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Tissot Seastar 2000 review. The big, bold, beautiful beast
This watch is insane if you look at the specs alone. It is 16.3mm thick, 46mm wide and 52mm lug to lug, and comes in at 206 grams with the metal bracelet. That is a BIG watch and for most people it would never be a consideration, myself included, because it is just too big to enjoy wearing every day.
The insanity continues with an 80 hour power reserve, a Nivachron balance spring (not affected by magnetic fields generated by our electronic objects (mobile phone, computer, radio, magnetic closure, etc.)), full ISO 6425 diving certification, a sapphire crystal, a ceramic bezel, helium valve and 60 bar (600 m / 2000 ft) of water resistance which is massive for any watch.
For £895 the above specifications are extremely impressive and while I recognise that this is a silly amount of money for a watch, in the context of the watch market it is high up there for value.
My intention was to purchase a Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (£560) when I walked into the store to wear when the Garmin Epix didn't suit, but it just felt too small thanks to the physiological trick the Epix has pulled off. If you wear two watches they will need to be similar in size to feel relatively comfortable when swapped over.
My wife, Joanne, spotted the Seastar 2000 first and was taken with the dial and I made the mistake of trying it on before the PRX. The gap between the two was so great in my mind that the PRX was never going to win and so I asked for 20% off the Seastar. They didn't even haggle (it's not easy for watches under £1,000 currently) and so it was mine for £716. This is one of those situations where a retail store can get you a better price than online because they are struggling to get people through the door, and I am more than happy to use that because even I believe that £100's for any watch is not logically a sane thing to consider.
When I consider the technology included in this watch (Nivachron balance spring, 600m water resistance, helium valve etc) and the specs for the price, it is hard to look outside of the Seastar 2000 at this price point. The fact that it is made by such a well-known brand is another advantage and one which would normally lift the price higher, but it does not do that here. Tissot is an unusual brand in that it makes some brilliant watches at lower price points and it has a very long history, but for some reason it does not garner the same level of respect as brands like Hamilton which play in the same arena.
Tissot has proven to be more than capable of creating watches that get come to being tacky fashion models which may answer why they do not get so much respect, but it is also clear that the brand is on the up with the PRX models in particular gaining a lot of attention. After a few days with the Seastar 2000 I could argue that this could be the best Tissot available regardless of price point.
Currently mine is getting with 2 seconds per day which is better than expected and I must say that the crown is a joy to use once it has been unscrewed. It is a very large crown and is flanked by guards, but this design somehow makes the case look a little smaller. There is a 'tool' feeling to the way the crown works and how the bezel clicks into place following a sharp sounding rotation. The bezel is ceramic which is another bonus because it should prove almost impossible to scratch and the anti-reflective sapphire crystal ends what is a set of materials designed to take whatever is thrown at them.
The robust feeling is present throughout and it feels even better built than my long-departed Tudor Black Bay. The 600m water resistance is evidence of that because such a rating will indicate just how tight the tolerances are in this watch and how hardy it needs to be. Almost no-one goes 600 metres below the surface of the sea, but the fact that it can means that you can wear this for as long as you want and it will cope in almost every situation.
I am surprised that the case back is open because such a high water resistance would almost certainly always have a full sealed case back. I do wonder if the water resistance could be even higher without being able to see the movement, but as I said before the Seastar offers more than enough.
It is a heavy watch and noticeable on the wrist and even more noticeable to others, but in a positive way. It does not shout 'look at me'. It simply says 'I look good and even better when you catch me at a glance'. And it is the glancing moments that make this watch stand out. The dial is sublime and takes on a different hue at every angle. It's so well done and under macro the finishing is excellent. You have to see the dial in reality to appreciate what it brings and it does make me view standard one-colour dials in a different way. When you think of how many times you will look at your watch, it kind of makes sense to have something nice to look at. Even better, something that is not too showy and which only you get to fully appreciate.
The hands, markers and every other part under macro are way above what I have seen elsewhere at this price and so I am left scratching my head at what is wrong with this watch.
The bracelet is wrong. It is not bad in terms of quality and it does suit the watch, but those awful polished mid-links make the entire watch look too shiny. This is without doubt a tool watch and I am not convinced that dressing it up this way makes sense. It's a bit like the precious metal Rolex divers which also make no sense. The clasp is very good quality and is more than secure enough with the quick release mechanism another bonus if you want to attach a less shiny 22mm strap. A diver's extension is hidden in the clasp to allow for a wet suit and this does not form part of the security of the bracelet when it is closed. This is a good thing because the quality of the metal in the extension is just terrible. I kind of expect this because it has to fold into such a small space, but even so it is a potential weak point if you are diving with this watch.
So, this watch is well built, a bit shiny if worn on the bracelet and it is big and heavy. But, and it is a big but, it grows on you after a few days on the wrist. I have my doubts about what I still consider to be a noticeable watch, I tend to prefer less obvious pieces, but for the money it is near the top of the pile and it may well be around for some time to come. When you wear a watch with a dial like this it can be hard to drop back to a more 'normal' look, and at the moment I don't want to. Well done Tissot. Seriously, bravo.