The Swatch Sistem51, so-named because there are fifty-one pieces in the movement, is quite simply a revolutionary timepiece. So revolutionary, in fact, that it may put an end to watch manufacturing as we know it.
The Sistem51's assembly revolves around a single screw at the center of the back of the watch and is totally automated: the watch is untouched by human hands during the entire manufacturing process. The automated creation process required a major simplification of the design, and, we suspect, a reinvention of the specialized machinery doing the work. After it's put together, the watch's case is hermetically sealed (another first), making the Sistem51 highly resistant to water, dust, and other foreign materials. Its automatic calibre is made entirely of ARCAP, an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc -- with no iron. This means the watch has exceptional anti-magnetic qualities, removing a potential need for servicing. Because the movement is laser regulated before the case is sealed, no after-sales regulation is necessary or even possible. The parts associated with regulation have simply been eliminated.
While the Sistem51 is currently shown in a rich blue-on-black color scheme, the watch seems poised for designs across the entire palette of colors and themes -- this is Swatch, after all. The brightly colored, classically shaped translucent plastic case harkens back to the original Swatch pieces so popular with mall rats and teenyboppers. Seen through the case back, the automatic watch's rotor is transparent, allowing full view of its unique movement. Even with these touches, this is no dress watch, nor is it particularly good looking. But that's not the point.
Very much the point is the Sistem51's price tag, estimated between $110 and $220. That revolutionary manufacturing technique, the one with no human hands required, may well bring the mechanical timepiece into a more affordable price range than ever before. Mechanical watches for everyone? That's a game changer that puts consumers first and deserves the attention of the GP100.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits