Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 and Quartz Chronograph
...and a sneak peek at the Seastar Professional!
Suppose you're designing a new diving watch to join the affordable luxury, whose price point is below the 1,000 Euro retail price. In that case, you're nowadays undertaking quite a challenging task, so is the market offering vast and diverse. Tissot was among the last ones to reveal their value proposition among diving watches when they introduced the Seastar collection.
The official launch of the first Seastar timepiece happened four years ago, at Baselworld 2017. Thus, the new range of divers' watches enriched a catalog of products whose offering covers every class of products, from vintage-inspired hand-wind beauties like the Petite Seconde to tech-savvy wristwatches like the T-Touch. Never forget Tissot introduced tactile technology in the industry.
Tissot Seastar 1000 Automatic Powermatic 80
Tissot's brand awareness is high, and high is the expectation when a new piece hits the market. Yet, the Seastar is the last in a row of plenty of diving watches out there. What sets it apart from the competition? First and foremost, the round case is less ordinary than it might look at first glance. The 43mm wide case side is not flat but machined, showcasing a pattern that mimics the modern Tissot logo, in my opinion. If you take a look at the Chronograph Quartz option, you'll notice a squared and stretched "T" logo runs through the rubber strap from top to bottom.
Another key design feature is the dark blue smoked dial; blue is a commodity in watchmaking, yet Tissot's designers were able to identify a blue and black Pantone whose hues remind the deepest oceanic spots. Also, thumbs up for "hiding" the date in a small round window placed at six. It is as easy to read as inobtrusive if you don't mind. The 2020 headline news is the Milanese mesh bracelet; it proves, along with the see-through case back, that today's diver watches are much more than just tool watches.
The Milanese mesh turns, therefore, an originally-conceived diving watch into something dressier and up-scale. It is an option I got to experience when I enjoyed the Longines Legend Diver a couple of summers ago; my only worry was to avoid any pinching when securing such a bracelet around my wrist. However, if you wear a modern iteration, you'll discover that most mesh bracelets have flattened surfaces and virtually no gap between the links, thus guaranteeing superior comfort. Thumbs down to the open case back instead; I belong to those die-hard fans purveyors of solid case backs on this class of timepieces.
I guess the brand was willing to showcase the Powermatic 80 caliber. It is a mechanical movement whose eighty hours of power reserve are top-class; I received plenty of messages asking me additional information regarding the differences between this one and its siblings. The Powermatic 80 belongs to a common platform developed by the Swatch Group, whose variants mainly differ in terms of decorations, and the adoption of the silicon balance spring. It is one of the pros when buying a brand belonging to a big group, whose technologies are shared to standardize costs and keep the retail price as attractive as possible, in the benchmark. The Tissot Seastar 1000 Automatic Powermatic 80 costs 695 Euros.
Tissot Seastar 1000 Quartz Chronograph
In comparison to the mechanical Seastar, the quartz chronograph option was forbidden fruit to me, since I never had to chance to get my hands on this as on any other Swiss quartz diving watches. A diving watch is synonymous with mechanical movement, despite the market being flooded with tons of quartz diving professional watches; take a look at Japanese diving watch offerings. The Seastar 1000 Quartz Chronograph was quite a surprise; the proportions are right, the chronograph registers are well spaced, and slightly recessed, while the quartz movement makes it lighter than its mechanical counterpart, yet not too much.
They could have opted for titanium, the outcome being a somewhat too light wristwatch, which is the letdown when making quartz operated titanium watches. The rubber strap is soft, and I can personally assure it withstands the saltiest waters for a long time, and this not a given, considering the early 2000s luxury watches' straps were prone to wear and cracks easily. Straps have greatly improved since then; you can't go wrong with straps' quality today. The mechanical or the quartz Seastar glow strongly in the dark, thanks to raised indexes, filled with plenty of luminescent material.
In summary, they are well made, and their pricing is right. What I'd slightly improve is the "detenting," which is good overall but not as pleasing as it is on some competitors coming from the Rising Sun. Never forget this is most probably the first function a new consumer is testing once in the store. The Tissot Seastar 1000 Quartz Chronograph retails for 495 Euros.
Tissot Seastar 1000 Professional - hands-on preview
Here is a preview of the Seastar's flagship product, a tool watch with enhanced product specifications. With the Seastar 1000 Professional, Tissot adds a professional diver chronograph engineered for saturation diving. The large screw-down crown at ten performs two operations: it allows the wearer to release helium and works as a device to lock the bezel in a chosen position safely.
The bezel is a masterpiece of craftsmanship: crafted in ceramics, it is thin and superbly finished. If you have a soft spot for such products, I suggest seeing it in the flesh, once it'll hit the stores. It comes standard with a steel bracelet and a box with a rubber replacement strap that you can easily swap thanks to a quick change button. Again, I would have gone for a solid case back, given the super-professional pedigree. More information to come after this summer break; availability and price included. Hence, stay tuned.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®