Tissot’s new COSC-certified automatic Powermatic 80.111 caliber is a major step toward improving the traditional approach to ladies’ mechanical watchmaking. The new movement is used in the Tissot Ballade, a 32mm ladies’ classic watch that is priced at under $1,000, proof once and for all that buying a high-luxury or over-decorated timepiece is not the only option for women who want a top-quality mechanical ladies’ wristwatch.
There are a couple of problems inherent in making mechanical movements for ladies’ watches. Because of size restrictions, very few have a seconds hand and are therefore not COSC certified. It is also hard to get a long power reserve because of restrictions on barrel size and the lack of space for a second barrel. Size does matter for the ladies’ market because, despite the U.S. preference for larger sizes, the Asian market has always been a big consideration in designing ladies’ collections, and in that market, smaller sizes are the norm. Tissot’s new family of Powermatic 80 movements changes all that somewhat.
The Powermatic 80.111 is something of a milestone because it is a mechanical movement created for a ladies’ watch and because it is an exceptional movement, with high precision – COSC certified – and an 80-hour power reserve, compared to the standard 42. This is achieved with a proprietary mechanical system that reduces the consumption of energy. Accuracy and power reserve are enhanced by an adjustable balance wheel – which is regulated for greater precision – and a longer mainspring. The longer mainspring was made possible by making it thinner and by reducing the diameter of the barrel-arbor’s core. Thus, the longer mainspring – and its accompanying longer power reserve – coils into a barrel that did not have to be increased to take up more space.
The Powermatic 80 is the product of a collaboration between Tissot and ETA, Tissot’s sister company within the Swatch Group. Originally designated the ETA 2824, but with a longer power reserve, the new automatic movement, called the ETA C07.111 or the Powermatic 80.111 was given a lower frequency – 3Hz (21,600 vph) instead of 4Hz (28,800), and a high-performance silicon balance spring. Reducing speed (and the energy requirement) and strengthening the escapement reduces friction and boosts performance. The result is a caliber that meets COSC standards, combined with that impressive 80-hour power reserve. The movement is 25.6mm in diameter, with 146 components including 25 jewels. In its case, the Tissot Ballade is only 32mm wide and 9.44mm thick. Functions include hours, minutes, seconds, and a date indication at 3 o’clock.
There are several versions of the Powermatic 80 caliber, depending on function, which are used in both men’s and ladies’ watches for both Tissot and in some really nice models for sister brand Mido. The Powermatic 80.601 is an “open heart” version, with a window at 12 o’clock through which to view the escapement. It is used in the Dressport ladies’ collection and the men’s Tradition models. The Powermatic 80.141 is a day/date model, with the date at 6 o’clock and the day at 3 o’clock. Only the Powermatic 80.111 has a silicon balance spring, but all are derived from the ETA 2824 base.
The case and bracelet of the Ballade is made of stainless steel, with two-tone, rose or yellow gold-plated options. There are also strap options in various colors. The bezel and inner dial are finished in a clous de Paris pattern. There are two Arabic numerals, at 12 and 6, and the rest are applied indexes. While we still don’t have exact pricing, the ladies’ Tissot Ballade will be priced starting at under $1,000, which makes the Tissot Ballade one of the best price/value ratios on the market, and that has always been at the core of Tissot’s product range. tissotwatches.com