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Tissot Launch the Archival Heritage 1938 and Heritage Small Second 1938

Tissot Heritage 1938

Longines isn’t the only Swatch Group brand to delve into their heritage – or to do it quite so handsomely. Now it’s Tissot’s turn to get in on the archival action, following up their downsized PRX 35mm and ultra-cool, 70s-flavoured Sideral (read our review here) with a slightly more classical affair in the Heritage 1938 and Heritage Small Second 1938.

1938 must have been a really good year for Tissot. Not only is it where they found inspiration for their downright lovely Telemeter 1938, but they’re plumbing their vintage catalogues from the year once again for a trio of pieces that are archetypally 30s in the best possible way. What I mean by that is a classical silhouette and pared-back dials with plenty of room to breathe. It’s a safe style that’s always good to see, especially from the more accessible end of the scale. So, let’s get into them.

Tissot Heritage 1938

Of the three models here, two are central seconds and the only real difference between them is colour, one offering a salmon dial with black numerals, the other an anthracite number with gold numerals. I’m kind of done with salmon these days, so I’d opt for the anthracite. Otherwise, they have the same vintage numerals and minute track and the same serif chronometer lettering at 6 o’clock.

The cases measure in at 39mm, which is definitely the top end for anything nodding towards vintage. Honestly, I’d love to try one of these on at 35mm or 36mm as an accessible, more casual dress watch.

Tissot Heritage 1938 T142.464.16.332.00
Tissot Heritage 1938 T142.464.16.062.00

Inside is the ETA 2824-2 calibre automatic movement. It’s not at the top end of the specs scale, with a 38-hour power reserve but it is COSC-certified, beating at 4hz, so the mechanical accuracy is definitely there. It’s a serious workhorse, even if it’s not the fantastic Powermatic 80. No matter how you cut it though, it’s a lovely, vintage-styled watch for £745.

Price & Specs

  • Ref: T142.464.16.062.00 (anthracite), T142.464.16.332.00 (salmon)|
  • Case/dial: 39mm diameter x 11.1mm thickness, stainless steel case, anthracite or salmon dial with Arabic numerals|
  • Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)|
  • Movement: ETA calibre 2824-2, automatic, COSC-certified, 25 jewels|
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)|
  • Power reserve: 38h|
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds|
  • Strap: Dark grey or brown leather|
  • Price/availability: £745

Tissot Heritage Small Second 1938

Tissot Heritage Small Second 1938 T142.428.11.082.00

While it has the same dark grey and gold colourway as the Heritage 1938, the small seconds version has a lot more going on. It not only offers a silver small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, an elegant contrast with the black backdrop, but it also has a white date window at 9 o’clock and a matching white minute track. I get why some collectors might prefer the more streamlined look of the Heritage 1938, but for me it’s all about the Small Second.

Size-wise it’s the same at 39mm across, with the same gorgeous onion crowns as the time-only version. Here though the size makes more sense so that the contrasting elements don’t feel crowded in. If anything, it feels perfectly balanced. It also helps that I much prefer the mesh bracelet rather than the standard straps on the time-only versions.

Tissot Heritage Small Second 1938 T142.428.11.082.00

Inside the Heritage Small Second 1938 is the ETA 2895-2, which has a higher power reserve of 42-hours. It’s also a touch thinner thanks to the different movement architecture, but is still COSC-certified, which is always good. It also doesn’t add too much to the price tag as the Heritage Small Second 1938 will set you back £885.

There are a few brands these days working in this kind of overtly vintage arena (Baltic jumps to mind), but between Tissot’s innate reliability, accessibility and the flawless 1930s looks, there’s a lot to love here with the Heritage 1938 and Heritage Small Second 1938. And honestly, £885 for an incredibly handsome small seconds watch is a seriously tempting proposition.

Price & Specs

  • Ref: T142.428.11.082.00|
  • Case/dial: 39mm x 9.8mm, stainless steel case, grey dial with Arabic numerals|
  • Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)|
  • Movement: ETA calibre 2895-2, automatic, 27 jewels|
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)|
  • Power reserve: 42h|
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date|
  • Strap: Stainless steel mesh bracelet with additional grey leather strap|
  • Price/availability: £885

More details at Tissot.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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