Hands-On With the Tissot Heritage 1973

Mar 11, 2022
Hands-On With the Tissot Heritage 1973

Tissot may not get the same kind of traction as top-of-the-line luxury watchmakers like Rolex and Audemars Piguet, but it cannot be denied that it has a far richer history than most watch brands. As a testament to that heritage, the brand introduced the Tissot Heritage collection to showcase its history and evolution throughout the years. This collection consists of contemporary reinterpretations of older Tissot timepieces that have been updated with modern, advanced innovations and technology. 


One outstanding model from the Tissot Heritage line is the Tissot Heritage 1973. Inspired by the vintage Tissot Navigator from the 1970s, the Tissot Heritage 1973 bears a peculiar-looking case and striking dial design, separating it from other timepieces commonly found in the watchmaking scene today. Especially popular with more mature audiences, the Tissot Heritage 1973 is the perfect watch option for the old-school watch collector. Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Tissot Heritage 1973, including its specifications, price, history, and everything it has to offer.


Case, Caseback, and Crown

As mentioned before, the case of the Tissot Heritage 1973 Ref. T124.427.16.051.00 has quite an unusual shape. Drawing its inspiration from the 1970s Tissot Navigator, this watch is housed in a 43 x 46mm tonneau-shaped stainless steel case with a smooth, brushed finish. The relatively large size of this watch is more in keeping with modern tastes and can add a substantial bit of heft to your wrist. As such, the Tissot Heritage 1973 might not be the best watch for those with small wrists.


Since the Tissot Heritage 1973 is meant to be a racing watch, its durability is also beyond question. Its stainless steel case is highly resistant to scratches, corrosion, and hard impacts and knocks too. Fitted on top of the front case is a domed layer of sapphire crystal, known for its luxury and scratch-resistant capabilities, which provides greater protection to the watch’s face. This sapphire crystal has been treated with anti-reflective coatings on both sides, ensuring that wearers will have a clear view of the watch face that is not distorted by light glares. 

Tissot Heritage 1973 Back View
Image courtesy of Tissot

On the underside of this watch, you can find a transparent sapphire crystal caseback. This design adds to the watch’s sophistication, especially since it is a callback to the commonly used transparent caseback design used back in the 1900s or even earlier. In addition, wearers can admire their watch’s movement at work using this see-through caseback and can even monitor if there are any problems with the timepiece’s inner mechanisms.

Tissot Heritage 1973 Side View
Image courtesy of Tissot

On the right of the case, you can also find a thick crown with grooved edges, providing wearers with a better grip with which to hold and turn the crown. This crown is securely screwed-down, giving the watch a solid 100m depth rating that can even rival authentic dive watches, establishing the Tissot Heritage 1973’s strength both on land and underwater. To enhance the design of the crown, the brand has carefully engraved the Tissot’s “T” emblem on top of the crown, adding to its elegant look. The crown is also surrounded by two smaller pushers, which you can use to control the chronograph functions. 


Tissot Heritage 1973 Front View
Image courtesy of Tissot

Much like the shape of the case, the design of the Tissot Heritage 1973’s dial also uses the 1970s Tissot Navigator as its blueprint. This watch’s dial boasts a striking panda-style chronograph layout. Its sub-dials come in a jet-black hue and contrast appealingly against the white backdrop of the dial, resembling the black-and-white face of a panda. It is also adorned with slim luminous indices and blunt black hands, while the orange accents on the seconds hand and the hands of the sub-dials add a burst of vibrant colour to this watch face. The date aperture is carefully placed between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers to avoid overlapping with the sub-dials and indices.


This design scheme is clean and highly legible. It allows wearers to easily navigate and read the dial at a glance without getting confused, particularly during a fast-paced event such as racing.


VALJOUX A05.H31 movement
Image courtesy of Tissot

The Tissot Heritage 1973 is powered by the VALJOUX A05.H31 calibre. This is a high-powered watch movement that has an impressive power reserve of 60 hours. Held together by 27 jewels, this automatic movement drives the Tissot Heritage 1973’s 12-hour, 30-minute, and 60-second chronograph counters, along with its time and date functions. 


The Tissot Heritage 1973 is paired with an embossed cow leather strap in black, setting up a quintessential contrast against its brushed stainless steel case. This strap stands out with its pattern of four oversized punctured holes lined up on either side of the case, giving the watch a sportier, more versatile look. It is also secured using a butterfly clasp with push buttons, which allows you to easily and quickly remove the watch when necessary.


The price of the Tissot Heritage 1973 Ref. T124.427.16.051.00 starts at $1,600 USD. Considering its heritage, nostalgic design, and its versatility both on the racetrack and off it, this is quite a fair price. 

History of the Tissot Heritage 1973

Since 1958, Tissot has had a strong association with the world of racing. That year, a professional Swiss driver named Harry Zweifel sent the company a photo of himself behind the wheel with his Tissot timepiece. This prompted Tissot to create its first racing-inspired watch, the Tissot PR16, which came with a unique steering wheel design to show its affiliation with racing. In the years since then, Tissot has developed more timepieces in tribute to the racetrack, and the Tissot Heritage 1973 is no different. In particular, the Tissot Heritage 1973 was developed in partnership with the Kessel Classics racing team.

