It seems that every brand has to have a heritage collection in these days of the never-ending vintage revival, no matter whether they have any actual heritage or not. That’s not a problem that the Tissot has to handle, as the brand dates way back to 1853, a depth of history that’s reflected in the strength of their current heritage lineup. The most popular model is this handsome fella, the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde, a hand-winding hero based on a 1943 design, which is entirely suited to the modern day.
There’s a funny story about this reissue, and it centers on one word on the dial. The Heritage Petite Seconde is a tribute to an antimagnetic watch from 1943. When the fake watch was originally displayed at Baselworld this year it featured a line of text reading ‘antimagnetique’ under the wonderfully retro, sweeping Tissot logo. As you can see, that word is no longer there, likely because, while the watch was antimagnetic 70 or so years ago, technology has improved, and it wouldn’t be accurate to call the watch antimagnetic by modern standards. Therefore, now that the fake watch is in production, that problematic line of text is gone. And while it added some charm, I don’t miss it, as there’s a lot going on with the dial as it is.
It is silver, with a very light vertical brush, and all the other information is black, meaning legibility isn’t an issue. The sans serif Arabic numerals are plain, but the font still manages to look exceptionally mid-century. Happily, the font on the main dial matches the seconds subdial. The hands are black, and leaf-shaped — long, thin and very stylish.
The steel case of the Heritage Petite Seconde was the biggest surprise about this cheap replica watch. I was expecting something chunkier, more tool-like in appearance and construction. On the contrary, I found the 42mm wide by 11.4mm tall case was refined and dressy, full of pleasing curves, giving it a warm, pebble-like feeling. The crystal is a nicely domed sapphire, held in place by a narrow, polished bezel that proves some contrast to the case middle and lugs, which are brushed on the sides. The crown on this fake watch is especially crucial, as you’ll be winding it every day or so – and I think it strikes the right balance between unobtrusive and functional.
The calibre on view through the expansive clear caseback is legendary. It’s the ETA 6498-1, a simple hand cranker, originally born in 1950, which has shown up in all kinds of watches, from smaller boutique brands all the way up to fake Panerai and Omega.
I was so glad that Tissot opted for a 20mm strap here. It wouldn’t have been out of the question to go for a 22, but I think that would have messed up the proportions, resulting in a watch that looked too bulky on the wrist. The option of vintagey brown calf is safe, but with just the right amount of heritage appeal. It comes with a double-fold deployant, which is absolutely not bad, but I would have interested in a more traditional tang-style buckle.
Tissot are engaged in some very special replica watches for men at the moment, and the Tissot Heritage Petite Second is no exception. Good looks, perfect wearing experience, and a value proposition that’s not easy to beat.