C'est La Petite Seconde

Swatch’s Inexpensive Automatic Watch Is Available in a Refined New Version


April 3, 2020 Watches By
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Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) and Baselworld 2020 are canceled but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. To stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases, visit our tag page.

Since Swatch made their first ultra-affordable Sistem51 watch using 51 mostly plastic parts fully produced and assembled by machines, there have been countless aesthetic variations. Some had plastic cases and others had steel cases, but they all had the same dial layout with three centrally mounted hands for the hours, minutes and seconds. In the first major horological update to the famous automatic movement, the new Petite Seconde model places the seconds hand in a small subdial for a somewhat more classical look.

In the brand’s self-aware “Irony” collection, the Sistem51 Petite Seconde has a steel case measuring 42mm wide. Stylistically, the initial models offer a relatively conservative and versatile look with simple dials in black or blue and matching leather straps. As is the case with other Sistem51 watches, Swatch wants to emphasize its plastic, unusual-looking movement and proudly shows it off through a display case back. For $215, you could hardly find a more affordable, casual, Swiss-made automatic watch.

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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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