There are many of us who love to collect replica watches and while some of our significant others appreciate our hobby, some do not. I am lucky that my wife is one of the former and she actually likes replica watches herself. She admires certain pieces that I own more than others and she has also noticed that I have taken a decided turn into collecting vintage versus new. With that in mind, I thought to myself that buying her a vintage replica watch would be a great way for her to experience, firsthand, why I enjoy wearing pieces from yesteryear so much. I then turned to the thought of chronographs and wanted something classic, not too sporty, and something appropriately sized; I ultimately decided upon the Tissot men’s replica.
We’ve spoken about vintage Tissot swiss watches replica online here before on #TBT but featured a piece from the 1970’s. The 1281, however, is from the early to mid 1960’s. We also discussed that Tissot was part of the same company as Omega and both utilized Lemania as their “in-house” chronograph movement supplier. The model you see here was seemingly made until the late 1960’s and really only changed with different hands and logo: later shifting to the “TISSOT” in block letters version versus the earlier script insignia. If you’re a vintage chronographer admirer you probably notice something else significant, which is that the 1281 looks almost exactly like mid 1960’s Omega Seamaster chronographs with the famous 321 movement
The Tissot 1281 comes in at 34mm, which is small by today’s standards, but not small historically when looking at famous pieces from companies like Universal Geneve. Furthermore, the Omega Seamasters referenced above came in at 35mm. Yes, this was made at a time right before replica watches started to grow in size to what became somewhat of a standard of 36mm. So, while it always seems that Tissots come in smaller sizes than their Omega counterparts, the difference here is only 1mm. The 1281 contains a beautiful silver dial with a blue outer telemeter scale and black outer tachymeter scale. The blue doesn’t jump out against the silver dial and is partially obscured by the thickly domed crystal, but it is a nice detail. The three registers step down and meet concentric circles within each and are adorned with needle hands. Nicely weighted applied hour markers exist with outer lume dots as well. Yes, there’s a lot of detail here and while it resembles Omegas of the day, it also reminds me a little of the early Heuer Carreras. The central hands are dauphine-shaped with a, now-faded, strip of lume and are a key highlight of the replica watch. These, to me, look exactly like those found on the Omegas. The pushers on the 1281 are simple pumps and the crown is a nicely sized, likely non-original, tool. Finally, the case back is screw-down.
Inside the Tissot 1281 is the manual wound Lemania 1281 or Tissot 871 chronograph movement. It has 17 jewels, runs at 18,000bph and has a power reserve of 39 hours. It uses a cam versus a column wheel, which aided in its lower cost of manufacturing and placement in Tissots. The movement was ultimately developed into the 1873 and found its way into Omega Speedmasters. It’s seemingly a robust movement and keeps time respectably. Using the chronograph function is a joy with good action from the pushers. Likewise, winding the 1281 is also an enjoyable experience. By the way, I can’t help but think about how great it would be if Tissot would reissue a newer, more modern-sized version of this piece using the 1873 movement current found in today’s Speedmaster. Tissot, if you are listening, I’d buy it!