A direct descendant of the first multifunction tactile watch in history, the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is charting a new course. The latest generation T-Touch is packed with Tissot’s characteristic watchmaking expertise in all its forms: this Swiss-made timepiece is connected, securely private, interactive, autonomous, contemporary and long-lasting.
Innovators by tradition, Tissot is putting its experience to good use. The long-awaited T-Touch Connect Solar comes from a long line of tactile watches, namely the successive generations of T-Touch since 1999, and as a connected watch it is ahead of its time, just like 2004’s High-T, created in association with Microsoft. By injecting its know-how into the interface between wristwatch and mobile app environment, Tissot has created a connected watch that has a multitude of functions, can be recharged by solar power, and is durable. But it is first and foremost a watch for experiencing and wearing, and with a sophisticated design.
The T-Touch Connect Solar is first and foremost a watch. Not a gadget, not a device, and not a wrist-worn mini-tablet. Its 47-mm titanium case with an extremely scratch-resistant ceramic bezel is ergonomic and displays Tissot’s characteristic attention to detail. Those details include satin-finished surfaces, softened corners, an engraved ceramic bezel, and even a brand-new titanium bracelet with links that bear the stamp of a sharp, modern design. In addition, it is water-resistant to 100 metres.
It is being launched in several versions with rubber straps or titanium bracelets, and a case in satin-finished titanium, black PVD or rose gold PVD. And these hardwearing materials mean that this watch, unlike the more disposable smartwatches, is naturally protected from obsolescence, especially the built-in obsolescence of electronic products.
The T-Touch Connect Solar has the basic functions of a T-Touch Solar Expert, such as a perpetual calendar, countdown, various timekeeping functions and alarms, and meteo and altimeter functions. Added to these are an activity tracker and the opportunities afforded by interaction between the Sw-ALPS operating system, developed specifically for this project, and a smartphone, namely app notifications and updates. And like every T-Touch, it is controlled via its original defining feature, the tactile sapphire crystal.
The T-Touch Connect Solar is a Swiss-Made connected watch. This certification of component origin and workmanshipis a guarantee of manufacturing quality and of security. No provider can access data via either a component or the operating system. And neither the watch nor its app send data to a third party.
The T-Touch Connect Solar is also autonomous. This is firstly because it is energy-efficient, all its components being low-consumption. Secondly, it is recharged by solar power, by means of photovoltaic cells developed in Neuchâtel by the CSEM and embedded under the dial. The T-Touch Connect Solar is therefore able to keep running almost indefinitely in connected mode, and for several months depending on its usage and exposure to the sun.
Lastly, the T-Touch Connect Solar is universal. It is compatible with the iOS, Android and Harmony mobile operating systems. The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is the first smartwatch to be compatible with the Huawei system. Subsequent upgrades extend the range of its capabilities. And in the event the user opts not to connect their watch to the app, the T-Touch Connect Solar is still the equivalent of a T-Touch Solar Expert, but updated.
Tissot has created an operating system especially for the T-Touch Connect Solar. Sw-ALPS was developed by the Swatch Group in partnership with a research and development centre, the CSEM. Several manufacturers in the Swatch Group, to which Tissot belongs, were involved in creating the T-Touch Connect Solar, as with all T-Touch watches since the first one in 1999.
The T-Touch Connect Solar’s user interface consists of two push-buttons, an electronic crown and a tactile interface in scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. A confirmatory vibrate mode can be activated to ensure secure use, especially when wearing gloves for activities such as golf, hiking or mountaineering.
A long press on the start button at 2 o’clock activates the tactile crystal. A long press on the back button at 4 o’clock takes the T-Touch Connect Solar to its home screen. Activation is then confirmed when the hands point to precisely 12 o’clock. Six dial zones are activated, containing grouped functions.
The screen of the T-Touch Connect Solar plays a vital role both in its interactivity and its energy efficiency. At the top of the screen is a status bar where essential information and notifications are located. Its reading surface is as large as possible given the need to balance energy consumption, space allocated to photovoltaic sensors, and legibility.
This is an MIP (Memory in Pixel) type screen, similar to a passive display. It is refreshed only when necessary, thus conserving energy. It is also easy to read in direct sunlight. In addition, the T-Touch Connect Solar has adaptive luminosity, which immediately triggers backlit mode when the ambient light dims.
The T-Touch Connect Solar’s consumption is practically unlimited in disconnected watch mode, just as for a T-Touch Solar Expert. In interactive mode and after turning on Bluetooth, battery life depends on multiple factors, such as frequency of visual or vibration notifications, backlighting, adaptation to ambient lighting level, and the amount of data transferred.
The T-Touch Connect Solar is thus light years ahead of existing smartwatches, which require long, frequent and stationary charging. Although the T-Touch Connect Solar does come with a charger, it relies mainly on the new-generation photovoltaic cells situated under its dial, which allow unrestricted recharging of the battery, together with a low-energy operating system developed especially for this watch.
In watch mode, meaning non-connected, the T-Touch Connect Solar has all the capability of a T-Touch Solar Expert, namely meteo, altimeter, compass, countdown, chronograph with intermediate time function, second time zone, perpetual calendar and numerous alarms.
In connected mode, the T-Touch Connect Solar has even more functions associated with the smartphone’s built-in mobile app. Its Bluetooth Low Energy chip is compatible with versions 4.2 and above. It minimises the energy consumed during data sharing. For example, the T-Touch Connect Solar displays all desired notifications: calls, texts, e-mails and equivalents sent by other apps.
For the time being, navigation is carried out solely via compass mode. The same goes for the meteo function, which is linked to a built-in barometric sensor. But subsequent upgrades will open up new possibilities. The T-Touch Connect Solar also has a built-in activity tracker combined with an accelerometer. It works both in watch mode, after inputting the wearer’s physical data, and in connected mode, for recording number of steps, distances and energy expended.
What matters most about the T-Touch Connect Solar is not data-gathering, nor the brand, but the person wearing it. As such, all information about the wearer – their personal life, where they are, what they are doing – is and will remain strictly private and stored in the T-Touch Connect Solar’s mobile app. No transfer or storage of data by any organisation other than Tissot has been allowed for.
In addition, the watch has several security modes. With the basic lock, the screen buttons are deactivated to avoid accidental activation during vigorous activity. When a security code is entered, an additional lock turns off screen displays for increased privacy. In addition, this supplementary lock is activated automatically and immediately when the connection with the smartphone is lost.
Tissot is the Official Timekeeper and Partner of many global events such as basketball with the NBA and FIBA; cycling with the Tour de France and the UCI World Cycling Championships; motorsports with MotoGPTM and the FIM World Superbike Championship and many more besides in the sports of ice hockey, fencing and rugby.
Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is available at Tissot boutique, Rivoli, Hour Choice stores and online at Rivolishop.com