Tissot T-Complication Squelette Review
The T-Complication Squelette is a Striking Timepiece
I’ve reviewed a few Tissot’s over the last several years, and none of them have had the same visual impact as the T-Complication Squelette. This mechanical watch is immediately seen by anyone; it’s presence is dramatic and the attention well-deserved.
The turbine-dial, showcasing the customized ETA 6497-1 mechanical hand-wound movement, is striking. As is the combination of blue, purple, and yellow tones against the steel mechanical background.
A lot of watches have come across my desk since starting WYCA three years ago, and of them all, the Squelette is the one that captures the attention – and interest – of everyone. With the Squelette, Tissot has succeeded in elevating its brand to both watch people and non watch people alike.
Tissot T-Complication Squelette Technical Specifications
ETA 6497-1 mechanical
Approximately 46 hours
Tissot T-Complication Squelette Aesthetics & Design
From every angle, you can see the attention to detail that was poured into the design of the T-Complication Squelette. Front and back, it exudes personality. As the movement beats you can see every piece of it moving, turning, engaging. It’s mesmerizing.
The steel grey case and movement provides a beautiful canvass for the blue, purple and yellow components to contrast off of. It’s almost impossible for me to decide what I enjoy more: the turbine-esque front, or the beautifully-industrial back. I suppose I love both equally.
This is the most beautiful watch I have yet to encounter first-hand, and I’m clearly loving it.
The hands and hour markers change color based on the angle of the light that hits it. Straight-on they appear a dark navy, almost black; at angle, and with the right light, a vibrant blue is revealed. You can see the light shimmer across the face, and in the hands in particular.
The finely-grooved turbine spokes perfectly match the mechanical presence: you can see the clutch disengage when you pull the crown; the gears turn slowly at first, and then with more enthusiasm as the mainspring releases its contained energy. The mechanism powering the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock turns faster compared to the mechanics of the hour and minute hands.
The detail doesn’t end with the front and rear exhibition. It continues throughout the case and crown, which itself has been engraved as if cut from a single piece of steel. The brushed finish of the case and crown compliment the dial, and further cements the industrial and mechanical motif.
The Squelette is, without a doubt, simply gorgeous. Tissot nailed this one.
Tissot T-Complication Squelette Build Quality
True to form for Tissot, the Squelette shows the diligence that went into its manufacture. Every surface your eye sees has been touched and finished; fine grooves adorn all flat surfaces, and under macro zoom, it is difficult to find imperfections. Even tool marks cannot be seen unless under significant magnification.
The build is exactly what you would expect of a Swiss watch with a $2,000 MSRP.
Crystal, Case, & Dial
Tissot has fitted the T-Complication Squelette with sapphire front and back, and the anti-reflective treatment is obvious on both. Taking photos of this watch proved to be extremely rewarding, as the crystals were both exceedingly accommodating.
The brushed steel case looks great, with hard-edged lugs contrasting against the rounded bezel. As mentioned prior, the crown has received similar attention to detail and it’s build is equally as good as the rest.
The dial – where your eye will spend most of its time – is moving art. Each beat of the movement changes the dial, as gears and pulleys twist and turn throughout its operation. There are no errors, no imperfections, and nothing otherwise to take away from its beauty. If there is a flaw here, I cannot find it.
Strap & Clasp
The Squelette is fitted with a black crocodile-grain leather strap as well as Tissot’s usual deployment clasp. Neither are exceptional, but both are good; next to a case and dial like this, putting more into these would simply distract from where your attention should be.
The leather is soft and comfortable, and the deployment clasp ensures its integrity is maintained throughout its life. I am a big fan of deployment clasps on watches like this, and I am glad Tissot chose to include one here.
The clasp is solid, too; it easily withstands tugs, refusing to break open. It may not be the standout part of the watch, but it does its job well. I have no complaints here.
The ETA 6497-1 Mechanical Movement
This movement has been in production in one form or another since 1950, and in many ways it demonstrates its classical nature. It has 17 jewels and beats at 18,000 a/h. If you’re used to newer mechanical or automatic movements, the lower beat rate may be a surprise (as would the fact that the ETA 6497-1 is a non-hacking movement in this application). The small seconds hand ticks across the dial, but its diminutive size make it appear smoother than it is.
Turn the crown 3-5 times and the movement comes to life. Give it another 15-20 for a few hours of uninterrupted timekeeping.
According to Toolwatch.io, this fully wound Squelette was accurate to +11 seconds per day. This is better than many I have tested, and I’m sure could be further improved through regulation if desired.
My Overall Opinion of the Tissot T-Complication Squelette
I’m in love with this watch, yet I’ll never own one simply because the 43mm case is a bit large for my rather small wrists. My wrists – notably smaller than most men at a hair under 7″ – simply don’t provide enough real estate for the Squelette to appear anything other than large.
But large it isn’t. I circulated this to a few of my friends, all of whom enjoy larger wrists than I, and the Squelette was right at home. It isn’t overbearing, either- it grabs attention, demands it even, but it does so without being obnoxious.
It’s no surprise that Tissot has taken home more than one award with the Squelette. In the Squelette, Tissot has definitively demonstrated how to do a skeleton watch right.
If you’re considering purchasing a Tissot T-Complication Squelette, and you don’t have small wrists as I do, I assure you that you will be quite satisfied with it.
Where to Buy
Tissot T-Complication Squelette Review Summary
Model: T070.405.16.411.00 In my mind, the Tissot T-Complication Squelette sets the standard for how affordable skeleton watches should be done. Its dramatic design and consistent attention to detail create something that captures the interest of anyone - be they a "watch person" or not. More than good looks, it is an example of Swiss watch making at its best. Of all the watches I've reviewed to date, this one is my favorite.