Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium Review: Hands-On
October 31, 2020
Though it’s called the Gentleman, this is a watch designed for every man. And a lot of women, for that matter. The Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium is a great addition to a category of classic, extremely versatile sports watches that feature simple dials, applied stick indices and often a date window packaged neatly in a steel case.
Often referred to as everyday watches or GADA—Go Anywhere Do Anything—watches, these timepieces can be worn as easily with a suit as they can with a t-shirt and jeans. It’s a category that spans a wide range of price points and finishes and includes watches like the Seiko SARB, Tag Heuer Carrera, Omega Aqua Terra, various Grand Seikos, and even the Rolex Datejust. And the Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium fits in nicely right alongside them, even standing out from the rest of the pack in a few ways.
A classic dial
The Tissot Gentleman is available in three dial colors: black, silver or blue. Each dial color is available in either a smooth or a somewhat dressier crosshair dial, which is available on an alligator grain strap for an added bit of class. In any variation, and in any color, this is the type of watch that appeals to a wide range of tastes and styles.
The Gentleman features a clean, stylish dial. I’d even go a step further: it’s a sleek and sophisticated dial. There are no numerals, just the Tissot 1853 logo at the top and the movement name below. Applied tapered stick markers with polished beveled edges catch the light, adding depth and a little sparkle. And they make it easy to read the time quickly at a glance. The date window at 3 o’clock is trimmed in polished, silvery metal, visually connecting it to the hour markers.
Between the hour markers is a printed seconds track with two much smaller indices between each second. This helps connect the entire seconds track into a continuous visual ring around the outer edge of the dial. The plain rehaut is not very tall, helping keep the overall height of the watch as thin as it is.
The dial of the Gentleman shows off a set of very nicely proportioned sword hands. They are wide enough to read easily, but not so wide that they lose their elegance. And the slightly beveled and brightly polished surface catches the light, much like the hour markers do. The seconds hand is a simple tapered stick that looks a bit like a tiny magic wand.
The hour and minute hands have a thin strip of lume along the top, and there is a lume pip at the outside edge of each hour marker. This is definitely a watch that prioritizes polished surfaces over lumed ones. It mainly relies on light to catch those polished edges rather than providing an abundance of lume for telling time in the dark.
The Tissot Gentleman features a flat, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal that makes legibility a breeze. It sits nearly flush with the top of the case, just peeking over the bezel. The crystal does its job well: it gets out of the way and brings the attention to the dial.
A Gentleman’s case
The Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium is 40mm wide, 11.8mm thick with a lug-to-lug length of 48.5mm and a lug width of 21mm. These dimensions, along with lugs that taper inward and curve downward, help hug the wrist and allow the watch to wear well on a range of wrist sizes.
The straight-sided stainless steel case features satin brushed sides and lugs with polished, chamfered edges. A wide, polished steel bezel surrounds the dial. The bezel is flat and slopes downward from the crystal to the edges of the watch, which also helps with the sleek appearance of the Tissot Gentleman.
On the back of the watch, a gently sloped display caseback shows off the modestly decorated automatic Powermatic 80 movement beating away inside. And when it comes time to set the watch, or give it a quick wind, the large, easy-to-grip crown makes that a simple task. It’s a push-pull crown, but despite that, the watch offers 100 meters of water resistance. This means you can swim in it, and can certainly wear it in the rain, further cementing the Gentleman’s position as an every day, any situation watch.
The Tissot Gentleman is a comfortable watch to wear. It feels and looks remarkably thin while worn, and fits my modest 6.5” wrist very well. This was a bit surprising since I generally avoid watches with anything longer than a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm. But the downward curve and taper of the lugs, along with the relative thinness of the case, really helps the watch hug the wrist, and look great while there.
If I had one complaint about the dimensions, it might be the 21mm lug width. That is the one thing that could hold this back from being a true strap monster. It could have tapered that extra 0.5mm on each side—or the lugs could have been 0.5 mm thicker—to give it a more common lug width of 20mm. It would have had some effect on the look of the watch, but probably only a small one.
