In 1983 Swatch turned the world of watches upside down with their inexpensive plastic fashion watches. Now the company is hoping to do the same thing second time around with the Sistem 51. Unveiled at Basel world it draws heavily on the Swatch belief of simplicity and innovation in an attempt to revolutionise the way Swiss watches are made. The Sistem 51 is a self-winding mechanical movement wrist watch created from just 51 components in total.
It is also the first Swiss made mechanical movement powered watch to be fully automated during assembly rather than hand built. The ability to mass produce a Swiss movement will be one of its major selling points as the company aims to sell the watch for around 100 Swiss Francs making it possibly the cheapest Swiss made watch to date. By reducing the number of componants needed the company have made it much easier for the watch to be built by machine rather than hand. This is Swatch’s attempt to revolutionise the manufacturing process.
The movement used in this model has been made up entirely of ARCAP which is an alloy consisting of copper, nickel and zinc which gives it anti-magnetic qualities as well as connecting all the components to a single screw, which means the movement should never need adjusting and less wear and tear on the components resulting in a timepiece that never needs to be serviced. All of the components in the movement are also hermetically sealed inside the case meaning that in theory there can be no damage to the movement by water, dust or foreign objects which the company says will give the Sistem 51 a longer lifespan than most watches currently on the market.
Another revolution by the brand has been to remove the regulator from the watch, instead choosing to set the watch rate in the factory with a laser which Swatch say will make the need for manual adjustment rates redundant. The watch also features a 90 hour power reserve meaning it can continue to function long after you’ve stopped.
The design aesthetics of the model features Swatch’s trademark transparency which allows wearers to see inside the watch casing, allows wearers a fascinating view of the movement. Like all Swatch’s the Sistem 51 will be made in Switzerland. It is Swatch’s attempt to subvert the current watch industry’s belief that low-end Swiss made watches are to expensive to produced. Thierry Conus who is the head of the Sistem 51 development team is quoted as saying that the technical innovations created through this particular timepiece have led to the company filing 17 new patents which could have uses out side the Sistem 51.
The first Sistems should go on sale sometime in October 2013.