We as watch enthusiasts have never had a bigger choice when it comes to the number of watchmakers competing for our attention, as well as the different watch styles and functionalities timepieces can offer.
Choosing the right watchmaker and the right watch can be a daunting task, but it is one that is well worth undertaking in order to find the perfect time-teller. When making that choice, there are many different factors to consider. But two of the most important criteria are undoubtedly reliability and value. And in these two areas, two brands that consistently come out on top are Tissot and Seiko.
But how do these two brands fare when pitted against each other? In today’s Tissot vs Seiko comparison, we will take a comprehensive look at both watchmakers, by delving into their style, durability, movements and prices.
So, is it Tissot or Seiko – who is better? Without further delay, let’s go.
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Tissot vs Seiko: Background & History
Tissot is a Swiss watchmaking company that was founded all the way back in 1853 by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile.
The company has been through a lot over its 160+ years of existence, including surviving two World Wars and even relocating its headquarters in order to avoid heavy taxation and potential bankruptcy.
From these humble beginnings, Tissot has gone on to become one of the most well-known and respected watchmakers in the world. It is now a subsidiary of the prestigious Swatch Group, which also owns other well-known brands such as Omega, Longines and Breguet.
For a quick peek at some of the best-selling models:
Tissot is perhaps best known for its innovative spirit – it was the first watchmaker to mass-produce the pocket watch and was also responsible for creating the first anti-magnetic watch. The company has also been associated with a number of sports over the years, most notably MotoGP, where it has served as an official timekeeper since 2002.
For a much more detailed history of the brand, check out our comprehensive Tissot brand review.
Like Tissot, Seiko is a brand with a long and illustrious history. The company was founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori in Tokyo, Japan and originally started out as a watch repair shop.
Hattori quickly developed a reputation for being one of the best watch repairers in the city and eventually started to produce his own watches under the name Seikosha, which translates to “house of exquisite workmanship”.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the Seiko brand as we know it today was born, with the launch of its first wristwatch.
Since then, Seiko has gone on to become one of Japan’s most revered brands, known around the world for the exceptional quality of its timepieces. The company is also responsible for a number of important watchmaking innovations, such as the world’s first quartz watch – the Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ – in 1969.
The groundbreaking release sparked the so-called Quartz Revolution and changed the watch industry forever. Also known as Quartz Crisis, it led to a number of Swiss watchmakers going out of business as they simply couldn’t compete with the accuracy and affordability of Asian quartz watches.
Learn more about the illustrious Seiko history by reading our Seiko brand review.
Tissot vs Seiko: Style
Tissot and Seiko offer an extensive range of watches for men and women, with every collection boasting its own unique style.
With that said, each brand does have a signature look that is evident across its range.
Tissot’s watches tend to be on the more classical side, with many of its timepieces featuring simple, elegant designs. The brand’s dress watches are particularly popular, with their understated good looks making them the perfect choice for formal occasions.
Tissot puts a lot of focus on quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship. The brand’s watches tend to be fairly understated, with many featuring clean lines and minimalistic detailing.
The Swiss watchmaker has a reputation for producing elegant timepieces that are designed to be worn day in and day out.
The general picture is clear – most Tissot watches tend to err on the side of classicism, with many of its most popular models – such as the Visodate – featuring simple dials and uncluttered aesthetics.
This is not to say that Tissot doesn’t produce more eye-catching watches – take the whole Tissot T-Race collection, for example – but as a general rule, its timepieces are designed to be discreet and sophisticated.
In contrast to Tissot, Seiko’s watches are often lauded for their more individualistic and eye-catching designs.
The Japanese watchmaker has a reputation for incorporating unique and innovative features into its timepieces, which helps to set them apart from the competition. Seiko’s sportier watches, such as those in the Prospex range, are particularly popular with watch enthusiasts thanks to their bold and distinctive aesthetics.
While Seiko does produce a number of more classical timepieces – such as the Presage collection – the vast majority of its watches have a more modern look and feel. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that the company is based in Japan, a country renowned for its cutting-edge design.
|DRAW: It’s extremely tough to judge watch styles since everyone has distinct preferences – and there’s no way to account for it. Bot companies offer great designs.|
Tissot vs Seiko: Materials & Durability
Tissot and Seiko are both brands that have built up a reputation for producing exceptionally reliable and durable timepieces.
Each brand uses high-quality materials in its watches and employs rigorous testing procedures to ensure that each timepiece can withstand everyday wear and tear.
