Vintage Tissot and Movement Retaining Rings

Thread: Vintage Tissot and Movement Retaining Rings

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Austin, TX.

    Vintage Tissot and Movement Retaining Rings

    Hi again everyone,

    I have a question which originated with what I noticed on a few vintage Tissots built with a 27B movement, however I don't believe the question is at all specific to Tissots.

    In many of the watches I've seen online, a "tabbed" retaining ring has been used rather than what appear to be two empty screw holes where you would have thought the movement would have been secured to the watch case. Examples of these can be seen in the first three pictures, all different watches but all with relatively early serial numbers:

    Name:  Tissot-TAB-3.JPG
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    Name:  Tissot-TAB-2.JPG
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    Name:  Tissot-TAB-1.JPG
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    I have also seen the same movement secured using the screw holes I'd have expected to have been used:

    Name:  Tissot-RING-1.JPG
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    However looking for more examples of this, I noticed this method of attachment only seems to be used on serial numbers great than 300,000. This of course could just be coincidence, but I still find it curious.

    I've seen similar rings on other vintage watches. They certainly do lack the polish of using the inset screws to secure the movement, but are they a result of after-market repair, or fitting a watch to a case it didn't originate from? The holes were clearly made in the early movements, but I'd have thought if these were examples of after market repairs then pictures of this tabbed ring would be the exception rather than the rule for earlier watches.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Best regards,


  2. #2
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    States: east -nyc/phila

    Re: Vintage Tissot and Movement Retaining Rings

    I hate to say it because I am not 100% certain but I think these retaining rings are a feature of lower end watches and serve as either a type of shock protection and retaining ring. At least my experience of these rings has been such. good luck
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

  3. #3
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Vintage Tissot and Movement Retaining Rings

    I think that it reflects a trend that has become worse in modern times: larger watches!

    A given movement is of a certain size and will not grow unless the maker produces a bigger but otherwise identical version (e.g. ETA 1080 vs. 1081, or the modern Valjoux 7750 vs. the extremely modern A07.211). These movements were generally developed to fit into cases that were not much bigger than the movement, resulting in watches of ca. 30mm. In such movements, putting in movement holder screws made sense since they actually fixed the movement and prevented it from flopping out towards the dial side (and the slightly bigger dial preventing it from flopping out towards the back).

    In time, movement sizes stayed the same (partly as an offspin of the sizes used in chronometre competitions* - ever noticed that the biggest true wrist watch movements minus extra features such as chronograph always stayed at 13''' or 30mm or lower?!) but watches grew. Thus the inner diameter of the watch would have had to remain at just above movement size - using up extra material and making the watch a little heavier - or you had to ditch the movement holder screws (since they would not have held anything anymore!) and install a different system. Which is how we got the movement holder ring. You get plastic ones, you get thin tinny metal ones. Either way, when they wear out, you wish that they had kept the movement holder screws.....

    Hartmut Richter

    *chronometer competitions divided movements into classes and the size class for wrist watches allowed a maximum of 13''' or 30mm diameter, or 707mm² for form movements. A bigger movement had to be entered in the next class and would have had to compete with pocket watch movements up to 50mm or 22''. Which is why the biggest pocket watch movements are 22''! And the bigger the movement, the more accurate it is.....

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Austin, TX.
    Thanks Hartmut and DaBaeker,

    That makes sense, and it is definitely interesting to see the trend that is so obvious now have it's early beginnings sixty-five years ago. Especially to think of a 34mm diameter as a "modern over-sized watch". I guess it really is all relative.

    I'm also glad to hear that it's not a sign off a poor repair or a "frankenwatch". I have a similar Tissot on its way to me in the mail. Most everything else on it appeared original, and I doubt they have a value to make fakes worth the time, but the ring did have me a little worried. Its was bought as an inexpensive daily watch, but I still like the comfort of knowing it's relatively original and not pieced together.

    I guess with the later year versions (later serial numbers) of the same watch they manufactured a more solid looking work-around to hold the smaller sized movements. By then they maybe noticed that the large watch trend wasn't going away and decided it was worth making a purpose-built retaining ring.

    Thanks again!

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