The Tissot Seastar 1000 is an entry-level Swiss automatic in the diver segment. The most current version dates back to 2004, but the Seastar name has been around for more than 30 years. Currently, the Seastar is offered in the following versions:
- Silver dial with a stainless steel bracelet.
- Blue dial with a stainless steel bracelet.
- Black dial on a rubber strap.
The review model is a custom combination of the black dial with an upgrade to the stainless bracelet.
This is a very heavy watch — by far the heaviest I have ever worn. The case is large, measuring 44mm across without the crown and 14mm high. It has a beautiful weight to it, and the clarity of the sapphire crystal gives the entire piece a jewel like quality that is very pleasing and not often seen in $500 Swiss watches. The dial is a flat matte black that highlights the indices and makes the watch very legible. There is a date window at the 3 o'clock position and the dial is noted with the watches name and its depth rating (300 meters, or as its name suggests, 1,000 feet). Outside the dial there is a matching unidirectional dive bezel with raised numerals.
Unfortunately, I found luminosity to be on the poor side as the markers and hands are quite thin and have very little paint applied to them.
At the heart of the Tissot Seastar 1000 is the very popular ETA-2824 Swiss "hackable" automatic movement. It can be seen through the sapphire display back which has been decorated with Tissot branding and a small diver on the rotor.
The only real issue with the head of the watch is the crown: it doesn't seem to screw down as well as I would expect. My Bathys 100 Fathom houses the same movement, but the crown seems to have much more accurate threading. Of course, the Bathys is almost double the price, so one must make some allowances.
Strap / Bracelet
The bracelet on the Tissot Seastar 1000 is big — 22mm all the way around — and has a fantastic weight on your wrist. Aesthetically, it is much like a Breitling Pro 2 bracelet in weight and style, but that's about where the similarities end. The Tissot's bracelet is loud and sort of squeaky, and although the fold-over clasp is tight, it somehow manages to rattle annoyingly with the vibrations of my steering wheel. There is a diver extension to allow the watch to be worn over a thin wetsuit, but it has a habit of opening whenever you open the clasp. For the price, it's decent, but I tend to expect a lot of my bracelets, which is probably why many of my watches end up on straps. Admittedly, my standards are pretty high, partially because I own a Seiko Orange Monster which has a world class bracelet, and the entire watch costs only about $100 more than the Seastar's bracelet by itself (between $130 and $180 through Tissot). The only reason I would recommend the bracelet on the Seastar over the rubber strap is that I think it makes the watch look quite a bit better.
Tissot included some very substantial packaging with the Seastar. In typical Tissot fashion, the box holds the manuals, strap, and the watch, and through some clever trickery, a large compartment in the base of the box holds a product catalogue along with what basically amounts to a small novel on Tissot's history. The packaging is definitely more than I expected, and shows that Tissot understands that when it comes to watches, we sometimes will judge a book by its cover.
The Seastar 1000 is a blingy diver that catches the eye and weighs down the wrist. It's even a passable dress watch with the stainless steel bracelet, but may be a little too thick to hide under a cuff, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves. It is a good bargain for the average selling price of $500, and if it appeals to your particular tastes (as it does mine), it will make a great addition to your collection, or as a daily wearer. The quality, fit, packaging, and style are all present, making the Tissot Seastar a good choice for anyone looking for an entry point in to Swiss divers.
By James Stacey