So far this year, I’ve been seeing a lot more solar watches. I, for one, and happy to greet our new photon-absorbing companions. From classic-look watches reviewed here and here, and even newer fitness-oriented watches (covered here), there’s a variety of looks out there. The common denominator is being the extended battery life that solar gives you. Just makes sense for something you want always running, especially if it’s talking with your phone. If you’re looking to take your outdoor watch game a bit more upscale, there’s the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar.
First, a quick programming note. The two photos just above here, those are two of the three new looks coming out (there’s also a very golden one coming). For the rest of the images, we’re relying on prior releases to give you a sense of the watch. If you’ve been around watches for awhile, you’re no doubt aware of the Tissot T-Touch line which allows you to interact with the watch functions via touching the sapphire crystal. Even with that, you’ve also got pushers and crown to interact with the watch as well – having that option is handier than you might think.
In other words, the has an interesting UI. What all can you mess around with on the watch with those input options? Well, it’s a healthy list of different things that you can do, actually:
- Environmental: altimeter, barometer, temperature, weather trend, azimuth, compass
- Date/time: Perpetual calendar, alarm, time, time zones, automatic daylight saving time
- Timing: timer, chrono split, chrono lap, chrono log book
- Fitness: Step counter, calories burned, distance travelled
- Smarts: notifications, incoming call, connection alerts, security lock
- Eco mode
- Automatic sleep mode
If you’re familiar with outdoors-oriented watches (we’re thinking of, say, watches like the ProTrek lineup), that particular list of functionality is going to sound very familiar. When you’re off in the woods, and perhaps don’t have cell reception, having the capability to get that weather related info is handy, as is the built-in compass. The issue folks may have with many of those watches is that they look fine outdoors, but if you’re in an office or dressier setting, they seem way out of place. That’s where the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar fits in.
Though it’s still a larger case (at 47mm) the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar presents as your classic analog watch. This is helped in a large part by the digital screen blending in so well with the rest of the dial – if it’s not lit up, you may not even notice that it’s there; that dial also hides the solar cells. Based on my experience, that small display will be a life-saver. When you’re relying on a very complicated watch, relying on just analog hands to figure out where you are is difficult.
The display also, of course, enables the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar to do all the things we expect smart watches to be able to do, such as tracking our steps throughout the day and display notifications from our phones. There is no HR or O2 sensor built in, so this wouldn’t be a fit for you if you’re looking for something very fitness-oriented.
Which does beg the question – who is the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar for? I think it’s for the person who loves getting into the outdoors on their weekends and vacations, and just wants to have one watch that they can use – even when they’re not outside. Most of the models come in at $1,050, while the version on a bracelet (and the newer golden version that’s coming) hit $1,150. Check out the full collection over at tissotwatches.com while you wait for us to get our loaner in for a full hands-on review.