Let’s now quickly go through all the essential elements that contribute to the overall longevity of these watches.
The dial window is the first line of defense for any watch. While a scratched glass is just tough on the eye, a crack could lead to potentially irreversible damage to the movement.
Luckily, both Tissot and Seiko provide excellent protection in this area. The former utilizes mineral crystal and sapphire crystal while the latter Hardlex (Seiko’s proprietary crystal type) and sapphire. Naturally, the type of glass used in watches is heavily influenced by the price tag.
More often than not, Tissot uses mineral crystal glass in their lower-end collections (> $300). The same can be said about Seiko’s inclusion of Hardlex crystal.
Sapphire crystal watches, on the other hand, will set you back a bit more. Sapphire glass scores 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale and is the go-to material amongst all the elite watchmakers, from Rolex to Patek Philippe. Usually, glass is reserved for the pricier watch lines of both Tissot and Seiko.
With that said, it’s possible to find individual Seiko watches in the $150 region (eg. Seiko SGEH77P1) that use sapphire glass. Tissot, contrastingly, is a bit more conservative when it comes to the pricing and the cheapest model available which utilizes the glass seems to be this Tissot Visodate ($350).
Both brands use a variety of different materials for their watch straps, including leather, stainless steel and rubber.
Tissot‘s leather straps are particularly popular, with the brand using a number of different exotic skins – such as alligator and ostrich – to give its watches a luxurious look and feel.
Seiko also offers a wide selection of different strap materials, including silicone, steel and ceramics. The Japanese watchmaker is particularly well-known for its use of high-quality metals, with many of its watch straps made from solid stainless steel.
Naturally, the durability aspect of these straps will differ. For example, a stainless steel bracelet is likely to be more durable than a leather strap.
However, both brands offer a wide selection of different strap materials to suit the needs of different customers.
Both brands use a variety of materials when it comes to cases (and bezels). However, stainless steel is clearly the dominant type here.
Stainless steel is an incredibly strong and durable material, making it the perfect choice for watch cases.
Tissot and Seiko both use 316L stainless steel in many of their watches. This is a particularly tough type of stainless steel that is also often used in high-end watches.
Other case materials sprinkled across different collections include:
- ceramic – the material is extremely scratch-resistant. However, it is also one of the more brittle materials used in watchmaking, so it is not as tough as steel
- titanium – a lightweight yet strong metal that is often used in sports watches. It’s a popular choice for watch cases as it is very strong yet also hypoallergenic.
- rubber – often used in sports watches, as it is extremely tough and can withstand large amounts of pressure
Crucially, all watches come with screwed-in casebacks and crowns. That means there are no gaps or openings for water or dust to enter the watch, making them much more durable than watches with exposed casebacks or crowns.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of protection against water, it’s the perfect time to note that all Tissot and Seiko watches, without exception, are water-resistant to some degree.
At the very least, some models (particularly dress watches), are splashproof (water-resistant up to 30m).
The more sporty the design, the higher the water resistance rating you can expect to be. For example, chronograph watches by both brands usually offer a 100m water resistance while dive collections, Tissot’s Seastar and Seiko’s Prospex, are much more advanced in this field. Tissot’s most capable “divers” can survive depths of up to 300m while Seiko’s dive watches are some of the most reliable in the industry, with some models offering protection even up to 1000m.
|DRAW: There’s really not much between the brands in terms of durability standards – both watchmakers pass the test with flying colors. However, Seiko tends to offer premium materials such as sapphire crystal at lower price points.|
Tissot vs Seiko: Movements
Even the most splendid looks count for little if the standard of watch movements is poor.
Fortunately, both Tissot and Seiko are renowned for the exceptional quality of their movements.
As you would expect from a Swiss watchmaker, all of Tissot’s movements are highly accurate and incredibly reliable.
The brand offers watches in all three major movement types: quartz, automatic and mechanical (manually-wound).
Quartz movements are the most accurate and require the least amount of maintenance, while automatic and mechanical movements offer a more traditional watch experience. The choice will depend on your own preference.
Looking at the brand’s official catalog, Tissot puts the biggest focus on quartz models. The current offer includes 174 battery-powered watches, 115 that are automatic, and 14 that are hand-wound.
Being part of the Swatch Group, Tissot has access to some of the best movements in the business. The Swiss watchmaker uses a mix of in-house and third-party movements in its timepieces, with each one offering its own unique benefits.
