Accuracy. Quality. Refinement. Tenacity. Any watch connoisseur would look for all of these traits in a timepiece. Is that too much to ask?
While some stunning watches come with accuracy and quality, you don’t always expect them to be sturdy. On the other hand, you might get a high-quality and durable watch that stands the test of time, but you have to give up either its precision or aesthetic or, sometimes, even both.
The good news is some brands actually deliver all these and more. Yes, we are talking about Alpina and Tissot!
If both of them are so superior in their price range, which one should you choose? Let’s find the clear winner in this Alpina vs Tissot comparison!
- Both Alpina and Tissot are Swiss-based watchmakers of entry-level luxury.
- While Alpina excels in sports watches, Tissot offers a wide range of choices, from durable dive watches to stylish models for ladies.
- Alpina’s design tends to be impressive and sturdy, while Tissot’s style leans more toward the elegant side.
A Brief Introduction To Both Brands
You might not find Alpina familiar unless you are a die-hard watch enthusiast. Meanwhile, Tissot is one of the most well-known watchmakers on the market. But these two brands have one thing in common: They both have a long history dating back decades ago.
A Look At Alpina’s History
For a company that stays lowkey on the watchmaker map, the success story of Alpina is intriguing. Established in 1883 by Gottlieb Hauser, the Swiss-based company has left some significant marks on the world of horology.
The founder, Hauser, was a Swiss watchmaker struggling with sourcing parts for his movements. To find a solution, he formed a community for seasoned watchmakers, namely the Corporation of Swiss Watchmakers. The initial goal was to exchange ideas, resources, and supplies.
Soon after, watchmakers in the community joined hands to form Alpina. The company began to produce its own parts, such as chronometers and calibers.
During the 1900s, Alpina provided movements for numerous luxury brands, including Rolex. Instead of being a movement supplier, however, the company realized the importance of reserving its hard work and property. Thus, Alpina submitted patents for two of its most successful mechanical movements.
In 1933, Alpina introduced Block Uhr. Following was the Alpina 4 – a timeless piece of art considered the first watch for athletes. At the time, this model was already being sold in over 2,000 outlets worldwide. Until now, the company’s name is still associated with its elegant yet durable sports timepieces.
After going through ups and downs, in 2016, Citizen purchased Alpina. That granted the Japanese watchmaking giant control over the brand. Regardless, it is still a Swiss watchmaker, and the quality that makes Alpina’s name remains today.
The Story Of Tissot
Just like Alpina, Tissot started as a Swiss company. It began the journey sooner than its rival, though: The watchmaker was founded in 1853 by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Émile Tissot.
While it took Alpina a couple of decades to create an impact, success came to Tissot early: The company’s first pocket watch, which featured two time zones, was an instant hit. As such, Tissot got off to an excellent start and has never stopped being innovative since then.
The 1980s saw Tissot become an official member of the Swatch Group Ltd, but it was also meaningful for other reasons. The creative minds at Tissot were never satisfied with the conventional path. In 1985, they introduced the first watch made entirely out of stone. This vision saved Tissot from the quartz crisis, in which other watchmakers (including Alpina and Longines) suffered severely.
Nowadays, it is common to see the mother of pearl being used for wristwatches, especially high-end ones. And guess what, Tissot started this trend! After the company pioneered this product design in 1987, several companies attempted to improve upon it.
This spirit of exploration went on in the 90s: In 1999, Tissot released the “T-Touch” technology, featuring a touch screen crystal. Since then, this technology has continuously been refined and synonymous with Tissot’s name.
As you can see from the company’s background, the willingness to experiment is Tissot’s most notable aspect. Thanks to this, Tissot is still growing steadily as a Swiss watchmaker nowadays.
Alpina Tissot Discussion: Retail Value & Popularity
One thing we know for sure: Both Alpina and Tissot belong to the affordable luxury market. Here is a quick Alpina vs Tissot price discussion:
Looking at Alpina’s website, you can realize its products are insanely diverse in terms of prices. The company is now offering four lines, with price tags ranging from $600 to $4,000:
- Alpina Alpiner Line: The Alpiner collection targets adventurers. The costs for these timepieces are between $700 to $2,100.
- Alpina Startimer Line: The Startimer collection features high-quality aviation timepieces. Their prices span from $600 to $1,500.
- Alpina Seastrong Diver Line: As its name states, the Seastrong collection is explicitly designed for dive watch enthusiasts. Their prices fluctuate between $600 – $1,800.
- Alpina Comtesse Line: Lastly, we have the Alpina Comtesse Line – a delicate watch collection for women. The prices of this line fall between $800 – $1,100.
The Alpiner Line is currently the most pricey. Intended for those frequently on the go, all the products in this collection boast sturdy stainless steel Swiss cases, water resistance, anti-magnetic technology, and anti-shock technology. All of these contribute to the price tag.
