Celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, Tissot stays true to its motto of ‘innovators by tradition’, taking its Baselworld 2013 pieces a notch up. By Cai Mei Khoo.
The wind is howling and icy frost bites the cheeks. I’m taking in the shrouded view of the surrounding mountains capped with blinding white snow from the outdoor observation platform at Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe, 3,571m above sea level. Heavy mist and fog means I don’t get to see too much of the view, which extends to France, Germany, and Italy on a clear day. Nevertheless, it is thrilling to be so high up, hair whipping in my face, feeling like I am on the Wall of hit TV series Game of Thrones. Before I get a chance to make out strange shapes in the fog, it starts to get a bit too cold and I head back into the observation hall.
We are on the Top of Europe, as the railway station is also known, as part of our Tissot Baselworld experience. The Jungfrau Railway celebrated its centenary in 2012 and Tissot was selected to be its official watch partner, decking the trains that make the scenic journey all the way to the top with its fine watches, as well as installing two Tissot countdown clocks in the Jungfrau region, which counted down to August 1, 2012, marking the 100th anniversary of the Jungfrau Railway. Chosen for its timing and precision engineering – also key factors in building a railway – Tissot shares another similarity with the Jungfrau region; both the watch marque’s hometown of Le Locle and the Jungfrau region are part of Unesco’s World Heritage List.
François Thiébaud, CEO of Tissot, tells me that the brand continues to produce its quality timepieces in the same manufacture first established in 1853. Innovators by tradition, it has produced many firsts over the course of its existence, always anticipating the needs and desires of its customers.
To celebrate its 160th anniversary, Tissot set up a multimedia exhibition at Baselworld, showcasing the brand’s most historical moments. A three-dimensional revolving glass cube played a movie of Tissot’s firsts, such as the first anti-magnetic watch as well as the first watch made of stone.
Another key piece, dubbed the ultimate traveller’s timepiece is the Heritage Navigator Automatic 160th Anniversary watch, which replicates the one initially created for Tissot’s centenary in 1953. Then, it was the first watch with 24 time zones, and the new one comes with an automatic chronometer precision that is certified by COSC. Thiébaud has his eyes on the gold version: “Specifically watch number 6 in the numbered edition – that’s my lucky number.”
We discuss how Tissot has proven to be most innovative, in both design and technology. “All our firsts show we’re ahead of the competition yet we manage to offer watches at very competitive prices, and that’s where our strength lies. We go for volume.” He continues, “No one else in our price segment can offer the same technology, and
Heritage Navigator Automatic 160th Anniversary watch, Tissot
François Thiébaud, CEO of Tissot wearing the Tissot Luxury Automatic Chronometer watch