Is Tissot A Luxury Watch Brand? (And Why They’re Not)


Tissot is a famous watch brand, and its status as a Swiss watch makes it appeal to many. However, many are confused if Tissot is at the same level as Omega or Rolex. Is Tissot a luxury watch brand?

Tissot is not a luxury watch brand, although their higher-end models can be considered entry-level luxury watches. Tissot is more well known for producing affordable, well-designed watches that introduce many to the world of Swiss-made watches. 

In this article, we explore further, comparing Tissot to characteristics of luxury watch brands and discussing things such as respectability and it’s worth as an investment.

We have also covered other brands within Swatch Group’s family of watches. Feel free to check them out as well.

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What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?

Luxury watch brands differ from regular watch brands. It has a higher quality in workmanship, performance, and use of materials. Most luxury watches are also hand-assembled, carry a prestigious brand image, and start at a four-figure price tag.

  • Materials
  • Assembly
  • In-House Movement and Technology
  • Design
  • Homages
  • Fakes
  • Brand Image
  • Prices

Most regular watch brands use 316L stainless steel for their watches. Luxury watch brands usually employ either higher grade stainless steel such as 904L. They also use expensive metals such as gold and titanium, or add gemstones such as diamonds on the watch dial or bezel. 

Most luxury watch brands also hand-assemble their watches to achieve higher quality standards. In contrast, regular watch brands tend to use more machinery. This resulted in regular watches being mass-produced, lowering their price.

Luxury watches also tend to use their own in-house movement to achieve more control over the performance and reliability of their watches. Regular watch companies often adopt movements from outside companies such as Miyota, Ronda, ETA, or Sellita. This helps them to save costs on developing their own movement. 

Luxury watch brands also tend to develop proprietary technology that improves timekeeping. For example, Rolex developed Oystersteel to achieve a higher brilliant finish on their steel watches. 

However, regular watches do this, so this characteristic is not exclusive to luxury brands. 

Luxury watches also tend to define styles of watches and lead in design trends. The Rolex Submariner of the Omega Planet Ocean is often the design benchmark for diving watches.

Luxury watches also tend to have homages, which means watches made with similar designs. Luxury brands often suffer from fakes and imitation watches as well.

Luxury watch brands also tend to project an image of prestige, class, and exclusivity. They associate their brands with people or events that project the same feel. Rolex is known to sponsor many golf and tennis tournaments. At the same time, Richard Mille likes to sponsor athletes to wear their watches. 

Finally, luxury watches tend to carry a higher price tag to reflect the quality, workmanship, research and development costs, and image. Higher prices help keep the watch brand exclusive.

ALSO READ: What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?

How Does Tissot Fare?

CharacteristicsLuxury Watch BrandsTissotPass?
MaterialsMay use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstonesUses similar materials.
AssemblyMostly hand assembledNo such claims, but watches are Swiss Made.
MovementAlmost all have in-house movementIn-house movements such as Powermatic 80, Swissmatic.
Proprietary TechnologyAlmost all have proprietary technologyHas proprietary technology such as Nivachron.
DesignOften iconic, and sets trends. Does not have any watch design that could be seen as ‘benchmark’ by others.
HomagesHave homages made after their modelsDoes not have homages. Some Tissot models seem like a homage instead.
Fakes & ImitationSuffers from fakes and imitationSuffering from fakes and imitations.
Brand ImagePrestige, exclusivity, classCarries an image of affordability.
PricesAt least four-figure.Has watches as low as $220.
Tissot vs characteristics of luxury watch brands

When comparing Tissot with the characteristics of luxury watch brands, we can see that Tissot does check some of the boxes, but not all.

When looking at the offerings, it can be seen that materials-wise, Tissot uses primarily stainless steel for their watches.

There is a T-Gold collection featuring 18K gold watch cases (75% gold, 25% other metals for strength). There is also a Diamond collection where only diamonds that passed the Kimberley Process are used. Kimberley Process is an international system of analyzing rough diamonds. 

These collections, however, form only 13% of Tissot’s offerings on their website. 

Total Tissot WatchesDiamond CollectionT-Gold Collection
5914135
Percentage of watches from Diamond and T-Gold collection vs total Tissot watches

Tissot does not claim to 100% hand-assemble their watches, nor do they mention their manufacturing places. 

But Tissot watches usually have a ‘Swiss-Made’ stamp on them, which means that 60% of the production of the watch is from Switzerland. This can be accepted as a commitment to quality in production. 

Tissot is also heavily invested in their watch movements. They developed in-house movements such as the Powermatic 80 and the Swissmatic. Tissot also uses movements from ETA, a movement manufacturer.

Is Tissot A Luxury Watch Brand
Powermatic 80 Movement

However, ETA and Tissot are part of the Swatch Group, including brands such as Omega, Blancpain, and Swatch. 

Tissot also developed technology such as Nivachron. Nivachron helps deal with magnetism, as watches are being used more and more around electronic devices.

Tissot does not seem to have its own unique design language, certainly not to the level where they become a benchmark for other watch companies to copy from. As a result, there are no homages made for any Tissot model. 

In fact, Tissot does have models that can be seen as homage. Some Tissot Gentlemen models could be pretty similar in design to the Rolex Datejust.

Tissot, however, also suffers from fakes – their website has stated very clearly that there are fake Tissot watches out there. They also advise customers to purchase a Tissot watch from an authorized dealer to be safe.

