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Watchmaking history for the wrist
The Pilot Watch Magazine
15 April 2024

Precision and innovation for personal style

The history of Tissot dates back to the mid-19th century, when in 1853 Swiss watchmaker and entrepreneur Charles Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Emile founded a small manufactory in Le Locle, an idyllic village in the Swiss Jura, to produce high-precision pocket watches. Today, the traditional brand is one of the best-known watch manufacturers in Switzerland and is part of the Swatch Group, one of the largest watch corporations in the world.

The Swatch Group was founded in 1983 as Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie, SMH for short, from the merger of the watch manufacturers ASUAG and SSIH. SMH was founded on the initiative of Swiss watch enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Nicolas George Hayek and Stephan Schmidheiny as a counter-offensive against the overwhelming power of cheap Asian competition. In 1998, the group changes its name to The Swatch Group.

It’s all a matter of defining what elegance means to you, and then turning an iconic piece of watchmaking history your very own style statement.


From a small watchmaking atelier to a global company

Tissot’s high-quality timepieces are popular with customers at home and abroad – Charles-Félicien and Charles-Emile even ship their ticking products as far away as Russia and America. The watchmaking company develops rapidly, growing from a small atelier into a powerful enterprise. In 1907, Tissot builds its first factory, and thirteen years later, in 1920, already starts the industrial series production of the wristwatches that become very fashionable – a new era in the company’s history begins.

But the world economic crisis at the end of the 1920s hits Tissot hard, like most other watch manufacturers. Only by merging with its Swiss competitor Omega in 1929 under the joint umbrella of a holding company – the birth of the Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère, or SSIH for short – does the company survive these economically turbulent times and, in the decades to come, surprise the watch world with ever new impressive inventions and innovations.

Precision and innovation

In 1930, for example, an anti-magnetic Tissot timepiece caused quite a stir. In 1960, Tissot astonished with a hitherto unique unified caliber – a basic movement that, depending on the configuration of a few individual components, could be used in both automatic and hand-wound watches. Eleven years later, in 1971, the watchmaker with the Swiss flag in its logo introduced a movement made of self-lubricating plastic parts. Today, Tissot offers a wide variety of different watch collections for men and women – from the classic sports watch to the exclusive pilot’s chronograph to the contemporary smartwatch with touch display.

Tissot / YouTube

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