If you’ve been a reader of GMT Minus Five for the last year, then the Tissot Visodate should be familiar to you. If not, make a point to hop over and read the full review of the Visodate. A throwback to the original 1950s Visodate, this Heritage model, with its mid-century dial and leather strap, represents one of the best values in Swiss Made dress watches on the market today. For 2014, Tissot sends its beloved Heritage Visodate out to market once again but this time riding on a new mesh (milanese) bracelet.
As far as the watch is concerned, it’s still the same great Visodate that Tissot has been selling since 2010. There’s the mirror-polished 40mm case with its elegantly long and beveled lugs; the proud and domed sapphire crystal; of course, there’s still the clean, slightly domed dial with its retro applied Tissot logo. But as many of us know, changing a watch’s strap can give birth to a whole new timepiece. The stainless steel mesh bracelet retains the retro vibe while injecting sportiness into the design.
[youtube id=”cD-2P6j8Ykc” width=”660″ height=”371″ position=”center”]
The bracelet here is well made. It’s strong without being inflexible or overbearing, and it glides smoothly along the wrist without pinching. The straight end links lend the perfect vintage appeal to the whole look that I surprisingly liked. I generally don’t prefer mesh bracelets and straight end links never really did it for me, but I think it works on the Milanais. Because the end links don’t connect to the case, Tissot reveals more of the case and you can see the smooth polished curve between the lugs.
While I typically don’t love milanese bracelets, you can achieve a 100% perfect fit, which is something you don’t always get with leather or traditional linked bracelets. However, getting to that perfect fit can be a bit of a nightmare, as you need a thin but strong tool for leverage to pry open the clasp to slide it down the bracelet. Once you find the spot you want to anchor the clasp, locking it in can be a bit tough, although once you do the clasp is secure and you can enjoy a comfortable fit.
The dial is about as classic as it gets, with perfectly proportioned applied hour markers and dauphine hands. The polished and applied logo is stunning, catching the light at nearly any angle. Frankly, my only complaint with the dial has to be its day-date window that occupies a significant chunk of real estate.
I originally reviewed the silver version of the Visodate earlier this year, and now I’m spending more time with the black version I’m able to see some of its differences. First, the black isn’t a deep dark black; instead, it’s softer, almost a charcoal. Second, the domed sapphire crystal doesn’t have any anti-reflective coating, so the watch becomes a mirror in a lot of cases–something I didn’t notice when I was exploring the silver Visodate.
Behind the dial is an ETA 2836, which is technically very similar to the venerable 2824 with the exception of an added day, which you can see through the exhibition case back. For the money, I’ve always appreciated the amount of decoration, enjoying the gold and striped rotor but accepting the rather bare remainder.
Most of the time when a brand has strap variations on a particular watch, the bracelet is at least a couple hundred bucks more expensive than non-metal alternatives, but the Milanaise is only $45 more than your leather Visodate, totaling $695. For a Swiss Made decorated caliber visible through a transparent case back and a timeless design, the price is more than fair. The Tissot Visodate Milanais is available now at HourPassion boutiques and through Tissot’s online shop.