The Sistem 51 - An Important Watch of the Last Decade

Feb 10, 2020,10:09 AM

Since it’s introduction in 2013 the Sistem 51 has been a watch (or collection) that captured my attention. I cajoled a friend at the time to mule one from Switzerland as they were not yet available elsewhere (that’s the white one you see below). 

Most of you will know the development of the watch and the process of manufacturing it led to the application of 17 patents for Swatch.  Manufacturing is entirely automatic.  

The movement is one of simplicity, something which is appealing to many of us and something which drove much of the success of Ochs und Junior, the MIH watch and others.  The Sistem 51 has only 51 components, pretty cool. And a single central screw that holds the whole thing together. 

The downside is as the movement is hermetically sealed, it was never intended to be serviced.  It’s a disposable good essentially, although having had my first one for almost 7 years it seems to be doing OK and product life seems reasonable (based on my sample size!).

For me it’s a collection within a collection, of which some of you know is a feature of my collecting.  

Anyone else own a Sistem 51? More than one? 

Here’s the rest of the bunch. 

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They all have slightly different designs...

 By: India Whiskey Charlie : February 10th, 2020-12:12

I had the white one but reading the time was to vague for me

 By: cazalea : February 10th, 2020-10:37
I gave it away to the winner of a contest here -- I think it went to skyeriding Cazalea

The white is probably the least legible of the bunch so I can understand.

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 10th, 2020-10:50
I find some of the others very strong in terms of legibility so perhaps you can try again.

I did,but gave it away as a gift. (nt)

 By: Ronald Held : February 10th, 2020-11:22

I thought that I was doing a needy friend a favor. Swatch..

 By: Ronald Held : February 11th, 2020-11:43
Store nearby, so I can get another one. Was looking at the big bold jellyfish last.

You are a good friend.

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 11th, 2020-17:43
I have a few of the Big Bold also, they are as the name suggests BIG. The Jellyfish is a cool look.

Likely but wasn't displayed in my Swatch store...

 By: Ronald Held : February 16th, 2020-13:42
Will do that search.

They do not have every Search. I looked again at the Sistem watches...

 By: Ronald Held : February 18th, 2020-13:58
But did not see the dial I wanted. They did get the BBJ.


 By: India Whiskey Charlie : February 18th, 2020-14:14


 By: India Whiskey Charlie : February 18th, 2020-14:16

I have the blue one

 By: Mark : February 10th, 2020-12:46
I can’t get into it. It was an impulse buy and made me resolute not to buy from HODINKEE ever again. By the way, why do you keep the screen plastic on?

The newest one, the Hodinkee Generation 1986 I’ve just not worn yet hence the plastic.

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 10th, 2020-14:33
The white, which is 7 years old, the blue camo and the black camo get most wear and are the oldest of the 6. I have to say the Hodinkee Blue with the unusual typeface / numerals and the grey blue dial is my favourite of the bunch, it’s one I wear on workd... 

I have one .

 By: Watchonthewrist : February 10th, 2020-12:56
Must admit I never wear it 😬. ...  

That’s one of the first releases too, like my white one.

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 10th, 2020-14:35
I guess one either likes them or not. I’ve not met anyone yet who seems to like them as much as I do.

I loved this one from day one and had to have it.

 By: Watchonthewrist : February 11th, 2020-01:03
First year you couldn,t get them outside of Swiss so a friend of mine who lives in Geneva bought one for me

I have exactly this same model,part of the first set of four.

 By: halkcb : February 10th, 2020-18:58
Unfortunately,mine has stopped functioning despite all attempts to run it,although the other three seems to work well. There's apparently no way to repair it.

based on system 51

 By: Weems@8 : February 10th, 2020-14:25
My Tissot powered by a Swissmatic.


 By: Weems@8 : February 11th, 2020-13:29
Some other brands from the Swatch group. Swissmatic is on some Swatch automatics.

Nice post! I have a few and enjoy the concept

 By: waitlisted : February 10th, 2020-16:19
I have all three of the hodinkee editions, as well as the "cream" which was one of the earlier models. I also have the flymagic from last year, which uses a modified and reversed sistem51 movement. I have to admit that I wear them rarely because they're a... 

A little bulky for sure, but because they are so light and can be worn very snug due to the strap material I don’t notice the bulk so much.

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 10th, 2020-18:04
The Flymagic is an interesting derivative. Which version do you have? You should post it when you have time, I’d bet it may be the only one (or at least in very limited company) here.

Definitely! I have the rose gold (plated) flymagic.

 By: waitlisted : February 11th, 2020-09:15
I’ve always thought about shooting it properly but never got around to it. It’s actually quite a visually interesting watch (albeit completely unwearable for me, as it’s a large 45mm).

I was my own mule...

 By: rdenney : February 11th, 2020-20:14
And brought this back with me after buying it in Geneva in early 2014. —Rick ...  

Very nice, another of the originals. Does it get much wear?

 By: Jay (Eire) : February 12th, 2020-04:01
It’s seems many of us have one (or two) but they don’t often get worn. In such cases it’s good that this is mechanical, and not Quartz.

Oh, yes, I wear it multiple times a week..

 By: rdenney : February 12th, 2020-22:58
It’s my standard workout watch. I must have a thousand running miles on it this year, and it has been bathed in sweat dozens of times. Once I learned that the stem turns backwards to wind it, it has worked fine. And, yes, a mechanical watch is much better...