Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tissot PR50 Review

An October 2010 pic of this one above. Seems to be ageing quite well.

It is always nice to be able to look at a fancy wristwatch and admire its engineering. Whether it be a fine gold case, a multi-jeweled automatic movement or a three face chronograph, there is an undeniable appeal to fine watches. That being said, however, most folks just want to know what the time is. That is what the Tissot PR50 is all about. If you are not impressed by plastic watches and instead just want a solidly built man's wristwatch that will faithfully get the job done, this is your watch.

Tissot is one of the old, well-established, Swiss watch companies. It was founded by Charles Tissot in 1853, and has been making watches for over 150 years now. The company produces a large and varied line of timepieces that run the gamut from pocket watches to fancy automatic chronographs. These days, the company is a part of the Swatch Group family of watch making companies (like many other well known brands including Omega and Hamilton to name two), but still retains much of its unique character. (For a terrific article about Tissot, see Tissot: Industrial Power)

The PR50 reviewed here is one of Tissot's quartz models. This particular example is powered by an ETA F06.111 (look under Catalog-Trendline) three-jewel quartz movement. The watch has a hacking feature, date function and an end of life battery indicator (I believe the second hand advances two seconds at a time when power is low). Additionally, the PR50 is water resistant to fifty meters and has a remarkable battery life of ninty-four months (7.8 years). The watchcase measures 38mm in width (including the crown) and 5mm in height. The overall length is 42mm from lug to lug and the PR50 has an 18mm band lug width. The lume on the hands and face is superluminova (which is the best lume available short of tritium tubes) and the crystal is made of sapphire (the best choice to ward off scratches). Lastly, the case and bracelet are made of stainless steel, the bracelet being of the folded link variety (not so nice as a solid link model but quite strong nonetheless). In addition to quartz models like this one, the PR50 line also includes a slightly more expensive model powered by a Swiss 25 jewel automatic movement along with a quartz chronograph and several ladies models.

All in all, if you are going to own only one watch, the PR50 is really a very good choice. It is well made, quite accurate, reasonably priced, has a very long battery life, and to my eye admittedly, is good looking. It also has the added advantage of being made by a real watch company with a long history of making quality watches. The PR50 is probably not the first choice for dedicated watch collectors, but there is nothing about it that would raise an objection from one either. After all, even a watch collector needs to know what time it is.


Blogger Philo-watch said...

Thanks for your comment, Ed.
I think you may have some very good suggestions for my Vintage Watch Forum. Your photo's are excellent, and your articles well-written. I hope to meet those standards but also include a financial [investment] analysis to collecting vintage watches. I have an investent background and am an avid collector, member of the NAWCC.
[I also suffer from ATDD- Attention To Detail Disorder, a benefit as a collector]

I have bookmarked your blog and hope to hear from you.


10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your review of the Tissot Pr50 very much. It really helped tip the scale in favour of buying one, which I did last week. I received the watch on friday and am very happy with it.

Thanks again.


12:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Glad to hear that you liked it.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

What is the case diameter? I wear anything less than a 40 and I feel like it is a womens watch.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

38mm. Sounds like it would be too small for you. Men's watch sizes are getting considerably bigger lately.

10:11 AM  
Blogger valiant said...

Good article.
I own a PR50 Chronograph, which in my opinion is a solid, good everyday watch. I agree with the comments in the article apart from battery life. I have had the dreaded indicator of low power (second hand has swept forward 2 seconds) 14 months after buting the wqatch. I know that the watch was in the store for a while before I bought it, but that can not be more than 2 years, max. So battery life was more like 38 months.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Interesting. I'm still on the same battery from 2004. Maybe an old battery in yours?

6:31 AM  
Blogger rightholder said...

i own 5 watches of tissot but what about the auto prs 516?

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about c.k? do they worth buying?

7:01 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Don't know a thing about C.K. watches I'm afraid.

PRS516 Auto is a very nice piece. Valjoux 7750 in the chrono or a 2824 in the regular version. Both are very good.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,
Your review made me smile as i bought a PR50 Chronograph just 20 days back from Swiss. Though i bought this watch on the spur of a moment, you review made me confident that i made a good choice.

