The story between Tissot and car racing began when Swiss driver Harry Zweifel sent Tissot a signed photograph in 1958, where he had written: “Meine Tissot ist an jedem Rennen dabei” (“My Tissot is by my side at every race”).
"TISSOT PR 516" COLLECTION
In 1965, car racing competitions inspired Tissot to launch the Tissot PR 516. Its bracelet with holes referred to the steering wheel of racing cars. This world’s first was then copied by many other watch brands.
On the technical side, this model was highly protected against both axial and lateral shocks, thanks to its suspended movement – hence its name, Tissot PR 516, PR meaning Particularly Resistant.
In 1968, rally pilot Henry Bradley, who was very fond of his Tissot PR 516, wrote the name of the watch on his Ferrari.
TEAM RENAULT ALPINE
In 1973, Tissot took part in the Monte Carlo rally, sponsoring Alpine, which took all three podium positions and five of the top six places of the rally thanks to its “Berlinettes”. It dominated the competition that year and went on to win the World Rally Championship.
From 1977 to 1982, Tissot sponsored Team Renault Alpine, both in the 24 Hours of le Mans and in Formula 1.
In 1977, Alpine had moved into Formula 1, coincidentally as the first brand with a turbo engine. Pilot Jean-Pierre Jabouille was their driver in 1977 and 1978.
In 1979, René Arnoux joined the team.
Renault Alpine’s 1980 season was marked by the Brazilian Grand Prix, where a Renault RE20 was adorned with Tissot lettering on the front. Team Renault Alpine shone in that race, winning first place and fastest lap for Arnoux as well as pole position for Jabouille. In 1981, Jabouille was replaced by Alain Prost.
In 1974, Tissot sponsored Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with drivers Claude Ballot-Lena (European champion 1974) and Vic Elford in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR.
In 1995, Tissot sponsored Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Lilian Bryner, Enzo Calderari and Andrea Fuchs.
In 1976, Tissot decided to enter the world of Formula 1 and pinned their hopes on the young Loris Kessel, a close friend of Clay Regazzoni’s. He was competing in Formula 1 for the first season.
To the great Tissot Family, with my best regards
Kessel competed in five Grand Prix in a white and blue Brabham BT44 with the English RAM team (a second car bearing the Tissot lettering was driven by Patrick Nève at the Belgian Grand Prix). Tissot also came up with a new logo especially for car racing, strenghtening their involvment.
“TISSOT STRATOS BY BERTONE” COLLECTION
In 1976, together with car designer Nuccio Bertone, Tissot created its first quartz watch model with digital read-out, the Tissot Stratos by Bertone.
Tissot sponsored Team Ensign, managed by Morris Nunn, as of the last three Grand Prix of 1976 and until 1978.
Team Ensign’s pilot was Jacky Ickx…
… joined by Clay Regazzoni (“Rega”) for the 1977 Formula 1 season, in an Ensign N177.
In 1978, Jacques Laffite, who had enjoyed a great victory in 1977, drove a JS9 with Tissot lettering.
Tissot sponsored the well-known and ever-innovative Lotus Team from 1979 to 1982 in the Formula 1 championship, with drivers such as Mario Andretti…
Elio de Angelis…
and Nigel Mansell.
In 1979, Reutemann and Andretti drove a Lotus Mark 79 and Mark 80 with the Tissot Quartz logo resplendent on the bodywork. Andretti had just been World Champion in 1978 with the ingenious Lotus 79, designed as a wing car.
The co-operation with Lotus then ran until 1982. After the Mark 79 and -80, the Lotus models 81, 81B, 87, 87B, 88, 88B and 91 came into operation, all portraying the Tissot logo.
“TISSOT F1” COLLECTION
In 1978, Tissot launched the Tissot F1 collection, which became the official watch of Team Lotus and was derived in various models.
Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus cars, owned one and used it on Formula 1 circuits.
“TISSOT MARTINI RACING” COLLECTION
The Tissot Martini Racing from 1987 was a sporty watch that included a chronograph with intermediate-time, measuring to 1/10th second.
TEAM SAUBER MERCEDES
Tissot returned to Formula 1 as a sponsor of the Sauber Mercedes Team in 1994.
The Sauber C13 with the Mercedes-V10 engine was driven by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Karl Wendlinger and Andrea de Cesaris.