For example, Tissot’s Powermatic 80 movement offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve, while the brand’s movements in the COSC Collection guarantee accuracy to within -4/+6 seconds per day. The COSC certification is only awarded to watch movements that pass a series of stringent tests, so it’s a real mark of quality. Tissot is one of few Swiss brands that regularly has its movements certified by the COSC.
Seiko, on the other hand, produces all of its own movements in-house.
The Japanese watchmaker has been at the forefront of watch movement technology for many years and has developed a number of innovative movements that are used in its timepieces.
For example, Seiko’s Kinetic range uses cutting-edge quartz technology to create watches that never need batteries. Kinetic watches work by converting the wearer’s natural body movement into electrical energy, which is then used to power the watch.
Similarly, the brand’s Solar range harnesses the power of sunlight to keep the watch charged, meaning that it can be worn for months or even years without needing to be recharged.
Naturally, Seiko also offers automatic and mechanical watches, with both types of timepieces featuring highly accurate and reliable movements.
When discussing Seiko’s movements, it’s impossible not to mention the brand’s proprietary Spring-Drive technology. These movements are completely unique and offer a number of benefits over traditional watch movements.
For one, they’re incredibly accurate, with most Spring Drive watches guaranteed to be accurate to within one second per day.
What’s more, thanks to their use of a glide wheel instead of an escapement, Spring-Drive movements produce very little noise, meaning that Seiko’s watches are some of the most discreet on the market.
Spring Drive movements combine the best of the two worlds of quartz and automatic watches because they use quartz to regulate the speed of the watch, but they also have an automatic winding mechanism.
Although excellent, Spring Drive watches are really expensive as they can be found exclusively with Seiko’s luxury sub-brand, the Grand Seiko.
|DRAW: Both brands do excellent on the movement front. Tissot’s Swiss calibers are as good as you’d expect them to be while Seiko’s innovative Kinetic and Spring Drive watches are excellent in their own sense.|
Tissot vs Seiko: Affordability
Tissot and Seiko are both brands that offer exceptional value for money. Not without a reason, they’re considered the go-to names in the mid-price budget sector which means that their timepieces offer a great mix of quality, style and affordability.
With that said, there is a slight price difference between the two brands, with Tissot’s watches generally being more expensive than Seiko’s.
- Read Also: Cheapest Tissot Watches
This is to be expected when you consider that Tissot is a Swiss watchmaker and therefore its watches come with the associated cost premium. Nevertheless, both brands offer excellent value for money and produce timepieces that are sure to stand the test of time.
- Read Also: Cheapest Seiko Watches
When it comes to the lower-end collections, Tissot watches start at around $200, while the Japanese brand’s timepieces start at around $100.
While both brands offer a wide range of watches at different price points to suit all budgets, the vast majority of timepieces from both watchmakers oscillate in the $300-$500 brackets – as you’d expect from mid-range brands.
|SEIKO: Seiko watches start at lower price points. Taking into consideration the average watch price, Seiko is also a bit more affordable.|
Seiko vs Tissot: Warranty
Tissot and Seiko offer similar levels of customer service and warranty coverage.
Each brand offers a two-year warranty on its watches, which covers any manufacturing defects. In addition, both brands have an extensive network of authorized retailers and service centers that are able to assist with any issues that may arise.
What’s worth noting, since November 2021, Seiko has been offering a 5-year warranty on its luxury Grand Seiko line.
|DRAW: Both brands offer a standard 24-month warranty on all watches.|
Which Is Better: Tissot or Seiko? Conclusion
So, there you have it – a comparison of two of the most reliable watch brands in the business. Both Tissot and Seiko offer outstanding value for money, producing timepieces that are built to last.
Summing up today’s Tissot vs Seiko comparison, it’s really hard to pick a clear winner as both brands are excellent in their own sense. Each watchmaker has its own style that targets a different audience.
The Swiss brand is perhaps best known for its classic and understated designs, while the Japanese company is renowned for its eye-catching and individualistic styles, perhaps leaning towards more sporty and modern designs.
When it comes to choosing between Tissot and Seiko, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Both on the movement and durability fronts, there’s really not much to pick between the pair.
If you’re looking for a more classical timepiece, then Tissot is probably the brand for you. However, if you’re after something with a more modern look and feel, then Seiko is definitely worth considering.
Taking into consideration the budget aspect, Seiko is probably the more budget-friendly option as its Entry-Level models start at around the $100 mark while you should expect to pay around double that for a lower-end Tissot model.