1970s Tissot PR516 GL

Tissot PR516 GL Feature

While Tissot has done a great job with some of their Heritage series (such as The Navigator) there are timepieces that represent their era so well that remaking them only produces expensive anachronisms. This 70s Tissot PR516 GL should have been left alone. It is thick, chunky, oddly angled, and just about everything else awesome about pieces from the 70s. The remake is just not the same, and while the movement was certainly improved, some design elements were eliminated, and the metal band they chose to go with really did a disservice to the overall aesthetic.

I got this watch in relatively good external condition but not running and in need of a service. One of the major things for me with watches with a “grained” finish like this one is to always check for signs of polishing. If it has been polished it will never look the same (unless a specialist works on it but the cost of that relative to this watch is nonsensical.) Although there are some dings and scratches, the original grain is present and perfectly matches that of the band. The dial was also in great condition under the badly mangled crystal above. I knew that all back together it would be a fantastic finished piece that had that perfect and unmistakable “stuck in time” look to it.

Tissot PR516 GL Finish

The great thing about vintage Tissot is that they almost all use similar calibers. They are well built, easy to service, and run like champions. The only bad thing about them is the lack of a quickset day and date on some models.

Tissot PR516 GL Movement

The dial, hands, and tension ring all together create an interesting 3D layering that I had not seen prior to working on this watch. The minute hand passes underneath the tension ring’s notches to create a unique sense of depth to the watch. This touch appears to have been taken away in the re-issue.

Tissot PR516 GL Dial

Finally, the band very well matches the feel of the head. The same cannot be said for the new heritage re-issue. My call for a heritage series would have been a thinned down version of this classic piece with the same band style rather than the “racing” bands.

Rolex is loved because they have never really change their impeccable and timeless designs, but brands that were willing to design pieces meant for their era deserve their credit as well. While this watch is way too big to work on my wrist, it is certainly a timepiece that I can appreciate.

Tissot PR516 GL Side Tissot PR516 GL Angle

7 comments on “1970s Tissot PR516 GL

  1. I may have posted this twice! Sorry if so. But that watch looks amazingly like the blue face Omega F300hz Geneve! I like this watch. It’s got a cool chunky look I really like.

  2. Robert Butler aka bobbee says:

    Very similar to the Omega, and absolutely stunning!
    I have a 1967 Tissot Sea star divers watch that uses the manual-wind PR 516, and it too is beautiful.
    No wonder Tissot re-released the 516, it is a classic.

  3. Brett Richards says:

    I have a 1970’s PR516 quartz, it is a beautiful watch, I recently took it to a jeweller to replace the battery and he nearly wet himself when he saw it. Lol. I have been trying to find out a bit more about it. That is how i found this post, Your GL is a classic, i would love to own it. Lol.

  4. Trevor says:

    I have this model from 1970 which needs a service but an iconic design

  5. Jorge says:

    Hello, i just found on of this in an old closet dial is in bad condition, were do you recomende restaoration?

  6. Tristan says:

    Hi, I inherited mine from my father, and it works very well, wear and tear could be seen and I use it everyday. Its my way to honor him.

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