Monochrome Watches Reviews the Swatch Sistem51

Like the first Swatch watch in 1983, this new automatic Omega replica watches online is a major industrial milestone that could (emphasis on “could” because, for the moment, we are not sure of possible future developments) change the face of the Swatch Group and indeed the whole watch industry.

Swatch Sistem51 blue - reclining

A History of Swatch

Swatch (which stands for “second watch,” because of its affordable price and casual look) was born in the early 1980s, right in the middle of the so-called quartz crisis. At that time, the watchmaking industry in Switzerland was intensely affected by the arrival of cheap Japanese quartz watches and production numbers became lower than at any time before. However, a very simple but clever idea saved the Swiss watch industry. In fact, we can trace the rise of haute horlogerie, luxury watches and independent watchmaking directly to the simple, cheap quartz Swatch watch that made its debut in 1983.

Swatch was born under the leadership of Ernst Thomke, CEO of the movement maker ETA, who was aided by a small team of engineers. Using the concept of the Concord Delirium (the thinnest watch in the world), Thomke designed a watch with a caseback used as the main plate of the movement. The Swatch was devised as a Swiss-made plastic watch with a fully integrated and in-house-built movement. Compared to mechanical Omega replica watches online, a Swatch was 80% cheaper to produce due to fully automating its assembly and reducing the number of parts to only 51 components.

The first collection was introduced in March 1983 at an initial price range comparable to those of Seiko and Citizen’s watch collections, but it was the first such watch developed and manufactured in Switzerland. Helped by an aggressive marketing campaign, sales were huge, and overcame the targets of one million pieces for 1983 and 2.5 million the next year. Nicolas G. Hayek, with a group of Swiss investors, bought Swatch in 1985 and used it as the foundation of what is now known as the Swatch Group.

Because of the Swatch watch’s success, the whole Swiss industry took advantage of its creation. The renewal of many brands, and the birth of our favorite independent new Omega replica watchmakers, are partially due to the Swatch. It may be a simple and cheap plastic timepiece but it proved to be a historically important one.

swatch sistem51 blue - reclining

Overall appearance:

The Swatch Sistem51 brings back the idea of the 1983 Swatch with one single difference, its movement. You’ll find the same basic concept of a plastic watch, Swiss-made, developed in-house, with a 51-part movement fully industrialized and for a very low price (about $15o in the U.S.). Everything that characterized the original Swatch watch is here, except for its automatic mechanical movement. It is not the first automatic Swatch — some of them used to come with ETA movements — but this one adds something more.

swatch sistem51 blue - front

When it was presented at Baselworld 2013, the Swatch Sistem51 created a real earthquake in the watchmaking industry, a mixed feeling of astonishment and fear. How was it possible that a Swiss-made Omega replica watches for sale with a manufacture movement (and not the worst one we’ve ever seen, either) could be sold for a fraction of the price of an ETA-powered Tissot? It was accomplished by using synergies inside the Swatch Group and applying the same magic trick that the 1983 Swatch used. Under its fun and inexpensive exterior, the Sistem51 is a real industrial achievement and shows an amazing intelligence in its conception. In order to keep a low retail price, the movement is fully made by machine, without any human intervention, even to adjust the accuracy of the balance wheel and the escapement.