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Tissot T-Touch | The Evolution to Smart-Touch


UPDATE: Since this article was written Tissot has decided to cancel the Smart-Touch project. To our knowledge the reason why Tissot decided to cancel this project lauch, was because they did not think the watch was innovative enough compared to what else is out there. Staying true to their brand and heritage "innovators by tradition" Tissot has instead gone back to the drawing board, to some up with something brand new instead.

Since 1853 renowned Swiss watchmaker Tissot has been at the forefront of technological innovation and new trends in watchmaking. Tissot continued this proud tradition of innovation in 1999 when it released the first T-Touch, a six-function watch with a touch screen and a combination analog-digital display. The tactile watch had truly arrived.

Tissot Expert Solar

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to suggest that the T-Touch is perhaps one of THE collections for which Tissot is best known to watch lovers, collectors and aficionados.

What was so revolutionary about the T-Touch watch was its interface on the sapphire crystal. By simply pressing a button (at the 3 o’clock position) the sapphire crystal and dial become ‘activated’, with options being available to a wearer by simply tapping on the glass where needed. Therefore, the wearer operates elements of the watch by simply touching the sapphire crystal dial with their finger. And this was some years before the advent of smartphones with touch screens!

What made the T-Touch even more cool though is how the analog minute and hours hands move from indicating the time to other positions to offer additional functionality such as its compass indicator. ‘Native functionality’, as it’s known, includes a range of alarm and calendar functions along with barometer and altimeter sensors.

Some of the additional features are ‘two-deep’ or double-featured, e.g. relative or absolute barometric pressure is also shown, or you may also get a compass azimuth (which is basically the angle of the arc on the horizon between the direction of the sun or some other celestial object and magnetic north.), and even multiple alarm functions. Because the T-Touch can store up to 2 times, so it can display the current local time in digital format in addition to the analog, or alternatively display a GMT feature and track a second time zone, both in a 24-hour format.

The dial itself is relatively uncluttered considering how much is crammed on to it. The LCD screen takes up the lower third of the dial and blends in seamlessly. The screen doesn’t differ in color from the dial unless the backlight is activated.

Tissot uses a quartz movement to power the T-Touch. As it is essentially a tiny computer, it is accurate to within a fragment of a second per day. As multi-functional watches go, the T-Touch has tremendous wearability. Compared to competitors, which are usually large and heavy and better suited only to large wrists, the T-Touch is a watch that is surprisingly suitable too for smaller wrists, given its size and weight.

Tissot ensures that technology meets style in its T-Touch range with innovative, top quality materials for cases, dials and straps. Classical stainless steel joins titanium and even 18k gold or platinum, in a wide selection of case styles. In addition, sporty metal and black rubber bracelets are head-turning variations in orange and white rubber. Elegantly completing the picture are black carbon or white mother-of-pearl dials, proving that Tissot is always in touch with the very latest trends in men’s watches.

The Tissot Smart-Touch Watch

It was inevitable: Tissot’s revered T-Touch watch simply had to get smart(er). Ever since the introduction of smart watches from both Samsung and Apple, it has speculated that Tissot would almost certainly be one of the first swiss watch brands to release one of their own. Swatch’s Group chairman, Nick Hayek, confirmed in 2016 that a Tissot smartwatch would be released and so a demo version was presented at Baselworld 2016. Tissot has done it again; innovator that it is. Since it was only a demo, we most likely have to wait until 2017 before it is released.

Based on the Tissot T-Touch Solar, the Smart-Touch is an entirely logical and natural evolution of the T-Touch family. As it is a evolution of the classic T-Touch family, we will also see solar power on this new smart watch, which is very differnet from other brands. It is smart for Tissot to retain the core style of the T-Touch Expert Solar with this new smartwatch, which includes an imposing diameter of 45 millimeters.

Tissot now joins a small rank of watchmakers previously dominated by the Japanese that offer watches that combine light power generation with Bluetooth connectivity. That is no mean achievement by Tissot.

Tissot’s new smartwatch will boast two interesting functionalities which are not common in other smartwatches. Firstly, a navigation feature will combine the compass feature of the T-Touch watch with navigation and GPS feature inyour phone. The hands as well as screen on the Smart-Touch dial will offer directions. Nifty! Tissot touts such features as “back home, tracking, and navigation.” Part of this functionality is offered in the "Smart-Touch FindIt" accessory which is really good for finding your way back to camp or in unknown terrain, for example.

The second fairly unique feature is its Smart-Touch Station, which is nothing short of a small weather station. What the Station does is to offer hyper local weather information such as temperature, humidity, and air quality back to not only the Smart-Touch watch but also the smartphone app which goes with the device.

So, to recap: once connected to a smartphone using Bluetooth, the watch will sync international time zone changes, provide weather updates and provide GPS directions and tracking. And there are the range of accessories that include an electronic tracking tag and weather station that will be sold with the watch, with the latter sending humidity, air quality, and temperature data to it. Not too shabby.

The Tissot Smart-Touch will also offer expected smartwatch functionality such as automatically updating its time and calendar data using the companion smartphone. This type of functionality isn't new, but when it works properly it will make wearing the Smart-Touch during travel even better. A further welcome benefit is that the phone will not require battery changes or regular charging.

