It's not actually in my closet, it's just in the watchbox. It is pretty, and it's always the pretty ones that make you get your wallet out. This is my Tissot T-Complication Squelette (Skeleton in French), and it is attractive, it packs an aesthetic punch. It looks robust, more of a solid, beautiful athlete than a dainty model. It's not new, first released in 2013 it's holding its own and remains popular. I picked it up in 2017, and I believe it was just an internet encounter that first brought it to my attention, I pulled the trigger immediately on finding a deal, this was back in the days when I could do that kind of wallet-slinging.
I continue to find that this watch is a logic trap, it makes me have feelings, and act on them.
Why did I buy this watch? Well, on first impression it just blew my mind. It was the early days of my collection, I had the Raymond Weil Freelancer, the old school G-Shock (the one I just changed the battery on) and a Garmin Fenix 3 (for working out - which I did a lot of back then). So this was totally different and as I wasn't really into the watch scene I hadn't been exposed to something that was this stunning and in my price range. It was the fancy piece in the collection, a little flashy and attention-seeking, it's ok to be that guy once in awhile. I haven't decided on a format for reviews yet, then again this isn't really a proper review as I continue to find that this watch is a logic trap, it makes me have feelings.
...it was exactly what I didn't know I was looking for.
I've always admired the technological and human advancements facilitated by clock/watchmaking. Not to mention the artistry, infinite design potential, and ideas that have represented time over the years - especially the intricacy involved in timepiece design and engineering. Hence the skeleton design always appealed to me, but often I found the classic skeleton dials, though pretty, to be a little over embellished and fancy for my liking, I guess I was after something a little more modern, but I wasn't activity seeking it, and when I saw this watch it was exactly what I didn't know I was looking for.
When the hands catch the light (see video below) they flash an iridescent blue, the lume is fantastic, and the balance of the hour and minute markers is perfect, set deep in the case and exposing almost all of the fantastic movement and detail. The Tissot badge is subtle and doesn't interfere at all, much prefer it to branding on the glass. The crown is tactile and secure, which is a good thing because you will be fiddling with a lot as you wind and watch the internals engage and breath life into this beauty.
It has an industrial feel to it, it's making a statement, like it believes in itself and is without compromise. It's bold without being too flashy, though is on the bigger side, with case at around 43mm and lug to lug (lug span/height) at 52mm. The broad spokes of the wheel-like top plate give it a sense of reinforced strength. I guess that idea of internal strength and efficient inner working appeals to me as a reflection of my approach to life.
As if all that attention to detail wasn't enough, to add to that heritage and connection to time and history, this is a manual wind movement. It's actually a customised ETA which some may frown upon, but when you look it, it doesn't really matter. In addition you can pick up a pre-loved one for less than £1000 now (I paid £1100) which might be the top end some might consider for a no-in-house movement. Considering all the benefits of owning this watch, I think that's a reasonable compromise.
And of course these subjective realities and ideas that one creates to relate to material items can be seen as a little woo-woo but it doesn't make them any less true. I can wind it, sit, and watch it work for a little while in awe of the design and aesthetic or ponder the heritage and history I'm looking into, thinking back to the days when solving technical problems was a hell of a challenge, and the crazy dedicated engineers/artists that took it to the limits.
In terms of going back in time, Tissot are a broad, versatile and historically significant brand, founded in let me see, I think 1853. And heritage within the realm of timekeeping holds a certain prestige and draw that gives the brand value and interest, a story. Of course, the price range of Tissot watches is quite low for Swiss watches, but they have a certain status in the watch community of excellent introductory timepieces, and the T-Complication is one of their more pricey offering, you can see why, and why it's justified. We all love a story, but I'm not telling the Tissot story here you can go and find that elsewhere.
What about my story? I don't it wear it often, once or twice a month maybe, so it goes under the radar but it does demand attention when worn. Two years after I bought this watch my brother expressed an interest in skeleton watches and I showed him this article, Watch Times list of 10 Stand Out Skeleton Watches - the watch keeps good company, standing strong alongside its peers, some of which are fifty times the price. As I scrolled through watches costing tens of thousands of pounds, number eight of the ten on the list was the T-Complication, when I first came across this list it was after I'd bought the watch so it was a source of validation I suppose, not that it matters too much. He didn't know the prices of any, but the Tissot was one of those that got him the most excited and he didn't know I owned one. It was a nice moment for me, being able to show him the watch, describe some of the features and let him feel it and wear it. It was less an ego boost, which of course it was too, but more the building of a link and a bond strengthened through a common interest. Watches are somehow very efficient conductors of human emotion.
This watch does have the full package from my perspective, great value, stunning looks, the ability to start a conversation/create connections and a manual wind adding another dimension to the squelette. Drawbacks are the size and that's about it for me, there isn't a better skeleton watch at this price point. This is one of the things that I will elaborate on in the future but I mentioned sentiment in the previous post 'why I like watches?' For me, this watch entails some of the most important things that well designed and beautiful timepieces have the power to do, create memories, by sharing time talking timepieces, and essentially strengthening ties. And that is a very powerful thing. This is my watch and it has a story now. As for my brother, he's not that into watches (yet), but he does appreciate them.
Tissot really outdid themselves with this watch, there isn't another like it out there, some of the Oris skeletons come close but they are at least double the price, there is no match for this stunning squelette. We buy watches, learn about them, talk about them (talk to them even, who's a pretty boy then) and enjoy them as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, all of that to me seems like time (and money) well spent. The Tissot T-Complication is, in theory, a fine example of how a modern watch transcends its case to become more than just a keeper of time.
CASE DIAMETER / MATERIAL
43mm / 316L Stainless Steel
LUG WIDTH / LUG TO LUG
22mm / 52mm
Customized ETA 6497-1 mechanical
Disclaimer: All the photos are mine, some are a little old and aren't great but I wanted to use them and then take some better ones showing my progress. I've put the link to the Tissot site here so you can see some crispy clean ones. Though the first shot with the fist I think is pretty great.