Timing Sporting Events with Tissot
At the Catalunya Moto GP race, Sunday 5th June 2011 5.255 seconds separated 1st and 4th place. The gap between third, the last podium place, and fourth was less than a second. With divisions this small the human eye cannot be relied upon to produce consistently accurate results, blink and you miss it. This is why the responsibility for timing many major sports events is given to highly skilled companies such as Tissot, a Swiss watch manufacturer.
Tissot begun making watches in 1853 in Le Locle, a town now famed for its horological heritage, in the foothills of the Jura mountains. Tissot established themselves as a dynamic force in the Swiss watch market early on. They quickly became well known for their range of gentleman’s chronographs which were available for purchase from 1883. Each chronograph was equipped with a stopwatch designed to be used for timing sports. The location of their workshops combined with their expertise in making accurate chronograph movements was key to their early involvement in timing sporting events.
The first event that they officially timed was a series of ski races in 1938 in Villars, Switzerland, also in the Jura mountains. At that time Villars was voted to be one of the top Ski Resorts in Europe, despite it’s relatively low height at 1,300 meters. Tissot have come a long way since Villars. From these local roots they are now responsible for the timing of many prestigious international sporting events.
Sport has changed significantly since 1938, the speed, intensity and precision of competition has increased significantly and the demand on timing technology has too. Constant innovation has been required in order for Tissot to continue to provide an accurate service. This takes a lot more than placing a brand name next to a clock! Even experienced participants in this field fall short on occasion as Omega demonstrated when their countdown clock to the 2012 London Olympics embarrassingly stopped less than a day after it started.
To stop any faults from occurring Tissot have developed a wide range of products to meet the demands of each individual event, they have worked with international sporting organisations in a varied range of disciplines from basketball to motorbike racing and fencing to ice hockey.
Tissot have been involved in competitive cycling competitions for more than 25 years. In the beginning hand-held stopwatches were the only method of recording times. Now advanced sensors are placed into the track, transmitters are attached to bikes and a comprehensive computer system monitors all of the results, providing not only track times but an array of performance data that is used by competitors, commentators and fans. There are many different kinds of cycling racing and they often require separate timing systems, in the heat of an event Tissot must ensure that everything is set up flawlessly from the start as there is no going back once the event is under-way.
Tissot are also the Official Timer of the Moto GP, where Nicky Hayden, one of their brand ambassadors is a key player. Tissot are heavily committed to growing the reputation of the sports that they are aligned with and to providing fans with special merchandise celebrating the connection. Every year Tissot create a limited edition range of watches as part of their Official Timer role. One of the most popular ranges is the Tissot T-Race collection designed to celebrate their connection with the MotoGp.
Timing sporting events is now part of Tissot’s heritage. They use these events to push their technology further and to advertise the brand across the world. It is a huge commitment but the positive representation of Tissot watches that are generated adds a valuable dimension to their brand heritage.