The surprising new Mathey-Tissot The “1886” limited edition, designed by Eric Giroud, is causing a buzz.
Baselworld 2018. This year, the historical watchmaking brand, Mathey-Tissot, tasked the designer, Eric Giroud, with creating an icon. It marks a glittering comeback into the world watchmaking spotlight, legitimised by some newly surfaced archives and some commendable performances on eBay to boot.
Targeting access through affordability thanks to an attractive pricing strategy, the new Mathey-Tissot “1886” sets itself up as an aesthetic landmark at this year’s edition of the international watch-making fair. A story of pertinence and precision, the history of its design has been catapulted to the forefront of our attention. Indeed, while the 70s appear to be firmly back in fashion, and while many are appropriating and feeding the trend, only a few like Mathey-Tissot can truly lay claim to such absolute legitimacy, owing to the sheer wealth and consistency of its production throughout this period in the brand’s history.
The new “1886”, a celebration of design and purity of line
The famous designer, Eric Giroud, delved deep into the brand’s golden age for his inspiration. He was able not only to extract the aesthetic codes peculiar to MatheyTissot, but also transcend them artistically. Something of a mix between an encounter and a discovery, the resultant “1886” is a watch that prefers to abandon the sporty look in favour of adopting the values of universal elegance championed in the 70s. Three hands, the graphic subtlety of the date aperture, stylish sobriety. Beyond these, we have the gently rounded forms and the superfine precision of the matt sandblasted finish, transforming it into an exquisitely tactile object. And, last but not least, the gently domed crystal and winding crown nestling into the circumference of a powerfully graphical dial, its strong lines softened by the distinctive case-middle with protective horns. The geometry and light-play express, in no uncertain terms, the exquisite softness of a piece that remains nonetheless very present on the wrist.
A sudden abundance of smoky shades for the “1886” dial
The “1886”, with its soft rounded curves, contemporary visual appeal and organic touches, has suddenly and unabashedly opted for a lively colour scheme. The idea of using smoky shades would have been purely whimsical for designer Eric Giroud if Mathey-Tissot’s past had not already given them historical legitimacy. The legendary colour graduations, Mathey-Tissot’s focal palette, systematically call up and deviate from the customary Pantone colour chart in a bid to remain faithful to the bold aesthetics of the brand’s prestigious past. The smoky green, brown, blue and grey, and, likewise, the deep, reassuring black have been a feature of the brand’s DNA consistently throughout the 130 years of its uninterrupted industrial and manufacturing history. The unique new shades are all as many aesthetic sparks replete with powerful static charge and colour force to electrify the sombre darkness.
“The dials on the “1886” come in Mathey-Tissot’s hallmark smoky colours, lively and original: all as many aesthetic sparks to electrify the sombre darkness.”
Mathey-Tissot “1886” limited edition Technical data
1886 pieces with 5 different coloured dials: black, smoky green, smoky red, smoky grey, smoky blue, smoky brown
Movement motorisations: Sellita SW200 automatic mechanical calibre; EG1886A(N/V/R/S/BU/M) Swiss-made quartz calibre
Watchcase: 316L steel with matt sandblasted finish; water-resistant to 5 ATM (i.e. 50 metres)
Winding crown with pushpiece and double seal
Antireflection treated domed sapphire dial crystal, transparent back
Dimensions: 42 mm diameter; 11.8 mm thick; lug-tolug distance 48 mm
Genuine Italian leather crocodile-print strap with deployant buckle.
RRP in CHF: Mechanical version CHF 1,500.00 (ex. VAT), quartz version CHF 500 (ex. VAT)
Fiercely independent for over 130 years
As followers know, throughout its uninterrupted 130-year long history, Mathey Tissot, one of the most legitimate and prolific historical Swiss watchmaking groups, has produced numerous models, with some iconic references scoring regular successes on the pre-worn or new old stock watch markets. Models, such as the Coin Watch, the Elvis Presley, (given by the “King” to his closest acquaintances as an all-access pass to his concerts), or the Type 20 universal chronograph, an aviation-inspired tool watch, are currently performing admirably and reaching increasingly high prices on eBay and other major online sales sites and watch auction sites.
Founded by Edmond Mathey-Tissot in 1886 in Ponts-de-Martel, in the Canton of Neuchâtel, Mathey-Tissot was primarily a watchmaking manufacture renowned for its complicated calibres and prestigious customer base, including the watchmakers Breguet, LeCoultre, Piaget, Henri Moser, Ulysse Nardin, Edmond Heuer, Louis Audemars and Vacheron Constantin… In 2018, more than 130 years after its creation, the maison produces nearly 50,000 watches annually, has just signed a partnership deal with the Italian army, and is creating a buzz at Baselworld 2018 with its “1886” reference, designed by Eric Giroud and available as part of a limited edition at a highly affordable price. Affordable, Swiss made, offering flawless quality, and available in automatic mechanical and quartz versions, what more could you want?
Mathey-Tissot, the legitimacy of a brand
The surprise arrival in 2018 of the limited edition “1886”, with its iconic elegance and daring smoky colour schemes, serve as a reminder to purists and fans of Swiss watchmaking alike that you should never under-estimate an independent brand that is steeped in history and traditional values. For even while its omnipresence on the world’s marketplace could almost make you forget its consistent boldness and creativity, it manages to stay in the international spotlight.