During Baselworld 2014, Tissot put on display a number of nice collections that make absolutely clear that Tissot is serious about increasing its market share when it comes to “affordable” watches. Among the new products, they have officially presented their T-Race Touch Aluminium (ref. T081.420.97.057.03): a new version of their analog-digital timekeeper that now comes in a sexy aluminum body available in four different colors, including dark orange (pictured,) and even bright red (ref. T081.420.97.207.00).
Compared to the 2013 year model that, too, was released in Basel, the new Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium features only minor tweaks here and there like more textured plastic parts and (if I see it correctly) slightly increased letters on its inner bezel flange.
Judging by the list of features that, again, includes a chronograph, a logbook, a perpetual calendar, two alarms with two time zones, a tide calculator, and a compass, the quartz mechanism that powers the timepiece is also the same. The gadget is still operated via a couple of push-pieces at the right side of the case and a number of touch-sensitive areas on its scratch-proof sapphire crystal.
With their T-Touch collection, Tissot obviously targets numerous Japanese tool watches (probably, the legendary G-Shock family is the first one that comes to mind). Using the same gadget-like design, they add that easily recognizable Swiss touch to them with all these exaggerated parts somehow more subdued in order to not look like yet another ridiculous gadget from Power Rangers as is often the case with Japanese electronic timekeepers.
At 42 millimeters in diameter, the watch is not terribly large.
In fact, given its rather short lugs and surprisingly (well, relatively) low profile, it will probably feel comfortable even on a thinner wrist. Designed to attract curious (especially the ones with their aluminum cases anodized with nice orange treatment), the T-Race Touch Aluminum still doesn’t make you look like an, um, person in terrible need of attention.
As usual, the shape of the case is highly ergonomic, it is easy to manipulate all the numerous functions of the device and the touch-sensitive dial makes using the gadget an even more rewarding experience.
The only thing that I am not particularly fond of here is the rubber strap: it just looks too cheap, even for this price range.
Compared to Japanese timepieces, here the T-Touch scores yet another winning point.
With its visual elements limited to a large LCD display, a pair of hands, and three large stylized Arabic numerals, the dial doesn’t overwhelm you with information but rather supplies it in carefully measured bits responding to your commands.
The hands are contrast and easy to read, and the pictograms on the digital part of the screen are easy to understand without referring to the user’s manual.
To make the watch easier to read at night, its hour and minute hands are painted with a white luminous compound that looks contrast enough against the matte black surface of the dial, while its large LCD display is equipped with effective backlighting.
All in all, the use of anodized aluminum seems like a good idea: the watch not only becomes a bit lighter but also gets that easy-going, jovial appearance that numerous members of the super-popular G-Shock family never seem to grasp.
Yes, it finally happened: I actually think that the new T-Race Touch looks like a better choice than a G-Shock with similar functionality if you factor out the price (it is still unknown, but the watch is listed as “sub-500 CHF” model, so there is a good chance that it will retail for no more than €600 when released.)
Although unlike ana-digital Breitlings you can’t wear this watch to a meeting with your boss and get away with it, the watch, even this gorgeous version in dark orange, would still look more appropriate with a casual dress than the Japanese timekeeper that only looks in place if you wear a jumpsuit and are ready to make your first dive from an airplane.
Build quality: 4/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Tissot T-Race Touch Aluminium (T081.420.97.057.03) specification
Price: $575 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber ETA E49.301, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, chronograph, logbook, countdown, GMT, 2 alarms, tide calculator, compass
Battery: Renata CR 2032-N
Case: Aluminum, anodized
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Lug width: 19.50 mm
Hour markers: Luminous, white
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black or orange synthetic fabric with standard buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, tactile