During a ski race in the Swiss ski resort of Villars-sur-Ollon 84 years ago, Vital Thiébaud started a chapter in the sports timekeeping story that the Swiss watch industry is still writing to this day. Now, in 2022, Tissot uses a chronograph from 1938 to remember Thiébaud’s pioneering push of the chronograph button. The Telemeter 1938 is an innovative mechanical timepiece with a retro style that recalls the golden age of sports timekeeping.
Taking the Measure
The stunning vintage-inspired dial of the Telemeter 1938 is the first thing that draws attention. The hours are indicated by condensed Arabic numerals (notice the light, charming flourishes) and it also has two tiny sub-dials: one for the running seconds and one for the chronograph’s 30-minute counter.
A trio of scales frames them on either side. A red tachymeter scale, used for measuring speed over a set distance, winds its way through the graphic’s center. The minutes are displayed in black, while the central minute hand is blue and shaped like a sword. And in blue around the dial’s rim is a telemeter scale, used to calculate the time it takes from when you first see something, like a lightning bolt, to when you first hear it.
The 42mm brushed and polished stainless steel case is just as timeless as the dial’s style, and it tapers gracefully into lugs that are perfectly proportioned. A strap of brown Italian leather, which will patina subtly with use, is held in place by these. The watch’s timeless profile is completed by the ergonomically designed chronograph pushers on the right side of the case and the large crown with a fluted edge reminiscent of the style of the original chronographs. It comes in strikingly good-looking packaging that has stood the test of time.
An Upgraded Movement
Tissot’s improved Valjoux A05.231 automatic chronograph movement will be housed in the Telemeter 1938. A long-lasting Nivachron balancing spring and a 68-hour power reserve have been added to this model. A brand-new rotor style from Tissot Heritage caps it off.
The Tissot Telemeter 1938 is a highly sophisticated, supremely wearable symbol of Tissot’s illustrious timekeeping history in professional sports, a history that began in the Alps and continues to this day with the NBA, the Tour de France, and MotoGP, to name a few of the professional leagues that rely on Tissot’s legendary timekeeping expertise.