Swatch's Sistem51 Will Finally Be Available In the US on July 1

There's some great news for watch aficionados who haven't already found a friend in Europe to buy and ship them Swatch's new Sistem51 timepiece. The watch features a genuine Swiss mechanical movement that's assembled through an automated process that means it can be mass produced on the cheap, but not cheaply made.


The case is hermetically sealed and through the use of some clever engineering it will never need maintenance. It even boasts a 90-hour power reserve, but surprisingly, a price tag that doesn't soar into the thousands of dollars. In the states you'll be able to pick one up for just $150.

New Yorkers will be the first to be able to get their hands on the Sistem51 starting at 9:51am on July 1 at Swatch's flagship store in Times Square. And a week later on July 8, watch fans in San Francisco will be able to get one from the Swatch store at the corner of Grant and Greary. For anyone not interested in strapping a hefty smartwatch to their wrist, this is a stylish alternative that still boasts some innovative technologies. [Swatch]

Swatch Sistem51: Finally, Mechanical Movement on the Cheap

When Swatch figured out how to simplify and automate the production of Quartz watches, it made the technology extremely affordable and accessible to anyone who still wanted an analog timepiece. But even with rumored smart watches on the horizon, more traditional timepieces with mechanical movements are still very much desirable. And Swatch has found a way to finally make them affordable for all watch enthusiasts.


Officially unveiled at Basel World 2013 and fondled by the folks at Hodinkee, the Swatch Sistem51 features the world's first Swiss mechanical movement that's completely assembled through an automated process allowing it to be mass-produced. Typically watches with mechanical movements feature countless tiny components that have to be assembled by hand for exacting precision. And all that extra labor contributes to their astronomical price tags.

But with the Sistem51, Swatch has managed to reduce the number of mechanical components to just 51, making them easy for a machine to assemble. The watch's copper, nickel, and zinc alloy case is also anti-magnetic, so the movement inside never needs adjusting, and all of the components connect to a single central screw which results in less wear over time. What you're left with is a watch that in theory never needs maintenance, and in fact can't get any since the case is hermetically sealed to further keep the mechanics inside running smoothly.


The most important feature of the new Sistem51, however, is the price. While a final MSRP hasn't been set yet, Swatch is optimistic that when the watch is finally available sometime later this year, it will sell for as cheap as just over a hundred bucks. And like with the rest of the Swatch line, it can be customized in terms of bright colors and striking face designs. So forget those obscene timepieces that cost well north of a hundred grand, this is truly the future of watchmaking.


[Swatch via Hodinkee]

Images by Hodinkee