Tissot Powermatic 80 (or ETA C07.111), which is both appreciated and criticized, is a watch movement that attracts attention with its 80-hour power reserve. Inspired by reader letters, this article is a review of the Powermatic 80.
Whether it is handmade from start to finish or produced automatically by robots, the result never changes: the mechanism is the heart and brain of the watch. As it is known, since mechanical watches are not battery-powered, they get their power from the user and show the time accurately thanks to the healthy functioning of the mechanism, and also ensure the operation of other complications such as date or power reserve, if any. The history of watchmaking also tells the history of the development of the mechanism. As can be expected, thousands, tens of thousands of mechanisms have come and gone until today. Now we are in an age where more different mechanisms are produced than ever before. For those who are interested, the mechanism of the watch is an important issue, like water and light. In the world of watches, everything goes round and round and ultimately it comes down to the mechanism. Except for some brands, the main topic of conversations mostly follows this path. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Powermatic 80 is one of the most talked about movements of recent years.
Exaggerated or incorrect information has been circulating among watch enthusiasts for a while about the Powermatic 80 movement, stating that it uses plastic in its structure and does not have a fine adjustment mechanism. I think that putting an end to the confusion experienced when the number of reader letters on this subject increases and taking a closer look at the good and bad aspects of the Powermatic 80 mechanism will help us see the truth.
Since the 1980s, Swatch Group has been surprising and delighting watch enthusiasts with every innovation it has made. The innovations in the PRX collection, which created a sensation as soon as it was released in 2021, especially the recently announced panda dial chronograph models, added a different dimension to PRX designs. However, our topic is about the rumors about the Powermatic 80 mechanism of the best-selling and most talked about models.
First, a definition: Tissot Powermatic 80 is an innovative watch mechanism that is also seen in other Swatch Group brands such as Certina and Mido and has various versions.
The first thing to know about the Powermatic 80 movement is that there is no single movement with this name. There are multiple Powermatic 80 movements with small but significant changes according to functions and material. The first group consists of the version with 23 jewels (80.111, 80.111 COSC, 80.121), and the second group consists of movements with 25 jewels (80.601, 80.661, 80.811 with silicon balance spring and 80.811 COSC). One of the topics of discussion is the use of delrin, a plastic derivative, in the mechanism. Plastic is a word that does not inspire confidence in people, but it is not one of the plastics we know. Delrin, produced by DuPont, is an engineering product that does not retain moisture, is hard, has low friction and high wear resistance, and is also resistant to high temperatures. Powermatic 80 movements with silicon hairspring or COSC feature do not have delrin.
The speed settings of all the mechanisms I have listed above are adjusted by laser at the factory during the production phase, and even the standard ones perform close to COSC qualifications. Powermatic 80 is a new movement developed with high technology and containing solutions focused on the shortcomings of the ETA 2824-2, therefore it has a system that is both robust and extremely stable. Looking at user comments, it is understood that even when compared to much more expensive movements, it does not lag behind with its stable stance, on the contrary, it performs better.
Another criticism is that there is no “adjustment option that allows you to calibrate the watch’s deviation with small adjustments in later years.” Yes, there is no traditional adjustment option, but there are screws on the balance wheel for more precise adjustment. It’s a complex system, and screwed balance wheels are an approach normally seen in the higher world of watchmaking. Swatch Group has made progress in this area with factory settings, but due to the sensitive adjustment mechanism, if there is a problem with the escapement, it is more logical and affordable to install a new one. However, it may be unnecessary to have a fine-tuning add-on for a quality mechanism that is not in the luxury class and has already shown the time accurately for many years. Swatch Group claims that the need for fine adjustments that may occur over time has already been eliminated at the factory, which is confirmed by the fact that the movements are robust and stable. To summarize, Powermatic 80 offers a high-tech movement with features such as antimagnetic/stability at a very affordable price compared to its technical level.
But is there anything wrong with the Powermatic 80 movement? There is. In my opinion, its worst feature is that it has a structure that is far from hundreds of years of craft knowledge and therefore from handicrafts. Mido and Hamilton are better, but Tissot models have no charming interventions except the childish lines on the rotor and mechanism (which are just a simple decoration made by machine). The high-tech background looks empty, similar to photographers’ endless backdrops.
Powermatic 80 is a very hard-working but flat mechanism that does not inspire excitement. However, it is unnecessary to complain, and should even be seen as spoiling. Of course, there are much better movements on the market, but they are within the limits of high watchmaking.
Let’s not forget that silicon balance spring escapements were a development exclusive to Ulysse Nardin and similar haute horlogerie brands until a few years ago.
Watches with the Powermatic 80 movement have a system that deserves praise, and we are likely to see that it will be much improved and gain new dimensions in the long run. Such mechanisms, which offer high technology at affordable prices, are rarely seen on the market. No matter what brand or model, watches with Powermatic 80 movement are powerful and hardworking watches, let’s appreciate them.