Introducing the Sistem51 Petite Seconde, a Mechanical Watch Made Entirely by Machines, now With a Small Seconds Display

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Swatch has updated their Sistem51 line with the first version of the completely machine made watch featuring a small seconds indicator. The Sistem51, for the uninitiated, is something of a revolutionary horological concept. With a movement made of just 51 components, the whole thing is constructed using an automated process developed by Swatch. In an industry where hand-work is valued above almost anything else, the Sistem51 proudly proclaims a lack of the very thing that makes watches at the opposite end of the horological spectrum so valuable. But it’s no less interesting or game-changing for its lack of human touch. In it’s own way, the SIstem51 is among the most tech-forward watches being made right now.


Swatch Sistem51 Petite Seconde

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Blue, black
  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Crystal: Plastic     
  • Water Resistance: 3 bar
  • Crown: Push/pull              
  • Movement: Sistem51 
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather strap
  • Price: $215
  • Reference Number: SY23S403, SY23S400
  • Expected Release: Summer 2020 

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The Sistem51 Petite Seconde is exactly what you’d expect based on the name. Here we have a Sistem51 watch with a stainless steel case (it’s technically part of the Irony line, so no plastic here) and a dial that features a small running seconds indicator at 6:00. Available in blue or black, each version has visually interesting variations in texture and finishing work on the dial. It feels a bit like a modern take on a sector dial, which fits right in with the general Irony aesthetic, combining design cues from the past and updating them in almost unrecognizable modern interpretations. 

The case is 42mm in diameter and is paired with a leather strap. This is a more upscale type of Sistem51 than the entry level version with a plastic case and rubber strap. Those watches have their own charm for sure, much of which is derived from a nostalgia for old school Swatches from the 1980s, but they feel somewhat disposable next to the more premium Sistem51 in the Irony line.

The new Sistem51 Petite Seconde will be available this summer, and carries a retail price of $215. Swatch

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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