Last week, we wrote about how much we love Movado watches. To summarize, they’re beautifully designed, well made, and affordable luxury timepieces that any collector should be proud to own.
Since then, we’ve gotten some questions. One thing that really struck us in particular was the sheer number of people wanting to know whether they should get a Tissot or a Movado.
We understand, of course. They’re both luxury watchmakers that occupy a similarly affordable space in the watch market.
For the most part, our answer is probably going to be whichever watch we happen to have in front of us at the moment. That said, it is a pretty interesting matchup, so we gathered a few of our favorites from each for a side-by-side comparison.
First, let’s talk about some of the overarching differences.
Origin - Tissot is a Swiss watchmaker through and through. They’re headquartered in Switzerland, and their watches are put together there as well.
Movado is headquartered in the USA. A lot of people think this means they make American watches, but that’s actually not the case. While the corporate offices are here, the watches themselves are also Swiss made. So the only real difference here is on the corporate level.
Looks - Aesthetically, Movado likes to play with their core artistic philosophy that revolves around a mostly minimalist design with The Dot at 12 o’clock.
Tissot, on the other hand, generally sticks to the classic watch design, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring. They frequently experiment with colors and materials and put out everything from fun, playful pieces to classy gala-ready watches.
Movement - Tissot watches are mostly mechanically driven with automatic movements, while Movado watches are usually battery-powered quartz movements.
The debate over which is better could be a 2,000 page tome filled with endless back and forth, so we’ll sum it up by saying this: Some prefer mechanical movements because they’re exciting and impressively crafted, and some prefer quartz because it’s simpler and far more accurate.
And now, to the main event!
This Museum model is a Movado interpretation of a sports watch. Yes, it’s built for action. Yes, it has a lot of complications and chronograph functionality.
However, the art-driven watchmaker just can’t help but put their head-turning spin on things, and what we ended up with is a functional sports watch with a look that’s just dripping with class. We mean this thing is sleek.
The all-black dial gives the illusion of a minimal design, as is the usual Movado way, but a closer look reveals that there is a lot happening here. Three subdials, numerals at every marker, luminous hands, and they even snuck The Dot in there, though it’s not easy to see.
This watch is like a stealth fighter with a beautiful leather strap attached to it.
And here we have the Heritage 1973 chronograph. We LOVE everything about this sports watch!
The color scheme is on point, with a dark blue dial, a tiny 5 seconds of lighter blue on the 30-second sundial, a second hand that tips off in orange, and a beautiful leather strap that’s holed for breathability. On top of that, it’s all tied together in a stunning vintage aesthetic.
This watch isn’t just a sports watch, it’s a sportsmanship watch. Oiled mustache and driving scarf not included.
While we do love the Movado Museum Sport Chronograph, there just wasn’t much of a competition in this category. Sports watches aren’t really Movado’s thing, and the Tissot catalogue just has a lot more to choose from in the realm of action-oriented timepieces.
We were hesitant to bring out another black watch for Movado. We don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think that they only make things in black.
But we saw this piece and just couldn’t pass it up. The dial in particular is just...incredible. It’s like a desert of moon sand with a complex series of etchings at the outer perimeter where the markers would usually be. The Dot looks like a meteor that crashed into the midnight position and has been left there on the wind-less landscape for aeons.
The black leather strap is absolutely perfect as a companion that doesn’t want to take any attention away from the main exhibit.
When we’re talking about dress watches, this is what we mean. Imagine lifting your arm in your finely-tailored jacket and the sleeve pulling back to reveal this masterpiece. Oh, we think it’s talk-of-the-party o’clock. Garson, could we have a champagne?
You probably read that last bit and thought this category would be a shoo-in for Movado. Well, the Le Locle is here to say “not so fast, pal.”
The subtly textured black dial is home to beautiful gold toned hands and markers, and the second hand lives in a subdial near 5 o’clock. The bezel is where the real party begins with its gold-toned glitter and polished class.
It’s on the back of the case where things become truly next-level, with etched flourishes and a window that let’s us see into the intricately crafted automatic movement as it glides flawlessly to power the watch’s mechanism.
While we think both watches are absolutely beautiful, we have to give this one to the Movado because the dial is so unique and inspired that we couldn’t tear our eyes away from it.
For those who prefer more of a classic look, however, the Tissot Le Locle could very well be a complete masterpiece.
This piece is a perfect example of Movado’s expertise in creating a very minimal aesthetic with a hidden complexity that has to be searched for.
At a glance, it’s a perfectly uniform silver dialed watch with silver hands and a silver link bracelet. However, look a little more closely and the dial reveals itself. At the perimeter are tiny understated markers, peppered with miniature dots. The signature Dot is just an outline, and the crown is barely even there.
Movado knows how to make space work for a design, and this watch knows how to work with pretty much any outfit and for any occasion.
It’s hard to pick out a favorite feature of this watch when there’s so much to talk about. Okay, we lied. Our favorite thing about the T-Classic is the T-shaped tail of the second hand. We don’t know why, but it just really sticks out to us as an ingenious little detail from a company that is always thinking about the details.
The white dial features an incredibly subtle circular pattern that radiates from the center, the the gold tone hints throughout the piece add an air of lux to the overall look. We’re particularly drawn to the twin veins of gold that shoot through the bracelet, and the whole design just carries with it a sense of casual elegance.
We honestly can’t pick one over the other. Movado’s Sapphire is artistic in its minimalism, making the loudest functions of its design the things that aren’t being said. The uniform silver look really can go with anything, and there’s no occasion we can think of where it would be out of place.
On the other hand, Tissot’s offering is a bolder proclamation of luxury, in many ways the polar opposite of the Movado piece. The gold coloring is tastefully used, but loud in a way that can’t help but draw the eye. While it is a casual watch, it may seem just a tad out of place when the arm it’s attached to is being used to hold a sloppily jammed bagel at the local cafe.
As to the ultimate question of Tissot vs. Movado, there’s just no definitive answer. It’s all a matter of personal taste, and we would wager that you’d find an even divide throughout the watch collector community.
The aesthetics are totally different, so some people are going to find themselves drawn to one while some are more into the other.
What can’t be argued is that both Movado and Tissot offer a lot of incredible pieces at affordable prices.