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Integrated bracelets, the design that changed watchmaking forever |


Integrated bracelets, the design that changed watchmaking forever

Emerson Yao - The Philippine Star
Integrated bracelets, the design that changed watchmaking forever
The holy trinity of watches: (from left) Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

What is an integrated bracelet? It is a watch design where the watchcase and bracelet are meshed together seamlessly. This is unlike the traditional lugs or horns, to which the aftermarket strap or bracelet was attached.

The integrated-bracelet design trend started in the early ’70s. Although Gerald Genta was credited for the huge success of the integrated bracelet designs of the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, he is not the only one to start this trend.

For example, Jorg Hysek, another talented designer from East Berlin, was responsible for the design of the Vacheron Constantin 222 in celebration of the firm’s 222nd-year anniversary, a precursor to the Overseas collection.

Half a century later, these design trends are making a comeback, largely credited to the success of the Big Three.

Pure power: Tissot Powermatic 80 in blue dial

Another reason for their popularity is the resurging trend for vintage, and I find classic vintage watches incredibly appealing. Their timeless looks and elegant design make them a perfect everyday watch. This trend eventually resulted in many brands launching new watches disguised as homages, and some homages disguised as original designs.

Then comes Tissot, the esteemed brand founded in the Swiss city of Le Locle back in 1853. Tissot released the Seastar Quartz back in 1978 to keep the interest in Swiss brands, at a time increasingly dominated by Japanese quartz watches.

Today the new Tissot PRX series, which draws its heritage from the Seastar, is as close a homage to the original as you can get with some 21st-century enhancements.

Among its releases, the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is one of my favorites. Its 14-mm tonneau-shaped case is perfect on the wrist, both in size and weight. It is fitted with a see-through case-back to view the high-tech Nivachron balance hairspring, which was jointly developed by both The Swatch Group and Audemars Piguet. This titanium-based spring has anti-magnetic properties unaffected by temperature variations and excellent shock resistance. It also has an 80-hour power reserve for that over-the-weekend energy it needs to keep its time even when not in use. This precise and robust watch is 10 atmospheres, or 100 meters water-resistant, hence the name PRX.

The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 comes in three variants: a black dial, a blue dial, and a steel-with-rose gold PVD-on-silver dial. There are also three movement options.

The Tissot PRX Quartz retails at P22,500. The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 automatic in steel with either a blue or black dial retails at P42,000. With a steel and rose-gold PVD it costs P43,900, and the Tissot PRX automatic chronograph retails at P100,200. They are available at the Tissot boutique in Ayala Mall Manila Bay, Lucerne, Chronos, Wristpod and Swissgear stores. It is also available online at

The Tissot Seastar was released in 1978 during the quartz crisis.
Photo from The Watch Lounge

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Emerson Yao is managing director of the Lucerne Group, which distributes luxe watches in the Philippines. He is always racing for good time, as he is a passionate runner who has joined marathons in New York, Berlin, Chicago and Tokyo. He will join the Boston Marathon in 2023.

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