Tissot has a long rich history in the world of horology. Throughout the years, Tissot has always made sure to get with the times and adjust whenever possible. One of the many achievements the brand has accomplished is the introduction of the T-Touch to the world. This was the world’s first tactile watch to come into existence. It is a high-utility watch that establishes a connection between usefulness and style. The T-Touch has since evolved over the years with newer, more up-to-date functions and designs. One particular standout model is the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar.
The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is a solar-powered tactile watch that was the product of Tissot’s watchmaking expertise over the years. Not only were they the first brand to successfully create a tactile watch, but they were also one of the main proponents who jumpstarted the successful shift from traditional watchmaking to the modern era. That being said, what makes the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar such a prime choice for the average tech-savvy watch wearer? Is it a good choice for going on adventures? Or are its advanced features purely for cosmetics? Let us find out through a detailed walkthrough of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar below.
At first glance, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.46.051.01 might seem like a regular wristwatch that provides the most basic timekeeping features. Indeed, as mentioned before, it does share quite a few similarities with the Casio Pro-Trek, including having a digital-analog dial, and the fact that both watches are solar-powered and are intended for outdoor activities. In that respect, you might be put off by this design, since it might initially strike you as being a bit of a copy. A closer look, however, reveals some major differences between these two watches. One significant difference is that the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar comes with tactile functionality. Touchscreens are all the rage nowadays and are unlikely to go away anytime soon. That is why Tissot’s move of including tactile functionality in the T-Touch Expert Solar to get with the times was a very smart one. Having a head start in applying touchscreen technology to watchmaking was a massive advantage for Tissot. This caused an instant surge of popularity which led to this watch practically flying off the shelves.
Indeed, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar has proved to be extremely helpful and convenient in everyday life. With just a simple touch, you can do whatever you please with the T-Touch Expert Solar. The non-complicated mechanics made this watch very accessible. You will not have any problem recharging it or scrounging for batteries every once in a while. The major downside of this watch is its screen’s durability. Manufacturers have to make sure that the screen registers each touch successfully and accurately, or else the touchscreen will not function properly. As such, tactile glass screens are known to be quite fragile, and you have to be careful not to bang this watch around willy-nilly.
The inner workings of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar are not that difficult to understand. The smartwatch mechanisms and complications are easy to navigate due to their straightforward nature. Furthermore, the design of this watch has a distinct style that strengthens its purpose as an adventurer’s watch. Much like Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar boasts a minimalistic and uncluttered dial that shows only what is necessary to the wearer. The buttons on the left side of the watch help keep the touchscreen secure, to avoid accidental touches activating certain functions. Without further ado, let us get down to the specifics of this timepiece.
The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 has a 45mm titanium case with a black PVD coating. This case might be too big for some people, especially those with more petite wrists, but the size was strategically built to accommodate the tactile glass screen. A smaller case would mean a smaller screen. And if the screen is smaller, the tactile functions of the T-Touch Expert Solar would become limited. Despite being a smartwatch, the durability of the case is impressive. It has a scratch-proof crystal, a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, and has antimagnetic properties. The 13mm thickness of this watch adds more to its weight and structure. Despite that, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is still a fairly comfortable watch to wear, especially with its 22mm lugs curved at an angle to fit around the wrist smoothly.
The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does not have any existing crowns. The same can be said for all the other T-Touch watches, both the older and newer versions. Instead, it has three distinct buttons that are used to adjust the time or to activate the tactile function. These three buttons can be easily distinguished with their corresponding logos. From top to bottom, the first button has a plus sign, the middle one has a letter T, for Tissot, and the third button showcases a minus sign. Both the first and third buttons are used to adjust the time on the digital dial, while the middle button is used to activate the tactile function. These buttons are extremely easy to understand and use, and their functions are very straightforward—making the watch easy to get used to, even for first-timers.
The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses a black checkered dial. The digital dial can be found at the bottom half of the main dial and works hand-in-hand with the analog dial on the upper half. The hours and minutes hands are quite short and tipped with white. That said, though the stocky hands of this watch are charmingly designed, their shorter-than-average lengths may not be to everyone’s taste. The hour and minute markers are presented in a straightforward manner, with numerals 3, 6, 9, and 12 placed on the bezel. There are also specific functions that can be found across the dial. These functions, which can be activated by tapping on their corresponding markers, include the Meteo mode, altimeter, chronograph, compass, timer, and alarm. The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 may be jam-packed with a lot of features, but the minimalistic design of the dial design ensures that it is still clean, uncluttered, and easy to read without getting confused.
Since the launch of the T-Touch collection, all the models in this range have used quartz movements. However, since the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses solar energy as its main source of power, some changes had to be made to its movement. The ETA E84.301 Swiss solar tactile quartz movement was used to accommodate its solar capabilities along with the other amazing features this watch has. One handy feature this watch has is that, if you are unsure whether the battery has any power left, you can easily check the power indicator with just a single touch. The same can be said of the watch’s other functions. The ETA E84.301 caliber is an innovative, state-of-the-art solar quartz movement that puts Tissot one step ahead of its competition.
