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In the watch world, the 1970s were a goldmine of inspiration, birthing legendary models like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Vacheron Constantin 222, and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. But for newbie collectors with less zeroes in their bank account, the buzziest watch from the decade is the Tissot PRX, a $700 ticker first released in ‘78 and revived last year. In the time since, the sleek disco-era model has become a massive hit, garnering praise on blogs and subreddits before blowing up on another platform entirely: TikTok. Less than a year after Tissot brought the PRX back, it’s vying for an honor the Swiss matchmaker likely never expected to receive—the most frequently recommended “value watch” on an app with a direct line to Gen Z. 

The kids got it right, says Derek Mon, the owner of Carat & Co., an authorized Tissot dealer based in Flushing, New York. The PRX is one of the first watches he names when people ask for recommendations; Mon considers it the “the best automatic watch under $1,000…easily.” For budding watch buffs intrigued by nifty movements and complications but put off by the price tags typically attached to them, the PRX is an affordable alternative that checks all the right boxes—and plenty that probably weren’t on the list, too. 

Tissot PRX 40mm automatic watch

There’s the era-defining integrated bracelet and pared-back dial, of course, but its biggest selling point might be the long-lasting power reserve, a term that refers to how long a watch will keep time after its internal spring mechanism is fully wound. The automatic version of the PRX is good for up to 80 hours, nearly double what the Nautilus and Royal Oak offer. (For folks who vibe with the PRX’s looks but aren’t as fussy about movement purity, Tissot also sells a battery-powered version for just $375.) 

But the PRX is more than a luxury dupe; it debuted around the same time as its big-ticket counterparts—the Royal Oak hit the market in ‘72, the Nautilus four years later—lending it a hard-won pedigree in the crowded watch arena. “Tissot has authority to use this design,” says Mon. “They didn’t just make it to rip off another brand.” 

Tissot PRX 35mm quartz watch

Tissot PRX 35mm quartz watch

For TikTok-savvy enthusiasts like Ben Cook, a watch that delivers on quality, style, and price also presents an opportunity to tap into an endless well of views, likes, and followers. “Every time I post about the PRX, the video does well. I’m actually kind of sick of making videos about it,” he says half-jokingly. (By his own estimation, he’s made over 30 videos on the topic.) Guaranteed hits are hard for anyone in the attention-based economy to resist, though, which helps explain why the watch is currently responsible for 135 million TikTok views and counting. 

The PRX’s only shortcoming might be its size. Smaller dials are particularly hot right now, a throwback to a time when the 39mm Royal Oak could affectionately be considered “jumbo”. The PRX automatic is only available in 40mm and, Cook points out, wears even bigger because of its squared-off case. But if the forum chatter is to be believed, Tissot is well aware of the demand: a 35mm PRX automatic, a size its quartz-powered counterpart is already available in, is rumored to be on the way. 

“People have been asking me a ton about [the possibility of] a 35mm automatic,” Cook says. “I think that size would open up the watch to even more people and it would become even more popular than it already is.”