But here is one caveat before you purchase a more expensive Alpina timepiece: Alpina lacks brand recognition compared to competitors like Tissot or Bulova. This is not a big deal if you are simply into watch collecting. However, when you spend up to $2,000 on a wristwatch, you might want to get one that will turn more heads than an Alpina does.
Like Alpina, Tissot also has hundreds of products in its diverse portfolio. Generally speaking, both men’s and women’s Tissot timepieces begin at less than a thousand dollars for the quart-powered models.
Of course, leaning more on the intermediate luxury side, Tissot also has a premium section in their catalog. The prices may go up to $8,000 for luxurious pieces crafted from solid 24K gold and featuring Swiss automatic movements. However, if you are only interested in a durable and accurate quartz model (such as the T-Touch or T-Race), you can purchase it for less than $1,000.
Price is a huge point in Tissot’s favor because it has even more affordable options than Alpina. As Tissot is one of the world’s most famous Swiss watchmakers, this is a pleasant surprise.
So, despite being intermediate-luxury brands, both Alpina and Tissot offer budget-friendly timepieces. Does that mean they will sacrifice the quality of their products? Not at all!
The two respected watchmakers have gone through hundreds of years of innovation and refinement. Thus, each possesses unique technologies and characteristics that help them stand out from the crowd. In this Alpina vs Tissot battle, we will dig deeper into them right away.
Are Alpina Watches Good?
Regarding accuracy, watch connoisseurs on the WatchUSeek forum would say that Alpina is decent. Most mid-range wristwatches from this watchmaker use ETA/Valjoux movements – manufactured by Swatch Group, and Sellita movements – manufactured by Sellita. Both have a standard accuracy rate of +/- 12 seconds to +/- 30 seconds per day, which is acceptable for those who need to track time with precision. Although Alpina is still making its own movements, you will only find them in more expensive timepieces.
Since most Alpina watches are meant for physically active people, their timepieces are solid, robust, and reliable. All their products are assembled manually by white-coated lab technicians in a dust-free, climate-controlled area.
Before going to the market, each Alpina watch will go through a series of tests that simulate real-life situations and extreme weather conditions. As such, you can rest assured that your timepiece can stand the test of time.
Are Tissot Watches Good?
Aside from ETA movements, Tissot also uses Swissmatic movements, famous for a power reserve of up to 70 hours and precision of +/- 10 seconds a day. When it comes to accuracy, it seems like Tissot is the winner.
As a part of The Swatch Group, throughout its 170 years of operation, Tissot always stays close to its motto “gold value at silver prices.” From the robust diver watches to the elegant models designed specifically for ladies, the company’s timepieces use materials of the highest quality. Moreover, Tissot watches are manufactured under strict conditions, ensuring their refinement and toughness.
Style & Design
In the last section of this comparison, we take a look at the style and design of each brand:
Alpina’s excellent sports and dive watches have established it as a brand for outdoor enthusiasts. Most of its timepieces still embody the signature robust and sturdy design that carried the company through its heyday. This design offers plenty of room for diving and mountaineering smart features – something Alpina is really proud of.
For this reason, Alpina’s timepieces can look very impressive. At the same time, though, it’s a double-edged sword: Many of their products are very large. Most are between 41 and 44 millimeters, and the ones without external bezels look every bit of their size. That can be off-putting for someone with a smaller wrist, so you should consider this factor.
Although Tissot is also famous for its iconically-designed sports and gear watches (think of the Tissot PRC 200 or Tissot Seastar, for example), they also offer plenty of dress watches. Thousands of wristwatch enthusiasts adore these timepieces for combining durability, accuracy, and elegance. So you can say Tissot boasts a stylistic versatility that Alpina doesn’t have.
But in the end, it all depends on your preference. While Tissot offers a wide range of exquisite dress watches for men and women, Alpina has a slightly sharper eye for high-end sports timepieces. It is challenging to determine which one is better than the other in terms of design.
And with that, our comparison has come to an end! Overall, it isn’t easy to declare a winner. Both brands come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses.
However, we’d recommend Tissot if you are looking for an entry-level luxury watch with wonderful accuracy and elegant design. Although the gap is narrow, the brand has an edge in precision and stylistic versatility. Alpina also offers excellent timepieces, but since it is specialized in large-sized sports watches, the brand is not for everyone.
Which would you choose to be your companion, then? Let us know in the comment section!
- “History Of Alpina Watches.” Jura Watches
- “Tissot World History.” Tissot Watches
- Anne Bensons. “Seiko Vs. Tissot Watches – 2023 (Everything You Should Know)” Exquisite Timepieces. 30 October 2022
- Meamh McMillan. “5 Reasons to Buy a Tissot Watch.” First Class Watches. 17 July 2021.
John is a passionate enthusiast of watches, smartwatches, and wearables who has been exploring the world of horology since childhood. He contributes articles to magazines and websites dedicated to horology and teaches classes on watchmaking at local community centers.