The Tissot PR50 Le Locle is a throwback to a time when watches were designed to appeal to men who wanted elegance and traditional style. Indeed, it isn’t so much a throwback as a very impressively designed watch which straddles the decades and looks just as at home today as it would have 50 years ago.
Everything about the face screams tradition. From the elegant hands to the intricate face to the roman numerals, it is a mix of styles which come together to create a look that looks much more expensive than it is. It does not stand out and demand admiring glances, but it is sure to hold your attention for a millisecond longer when you check the current time. It flows perfectly and the lugs hold the leather strap in place perfectly with a sweeping form that feels consistent all of the way back to the display back which is a sight to see.
The date window is small, it is barely water resistant and with no lume, you are not likely to wear this watch when exploring, but it is obvious that this was not the aim here. If watches are designed to bring emotions to life, this to me is one of very best budget automatics on the market because I (strangely) feel calm when I check the time on it. There is something very special about the way the roman numerals step up from the elegant face materials and how they contrast with the two plaques that sit in the centre circle. It is pure elegance throughout and shows just how much thought went into creating it.
As for accuracy, I will admit that it could be better. I have owned automatic watches that drop a few seconds a day, but to date the Tissot is dropping at least 20 seconds regularly. Some work could easily be done to help this and the movement does appear to be carefully finished, but if accuracy is very important to you, this may not be the watch for you. It would be easy to argue that any automatic watch is not a good choice for those who need accuracy, but even at the lower price point I would expect slightly better performance than this particular model offers.
Ultimately, the PR50 Le Locle is a stunning example of what can be done at a lower price and I do feel attached to it. Visually it is refined to a much higher degree than could be expected, but perhaps the refinement inside needs a little work to complete the package.
£350 is a lot for a Tissot watch, but where else can you find such an elegant and well made automatic timepiece for under £500? I’m not so sure you can.