Is Tissot A Luxury Watch Brand

Tissot also does not seem to hold that brand image of luxury, prestige, and class compared to brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, or A.Lange & Söhne.

Finally, Tissot watches do not carry watches with price tags over $5,000. Their website shows that their most expensive model is the Tissot Excellent Automatic in 18K gold case at $3,200. Their most affordable men’s watch is the Tissot Everyday in medium size, at $220. 

Only 60 models are priced over $1,000 on their website. Bear in mind the prices here are brand new Tissot watches. 

Watch BrandUsed Price Range
Patek Philippe$8,800 – $478,087
Rolex$1,783 – $211,500
Omega$156 – $50,660
Used Watch Price Range. Source: WatchCharts

When compared against the average used watch prices for luxury brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex and Omega, this price range shows that Tissot’s prices are not at the same level.

Therefore, although it checks many boxes, Tissot cannot be seen as a proper luxury watch brand.

Is Tissot An Entry Level Luxury Brand?

Tissot is an entry-level luxury brand, especially their higher range models such as the T-Gold and the Diamond collections. These watches use excellent materials, operate in-house movement and technology such as the Powermatic 80 and Nivachron, and have a price tag reflecting exclusivity.

From the investigation above, we can see Tissot does show many characteristics of a luxury brand. Still, it lacks some points to make it a full luxury brand. 

Most Tissot watches are within the affordable, mass-market range of $200 and $1,000. This means Tissot does not have that exclusivity as proper luxury brands such as Omega or Rolex. 

However, higher-end models from Tissot negate this issue, as they use higher quality materials such as 18K gold case and diamonds. The prices are also much higher, making these watches exclusive and less accessible to many. 

The Swatch Group, parent company of Tissot, also places it as a middle tier brand as well.

Is Tissot A Respected Brand?

Tissot is a respected watch brand. Tissot has a long history of excellence, produces excellent in-house movement, and has introduced technology that improved watchmaking. It is also one of the few Swiss Made watches that are of high quality but priced affordably.

If you appreciate watches or horology, not as a snob, there is nothing to hate or to disrespect about Tissot. 

It has a long history of producing quality timepieces. It has invested time, effort, and energy to develop its in-house movement and technology. It has kept up to the commitment to producing watches that could proudly claim to be ‘Made In Switzerland.’ 

Tissot is also candid about itself, focusing on producing great watches and selling them at a great price that is well affordable by many. It does not try to sell you stories, legends, and fluff and then jacks up the price. 

Tissot, at times, can feel like a Swiss version of Citizen. Good watch, incredible technology, no fluff, and a wallet-friendly price. Most importantly, they are well respected.

ALSO READ: Citizen Watches Review

Is Tissot A Luxury Watch Brand

Is Tissot Worth Buying?

Tissot watches are worth buying as they are great Swiss Made watches at a competitive price. Tissot also comes with excellent after-sales service and a two-year warranty. As a result, many people’s first Swiss watch tends to be a Tissot.

‘Worth buying’ can be subjective, but overall, Tissot watches gave owners a great experience of watch ownership at an affordable price. 

They are honest, genuine ‘Swiss Made’ watches, with in-house movements and technology. Tissot also designs their own watches and tries to develop its own style. The watch brand is also honest and focuses on great watchmaking without fluff and story-telling. 

But the most important thing is that Tissot has a broad reach in the market. Tissot boutiques are available in many places, so if there is a need for after-sales service, the process is also more straightforward. 

Are Tissot Watches A Good Investment?

Tissot watches do not make a good investment, as they do not seem to be able to generate adequate demand to push up prices. Tissot watches are seen as workhorse, everyday watches that do not warrant collectability. It also does not have a large vintage market. 

Tissot watches are best seen as watches that you buy and enjoy. When it’s time to let it go, sell it and move on to another watch. 

Tissot watches might not make suitable investments due to its lack of enthusiasts and collectors community that can help push up the price. Plus, Tissot’s vintage market is also not as big as, say, Rolex, Omega, or even Seiko.

The good thing about Tissot watches is that they would not take too much depreciation since it is affordable to start with. For example, let’s say a $500 Tissot might take 40% depreciation after 3 years, but that’s only a $200 loss. 

Compared to if you purchased a $7,000 IWC and took the same level of depreciation. 

In some ways, you can treat a Tissot as a ‘nicer’ beater watch that you still care for, but not to the point of a luxury watch. But you do not abuse it like its a G-Shock either.

If you are keen to invest in watches, perhaps proper luxury models such as Rolex might be better. Some specific models of Seiko can do quite well too.

ALSO READ: Does Seiko Watches Hold Value Well?

Can You Pawn A Tissot Watch?

In general, you can pawn your tissot watch and get good money for it, provided that the watch is working, and  you can prove it is not stolen. If you can bring the watch together with all the right paperwork such as receipts, you might get more money from your pawnbroker.

Watches can serve as a form of emergency cash in times of financial distress, and people who buy watches also think about whether they fetch a good price at pawnshops.

Pawn shops do recognize the popularity of Tissots, and usually do not see issues in either lending you money with the watch as a collateral, or buying the watch from you outright.

The key is to ensure that the watch is in working order and presented in good condition. Make sure to spend some time cleaning the watch before bringing it to the pawn shop. 

If you can bring the watch together with all the documents such as receipts, user guide, boxes, you might get money since the watch is presented in its ‘complete package’.

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Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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