1970 Tissot T12 Chronograph

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The History

Tissot was founded in 1853 by Charles Felicien Tissot, a gold case-fitter, and his son Charles-Emile, a watchmaker,  in Le Locle Switzerland, but the brand saw much of its early success from selling their pocket watches throughout the Russian Empire, with Charles-Emile moving to Russia in 1858. As a result of the global financial collapse in 1929, Tissot merged with Omega in 1930 which formed the SSIH (Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère) which would be the precursor of the Swatch group. In 1932 the movement manufacturer Lemania was absorbed by the conglomerate. The absorption of Lemania into the group is especially important for the creation of the T12 and more specifically the Lemania caliber 873 movement that powers it. What is interesting about the Lemania 873 is that it is mechanically the same movement as the famous Omega 861 that powered the Omega Speedmaster that went to the moon.

The Reference

Tissot utilized the case design seen here for various models ranging from simple 3 handed time only watches to a diver and even a world timer. The case design reminds us of a flying saucer or as the Italians would say, disco volante, and is evocative of the designs seen in cars, watches, and other objects of the era. This odd yet striking case design of the T12 is accentuated by the panda dial, red color accents, and oversized polished doorstop hour markers.

The Case & Bracelet

The oversized 43mm UFO case came from the factory with fine matte finish that is matched on the bracelet. This example appears to have been lightly polished at some point in its history. The overall condition of the case is good but not great with light scratches throughout and a larger scratch on the underside of the case below the top pusher. The crown is correct and signed but the top chronograph pusher is thought to be a later replacement.

The watch also wears its original Gay Freres oyster style bracelet dated to 1970 with a large range of adjustability that makes sizing the bracelet for most wrist sizes possible without removing links.

The Dial & Hands

The white and black panda dial is in excellent condition with the text on the dial itself and raised internal bezel being very sharp and showing no signs of fading. Tritium Lume appears on the hours and minutes hands. There is a missing piece of lume on the hour hand but the remainder of the lume has great patina and appears original. There are also small lume plots behind the hour markers that all appear intact and show a similar patina to the tritium on the hands. The large doorstop applied hour markers that are polished to a high shine that is retained today

The Movement

The watch is powered by the manual wound chronograph caliber Lemania 873 which is mechanically the exact same movement as Omega’s 861 caliber but finished to a lesser degree. The watch is currently running and keeping good time with all functions of the chronograph functioning as they should. The service history of the watch is unknown.


Seller WatchSafari
Auction Number 129
Location New York City
Brand Tissot
Model T12 Chronograph
Reference Number 40504
Movement Manual Wound Lemania 873
Year 1970
Dial White
Case Width 43mm
Case Material Stainless Steel
Band Material Stainless Steel
Clasp Type Single Deployment
Original Box No
Original Papers No
Seller Type Individual

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Highest bidder was: daytonaman

Bidder Name Bidding Time Bid
daytonaman September 21, 2020 1:01 pm $750.00
Auction started
September 21, 2020 8:40 am

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Leave a comment


  1. Parker1189

    I wonder if Marc Newson or Oliver Ike ever put eyes on one of these before they designed the Ikepod. I feel like there is a lot of shared design language

  2. Watchtimer

    A nice funky UFO chronograph from the Tudor of Omega