Tissot vs Seiko: Which Brand Is Best For You?

by   |  in Accessories

One thing Tissot and Seiko have in common is their impressive range as watchmakers. For a Swiss heritage brand, Tissot isn’t afraid to produce in the budget realm. Meanwhile, Seiko isn’t afraid of any realm! Today, we’re going to compare Tissot vs Seiko.  

It’s not often these well-respected companies get put head to head, yet they have several price-comparable lines. We’re here to help you decide which brand is best for you in multiple categories.

Since Tissot has that Swiss ancestry though, you may be wondering…

tissot vs seiko

Is Tissot Better Than Seiko?

Tissot is known for their time-honored heritage and for offering affordable luxury. Seiko is known for an expansive range of technical offerings, from budget in-house mechanicals to high-end innovations like their Grand Seiko spring drive movement. 

Let’s take a closer look at both, starting with Tissot.

Tissot: A Closer Look

Tissot is unique from other high-quality Swiss brands because they have offerings in the budget category — you likely won’t find Omega selling $200 watches anytime soon! 

They’ve been around since 1853, long before Rolex, and are responsible for many modern-day innovations. They created the first non-magnetic wristwatch in 1929, which was a whole 20 years before the antimagnetic boom! As most Swiss heritage watchmakers though, Tissot is a lifestyle brand rooted in history.

Founder Charles-Émile Tissot promoted Swiss watch-making schools in the 1850s, ensuring their region-specific engineering would carry on into the future. 

Their well-earned pride continues today, as even their low-priced watches are officially Swiss Made.

The term Swiss Made is actually protected by the watch federation in Switzerland, to very specific guidelines. Yes, it certifies that most of the watch is made in Switzerland. More than that however, it ensures that the watch meets quality standards set by Swiss law.

For example, prototyping, technical development, and final inspections must meet stringent Swiss watchmaking standards, and 60% of manufacturing costs must be generated in Switzerland. 

Tissot works meticulously to earn the “Swiss Made” appellate, to maintain their tradition. Additionally, many of their mechanical lines are COSC-certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. 

Tissot isn’t just about looking and being fancy though. They use high-quality quartz and mechanical movements, which they source from their Swatch cousin, ETA. Also, their watches are all tested for resistance to impact, pressure, and water.

Seiko: How does it compare to Tissot?

Seiko is less focused on creating a luxury lifestyle brand rooted in a single heritage, and more focused on doing it all, especially on the technical front. That’s why they have so many excellent sublines!

Compared to Tissot, who will jump old and new hoops for an elite title, the Seiko 5 line efficiently utilizes old and paid-off parts, then employs mechanized construction to make them into affordable mechanical watches. While Tissot democratizes a luxury brand lifestyle, Seiko democratizes horology itself.

A lot of Seiko’s mechanical roots began with trying to learn Swiss techniques. Today, their mastery in mechanical and quartz watches (which they invented) have made them the brand with the widest range of horological offerings.

Don’t get me wrong, Seiko has luxury lines that emphasize their Japanese heritage too. The Grand Seiko Snowflake, for example, is designed after Japan’s Shinshi mountains.

However, Seiko’s focus is full mastery of every front in the watchmaking world.

Comparing Tissot vs Seiko Watches

Let’s compare some Seiko and Tissot models in the categories of budget, sport, dress, and luxury watches:

Budget Watches: Tissot Carson vs Seiko Kinetic SRN051P1

Tissot Carson T0854101601300 

From its round 40mm case, delicate date window, and stately Roman numerals, this Tissot is the perfect balance of simple and fancy, vintage and contemporary.

Of course, the construction includes only topnotch materials, such as 316L stainless steel for the case, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a basic but accurate quartz movement.

Tissot Carson T0854101601300
$169.00

Stainless steel case with a black leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel. White dial with black hands and Roman numeral hour markers.

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08/27/2021 05:12 pm GMT

Seiko Kinetic SRN051P1

This Seiko Kinetic SRN051P1 is a more modern dress watch.

It features simple Arabic numerals and a delightful and uncommon day complication beneath the date window. This, along with the exhibition caseback showcasing Seiko’s unique kinetic movement, makes this watch a great option for the technically inclined.

Seiko Kinetic SRN051P1
$177.00

A beautiful black dial enhanced by silver-tone hands. Silver-tone stainless steel case with a black (calfskin) leather band. Auto-Quartz movement.

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08/27/2021 05:25 pm GMT

Comparing these two watches is like comparing the two brands overall. If you want a classic Swiss dress watch made of high-quality materials, go for the Tissot Carson.

If you want a reliable timepiece that’s horologically unique, go for the Seiko Kinetic. Ultimately, both have worthwhile offerings, albeit different, for their price points

Sport Watches: Tissot Men’s Seastar 660 vs Seiko SKX007J1 

Tissot Men’s Seastar 660/1000

If you’re interested in a Swiss luxury dive watch but don’t want to drop 5k, I highly recommend the Tissot Seastar. Its stainless steel construction is flawless, its unidirectional bezel is crisp, and its sunburst dial with applied indices looks thoroughly upscale.

