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INTRODUCING: Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical & Quartz

Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical

The Le Locle watchmaker’s enduring line of chronographs returns to its roots with a new, specifically designed manual-winding engine.

Of late, mention Tissot, and one inevitably will think of its wildly popular PRX line. Nevertheless, with its 171-year history, the brand has a lot more to offer in terms of retro reboots, from the Porto that references its archival Art Nouveau timepieces to the multi-scale Telemeter 1938 and the 80’s pop-inspired Memphis. As attractive as these vintage revamps may be, they admittedly have not enjoyed the same level of success as the PRX’s, which has practically become ubiquitous. That said, the Le Locle watchmaker’s latest offering, the PR516 Chronograph Mechanical, could very well be its next hit, reinterpreting a well-loved model with a new engine under the hood. There’s also a trio of Quartz variants for the budget-conscious and watch neophytes to cosy up with.

Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical
The new Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical is modelled after this well-loved hand-winding model from 1970.

Loyalists to the brand would undoubtedly be familiar with its PR516 line, which was introduced in 1965. While ‘PR’ stands for ‘Particularly Robust’ or ‘Precision and Resistance’, ‘516’ denotes that it is the 16th model in its fifth (water-resistant) series. The collection gained prominence in the ‘60s and ‘70s thanks to famous fans, such as South American (Peruvian) rally legend Henry Bradley, who wrote the name of the watch on his Ferrari and Roger Moore, who reportedly wore his own PR516 in his first James Bond movie, Live and Let Die. The collection was eventually enriched with a chronograph version in 1968, which has been continually renewed, evolved, and produced to this day, including the PRS516 Automatic Chronograph launched in 2022.

Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical
The Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical has a modern 41mm stainless steel case with a sleeker, tapered profile.

The new PR516 Chronograph Mechanical, however, is a throwback to a sought-after 1970 hand-winding model, retaining the dial layout and colourway while updating the watch with several contemporary flourishes. For starters, the stainless steel case is bumped up to 41mm with a sleeker, tapered profile. The watch still sports the same tricompax chronograph counters as well as tachymeter and pulsometer scales on the bezel, but its legibility in all conditions has been enhanced by Super-LumiNova coating on its indexes, baton hands, and bezel. A glassbox-style sapphire crystal elevates the look of the watch, and so too does the domed stainless-steel bracelet.

Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical
The Tissot PR516 Chronograph Mechanical is fitted with the new manual-winding Valjoux A05.291 movement specifically designed for the model.

To stay true to the heritage of the line, the watch is equipped with the new manual-winding Valjoux A05.291 movement, which is specifically designed for the PR516 Chronograph Mechanical. Derived from the reliable Valjoux 7753 calibre, the movement has a specially decorated bridge in place of an automatic winding block and a host of features, including a fixed bridle on the mainspring allowing for a complete lock when fully wound, a newly designed barrel architecture yielding a 68-hour power reserve, and a Nivachron balance spring endowing the movement with resistance to magnetic fields. Most remarkably, it features ETA’s Chrono regulation system, which limits the influence of wear and ageing on accuracy over time, therefore improving long-term reliability. Beating at 4Hz, it has an impressive average rate of ± 5 seconds per day.

Tissot PR516 Chronograph Quartz
A trio of Tissot PR516 Chronograph Quartz models is also available for those who would like to get the look for less.

Retailing at S$2,620, the PR516 Chronograph Mechanical offers a lot of bang for your buck for a Swiss-made timepiece. But for those who would like to achieve the look for even less, there are the quartz models, all with a trimmer 40mm steel case fitted with the G10.212 Powerdrive movement. The full steel ones are S$740 each, but we find the bi-colour version particularly enticing at S$795. And before anyone rails at the absence of a leather strapped option, Tissot already has that covered with a quick interchangeable system for an extensive range of available straps; yes, even a perforated leather one like the 1970 original’s.


chronograph, sporty, tissot, vintage watch

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