As ’80s Week rolls on, we’re psyched to see that Tissot has recently announced a re-issue of an avant-garde model from the late 1980s. Based on a creation from the Italian designer and architect Ettore Sottsass, this is the new Tissot Heritage Memphis Limited Edition, a four-model quartz-powered line of bright and bold watches with a specifically ’80s flair that draws its name from Sottsass’ Memphis Group. Available in 34mm and 41mm (two iterations in each size), the Memphis LE is not a direct re-issue but rather a re-imaging of the original model from 1988.
While that original model was launched in 1988, Tissot is pinning the launch of the new Memphis LE alongside the 40th anniversary of the Memphis Group, which was founded by Sottsass in 1980 and primarily focused on producing unique, colorful, and often controversial takes on a variety of furniture (though they certainly experimented in other disciplines, including watches).
Powered by a Swiss PreciDrive quartz movement, the Memphis LEs are divided by traditional gender lines, with Tissot clearly positioning the smaller (and pink-strap-optional) 34mm versions as ladies’ models. That said, 34mm is a great mid-sized option for anybody, the 41mm versions heighten the graphics, and neither is specifically gendered (just buy the size you like). The design uses an uncommon lug shape and a recessed crown, and the dial design is all contrast with a large handset for the hours and minutes (plus a tiny disc at the center for seconds). All of this comes together to make something that appears both very functional as a watch and, visually, quite striking.
Any selection of the four will come with two vegan leather straps offering both a conservative option and a somewhat more Sottsass-approved spec with additional color and contrast (see all four versions above). While something of a departure from the original design (an example is shown here) the 2021 Memphis LE does look quite faithful to the spirit of the 1988 design and the overall vibe is largely unaffected (in that it remains very ’80s).
Pricing starts at $ 375 for the 34mm versions and $ 395 for the 41mm. Production is limited, too, with Tissot making some 1,700 units of each of the 34mm examples, 2,500 pieces for 41mm two-tone, and 3,000 pieces for the 41mm PVD black. Long live the ’80s and good timing, Tissot.
Model: Heritage Memphis Limited Edition
Diameter: 34mm and 41mm
Case Material: Steel with gold or black PVD coating
Dial Color: White or black
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Vegan leather strap, all models include both a black strap and a more colorful option matched with the version of the watch.
Caliber: Swiss PreciDrive quartz movement
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 375 – 34mm steel, $ 375 – 34mm two-tone, $ 395 – 41mm two-tone, $ 395 – 41mm black PVD
Availability: Spring 2021
Limited Edition: 1,700 pieces for each of the 34mm versions, 2,500 pieces for 41mm two-tone, 3,000 pieces for the 41mm PVD black