A bracelet with some heft
The Tissot Gentleman watch comes on either a leather strap or a nicely made stainless steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp. “Tissot 1853” is engraved on the links where the clasp ends meet—a nice touch. The clasp is milled and polished but doesn’t include any micro-adjustments. Tissot provided two half links, however, to help get the right fit. The bracelet wraps around the wrist comfortably and the clasp helps it sit flush, even on a smaller wrist.
The links are thick enough to give the bracelet a substantial feel without really being overly heavy. The side links are brushed, and the center links are polished. This extra shine makes it stand out on the wrist more, adding to the bling factor. The tradeoff is that the scuffs and scratches which the watch will pick up from regular wear are going to be more noticeable.
The tolerances on the Tissot bracelet are generally very good. Looking closely, there is a slight gap between the end links and the first links of the bracelet. This is something often found in this price range, but less so on more expensive watches.
Is there room for improvement here? Some people like the look of the polished center links, but they do pick up scratches more quickly and readily show fingerprints and smudges. I’d opt for a fully brushed bracelet, personally. I was able to get a great fit, but some would appreciate a little more adjustability. And finally, shaving just a little height off of the links would reduce the weight of the bracelet a little.
A modern movement
The Tissot Gentleman automatic runs on the Powermatic 80 movement, a modern revision of the venerable ETA 2824-2 workhorse movement. Replaces the 38-hour power reserve of the 2824-2 with a claimed 80 hours of power. Fully wound, you can put the watch down and it will still be running three days later. There is a slight tradeoff, though: the watch ticks at 21,600 BPH or 3Hz. It seems that the Swatch group was able to double the power reserve by lowering the beat rate.
I’m a big fan of watching the seconds hand sweep around a dial and prefer the smoother sweep of a 28,800 BPH movement. And the importance of a smoother motion is entirely a personal preference. That said, the seconds hand on the Tissot Gentleman marks off the seconds in a pleasant if slightly staccato motion. This is not unlike what you’d find on a sub-$1000 Seiko or on many Hamilton watches.
As the name implies, the Powermatic 80 Silicium also contains a silicon balance spring to help provide increased magnetic resistance. And Incabloc shock protection further helps add to the durability and ultimately the wearability. Both the added magnetic resistance and shock protection let you wear it in more situations with less worry.
The Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium impressed me. This is a very nice sports watch, which can easily be dressed up or worn casually. Classic styling, a date function, good water resistance, and a great power reserve really make this a fantastic all around, every day watch. At $725 on leather and $775 on a bracelet, it comes in at an extremely attractive price, from a Swiss watchmaker with a heritage going back to 1853. And it just looks great on the wrist. All of those features combine to make this one of the most versatile watches that you can get for under $1000.
Who would I recommend this watch to? Well, just about anyone and everyone, to be honest. Certainly to anyone looking for a timeless, great looking and extremely versatile timepiece. This would make a great first automatic watch for many, or a really nice step-up piece to someone moving up from something like a Seiko 5, an Orient, or another lower-priced piece. For many, this could very easily be your one and only watch, accompanying you everywhere and staying on your wrist for years, even decades, to come.
Here’s another recommendation. True, the Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 stands on its own as a really solid watch and a great value. But it can also be a fantastic alternative to watches like a Grand Seiko, Omega Aqua Terra, or even the Rolex Datejust 41 for those who cannot or will not spend the money on those much more expensive timepieces.
And finally, here’s a recommendation for Tissot: You have a great watch on offer. Consider expanding the appeal by offering the Gentleman at various sizes to fit a wider range of wrists. Besides the current 40mm version, I think a 38mm case size would be an excellent addition to the Gentleman lineup.
Learn more about the full Gentleman line and see all the variations of the Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 at tissotwatches.com.
If you prefer a quartz watch…
The Tissot Gentleman Quartz is also available, which uses a Swiss quartz movement instead of the Powermatic 80. The quartz models deliver the same great styling as the Tissot Gentleman automatic, but with an even thinner 8.5mm case. And the quartz versions are about half the cost of the mechanical ones, at between $350-$375.