Designers at the Tissot Watch Company have never wasted time worrying about the competition. Innovation has been a hallmark of the brand since it opened headquarters in Le Locle, Switzerland in 1853, introducing the first pocket watch with two time zones. By 1858, Charles-Emile Tissot, the founder’s son, had successfully penetrated the huge and influential Russian market. Today, Tissot is the leading producer of traditional Swiss watches in the world, under the Swatch company umbrella.
Over the years, Tissot timepieces have been worn by luminaries from all walks of life. Actress Sarah Bernhardt wore a Tissot, as did pop icon Elvis Presley. World leader Nelson Mandela and actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly kept track of busy schedules with their Tissots.
Surprisingly, the Tissot name has not been as well-recognized as other watchmakers, but not for a lack of industry firsts and non-traditional styling. Perhaps its commitment to “democratic luxury” leads some to believe that a Tissot can’t possibly meet standards of other Swiss companies at such affordable prices. Reviewers have described Tissots as “offering gold at silver prices.” Yet over the years, Tissot gained a reputation for establishing many “firsts.” In 1930, the company produced the first anti-magnetic watch. In 1971, the first plastic watch came from Tissot designers, and was followed by a watch made of solid rock (granite from the Swiss Alps) in 1971; a pearl watch in 1987; and a watch made entirely from wood in 1988. Still, whatever model,managed to create a stir, Tissot never lost sight of its goals — maintaining accurate performance by Swiss-precision standards.
The accuracy of Tissot is legendary; the company serves as official timekeepers for NASCAR and MotoGP racing, as well as the World Championships of cycling, fencing and ice hockey. Danica Patrick, the first woman to win an IndyCar race, is one of several ambassadors for the company, and was involved in the creation of a collection of ladies watches. MotoGP racer Nicky Hayden also sports a collection, which includes several styles and prices of the popular Tissot Quadrato model. When potential buyers look under the hood of any Quadrato, they’ll see features representing innovation not found in other brands. Tactile, or “T-Touch” technology, first produced in 2000, has improved how we can use watches.