After posting about my favorite watch ever (Japanese) and a Chinese-made fashion watch that’s pretty decent, you’re probably wondering, “I want to be a baller! Are there any Swiss-made watches for the budget-conscious layperson???” Yep, there sure are! Check out the Tissot Le Locle automatic watch!
I wear my Seiko every single day. For almost any imaginable purpose, a good Seiko or Citizen watch will be more than you will ever need. However, there are times when even the budget-conscious layperson will want to add a little edge to his style by wearing a Swiss timepiece, whether it’s to impress others at the workplace, or to simply feel the excitement of wearing an elegant, world-class piece of history on his wrist. Honestly, a Seiko will fulfill either of these purposes. But to many people, Swiss watches still carry a greater heritage of quality and prestige. Perhaps it is mostly vanity. Well, at least you can pass a good Swiss watch on to your children someday. Or sell them. (The watch, I mean. Not your children.)
Tissot is one of the most well-known “entry-level” Swiss brands – their watches meet the strict standards of Swiss watchmaking, but at a price tier that is much lower than some of the Swiss brand-name giants like Omega and Rolex. (Hamilton is another such entry-level Swiss watch; I’ll get to one of those another time.)
The Le Locle automatic is one of Tissot’s flagship models, named after the city in which they are headquartered. The packaging and presentation is much better than I was expecting, especially for a watch in the sub-$500 range. The box itself is low-slung and modern-looking, not big and traditionally clunky like a lot of other Swiss watch brands.
The watch casing is a bit thick, but its rounded edges and shiny polished surface make it almost seem like an old pocketwatch. I mean that in a good way. The face of the watch is textured with a guilloche pattern – it’s interesting, but I think a plain face would have looked nice as well. I think the pattern is growing on me though.
The part that impresses me most is the caseback, which features some truly fantastic engraving and a few transparent windows through which you can view the movement. There is a great deal of fine detailing in the inscription of the model name, serial number, and other information.
Operation is simple and standard for an automatic watch: pull the crown out one stop and turn clockwise to adjust the date; pull out one more stop to adjust the time; press all the way in and turn to manually wind if you so wish. The “click” of the date complication when turning the crown is very distinct and solid, and feels substantial and high-end.
The Roman numerals are subdued and easy to read. The hands are sharp and precise. Very clean and classy and NICE. I like clean and classy and NICE.
The strap is black leather. Combine that with a white dial and you get a near-perfect formal dress watch. Maybe too formal for everyday wear. If you’re looking for your first watch, it might be better to go for something with a brown or metal band for versatility.
Still, I am extremely impressed with the quality of this watch. If I had an extra few hundred bucks to kick around, I might keep one and wear it to formal events (with a black suit). For daily wear, though, I’d recommend toning it down with something slightly more casual. This would make a great secondary, fancier watch. For the price, you can’t beat it. It’s a great investment that will look good and work well for a very long time.
Let me know what you think in the comments!