The Tour de France and Tissot: celebrating a legacy of timekeeping and innovation

Tissot and A.S.O. are proud to celebrate their enduring association on the occasion of the grand announcement event of the Tour de France 2024 route.

18/07/2023 - Tour de France 2023 - Etape 16 - Passy / Combloux (22,4 km CLM) -
18/07/2023 - Tour de France 2023 - Etape 16 - Passy / Combloux (22,4 km CLM) - © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Tissot stands as the Official Timekeeper for cycling races organized by A.S.O. such as La Vuelta a España, Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Nice, keeping and consistently reinforcing the robust global relation between the two entities. While each race has its own particular significance, the Tour de France unmistakably stands out as the most emblematic cycling event worldwide. Tissot’s bond with cycling began organically and became more official in the 1980s when Tissot first took on the mantle of Official Timekeeper of the Tour de France. The relationship with A.S.O. first began between 1988 and 1992, which was further cemented in 2016 until today and for the foreseeable future. The Tour de France is a month-long odyssey, going through the diverse terrains and picturesque landscapes of France, where each stage signifies a unique challenge, a different story. Each milestone holds significance.  

Timetrial’s Anniversary, the moment of truth  
In cycling, minutes and seconds are the unit for measuring athletic power. It is during a time trial stage that pure strength is assessed: alone on the road, alone against the clock, a champion in his hour of glory has the opportunity to make a significant break and completely shake up the hierarchy. The exercise first took place in 1934, in an 83-kilometre time trial, in which Antonin Magne completed his recital in yellow. But the Tour can also be overturned by a performance that changes the course of a lifetime. Conquering the Tour at the very last moment was Greg LeMond's crowning achievement, when he won the overall classification with an 8" lead over his rival Laurent Fignon in 1989. Since then, Cadel Evans has also turned the tide in the final time trial, finally bringing victory to Australia in 2011. In 2020, Tadej Pogacar added a new country, Slovenia, to the list of Tour de France winners, just as his compatriot Primož Roglič was about to do. The coup de force on the Planche-des-Belles-Filles, a strong duel with the Swiss watch as referee, earned its place among the best moments of the Grande Boucle's history

Elevating Excellence, Year after Year  
Tissot's task is intricate and demanding. They meticulously monitor classifications, keeping an eye out for unexpected events like falls, breakdowns, or penalties. The Tour is a web of races within races, nuanced standings, and ever-shifting positions, all of which Tissot must flawlessly track and communicate. Thankfully, their wealth of experience in timing cycling races ensures they are adept at navigating these complexities, allowing fans worldwide to immerse themselves in the drama, confident in the knowledge provided by Tissot. From 1948's photo finish system to Tissot's 1970s live time trials, timekeeping evolved rapidly. The 1980s introduced photoelectric cells for sprint speeds, and 1991 transitioned from silver to digital film. By 1992, real-time broadcasting was achieved, and precision reached 1,000 images per second by 1995. Transponders in bike frames were introduced, with Photo Finish achieving 10,000 images per second by 2014. Integrated with the Precision Time Protocol, synchronisation hit accuracies of a thousandth of a second. Today's system distributes real-time data across multiple platforms, with 8-15 timekeepers ensuring precision for every rider's position and speed.  

Special Edition Watches representing Tours Spirit  
Cycling's spirit and the glory of the peloton's heroes resonate with Tissot. Every year, in close collaboration with A.S.O., Tissot proudly launches a new T-Race Cycling watch, meticulously designed to reflect the different Tours’ essence. These timepieces represent the various tours, combining the Swiss Made quality with each event's spirit, serving as tangible reminders of these landmark events and precious memories for every cycling fan.


To New Beginnings and Long-Standing Partnerships  
The symbiotic relationship between Tissot and the Tour de France remains unshaken, year after year. Our enduring partnership stands because of shared values and passion, a commitment to precision and dedication, and moments filled with emotion and memories. Each year, in order for the cyclists to push their limits on every stretch and turn, every second is crucial. And for Tissot and A.S.O., each moment of the Tour represents an opportunity to celebrate achievements, milestones, and the shared emotions of the global community. As we embark on yet another exhilarating journey with the Tour de France 2024, joins us to celebrate not just the race, but the stories, the triumphs, and the indomitable human spirit.

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