I just got a new “Sistem51” watch from Swatch. I got interested in this watch after reading a review of it on Hodinkee. I like the idea of a reliable, automatic, watch for a reasonable price. (The other automatic I have is my Dad’s old Rolex. And old Rolexes don’t really count as terribly reliable or reasonably priced. Though in my case, it didn’t cost me anything, and it’s been OK since having it serviced a few years back. But I digress.)
I’ve had two other Swatches, one of which I bought in the early 90s and the other in 2003 or thereabouts. Both were their cheapest plastic watches, which generally go for around $60 (or did when I last checked). I’ve replaced the watch bands on both of them multiple times, but they’ve both kept ticking since I bought them, no problem. I just threw out the older one, since the part of the watch that the band attaches to had broken in such a way that I couldn’t attach a new band. (The watch still kept perfect time.) And the newer watch is still working fine.
The Sistem51 is an interesting concept. You can read more about it at the Swatch site or the Hodinkee article, but, basically, it’s a machine-assembled, sealed, automatic watch. So, in theory, it should just keep running for quite some time without any trouble.
The strap on it is leather, but the buckle is plastic, so I have a feeling that I’ll probably need to replace that at some point. But the band itself isn’t going to snap like the plastic ones do. I plan on using this watch as my regular, day-to-day, watch. I’m hoping it will last at least five years before needing a new strap. Maybe when something does eventually go wrong with it, I’ll remember this blog post and write an update.