A Vintage Pocketwatch for the Wrist: Tissot Heritage 1936

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Many wristwatch brands have incorporated vintage elements into modern designs, but the new Tissot Heritage 1936, unveiled at Baselworld 2016, is one of the most authentic re-creations we’ve seen in a while, paying aesthetic tribute to the re-purposed pocketwatches that served as some of the very earliest timepieces for the wrist.

Tissot Heritage 1936 - front

The Tissot Heritage 1936, as its name implies, echoes the look of a Tissot watch that was in the brand’s collection in 1936 (catalog image pictured below). It was in the 1930s, in the wake of World War I and its impact, that men began to regularly replace their pocketwatches with the more practical wristwatches. However, the earliest wristwatches were simply pocketwatches that watchmakers had modified for wrist wear — by welding arches onto each side of the case in order to slip a strap through them and around the back of the watch case.

Tissot Heritage 1936 watch - Catalog Image

This new timepiece from Tissot reproduces the look of these proto-wristwatches, with a large 45-mm case made of 316L stainless steel; a dial with classical, period-appropriate hands and historical Tissot Logo; and a high-quality brown leather strap with creme-stitch detailing and a standard-issue steel pin buckle. The numerals on the dial and small seconds subdial are also decidedly vintage in character.

Tissot Heritage 1936 - side view


The Tissot Heritage 1936 is equipped with a Swiss-made, hand-wound movement, an ETA Unitas 6498, whose large dimensions would have been right at home in a 1930s pockewatch. Upon removing the strap, the wearer can open the hinged, hunter-style caseback to reveal a sapphire window that displays the movement. (There is also a smaller, ladies’ version of the watch that contains an ETA 2895 movement.) The inside of the caseback is also an ideal blank canvas for personalized engravings.

Tissot Heritage 1936 - movement

The Tissot Heritage 1936 also continues the brand’s impressive price-to-value ratio, carrying a retail price of just $995. If you’re curious how it looks on the wrist, check out the photo below, taken at our Tissot appointment at Baselworld.

Tissot Heritage 1936 - wrist