyone in Missouri might have fond memories of Joe Cool suiting up for the red and gold to end his career. Some may find Phoenix’s more vulnerable portrayal of everyone’s favorite archaeologist superior to Ford’s gruff turn. And there will be those among you that believe that John was simply holding Paul back…
We can chew over the merits and demerits of my cultural examples above as much as we like, but the truth is, the phenomenon of a watch being so much better at one diameter than another (to the point at which the assessment is as close to categorical as an unavoidable subjective subject can be) is nothing new.
Take the Rolex Datejust or Day-Date, even. I won’t even entertain the notion that the 36mm variants are anything but the very best. Sure, you might be forced by your corporal proportions to plump for the bigger diameters, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore the reality. The smaller one is better, and, I would say, markedly so.
The same could be said of basically every Nomos core model powered by the brand’s sub-dial sporting alpha caliber. The 35mm Tangente, Orion, and Ludwig, and the 27.5mm Tetra work better than a lot of the larger variants that use the same movement because they were designed around that caliber’s dimensions.
And despite those three examples, smaller isn’t always better. It’s about the watches themselves and their inherent character. I’d argue staunchly that the Czapek Antarctique is superior in its original 40mm diameter rather than the subsequent 38mm version. So too is the original Omega Speedmaster concept more aesthetically appealing than the huddled display of its weirdo cousin, the Speedmaster Reduced.
What we think of the Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80
The design process is a funny thing. In recent times, the advent of AI has perhaps changed the way we think about what it actually comprises.
We always used to say it was a journey and the suggestion was therefore that revolutionary designers blazed a previously untrodden trail to pastures new. It was a colorful metaphor that seemed to satisfy even the most stringent sensibilities of the time, but an increasing number of “homage” watches and the prompt-centric design pathway of AI-assisted creation have caused me to reevaluate.
Perhaps, if we were to stick with the original analogy, the designer is not walking an entirely new path, but rather assembling that path from pieces of paths that have been walked before. Rather than a random venture into the unknown, then, it becomes an editing exercise (almost). Instead of the previously accepted lightbulb moment, it is in fact many little lightbulbs going on at once and illuminating a room that, when illuminated correctly, appears to have always been there rather than something very new at all.
And that, it seems to me, is the goal. To create something that is both new and foreknown. To birth something fully formed that seems to have skipped its developmental phase and be the be product of some unseen maturation is close to godliness in this sphere.
Sure, you can take that thing and make it different sizes to meet commercial demand. But that perfect conglomeration of moments that result in something that seems hewn from pure imagination rather than the clever integration of all the imaginations that have gone before, cannot be bested.
Ultimately, the Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80 is one of those magical pieces. Having it now in this exquisite (and versatile) ice blue is a treat. The all-gold model is surely a striking piece, which, in theory, I am all for, but I do wish Tissot had gotten a little crazy and made it in solid 18k gold with a deliciously retro black “John Player Special” dial. It looks great as it is (although some may be turned off by the brassiness of the PVD), but the possibility is still there for Tissot to fully push the boat out on this concept and give us something truly remarkable (even if that means we have to ditch the divine bracelet for a black leather strap to keep the price in touch with the rest of the catalog — I don’t mind because the richness of real yellow gold would make all the difference).
Inside these 35mm watches (that stand 10.9mm Thick on the wrist and measure 39.5mm From lug-to-lug) is the Tissot Powermatic 80 movement, a rebranded ETA C07.111, which is effectively a souped-up member of the ETA 2824 family, boasting an 80-hour power reserve.
Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic specs and price
Movement: Tissot Powermatic 80 caliber
Functions: Time and date
Cases: 35mm × 10.9mm stainless steel or PVD-coated stainless steel, water-resistant to 100m
Dial: Ice blue or radiant gold
Strap: Integrated bracelet
Price: Ice Blue (T126.96.36.1991.00) USD 695, Radiant Gold (T137.207.33.021.00) USD 825
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FEATURED FROM ARTICLE
|Movement||Self-winding caliber BR.CAL-301; 42-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||41mm; CuAI7Si2 bronze; water resistant to 100m|
|Dial||Sunray brushed with applied, gold-plated indices|
|Strap||Black calfskin; satin polished bronze folding clasp|
|Limited Edition||Limited edition of 50 pieces|