The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar is quite a mouthful. It is also a pretty tech savvy watch, and probably the dressiest option in the field of high-tech outdoor watches. If I had to go with only one watch that I could take hiking and wear with a suit and tie, this one would get serious consideration.
At 45mm, it is one of the larger watches I have had for a hands on review. However, with the titanium case and bracelet, the weight is not an issue. And since I am not doing a whole lot of orienteering or hiking these days (I rock climb a lot, but in the gym), the fact that it is actually a pretty clean analog watch design is something I appreciate.
There are other options out there for watches that offer similar functionality to the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, but none of the ones I found put that functionality into the background of the watch when you just want, well, a watch-watch. At $1,250, it is also more expensive than these other watches with similar functionality, but design matters when it comes to cost.
The watch design, before you get into the extra digital features, is nice and clean. There is a black plastic bezel with the hours and text for the touch dial feature labels, with a chapter ring inside the bezel marked in hours and minutes. The bright white of the lumed indexes and non-lumed text on the bezel match up with the white lume on the hands, making for a readable design.
At night, the lume is adequate and well laid out to be readable. The hands are directly controlled by the watch’s electronic brain, so various features will cause the handset to move decoupled from the actual time.
These features come in to play when you hold down the digital pusher in the typical crown position to activate the touch feature of the dial. Now the 7 touch zones become active and a tap on the face will take you to the barometer, altimeter, chronograph, compass, alarm, and count down timer, and time function.
The first six spots are aligned every other hour starting at 12:00, while touching the center of the dial will take you back to the time mode. Each of the six modes will also cause the hands to rotate on the watch, aligning with the function, and then, as needed moving so as to not block the digital display. Well, all except the compass mode, which will align the hands into a compass, with the hour hard following north.
When in one of these function modes, the digital display on the bottom half of the watch is where the information is displayed, with the hand sometimes providing additional information. Tapping the barometer will toggle between absolute and relative pressure modes, the and the hands will move depending on the recent change in barometric pressure, indicating the magnitude and direction of the weather change. The altimeter mode provides ascent and descent rates, and tapping the alarm and timer modes more that once will toggle you through the alarms or timers.
The chrono also functions only with the digital display, an the two pushers will record multiple lap or split times. With the digital feature, you can go back and scroll through the lap or split times (the watch only does one of these features at a time) using the log function, or you can view the average, fastest, and slowest laps and total race time. In split mode, the watch will record the split times for up to 99 racers.
The watch has a dual time mode for travelers, and swapping the time shown on the handset is a simple as pushing a few buttons. This is the easiest adjustment I have seen for dual time watches swapping back and forth between home and destination time zone. The alarm function also allows for the alarm to sound only on weekdays or weekends. A standby mode will put the watch to sleep in order to conserve power when it is not being worn.
My one complaint about the watch is that the bracelet is not adjustable enough. Rough sizing is done by adding or removing links, but if you are in between sizes, as I seem to be, there is only one fine adjustment that can be made in the clasp. For me, this still put the watch at just a hair too tight. Not that it was uncomfortable or restrictive, but it left a pretty good impression on the wrist when I would take it off. A 1/2 size link or a couple of additional fine adjustment in the clasp would be welcome.
With 100 meters of water resistance, you could wear it diving, but I would not call this a dive watch. built into the clasp is an expansion link that will let you wear the watch over a wetsuit, but I think the real value of the clasp for a watch like this is on the other end of the altitude scale. The expansion link is also going to work if you want to wear the watch on the exterior of a jacket or ski suit, so you can check time, weather and altitude without rolling up your cuff. You also leave the solar cell exposed to the light to keep the watch charged.
Overall, I like the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar a lot. There is a lot of functionality built into the watch that I do not really need, so I would not be the target audience, but that functionality does not come at the expense of a readable watch design. I have had more than a few coworkers complement me on the watch, and it is comfortable to wear, in spite of the fact I would like the bracelet to go a 1/4 link larger. Plus, you get the “Swiss Made” cachet that you don’t get with the Japanese multifunction outdoor tech watches. tissot.ch
- Brand & Model: Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar
- Price: $1,250 ($1,150 on a leather or rubber strap)
- Who’s it for?: You want one watch that will go from base camp to the boardroom.
- Would I wear it?: Probably not. It is attractive, and I can see who it would be for, but I have a compass and if I needed an altimeter, I would use GPS.
- What I’d change: Just a little more flexibility on the sizing of the band.
- The best thing about it: It does not look like an altimeter watch.