Swatch strips back time – 51 components, five modules, one hermetically sealed case

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Reducing the usual 130-plus mechanical watch components, the Sistem51 has got that number down to a mere 51

Swatch has always been associated with fun wristwear design, but the Swiss watchmaker is also at the forefront of horological technology.

Its Sistem51 is the first mechanical movement ever to be on a fully-automated assembly line, throwing down 17 pending patents during its development, in less than two years, of a self-winding mechanical movement with only 51 components fitted into five modules.

When the average mechanical watch contains over 130 components, this reduction is allowed by making the case hermetically sealed, reducing friction and the need for maintenance.

Swiss made, but not by hand, the five modules are assembled and welded together by a fully automated production line


The Sistem51 honours the 1983 launch of the original Swatch collection with a 51-piece heart. Now with a 90 hour power reserve, the 3 Hz movement the new model delivers precise, long-lasting, maintenance-free performance in the usual colourful, fun aesthetic package that is the standard Swatch style.

The dial side reveals six of the movement’s 19 rubies (used as bearings, their natural material properties reduce friction), and from the back a transparent panel allows you to see the oscillating weight driving the mechanism, making this a piece of interesting wearable technology, without the need to search for a wifi connection.

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