Hope all the positive things you have said about the watch also applies to the chronographs of PR50

2:05 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I like the PR50 chrono. It's on my one of these days list :)

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I've had my PR50 for 14 years and only now has the battery indicator kicked in. Used every day and still looking good.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

That's remarkable battery life. Good stuff there.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Any idea what battery number is in the watch?

4:59 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I believe it is a Renata 395

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review on the PR50.
While in college I worked in a jewelry store and got exposed to the watch market a bit. The store never carried anything really upscale but there where always a few nice Whitnauers and Acutons (this was in the early 70s) kicking around. My knowledge is as slim now as it was then but I have picked up a few nice pieces. My favorite is a late 60s (I think) Acutron 218 and I also own a 50s Omega that is pretty cool. Anyway your blog re: the Tissot led to me buying an auto with a black face and subsequently a blue faced quartz. I really enjoy wearing both of these. I think the simplicity really makes for a handsome watch. So thanks for the review. I really enjoyed learning a bit about the movements and you assessment of the practical nature of the watch was dead on.
PS My golf game just seems to get worse every year!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Those old Accurtons were very well done. I heard Bulova is going to re-release a watch with that movement. Probably be out of my price range but cool nonetheless.

ps-My golf game is a disaster lately too :)

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I got one 2 years ago. Suddenly the watch was late...very late, 35 minutes in 18 hours. I took it to an authorized service, they changed the battery for $75!!!. No change. I took it back and they told me they have to send it to the factory and the cost is about $200.
After that a watch repairer checked it out, he told me the movement was put together, by a robot, no human being can get into it. I like the looks, but a Timex last longer.
This was my last Tissot.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Sorry to hear that you had a bad time with it. That being said, I would question your watchmaker's diagnosis. While it is true that the movement is machine assembled, that is largely true for all quartz movements. Additionally, the entire ETA F06.111 movement can be replaced, if necessary, for about $15. Whatever was wrong with the watch, a new movement would certainly have fixed.


Nothing should have been so expensive when servicing this model. It really doesn't make sense to me.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ed,

I also own a PR50 Auto, but I can't seem to figure out which leather strap size I should put in it. I came across your review you mentioned that it has a lug width of 18mm. Measuring with a steel Ruler I get 18mm, with a tailor's Tape Measure I get 19mm. What size strap should I get? I want to put in a Hirsh Ascot which comes in 18mm, 19mm, and 20mm.

If you could get back to me on this note it would be of incredible help.

sincerest rgrds.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I put an 18 mm on mine and it fit very nicely

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reply Ed.
I super-greatly appreciate it!

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Fa said...

Hi Ed,
I replaced the battery and the guy at the counter told me that he put a japanese battery, not a swiss one, because japanesse batts are better.
Should I replace it with the swiss one or keep the japanesse ?

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review, all very true concerning this watch. I am a collector myself, most of my watches are vintage mechanicals so ultimate accuracy is not so important to me. However sometimes you notice that there are situations when a solid and accurate timekeeper comes handy. Those are the moments I love my PR 50 the most.

Btw I got mine on a lot of vintage watches, the other items were so good that PR 50 came almost for "free".

PS. regarding the the battery life questions, I believe the chrono has different specs for power consumption. 7 years is probably not true for a chronograph as it may operate 3-4 stepper motors simultaneously instead of just one.

PPS. 75$ is way too much for replacing a battery on this model, I did it myself in 3 minutes. Just pay attention to the o-ring sealing the case as it may not remain totally watertight after that.

Collector from Finland

7:08 AM  
Blogger Antonio Fico said...

Hi Ed, i just found this old review.
I have the automatic version and i would ask you if it is simple to remove the ss bracelet and put a leather one.
I see that it seems to have a fixed link
Can you help me?

8:27 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I don't think the center link is fixed. I believe it just sits flush with the case being held in place by the spring bar. Should come off with the bracelet

8:47 AM  

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