Alternatives To The Tissot Heritage 1973

1. Omega Speedmaster Racing Ref. 326.

Omega Speedmaster Racing Ref. 326. Front View

The Omega Speedmaster Racing Ref. 326. is a watch that perfectly encapsulates what a racing watch should be. From its sturdy build to its subtle yet easy-to-read dial, this Omega watch fulfills every need a professional racer might have on the racetrack.


This Omega Speedmaster watch comes in a 40mm polished stainless steel case paired with a matching three-link bracelet made of the same material. This bolsters the watch’s durability, making it highly resistant to scratches and impacts, which is especially important since racing is a sport in which accidents frequently happen. The caseback and crown are all securely screwed in to protect the inner mechanisms of the watch from external elements, giving the watch a solid 100m water resistance rating. Furthermore, the steel caseback is also engraved with the Omega Speedmaster emblem, adding to its stylishness. 


The dial of this watch shows off a silver-white hue that wonderfully complements the watch’s silver exterior. It has a chronograph layout that is incredibly legible, with thin luminous pencil hands and hour indices, three sizable chronograph sub-dials, and a date window at 6 o’clock, overlapping the 12-hour counter.


The Omega Speedmaster Racing Ref. 326. has an estimated price of $3,700 USD. 

2. SINN The Rallye Ref. 917.012-Solid-FLSS

SINN The Rallye Ref. 917.012-Solid-FLSS Front View

If you are more into heritage or vintage watches, look no further than the Sinn The Rallye Ref. 917.012-Solid-FLSS. Sinn has a reputation for manufacturing classic watches that go beyond generation gaps. No matter the era, this German brand manages to incorporate old designs into the modern world seamlessly, and this certainly applies to the Sinn The Rallye Ref. 917.012-Solid-FLSS too. 


This Sinn Instruments Chronograph watch is presented in a sizable 44mm stainless steel case which is very durable, especially since Sinn mainly uses German-grade steel. The case is equipped with Ar-Dehumidifying technology, which prevents moisture from building up inside the case so the dial does not fog up and distort the wearer’s view of the watch face. One unusual thing about this timepiece is that the chronograph pushers are placed on the left side of the case, opposite from the crown, instead of the standard placements next to the crown. This makes it much easier for right-handed folks to press and control the pushers.


An off-white dial is used to complete this watch’s vintage design. The dial is decorated with pointed black losange hands, pronounced Arabic numeral markers, three chronograph sub-dials, and a day-date window unusually placed at 9 o’clock. With its elegant, nostalgic look, this sophisticated watch could easily double as a dress watch and a racing timepiece.


The Sinn The Rallye Ref. 917.012-Solid-FLSS retails at approximately $3,250 USD. 

3. Bremont Alt1-WT Ref. ALT1-WT-BL-R-S

Bremont Alt1-WT Ref. ALT1-WT-BL-R-S Front View

Bremont offers an outstanding collection of watches that champion utility above all else. Whether it is pilot watches, dive pieces, or military timekeepers, you can find all these in Bremont’s extensive arsenal. One standout model is the Bremont Alt1-WT Ref. ALT1-WT-BL-R-S, which serves as both an excellent aviation piece and a great racing watch. 


This Bremont Alt1-WT piece comes in a 43mm stainless steel case, paired with a handsome blue leather strap with white stitching. As with most Bremont watches, this timepiece has undergone a series of tests to prove its durability and reliability. This includes subjecting it to temperatures as low as -40° Fahrenheit and to intense pressures at 100,000 feet in the air.


The patterned dial of this watch comes in a blue hue, complementing its blue leather strap. It has a chronograph layout, with luminous pencil hands, silver indices, three dark blue and white chronograph sub-dials, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. There are also hints of bright yellow scattered across the different hands of the dial, adding a more vibrant burst of colour to this watch face. On the rim of the dial, you can find indicators for 24 different cities. This, along with the yellow-coloured arrowhead GMT hand, allows wearers to track 24 different time zones.


Powering this watch is the modified Calibre 13 ¼”’ BE-54AE. Held by 25 jewels, this is an automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours and a depth rating of 100m. The price for this versatile multipurpose watch starts at around $4,600 USD. 

Final Thoughts

Although the Tissot Heritage 1973 is classified as a racing watch, it is actually a very versatile piece that can also be worn to formal events or on an average day at work. Indeed, its sturdy build and lovely old-school aesthetic make it a great fit for just about any outfit. The best thing, of course, is that the Tissot Heritage 1973 comes at a relatively affordable price, so you will not have to break the bank to get your hands on this striking vintage timepiece.


All images courtesy of The Watch Company, unless stated otherwise. Featured image courtesy of Tissot.


If you are in the market for strong and reliable watches, have a look at our review on the Citizen Promaster Tough—it might be the perfect all-around companion for you!

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