This is Tissot at its most innovative, a company which with its smartwatch is looking a lot more like a technology company than a traditional Swiss watchmaker! That pushing of the envelope and setting new trends in luxury watchmaking wouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of Tissot - and there are legions of them!

Judging by Tissot’s (typically swish and beautiful) promo campaign it would seem that the the Smart-Touch is being pushed towards those who are active and adventurous. However, that doesn’t preclude it from being appreciated by the fashion conscious and the trend savvy.

As ever, the Tissot Smart-Touch will still remain what it should be - a luxury watch.

The Smart Touch’s first purpose is to indicate the time”.”François Thiébaud (President of Tissot)

The Smart Touch is yet another evolution in Tissot’s existing T-Touch range of tactile watches, and the company’s targeting a launch at the end of 2016. The price tag is likely to be in the region of 1,000 EUR, which is well-priced for a smartwatch of this calibre - and well worth it. When is Tissot ingenuity and excellence not worth it?

What Are Other Watches are in the T-Touch Range?

Since its introduction in 1999, Tissot’s T-Touch range has continually evolved, strengthening its innovation through new functions and designs, with dynamic and stylish materials that have become true icons in the world of horology. Below are some of the models that Tissot has released over the years as part of their much-admired T-Touch collection:

The Touch Silen-T (2003-2016) uses Tissot’s tactile technology that offered the first watch ever to provide timekeeping via silent vibration. Whether the wearer wants to discretely check the time in a meeting, or is visually impaired / blind, this model is perfect for them. Simply by touching the crown and then running a finger clockwise around the crystal, the wearer can ‘feel’ the time through the constant vibration on the hour, accompanied by intermittent vibrations for the minutes corresponding to one of the twelve raised indices on the bezel. This T-Touch model also comes with a silent vibrating alarm which, like the time setting itself, can be activated and checked without eye contact with the watch’s dial.

A simple touch of the tactile crystal of the Tissot Touch Navigator (2004-2011) affords the user true global timekeeping, with a choice of 150 countries or cities to select as the reference time zone. This T-Touch model is the ultimate accessory for the modern traveller (or jetsetter). The time zone selected by the user can be fully personalized to the wearer’s hometown, be it a village or a city, all with a simple touch. The time display also automatically adapts to winter or summertime up to the year 2099. It comprises a chronograph, countdown timer, two separate alarms programmable over seven days with a choice of five tunes, plus three date reading options displayed in six different languages.

The Tissot T-Touch Expert (2008-2016) is perfectly equipped for adventures in the great outdoors. It’s a robust watch, with water resistance to 100 meters, and comes with functions like an altitude difference meter, two alarms, a perpetual calendar, countdown timer and back lights. It is the ideal watch, for example, for professional mountaineers and extreme skiers. This T-Touch model offers eleven separate functions with no less than twelve different model variations with carbon, black or white dials and either a rubber strap or titanium, steel or leather bracelet.

Tissot T-Touch Expert

The Tissot Sea-Touch (2009-2016) is the perfect diving watch. It has patented technology with its rubber-protected pushers that offer double protection, which enables this timepiece to maintain its high performance levels right down to an impressive depth of 200 metres. This T-Touch model fulfils all of the European Norm EN13319 criteria stipulated for divers’ accessories, namely luminosity, shock resistance, anti-magnetism, band solidity and the integration of a time control device. Also activated by a simple light touch on the crystal are a digital chronograph, thermometer, alarm, perpetual calendar date, compass and divers’ logbook. Excellent visibility comes from highly luminescent material and a very effective (and helpful) backlight. Patented technology by Tissot on this watch ensures that the rubber-protected pushers have double protection and therefore can operate perfectly underwater.

The Tissot Racing-Touch (2011-2016) is suited to a huge range of sporting activities, catering for individuals keen to see performance and appearance in a photo finish for pole position. It has full chronograph capability, a useful logbook for recording personal results and data, dual time zones, two alarms and a backlight. For maritime-minded individuals, both those on the water and those plotting a safe beach walk, there is a tide-calculator, which complements the compass. The diverse functionality possibilities are matched by a versatile range of colour schemes and material combinations to express specific style statements.

The Tissot Sailing Touch (2010-2015) includes a useful tool for ascertaining weather patterns, integrating a histogramme to show conditions of the preceding six hours, plus the facility to measure relative pressure with the predicted tendency being shown by the hands. A tide calculator responds to the challenges of ocean sailing, with the hands showing the evolution of the tide at the port of destination. Completing the spectrum of instruments are a device to measure speed over distance, a compass, two alarms, two time zones, a perpetual calendar and a backlight.

Tissot Sailing Touch

The Tissot T-Touch Expert Pilot (2009-2015) allows a wearer to check the height of their current location with the altimeter (in feet and meters) and then make further calculations with the altitude difference meter. It’s so easy to keep a close eye on the weather with a barometer and a thermometer in both ºC and ºF on this watch. Completing the functionality package are a chronograph (split and cumulative time), a compass, two alarms, date and time (measured on the 12-hour or 24-hour scale), a perpetual calendar, countdown timer and practical backlight.

The T-Touch Trekking (2006-2010) was a robust yet futuristic design that is resolutely masculine and tough-looking. The watch first came out with 2 dial color options: a daring orange evoking techno art, that attracted urban adventurers, while those with a love of wide open spaces opted for the khaki.