Before the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde
Tissot’s Heritage Visodate Automatic has been one of my go-to watches for some time when asked to recommend a well made and relatively affordable Swiss mechanical wristwatch. Coming in a range of dial and bracelet combinations and sporting the Swiss Automatic ETA 2836-2 Calibre, the Visodate Automatic (there’s also a Quartz offering) sports a clean dial, day-date complication, sapphire domed crystal and a transparent case-back to see what’s going on inside. The exhibition case back being particularly important in recommending this to new watch collectors. You can read all day about the mechanics of a watch but perhaps the best way to develop a better appreciation for horology is to observe the movement in action. Watching the rotor swing and seeing the seconds hand spring to life is pretty crazy when you think about it.
Tissot’s Heritage watches of late capture this sentiment. Past references and this year’s Heritage Petite Seconde, in particular, are a distillation of what we love about watchmaking. These are tools designed to serve a function, do it reliably and do it well. There’s a certain honesty in how Tissot has made and marketed these watches and I think it’s for this reason that the Heritage watches have found favour not only with new watch collectors but also amongst more seasoned collectors.
Heritage Petite Seconde
Building on the success of the Visodate Automatic Tissot launched the 45 mm Tissot Heritage 1936 two years ago. And then last year we got the perfectly sized Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph. At this point, a new release at Baselworld 2018 was practically a given. But rather than add on more complications, Tissot added none. The Heritage Petite Seconde is a vintage-inspired watch faithful to its inspirations. Aside from its contemporary sized 42 mm case, its styling is very reminiscent of the original Antimagnétique collection that was launched in 1943.
Case & Aesthetics
The Heritage Petite Seconde has a 316L stainless steel case measuring in a 42 mm wide by 42 mm long. Sitting at 11.4 mm it’s thin enough to slide under the cuff. With a significant portion of that height a result of the wonderfully retro ‘box-style’ domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with an anti-reflective coating. Thankfully Tissot have foregone the temptation to be a purist and use an acrylic dial. Everything has been done here for maximum legibility. The crisp mid-century looking printed Arabic hour markers pop against the silvery brushed dial. Its black minutes track is unfussy and does the job and leaves just enough clearance for the bottom of the seconds subdial, which sits at the 6 o’clock. Its position feels right, it doesn’t suffer from a common gripe of sitting too high up the watch. The Heritage Petite Seconde’s black feuille leaf-shaped hands match those on the subdial.
The Heritage Petite Seconde comes on an embossed cow leather strap comes with a butterfly clasp with push-buttons. Lug to lug distance is 20 mm.
Heritage Petite Seconde Movement
Inside the Heritage Petite Seconde sits the manually wound ETA 6498-1, a tried and tested ETA movement with roots going back to the 50’s. The 17 jewel movement measures in at 36.6 mm and has a power reserve of 46 hours. Looking at it from the back, it fills the case nicely, running edge to edge. Côtes de Genève decorative finishing is found on the bridges of the movement and blued screws provide a nice pop of colour. Running along the edge “165th ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION xxxx/3333”.
Although a tad more expensive than its Visodate sibling, I can see the Heritage Petite Seconde being equally appreciated by collectors and first-time mechanical watch buyers. Winding the crown produces quite a loud and satisfying click as the mainspring is wound. It’s a great auditory experience and would make for a nice morning ritual to start the day.
- Ref. T119.405.16.037.00 (Black leather strap)
- T119.405.16.037.01 (Brown leather strap)
- 316L stainless steel case
- Domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Silver dial
- Black hands and hour markers
- Black small seconds hand
- Embossed cow leather strap
- Synthetic strap back
- Butterfly clasp with push-buttons
- 5 bar (50 m) water-resistance
- Exhibition case back
- ETA 6498-1
- 17 jewels and blued screws
- Côtes de Genève decorative finishing
- Manual wound
- 46 hour power reserve
- 42 mm diameter
- 42 mm length
- 11.4 mm height
- 36.4 mm calibre diameter
- Watch weight: 84 grams
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