Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium - Saturday November the 21th @EICMA
If you are not visiting the EICMA exhibition, you can't be considered a real biker. Every year in the pavilions of the Milan Fair, the biggest motorbike and accessory brands present their new items, and the third week of November is when you will find out whether you are going to make your next crazy purchase that you will have to hide from your girlfriend or, more likely, from your wife! I have always been a biker, mainly in spirit since my 2008 Triumph Street Triple 675 exchanged hands (not my choice...), my passion for the two wheels and for the freedom that only a motorbike can give you in your daily life or during a holiday away hasn't diminished a single inch and it is on a par with my love for cars and my “quieter” but nevertheless strong love for watches.
A while ago, I finally started to write about Tissot, from the side of the racing circuit during that famous Grand Prix of Misano when everything seemed to point towards the final victory of an Italian biker, but, unfortunately, as the recent Valencia race showed, the final result was completely different and more sour (as seen from my point of view as an Italian man/race fan). Tissot is the sponsor of the MotoGP and of the Superbike competition too, while the Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium is the model of the vast Touch collection (Touch is almost a separate brand nowadays) that best represents the world of bike racing where getting rid of even a gram of weight and the possibility to instantly measure physics or time is essential.
The Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium is a block of anodized aluminum that is13mm thick, its diameter measures 42,15mm (please notice the 0,15mm figure!). It is available in at least 10 different colours and it is locked by an aluminum back case. The total weight of this timepiece doesn't exceed the 57gr and its lightness is made even more evident by the use of a silica strap; if compared to rubber straps, silica straps are much more comfortable and fresher on the skin. Of all the basic characteristics of this watch, I would like to talk first about how easy it is to use; I had never worn a T-Touch before and I have to admit that it features a very intuitive system, you don't need to open your user's manual to understand how it works and Tissot has even created a dedicated website that teaches you, in an easy and funny way, how to make the best use out of your timepiece (you can find the website here). For those of you who don't know what a T-Touch is (I am probably thinking about very young watch fans and young athletes), it is a watch whose functions are activated by touching the glass; an idea that has allowed the brand to manufacture a multifunction-watch featuring the same style as a classic two-hand-timepiece.
By pushing the rubber button placed at 3 o'clock, you can activate all the watch's functions, otherwise it is a normal display watch at 6 o'clock featuring a simil carbon fibre dial (a very high-tech feature that, somehow, makes this timepiece a bit fussy from an aesthetic point of view and makes reading the dial more difficult). In my opinion, the activation button is necessary on this kind of watch to avoid going out in the morning to then discover, after a couple of hours, that the compass is on, since it is very easy to activate the watch's functions because the glass (sapphire) is very sensitive.
From a technical point of view, the Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium is a 1/100-second-chrono and it can measure the chronometric time of two competitors racing against each other. It is also a compass and a water tide indicator. Once it has been activated, the sapphire glass becomes very sensitive and you only need to touch the glass next to the corresponding name of the function to activate it; if you want to make the best out of every single function, you would need to know the logic behind multifunction-electronic-displays or else read the user's manual. An acoustic signal indicates that the function has been activated: the two central hands start to move together and only stop once they have reached the location of the selected function (except for the compass function, where the hands keep on moving to point to the different directions). If you press the middle of the glass with your index finger, the timepiece goes back to its basic mode and starts to count the time. It is an easy watch to use, if a bit noisy (again: is this the manufacturer's choice?) - at every click, you can hear the light noise of the electric engine moving the hands in the background but, maybe, this has been designed to simply give some sort of acoustic feedback to the action selected (something that is not present on any other electronic multifunction-watch).
From a technical point of view, besides the many available functions that have been customized according to the watch's version and its use, the Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium is one step below the T-Touch Solar Expert which blends together multifunctionality and a solar-energy-powered-ETA-caliber and retails at 460 euro. This is the most accessible watch when it comes to a type of technology that Tissot launched before everybody else 16 years ago when touch technologies only existed in some scientists' minds or were started to be developed in research labs. For the pictures attached to this article please let me thank the following companies: Leovince and the Suzuki GSX-R displayed at their stand at the EICMA 2015 exhibition and Bimota (an historical motorcycling brand in Italy) and their new naked Impeto.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter