When the original Swatch Sistem51 launched in 2013, it created a huge stir in the watch world.
For the first time, a lot of people were introduced to the idea of a mechanical watch. The price was also pretty affordable at around $200.
It was the first mechanical watch entirely assembled by machine. Not a single human hand touches the watch during production.
Many watch collectors quickly snapped up their favorite version of the Sistem51.
It can be seen in many watch collections, proudly sitting in the same watch box next to Rolex, Omega etc.
It’s been a huge hit for Swatch, but many people did not like the plastic case or the fact that the watch can’t be serviced.
If it breaks, you basically throw it in the trash.
On 8 September 2016, Swatch launched the Sistem51 Irony. A steel version of the Sistem51.
This version is supposed to remedy a lot of the “problems” with the first one.
Firstly, the cases are made of steel.
This will be greatly appreciated by a lot of watch collectors (including myself) who prefer the extra quality and heft on the wrist provided by a steel case.
Secondly, this one is serviceable!
Initially there was a bit of confusion about this, but many sites have confirmed that the new version will indeed be serviceable.
There is still a debate about if individual movement parts will be serviceable, or if they will simply swop out the entire movement for a new one, but at least you’re not buying something that will eventually be thrown out in the trash.
Case: 316L Stanless Steel
Movement: Automatic winding Swatch movement
Movement Frequency: 21,600 vph
Power Reserve: 90 Hours
Here is some info on the models which are available at launch
Top Left: Sistem Earth YIS400
Top Center: Sistem Boreal YIS401G
Top Right: Sistem Tux YIS405G
Bottom Left: Sistem Arrow YIS403
Bottom Center: Sistem Soul YIS402
Bottom Right: Sistem Fly YIS404
Trying them on
I went to my local Swatch retailer at the V&A Waterfront the day after release.
I tried 2 models. They fit really well and the straps are very comfortable.
Even though they are now in a steel case, they still feel extremely light on the wrist.
I really like the wavy dial of the Sistem Tux YIS405G model. It reminds me of the Omega Seamaster models with a similar pattern
The Sistem51 Irony is a great update to the original, however I think there are many other Japanese mechanical watches in the same price range which offer better value.
I would rather spend my +-$200 on a Seiko 5 or maybe an Orient.
Prices for the Swatch Sistem51 Irony range from $195 for the watches on straps to $235 for the Tux YIS405G.