Identifying a vintage Tissot watch is an easy task requiring few tools. Tissot watches are generally well marked with the Tissot logo stamped on the dial and engraved on the movement. Novice collectors should be aware that Tissot merged with the Omega Watch Company in 1930 and a series of watches were identified as “Omega Watch Co./Tissot” for a short period. However, the movement, the spring mechanism that runs and regulates the watch, is branded “Tissot.” Old Tissot watches also should not be confused with Mathey-Tissot, an unrelated Swiss watchmaker.
Examine with a jeweler’s loupe the top portion of the dial of the vintage Tissot watch. Until the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tissot watches featured a slanted “Tissot” script. From the early to mid 1960s, Tissots featured an upright “Tissot” name in bold letters, usually with a “T” above the name (See References 1-2 and Author’s Expertise).
Examine the bottom of the dial. The word “automatic” identifies the Tissot as a self-winding watch. Absence of “automatic” means it’s a manual wind watch. Some Tissots, especially 1950s through 1970s models, may have “17 Jewels” or a different number of jewels printed at the bottom of the dial. A good quality vintage watch features a minimum of 15 jewels. (See References 1-2 and Author’s Expertise).
Insert a case blade under the lip of a snap-back Tissot watch and pry it open. If the Tissot features a screw-down case back, use the palm of your hand, a waded up ball of duct tape or a watchmaker’s sticky ball and rotate counterclockwise the Tissot case back to remove it from the case, according to Thewatchguy.homestead.com (See References 1-2).
Use the loupe to examine the inside of the case back. The Tissot name should be engraved above the term “Swiss Made.” The Tissot font should match the dial. Identify the type of metal used for the case and case back, such as “999” for silver or “9K”, “10K”, “14K” or “18k” for gold. In some instances, the name of an independent case maker instead of Tissot may be engraved (See References 1-2 and Author’s Expertise).
Use the loupe to examine the movement. The Tissot name should be engraved on the bridge, which is flat sheet of metal covering part of the movement. Near the name is a serial number. For example, 2943525 dates the Tissot to 1953. A list of Tissot serial numbers and corresponding dates can be found online or from an authorized Tissot dealer (See References 1-2 and Author’s Expertise).
Always compare the Tissot logo on the dial with the logo on the movement and case back to ensure they match. The movement’s serial number should also correspond with the case back’s identification number. The matching numbers, which can be found on the Tissot serial numbers listing, guarantee the watch is original and not cobbled together from different watches.
Do not force open a stubborn case back. You may damage the watch. Have a professional watchmaker perform the task.