The real kicker of this historic timepiece from Tissot, easily one of the main highlights of baselworld 2017 is the price point. The watch will start at CHF870 (roughly S$1,380) which means that for the first time, a Swiss-made mechanical watch with a silicon balance spring will be available for under CHF1,000. While this sort of thing has been telegraphed and foreshadowed for years at Swatch Group where top-tier brands Breguet, Blancpain, Jacquet Droz, Glashutte Original, and Omega have all been introducing various components of the escapement in silicon, it is gratifying to finally see it happen.
For what it represents, Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC is sign of Cutting Edge watchmaking in affordable watches
On the other hand though, virtually every Swiss player once used Nivarox hairsprings and no one considered this heresy. Likewise, brass and steel continue to be mainstays elsewhere in the movement and the Nivarox balance spring is still used by the majority of Swiss (and a good deal of non-Swiss) watch brands. We have yet to learn of an outcry over the use of brass by the likes of Patek Philippe and, well, Tissot.
Ok, a little bit about this watch, the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC, before returning to the hue and cry that Tissot itself is provoking in its advertising. Tissot says that silicon balance springs are expensive and thus not been available in the accessible segment that the brand plays in. It credits the manufacturing capacities of the Swatch Group with reducing the cost of such balance springs, resulting in the Ballade Powermatic. Of course, the watchmaker is banking on collectors recognising 2017 as a watershed moment in cutting-edge technologies in watchmaking and this is a major gamble. To be fair, with tourbillons, in-house chronographs and the like all becoming less expensive across many brands, this move is only logical.
Having seen the piece at Baselworld 2017, we have to agree that it is a very fetching proposition, pricing aside, The 41mm steel watch (39mm for ladies) features a dial with nothing less than Clous de Paris decoration, instantly elevating it to an entirely different level to other collections in this range. In a smart move, Tissot is equipping this watch with an exhibition case back which means that the ETA produced automatic movement can be admired freely. It is also worth noting that the watch is a proper chronometer, with COSC certification and boasts a power reserve of 80 hours.
Returning to the marketing proposition, we think it is worth reminding our readers that good industrial practices put better technologies at our disposal, for prices that are generally better for the consumer. As far as watches go though, this paradigm does not hold true because there is also the element of exclusivity. However, we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the end of silicon as an exclusive material.
Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC technical specs
- Movement: Self-winding calibre C07.811 Si; 80-hour power reserve
- Case: 41 mm in steel; water resistant to 50m
- Strap: Steel bracelet or leather strap with deployant clasp
- Price: $1380 to $1620