Swatch Sistem51 Review

by Karl Swanepoel 6



A horological milestone full of promise and worry, some great features yet some downfalls which will hopefully be improved in the next version.

Our Rating:

Swatch Sistem51 Review

The Swatch Sistem51 is something truly unique in the modern affordable mechanical watch market, I got my hands on one recently and decided to write a review on it telling you what I think after over a month of ownership. Even though this watch packs some great features at it’s price range, there are a few downsides to it too, but first let’s start with the box and get right into our Swatch Sistem51 Review.

The Sistem51’s box is very creatively done and upholds the classic Swatch DNA found in their other models.


As you can see the box has a design which makes it stand out from similar watches boxes, and the box also has a hole which goes all the way back to showing the Sistem51’s movement, a very nice touch in my opinion.

In the box, you get your Swatch Sistem51, a user manual, guarantee card and a promotional leaflet inviting you to join the ‘Swatch Club’.


The thing that intrigued me most about this watch and probably what most of you are looking forward to in this is the state of the art, first of it’s kind movement powering the Sistem51.

The movement is produced by ETA (a company part of the Swatch group) and the caliber number is c10111. It features a 90 hour power reserve and date complication, it is assembled fully by machine which is why Swatch was able to offer this swiss made automatic watch for under $200.


The movement has 19 jewels and also features a transparent rotor which means you can see all of the movement at all times, which is a feature I personally really like.

You may also notice that there is no regulator at the balance wheel and this is because it is electronically regulated to +-10 seconds during production, which leads me to what I find to be the biggest negative about the watch.

The Sistem51 cannot be serviced. It is built in such a way that the case cannot be opened and closed again like with most other mechanical watches, so if you are looking for something to keep your entire life and hand on to your children, then this is definetly not the watch for you. If that is what you’re looking for I suggest checking out the Seiko SKX009 which is in the same price bracket.

That being said though, the watch is estimated to run without issue for about 15-20 years and this could well turn out to be much longer, so it is still superb value for money. So if you are looking for a fun, affordable watch that is a horological milestone at the same time, then this is a superb candidate.


The watch looks great on the wrist, it is a contemporary size and style making it perfect for modern day casual wear.

The red dots on the dial show where some of the jewels are placed, and the dial as a whole including the hands and markers on this particular model are laid out in a very simple, easy to read way.

There are a range of Sistem51 models made including a whole new metal version called the Swatch Sistem51 Irony.

swatch_sistem51_irony_models swatch_sistem51_models

There is a lot of talk that this watch may mean doom for the automatic watch industry, where companies such as Seiko, Orient etc will be affected.

Swatch Sistem51 Review

I am personally not the biggest fan of this watch because I feel like it will hurt horology in the long run and is only there to help Swatch create a market monopoly.

I also don’t like how the watch can’t be serviced, and the fact that it is made out of plastic (however as mentioned a metal version is coming out). All in all it can be a great watch, but you just have to understand what you’re buying.

You can pick up your own Sistem51 on Amazon here:

Wrapping up

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Comments (6)

  1. this watch fits into a different niche, it’s not going to be purchased to celebrate an occasion, retirement, graduation, or anniversaries. It’s just a disposable fashion watch that happens to be mechanical. I understand the metal version can be serviced and repaired?

    1. True, and no I didn’t think it could be!

  2. I”m not sure a watch that can’t be serviced will spell doom for other mechanical watches. The whole idea behind mechanical watches is that with proper care, they can last more than a lifetime. The metal version may be nice but, I would never buy or wear a plastic watch.

    1. That’s true! Fair enough. Thanks for commenting!

  3. The Sistem51 irony series watches can be opened for movement service.

    1. Oh really? I did not know of that!

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