People ask me to recommend watches for them all the time. Given a price range, I have my go-to recommendations in more sporty categories like chronographs and divers, and I have slowly been making them known throughout the life of this blog, but the growing popularity of vintage-inspired pieces gives me a good excuse to spend some hands-on time with an elegant dress watch like the Tissot Heritage Visodate 1957. By no means is this a new watch (it was released in 2010), but I’ve been getting pinged for suggestions on classic and affordable dress watches lately, and Tissot is a brand that comes to mind. Like that guy who keeps telling the same story over and over, I’m that one with a sure recommendation for the Visodate to anyone asking for a good value in a timeless and understated dress watch.
Tissot hardly needs an introduction. Since 1853 the Le Locle company contributed significant innovations to watchmaking, from being the first mass-produced pocket watch to developing the first anti-magnetic timepiece. Originally released in 1953, the Visodate marked the brand’s 100th year anniversary and the watch racked up another innovation for Tissot as it was the first automatic watch with a date window. The design was sleek and stylish and the Heritage Visodate 1957 released in 2010 stays true to its lineage. With the Visodate is a prime example of a vintage-style watch with all the modern luxuries of watchmaking: sapphire crystal, reliable movement, exhibition case back, and a deployment clasp.
Case & Dial
The Visodate features a highly polished stainless steel case, which is tastefully sized at 40mm with beautifully long lugs and a thin bezel that allows the ultra-legible dial to be the star of the show. What’s more is the case has a subtle trapezoidal shape, so the caseback side that touches your wrist has a slightly larger diameter than the bezel. Normally you don’t want too many frills in a dress watch, but it’s far from bold and yields an interesting shape that you’ll notice probably only when studying the watch closely. At 11.6mm in thickness, the Visodate will fit under the snuggest of cuffs as a proper dress watch should.
The dial has, pardon the pun, many faces depending on your perspective. On the wrist and from a distance, it’s bright and could even be mistaken for a white dial; up close, the dial shimmers an unmistakeable silver with a smooth pearl-like texture. Simple, vintage-inspired indices, dauphine hands and limited writing on the dial promote a sophisticated legibility you must have in a dress watch. The applied Tissot logo is a touch of luxury that mimics the logo of its predecessor. Also like the original Visodate, the Heritage 1957 has a calendar complication; however, Tissot upgraded the calendar in this version with an added day feature. It’s a design choice that is not without its merits but is also potentially a distraction from an otherwise perfect dial. An immaculate domed sapphire crystal protects the dial and remains invisible at no matter what angle you view the dial.
Turn the Visodate over and the show continues with a sapphire crystal exhibition case back that boasts a view of Tissot’s gold rotor on its ETA 2836-2 movement, which is like a 2824-2 with an added day complication. One other major difference from the 2824 is the 2836’s date change is quicker and referred to as instantaneous (the 2824 is pseudo-instantaneous). Like its cousin, it’s a 26-jewel movement that oscillates at 28,800 bph. Over 72 hours with some continuous wear, the accuracy fared at -7 sec/day.
Style & Comfort
The Visodate comes on a leather strap with a rich cordovan-colored alligator pattern. It’s stiff at first and you’ll better appreciate the feel once you break in the strap. It has a deployment clasp that is nearly identical to the clasp on Tissot’s PRC 200 quartz chronograph except the Tissot signature on this clasp is in the vintage style just like the applied logo on the dial.
This is a dress watch that will really pop with a gray or blue suit, but if you prefer a black model or want gold-tone instead of stainless steel, you can pick up the Tissot Heritage Visodate in one of many variations: black dial with black strap, silver dial with gold-plated steel–there are even a few options with Roman instead of Arabic numerals. Priced at $650, there is no excuse not to pick up a couple if you’re looking to mix and match. And while this piece pairs very well with formal wear, you don’t have to wear this with a suit and tie. It has some James Dean appeal to it and would definitely kill just as well with a v-neck tee and your favorite jeans.