Tissot Seastar 1000
$650.00

This fancy diver has the sheen of a dress watch, but the durability of a professional divers watch with 300 meters of water resistance.

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08/27/2021 05:23 pm GMT

It also runs on the Powermatic 80 movement, which is a Swiss automatic with 80 hours of power, and features 300m of water resistance. 

Seiko SKX007J1 

The legendary SKX has everything you need in a dive watch, from its unidirectional bezel and its 200m of water resistance, to Seiko’s excellent lume.

It’s a versatile, highly-esteemed fan-favorite that’s exceedingly durable, and looks great whether it’s on a utilitarian rubber strap or a stainless steel oyster.

Seiko Diver SKX007J1
$654.00

Seiko’s classic and well-loved high-value diver! It features the robust 7S36 automatic movement, and a quintessential dive design with Rolex-esque indices. Pair it with a stainless steel Oyster-style bracelet to get a Submariner homage that also stands on its own, or with an accordion rubber strap for a tool aesthetic that matches the practical look of dial.

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08/27/2021 05:40 pm GMT

The Seiko SKX is a high-quality sport watch with a huge, well-deserved following. However, the Seastar simply has more functionality and a higher-end construction, so Tissot wins on that front. They have very different aesthetics though.

Ultimately, if you prefer a more tool-like look over a luxury style, then the SKX is the perfect watch for you.

Dress Watches: Tissot Visodate vs Seiko Presage Cocktail Hour Golden Champagne

Tissot Visodate T0194301603101

This Visodate has a special heritage. It’s a descendant of the Tissot watch James Stewart wore in Rear Window — a timepiece everyone wants, but can’t find.

It has a simple, but high-end construction including a leather bracelet with a butterfly clasp, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a Swiss automatic movement. 

Tissot Visodate T0194301603101

This Visodate has a special heritage, as a descendant of the Tissot watch James Stewart wore in Rear Window -a timepiece everyone wants, but can’t find. It has a simple, but high-end construction including a leather bracelet with a butterfly clasp, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a Swiss automatic movement. 

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Seiko Presage Cocktail Hour Golden Champagne

Seiko’s Cocktail Hour timepieces are some of their more fun dress watches, each named after swanky drinks.

Golden Champagne is the most celebratory looking, featuring eye-catching gold sword indices and hands, a champagne-hued background, and its trademark power reserve function.

Seiko Presage Cocktail Hour Golden Champagne
$646.68

The Golden Champagne is the most celebratory-looking watch of the Cocktail Collection, featuring eye-catching gold sword indices and hands, a champagne-hued background, and its trademark power reserve function. It runs on an automatic movement that you can admire through the exhibition caseback.

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08/27/2021 05:18 pm GMT

It runs on an automatic movement that you can admire through the exhibition caseback.

Again, two beautiful watches for two different kinds of guys. If you want a dress watch with understated elegance, go for the Visodate. If you like a more function-heavy timepiece with your dinner jacket, the Presage Cocktail Hours are some of the best out there. They manage to make complications look dressy.

Luxury Watches: Tissot Classic Gent 18k Gold vs Seiko Presage SPB041J1  

Tissot Classic Gent 18k Gold T9124284603800

Tissot checks every box for the perfect luxury dress watch with this stunning piece. It’s elegantly simple on the outside, with a Roman numeral 12, clean lines, and an elegant 18k rose gold bezel.

Yet it’s complex on the inside, running on the modular ETA 2895-2 automatic movement with small seconds, a date, and 40 hours of power.

Tissot Classic Gent 18k Gold T9124284603800
$1,954.26

Elegantly simple on the outside, with a Roman numeral 12, clean lines, and an elegant 18k rose gold bezel.

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08/27/2021 05:33 pm GMT

Seiko Presage SPB041J1 

This distinct piece has the silhouette of a traditional dress watch, but with added unique layers. The complications make it look more technical, but their cutout presentation and the swirly font on the face adds a level of whimsy for balance.

Seiko Presage SPB041J1
$1,499.00

A beautiful silver stainless-steel case featuring a brown crocodile leather strap and a stunning white dial. Automatic movement. Deployment buckle closure. Water resistance of 100 meters.

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08/27/2021 05:32 pm GMT

Moreover, with a diameter of 41.5mm and a height of 13.1mm, there’s a bit more substance to this Presage than the average dress watch.

Both timepieces feature automatic movements, leather straps, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystals. As far as the traditional rules of luxury dress watches, Tissot hits the mark perfectly.

However, the Seiko Presage is a great option if you prefer more complications and weight to your evening watch.

Tissot vs Seiko Verdict

Overall, Tissot and Seiko are both great brands with unique strengths. If you love buying into the luxurious world of heritage watches, Tissot has high-quality timepieces for a fraction of the cost of other Swiss watchmakers. If you’re horologically curious, or want a universe-sized range of watches, nobody beats Seiko.

While there is some overlap, their strengths are so different and there’s no reason you can’t have both brands in one collection!

Which Seiko or Tissot watch do you love the most? Do you prefer one brand over the other? Let us know by hitting us up on Facebook or on Instagram!