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Tissot is the name of affordable luxury

Tissot Heritage 1973 has a racing legacy with a chrongraph shaped like an oval cushion.

Above left: Tissot T-Touch Swiss Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first smart watch. Above right: The ladies' watches of the 1960s come alive in the Tissot Lovely Square, Power 2.

HERITAGE comes at a price in the watch world. The longer a watch brand has been around, the richer its heritage and history - and the higher the prices of its timepieces.

This rule doesn't apply to Tissot, even when it's one of the longest surviving brands in the stable of Swatch, the Swiss watch group that also owns brands like Omega and Longines.

While it boasts a strong tradition of craftsmanship and innovation that goes back 166 years to 1853, the year it started, Tissot "is defined by creating qualitative and affordable products for everyone", says the brand's president Francois Thiebaud who's been with the company since 1996.

In 2017, Tissot launched the Ballade Powermatic 80 watch fitted with a hairspring made of silicon that sells for under US$1,000. A hairspring is a key component of a mechanical watch and silicon - a material that vastly improves time-keeping accuracy - usually raises the price of a watch to US$5,000 or more,

Thd Powermatich 80 movement, which has a power reserve of 80 hours, also demonstrates the industrial production might of Tissot - Switzerland's largest watchmaker with an annual output of around four million timepieces, or about 15 per cent of the country's total production.

Though Tissot is positioned as a luxury watch brand in the mid-price range, with timepieces priced as low as around S$500, it has introduced innovations that even top brands would have been proud of. Among them: the world's first anti-magnetic wrist watch; the first automatic watch with 24 time zones; the first watch made of stone, wood and mother-of-pearl; and the first tactile watch.

"Our slogan is 'innovations by tradition' ", Mr Thiebaud points out. "We launched the first tactile watch 20 years ago, the Tissot T-Touch. Even electronic devices such as phones didn't have tactile technology - they introduced it 11 years ago."

He says Tissot aims "to appeal to the taste of all". So it makes smart watches, pocket watches and clocks. Here are some Tissot's new timepieces which offer, in a snapshot, an idea of the brand's wide collections:

* Tissot Heritage 1973: This is a chronograph distinguished by a 43 millimetres wide oval cushion-shape steel case with domes lines in its three dimensions, limited to 1973 pieces. The 1973 year harks back to the racing timepieces of the 1970s.

The watch is actually a faithful re-issue of one of Tissot's finest chronographs during that early period. Specifically, the Tissot Heritage 1973 was inspired by the Tissot Navigator rolled out in 1973, then a key watch celebrating Tissot's partnership with motor-racing. The self-winding movement running the chronograph is a symbol of Tissot's tie-up with the Kessel Classics racing team.

* Tissot T-Touch Swiss Edition: A smart watch that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the brand's first - a world's first, in fact - tactile and multifunctional electronic watch. The anniversary timepiece stands out in its satin titanium body crowned by a chocolate browth ceramic beze. Its strap is cut from pieces of brown leather with beige-cream overstitching.

The colours and materials allude to old-fashioned climbing equipment. "It celebrates the Jura and Alpine mountains that have forged the soul of Switzerland," Tissot says.

"A watch designed for mountain adventure, hiking, via ferrrata or summer sledding, it takes full advantage of the features of the T-Touch Solar Expert 2 platform, including its solar recharge." The new T-Touch has 25 functions, including a second time zone, perpetual calendar, two alarms and a barometer.

* Tissot Lovely Square, Power 2 Style: The ladies' timepieces of the 1960s come alive in this tiny but bold square-design watch. It's also a timely piece that falls into line with the trend of small timepieces worn like jewellery. This model has variations in light, dark and pastel dials - with matching Milanese mesh or satin straps.

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