Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tissot PR50 Review

An October 2010 pic of this one above. Seems to be ageing quite well.

It is always nice to be able to look at a fancy wristwatch and admire its engineering. Whether it be a fine gold case, a multi-jeweled automatic movement or a three face chronograph, there is an undeniable appeal to fine watches. That being said, however, most folks just want to know what the time is. That is what the Tissot PR50 is all about. If you are not impressed by plastic watches and instead just want a solidly built man's wristwatch that will faithfully get the job done, this is your watch.

Tissot is one of the old, well-established, Swiss watch companies. It was founded by Charles Tissot in 1853, and has been making watches for over 150 years now. The company produces a large and varied line of timepieces that run the gamut from pocket watches to fancy automatic chronographs. These days, the company is a part of the Swatch Group family of watch making companies (like many other well known brands including Omega and Hamilton to name two), but still retains much of its unique character. (For a terrific article about Tissot, see Tissot: Industrial Power)

The PR50 reviewed here is one of Tissot's quartz models. This particular example is powered by an ETA F06.111 (look under Catalog-Trendline) three-jewel quartz movement. The watch has a hacking feature, date function and an end of life battery indicator (I believe the second hand advances two seconds at a time when power is low). Additionally, the PR50 is water resistant to fifty meters and has a remarkable battery life of ninty-four months (7.8 years). The watchcase measures 38mm in width (including the crown) and 5mm in height. The overall length is 42mm from lug to lug and the PR50 has an 18mm band lug width. The lume on the hands and face is superluminova (which is the best lume available short of tritium tubes) and the crystal is made of sapphire (the best choice to ward off scratches). Lastly, the case and bracelet are made of stainless steel, the bracelet being of the folded link variety (not so nice as a solid link model but quite strong nonetheless). In addition to quartz models like this one, the PR50 line also includes a slightly more expensive model powered by a Swiss 25 jewel automatic movement along with a quartz chronograph and several ladies models.

All in all, if you are going to own only one watch, the PR50 is really a very good choice. It is well made, quite accurate, reasonably priced, has a very long battery life, and to my eye admittedly, is good looking. It also has the added advantage of being made by a real watch company with a long history of making quality watches. The PR50 is probably not the first choice for dedicated watch collectors, but there is nothing about it that would raise an objection from one either. After all, even a watch collector needs to know what time it is.

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