The Comeback Kid: A Closer Look At Tissot’s Relaunched PRX Collection

The Comeback Kid: A Closer Look At Tissot’s Relaunched PRX Collection

From its super slim silhouette to its integrated bracelet, this new collection channels the energy of the “ ‘Me’ Decade.”

By Rhonda Riche

If you watched the Netflix series, Pretend It’s A City, you’ll get a feeling for the weird, wonderful, and challenging era that was the late 1970s.

Saturday Night Fever was a cinematic success, but at the same time, disco was giving way to the post-punk music of the Talking Heads and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. New York City had just beaten bankruptcy, and Space Invaders made us crazy for video games. The oil crisis hit the world hard, and the first-ever cellphone – which weighed over 4 lbs. – was introduced in Illinois.

Then, in 1978, Tissot responded to the sea change in tastes with the PRX, a series of slimline timepieces with integrated bracelets and fitted with newly developed quartz movements.

Our modern age is equally as complicated, so it’s the perfect time to bring back the Tissot PRX – with a few 21st-century tweaks, of course.

Crisis Management

In the watch industry, the 1970s played host to the era known as the quartz crisis. It was a time when many Swiss manufactures were put out of business by accurate but less expensive battery-powered watches from overseas. Some companies, like Tissot, used the opportunity to innovate, taking advantage of quartz calibers to produce thinner and sportier timepieces.

And the 2021 Tissot PRX draws its inspiration from just such a watch released in 1978. That piece featured an integrated steel bracelet, a flat barrel-shaped case, a quartz movement, and very similar dial details and color options. A few years later, Tissot registered the PRX name, with “PR” standing for “Precise and Robust” and “X” for 10 atmospheres (equivalent to 100 meters) of water resistance.

The new PRX 40 205 is a contemporary reinterpretation of the original 1978 model because it retains the original’s emblematic codes – most notably, the integrated bracelet with large, flat but flexible links that merge seamlessly into the slender case. Already a striking style, Tissot has further upped the ante with improved hairline finishes and three different dial color options: blue, black, and white.

The blue and black dials have lovely sunburst finishes, while the white has an elegant vertically-brushed finish that contrasts nicely with its gold-tone hour markers and hands.

Additionally, the new PRX 40 205 is streamlined. Its quartz movement allows it to measure in at 40mm wide, 10.40mm thick, and 40mm lug-to-lug. The demand for 1970s details like integrated bracelets and blue dials is at an all-time high right now, and the look is very era-appropriate. 

The Price is Right

The styling of the PRX 40 205 is certainly appealing, but its $375 price tag is perhaps the biggest selling point. Not to dismiss other color variants, but blue is the dial color right now. We were hard-pressed to find another blue-faced watch with an integrated steel bracelet from a major Swiss brand watch in the sub-$500 category.

The PRX 40 205’s quartz movement is also why it’s so affordable. The sporty watch has an ETA caliber F06.115 quartz movement, which has time and date complications and approximate two-year battery life. It also has an end-of-life (EOL) indicator, with the seconds hand skipping a step when the battery is low.

Now a quartz movement is a passion-killer for many collectors. Watch snobs often dismiss battery-powered calibers as “soulless.” Others are drawn to the beauty of the engineering and decoration of mechanical movements. And that’s a valid reaction. But a quartz movement offers more than just accuracy; its attendant affordability helps swell the ranks of watch ownership.

If you love the look but abhor quartz, then you’re in luck! Tissot is planning to launch a mechanical PRX Powermatic 80 later this year.

The Tissot PRX 40 205 went on sale directly through the brand in early March but quickly sold out. It will be restocked later this month and priced at $375. Learn more on Tissot's website.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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