Discover some exciting details and insights of the Swatch Sistem51 movement

I don´t know if all of you who are now going to read this article can already buy the Swatch Sistem51, but I hope so. Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group, is doing everything he can to bring his ticking babies to the markets.


The Swatch Sistem51 features an automatic (self-winding) mechanical movement made from a total of 51 components. The components form five separate modules, which are welded into a single unit centered on a single screw. Conventional mechanical watch movements have at least twice as many components; some of the more complicated, high-end models have more than six hundred, assembled by hand over weeks or months by master watchmakers in their ateliers.

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The five components of the Swatch Sistem 51 movement
The five components of the Swatch Sistem 51 movement


The five components of the Swatch Sistem 51 movement
The five components of the Swatch Sistem 51 movement


Model: Sistem51

Case: 42 mm

Components: 51

Modules: Plate with wheel train, gear train, hand fitting and date / Mechanical module / Escapement module / Automatic device module / Oscillating weight

Diameter: 30.00 mm

Height: 4.80 mm

Display: Hours, minutes, central seconds hand, date window

Functions: Automatic winding, 90 hour power reserve

Frequency:  21.600 A/h (= 3 Hz)

Rate precision: +/- 7 seconds/day; set by laser at the factory

Design: Printable surfaces, including oscillating weight and modules

Assembly: Under clean-room conditions on a fully automated, 20 meter long assembly line

Price: 150 Swiss Francs or 120 Euro



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8 replies on “Discover some exciting details and insights of the Swatch Sistem51 movement”
  1. says: Tom A.

    I bought it, the blue/black starsigns variant, upon release here in Hong Kong. And for my wife the white one which is really quite nicely designed.
    It is a remarkable feat of engineering, even if I don’t like the disposable concept. It indeed runs accurately. I like the remarkably comfortable silicone (or resin?) strap. I like the dial design.
    Of course it is a cheap plastic watch, no comparison in feel to my more upmarket favourite watches from Steinhart and Seiko. One detail irritated me a bit: the plastic crown makes it feel very cheap when adjusting. It would be good to have it with a metal crown.
    All in all a nice achievement, and it will be great to see when they will get more upmarket Irony variants (I can see myself adding another one then), or perhaps even a scuba libre variant: then they would be a very interesting alternative to Seiko’s entry level mechanical dive watches.

    For Tim Brown: if I am not mistaken the water resistance is 30m, but as we know, except for dive watches these numbers are not real depth indications. In practice I would keep it dry and an occasional splash when washing your hands or in the rain should be ok. I would not swim with it.

  2. says: Guy

    I tried to order through Switzerland. SG liked my money but not my country… no sale.
    The Swatch store here (located in a very high end mall) has no clue when they will get some.

  3. says: Jon Messer

    This is the very most uniquely unconventional conventional watch = BRAVO!

  4. says: Guy

    Considering style alone the Sistem51 is a winner. If Seiko gets some designers as hip as SG’s then SG better watch out. I have two Seiko 5’s, a NATO strap and an diver both handsome watches. Their cost to me about 200USD total.
    That said the Sistem51 is a serious manufacturing achievement and represents a huge commitment of time, money and talent by SG. I wish them well on this adventure.
    I will order Sistem51 today.

  5. says: Tim Brown

    I did not see mention of water resistance. Please let us know the rating and what you have experienced when wearing the watch.

  6. says: Mark Volkert

    The requestable revolution
    I share a lot of respect for the makers of the movement and understand the point where the SG wants to move with it but see more critical points than positive at Sistem 51, some of them are:
    1. Lacking sustainability: it is doubtless that the Swatch itself had a lot of positive influence for the entire watch business (from the technology) when being launched in the 80’s but it’s still a disposable – non repairable – watch. This might be o.k. provided that any other consumer good nowadays is usually disposable but it has been more or less the very first time in watch business. The standard in watch business – especially when it comes to mechanical watches – is: They can be repaired and so kept and used over much longer periods than electronics. “A mechanical watch is made for heritage, a quartz watch is made for disposal!” Sistem 51 is produced to find it’s end somewhere at a garbage dump. This is not what watch business where standing for over decades. Even though main motivation to buy a mechanical watch – especially expensive ones – is not because of the sustainability the mechanical watch is the most sustainable consumer product today.
    2. Missing recycling model: Though having produced millions over millions of plastic Swatch, SG still ignoring the ecology problems of their main product (in terms of production volume). SG claims itself to be ecological friendly, but do on the other refuse recycling of their Swatch, or even further, recommends the consumer to dispose an old Swatch at the garbage (proffed!), well knowing that the mix of plastic, metal, electronic and battery needs special care. Sistem 51 just opens a new chapter in this waste story. The old automatic Swatch has been much better in that sense, but as well more expensive to produce, and this is the only point.
    3. Swiss made? Yes, Sistem 51 is swiss made, but in this sense it means that the machine stands in Switzerland. If the same machine stands in Glashütte, Sistem 51 would follow the Glashütte rule, agree? SG’s approach devaluing with this product all common associations with the origin of a product especially when it comes to watches.
    As long as we – as human beings – do not recognize all involved arguments and especially the negative details on consumer products we are unable to judge about a product. Of course it works, of course it will work for a longer period, probably. Of course there are old Swatches around still working, no doubt about that. And of course there are much bigger garbage dumps around than those needed for disposing all Swatch’s, but – and this is my personal approach – it does not absolve SG from their responsibility for their products.

  7. says: Alexander

    The S51 is amazingly good to wear , my blue one runs -3sec/day and and it gets more wrist time than my far more expensive babies. Very well done Swatch and Thank you Alexander for the grat coverage of the Watch

  8. says: Damon

    I’ve had my Sistem51s (Blue & Black) for about 2 months now and although they doesn’t keep as good of time as my Omega SEA AT 8500, I think that it’s a great watch and an absolutely amazing value for the money. Right now the black one has been running about 5 seconds slow per day, and the blue one is gaining about 4 seconds per day.

    I had Swatch watches as a kid, and one of the first ones I purchased myself was the automatic “Body & Soul” Skeleton…..ahhh the memories!

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