Tissot Heritage 1936 (T1042281601200) Watch Review

The Heritage 1936 is a cool vintage-inspired watch from Tissot. While I immediately fell in love with the design, the 45mm width of the men’s model – the reference T1044051601200 – would have been simply enormous on my 6.5-inch (16.5 cm) wrist. So I decided to pick up the smaller version of the watch. At 36mm, it both fit my wrist better and was more true-to-size to watches of that era. Although it was marketed as a lady’s piece, the styling was identical to that of its larger sibling, so I didn’t feel like I was making any compromises.

Having been interested in military history for many years (I also study and collect military rations), the military-inspired theme of this watch was what immediately piqued my interest. I love the old-school look of the vintage Tissot logo and Breguet hands and numerals. The numerals are engraved to show both 12-hour and, on the chapter ring, 24-hour time, another nod to its military inspired design. And of course, true to the trench watches first used in World War I, it features both wire lugs and an officer’s case back.

If you’re not already familiar with trench watches, here’s a brief history lesson. Named after the battlefield trenches where they were commonly used, trench watches were the first mainstream adoption of wrist watches (then known as wristlets) for a generation of men that previously preferred pocket watches. However, as pocket watches were impractical in the heat of battle, they were converted into trench watches by soldering lugs onto the pocket watch and attaching a one-piece strap. These lugs were known as wire lugs due to their thin nature. The officer’s case back was another common feature to improve water resistance and provide a space for engraving. Some trench watches featured a hinged front cover as well.

Of course, for this vintage-inspired piece, both of these features have become aesthetic decisions rather than functional design elements. No thanks to the officer’s case back, the watch is water resistant to 5 bar with a hidden sapphire-crystal exhibition back that is most useful as a neat party trick. Inside the case back is an ETA 2895-2 movement, the small-seconds version of the ETA 2892-A2. Although Tissot does not state the grade of the movement, the 2892 is generally an upgrade from the ETA 2824 – and this is noticeable in how smoothly the watch winds manually. The ring around the exhibition back is engraved with Special Edition 1280, which seems to indicate that this is a numbered limited edition. However, I have been unable to find any additional public information, including the number of examples produced.

The exterior of the case is all in high polish, which is very nicely done but results in the watch being a bit of a fingerprint magnet. Dimensions are 36mm wide excluding the crown, 11mm thick, 41mm lug-to-lug with a lug-width of 18mm. Overall, it is a conservatively sized watch for the modern era, but definitely wearable and, as I said before, more true to the size of watches of previous generations. The watch comes on a one-piece white leather strap that is rather thick, so I swapped it for a green Crown & Buckle perlon instead (pictured in the photos).

This watch retails for $995 and is still available for purchase on Tissot’s website as of the time of this post. Check the grey or secondary markets too though, as it can definitely be had for less there. It’s a solid watch, especially if you’re looking for something that’s vintage or military inspired from a brand that was actually around during that time. My only complaint is that the wire lugs limit strap options to only one-piece straps, which increases the thickness on the wrist. I also prefer to have the metal of the watch directly on my wrist, so it also reduces the comfort for me a bit. However, it’s definitely a fun piece that adds a bit of flavor to my collection.