Many wristwatch brands have incorporated vintage elements into modern designs, but the new Tissot Heritage 1936, unveiled at Baselworld 2016, is one of the most authentic re-creations we’ve seen in a while, paying aesthetic tribute to the re-purposed pocketwatches that served as some of the very earliest timepieces for the wrist.
The Tissot Heritage 1936, as its name implies, echoes the look of a Tissot watch that was in the brand’s collection in 1936 (catalog image pictured below). It was in the 1930s, in the wake of World War I and its impact, that men began to regularly replace their pocketwatches with the more practical wristwatches. However, the earliest wristwatches were simply pocketwatches that watchmakers had modified for wrist wear — by welding arches onto each side of the case in order to slip a strap through them and around the back of the watch case.
This new timepiece from Tissot reproduces the look of these proto-wristwatches, with a large 45-mm case made of 316L stainless steel; a dial with classical, period-appropriate hands and historical Tissot Logo; and a high-quality brown leather strap with creme-stitch detailing and a standard-issue steel pin buckle. The numerals on the dial and small seconds subdial are also decidedly vintage in character.
The Tissot Heritage 1936 is equipped with a Swiss-made, hand-wound movement, an ETA Unitas 6498, whose large dimensions would have been right at home in a 1930s pockewatch. Upon removing the strap, the wearer can open the hinged, hunter-style caseback to reveal a sapphire window that displays the movement. (There is also a smaller, ladies’ version of the watch that contains an ETA 2895 movement.) The inside of the caseback is also an ideal blank canvas for personalized engravings.
The Tissot Heritage 1936 also continues the brand’s impressive price-to-value ratio, carrying a retail price around $1,000. If you’re curious how it looks on the wrist, check out the photo below, taken at our Tissot appointment at Baselworld.