Coming this fall, the famed Swatch Sistem51 collection gets its most important update yet: Swatch will debut six new men’s and one new ladies’ piece with the new Swatch Sistem51 Irony pieces, finally offering this impressive movement in steel cases.
We have written so much about the Swatch Sistem51: we debuted it back during BaselWorld 2013, then began a year-and-a-half-long wait for it to finally make it to the US market (with the Sistem51 being available in very few markets before that anyway), and Ariel reviewed it just about a year ago, asking the question: should you buy a $150 Swiss automatic watch?
One thing all of us at aBlogtoWatch could already agree on when it came to the Sistem51 was that the 51-part movement, held together by just one screw and assembled entirely by robots, is a genuinely impressive technical achievement in modern watchmaking… however, the plasticky cases and weird dial designs didn’t quite cut it for many of us. The good news is that Swatch has finally updated the collection with the Swatch Sistem51 Irony, which now offers this fascinating movement in crisp steel cases along with a range of more grown-up – and yet somehow also more interesting dial designs.
The irony is that these more grown-up designs fall into the Irony collection (watch brands naming products in descriptive, informative ways will never be a thing, I guess). Irony is a self-imposed mandatory name for Swatch, pinned onto their steel cased timepieces.
Funnily enough, Ariel’s personal conclusion in his review of the Sistem51 was that, with those debut designs to choose from, this watch was an important piece to have for its technical side, but not something he’d reach for to wear often. I’m sure he wasn’t alone with that sentiment, as many (including myself) have left the Sistem51 on the shelf, because the novelty-factor of the movement itself just simply couldn’t outweigh the arguably fun(-ish), but also somewhat dull design of the first models. These six (plus one, see a bit further down!) new models may have finally brought us a viable alternative.
The six new Swatch Sistem51 Irony watches in steel for men will be the Sistem Earth, Sistem Boreal, Sistem Soul, Sistem Arrow, Sistem Fly, and Sistem Tux. All housed in this 42-or-so-millimeter-wide cases crafted from 316L stainless steel, things go from the restrained Earth and Fly through the nautical-themed Soul and Boreal, all the way to the pilot watch-inspired Arrow and the two-tone, genuinely dressy-looking Tux. This latter piece, with its gold-colored PVD coated bezel and bracelet links has to be one of the most formal and grown-up Swatch watches, a most welcome addition to the Swatch Sistem51 family.
The automatic movement inside should remain entirely the same as before, sporting a remarkable 90-hour power reserve, running at a frequency of 3 Hertz (21,600 beats per hour), all with a claimed accuracy rating of +/- 7 seconds per day. Very impressive stuff. In line with the idea of fully automated manufacturing, even the accuracy of the Swatch Sistem51 movement is adjusted by machines.
Prices for the Swatch Sistem51 Irony models will slightly vary depending on VAT and what not, but you can expect the pieces on leather straps to retail at around €180, the Sistem Boreal on the steel bracelet for €200, and the two-tone Swatch Sistem51 Irony Sistem Tux for €220. No word yet on the price for the Sistem Stalac ladies’ piece, but expect it to be near that of the Sistem Tux. The Swatch Sistem51 Irony pieces with steel cases are expected to be available from this fall, in select markets. swatch.com