The straps and bracelets for the T-Touch Expert Solar come in a variety of choices. Depending on the specific model, you can have either a synthetic rubber strap, an embossed cow leather band, or a titanium bracelet. In this case, the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is equipped with a titanium bracelet that has a folding clasp with a secure push-button lock. It also goes without saying that the titanium bracelet adds to the heft of the watch—giving it an overall weight of 123 grams. This is still quite manageable and comfortable on the wrist, due to the lightweight nature of titanium.
The professional titanium strap effectively adds to the classy design of the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00. Some might not be fans of a metallic bracelet paired with a tactile watch, but this sleek and elegant exterior creates a unique identity that sets this timepiece apart from the other versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. It is a solid timepiece that is perfect for those who prefer a sturdy all-in-one watch fit for both everyday wear and dressy occasions.
Now that we know all the features and functions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00, as you might expect, the price for this watch is quite expensive. Compared to Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes at a higher price that is quite reasonable for such a high-utility wristwatch. Indeed, it is also safe to say that in terms of utility, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes first when pitted against the Casio Pro-Trek. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 comes at a price of $1,150 USD. It may not be the best price for beginners, or for those working with a budget, but it certainly befits a watch of this caliber. Alternatively, you could always opt for trusted and respected second-hand markets for more affordable pieces of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. Just be sure to check the legitimacy of your chosen seller.
Newer Versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar
At Baselworld 2017, an updated version of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar was introduced, the T-Touch Expert Solar II. It is a new and improved variant of the T-Touch Expert Solar, with a much more defined and detailed dial compared to the first version. Instead of going for the minimalistic route again, Tissot decided to fill in the empty spaces to create a busier dial with additional features and functions. The hours and minutes hands of this timepiece are shaped like compass arrows, and the dial pattern is changed from checkered to a more sophisticated pattern. The size and dimensions remain the same and lightweight titanium is still used to make the case of the T-Touch Expert Solar II. The only difference is the bezel is now made from scratch-proof ceramic instead. The retail price for this watch starts at $1,150 USD. It has the same price as its predecessor, and it is commendable of Tissot to not have given this watch a higher price tag despite its improved functionalities.
History of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar
Once upon a time, Tissot was a brand known for exporting watches to the USA and the Russian Empire in the 19th century. As a result, when the Russian revolution occurred, it was a huge challenge for Tissot and its fellow watchmakers. While many other watchmaking brands were forced to close their workshops due to the revolution, Tissot, however, stood strong and used its expertise and resources to keep going, eventually creating a powerful factory. In 1999, Tissot released the first-ever tactile watch which they dubbed the T-Touch. This watch allowed the wearer to perform certain actions with just a single tap on the screen. It was such a groundbreaking invention that it placed Tissot at the top of the market during that time. Compared to other traditional watches, the T-Touch was an unconventional timepiece that took the world by storm. It was equipped with a quartz movement that ran on batteries since an automatic movement would not be sufficient for this energy-consuming watch. Touchscreen technology was not as prominent back then as it is today. The first touchscreen phone was invented in 1992, seven years before the T-Touch. It is unknown if Tissot drew inspiration from that feat, but it cannot be denied that the invention of the touchscreen phone opened a few doors regarding this technology, allowing it to be applied to the art of horology.
As technology develops, the use of solar power as an alternative source of energy has become increasingly prevalent in the modern age. It is accessible, cost-effective, and gives wearers much less hassle. That is why Tissot chose to incorporate this solar technology into the T-Touch series, which eventually resulted in the creation of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which was released in 2014. This timepiece became a massive success, particularly because of its solar capability. Outdoor enthusiasts found this watch to be useful due to its utility and accessibility. It does not have any overly complex features and there are no worries of accidentally tapping the screen and unintentionally activating some function. You need to push a certain button before being able to use its touchscreen features—making the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar a very secure timepiece in terms of accidental watch adjustments and the like.
Going on an adventure surely takes a toll on every adventurer. Having the need to constantly prepare, be aware of both nightfall and dawn, and the worry of getting lost makes it a complex and arduous activity that not everyone can partake in. But with the emergence and assistance of adventurer utility watches like the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, the Rolex Explorer II, and of course, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, it has become possible for even beginners to enjoy nature and its beauty. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does exactly what Tissot intended it to do. Its tactile functionality provides more insight into the technological advancements Tissot has engaged in order to dominate the watch market once more. Of course, today, there have been other touchscreen timepieces by different brands, but one can never truly forget the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which stands out as the pioneer of multi-functional tactile watches in the history of horology.
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All images courtesy of Tissot, unless stated otherwise.Featured image courtesy of Tissot.