When Swatch announced the release of the Sistem51, I was of course very curious about what lurks inside! With these things, there is only one way to find out…
I went ahead and ordered one for £108, and it arrived from Switzerland 3 days later.
Now this watch isn’t usually opened, and there are of course no photos of the inside to be found anywhere, apart from the stuff Swatch releases. Time to change that …
Quite nifty how the rotor is acrylic, and you can see the movement through it.
How about performance?
Crown down – very low amplitude, large beat error, and something is wrong with the pallet fork / escape wheel
Dial up has a decent amplitude, but this isn’t your typical ETA performance. Again, there is something wrong with the pallet fork / escape wheel.
Dial down is the only position where we have some decent timekeeping, and that’s probably the position the watch was adjusted in.
Crown up is a disaster.
And so is crown right.Never mind crown left 😉
Before opening, let’s take some photos. Here, the balance jewels. I can see some oil, and I can also see some dirt.
Before getting physical, I vaccum waterproof test the watch, and it loses 10% within a minute, so it’s not quite waterproof. Splash proof one could say.
Now it’s time to get a bit more hands-on, and to open the case.Slightly brutal, but what can you do? 😉
Now I can remove the rotor. The claim that one central screw holds together the components of the movement is total bullshit – it’s just a rotor screw.
The movement is of normal construction with bridges, and instead of bridge screws, they have silver-soldered the bridges on. Saves money, and makes me shudder.
Above, a solder joint that didn’t turn out so well.
This one is a bit nicer.The calibre number, and the hairspring, which is studded into the base plate. No adjustment for the beat error, and that did show 😉
Not easy to get into, as the movement comes out to the front. The dial is real, solid plastic 😉
The bottom plate with the date ring doesn’t look all that bad – quartz movement quality. As you can see, no screws, all soldered together.
Good thing that they painted the bridges, as they are just stamped out of sheet metal.
The case had to suffer a bit 😉
And here comes the real surprise – a plastic escape wheel and pallet fork. I haven’t seen anything like this in even the cheapest Chinese movements, and I think every self-respecting Chinese engineer wouldn’t want to put something like this into a movement. Only the Swiss dare to go where nobody has gone before, and manage to construct the crappiest mechanical movement ever made. Congratulations!
That explains the bad performance on the timegrapher. I still can’t believe it.
The gear train looks fairly standard. The dirt comes of course from me opening the case in a rather unusual way.The winding stem can’t be removed as there is no need to do that. You just buy the watch, and put it straight into the bin. No need to wear it.As a final photo, the pallet fork and escape wheel in all their plastic glory.
I wouldn’t be so miffed if Swatch wouldn’t make such a fuss about this “revolutionary” movement.
If you can take looking at more photos without vomiting, here is the link to the complete set.
I had planned to completely take the movement apart, and to write a thorough review on all its merits and outstanding design features, but I’m afraid this is where I have to stop. It’s just too painful. This has to be by far the worst mechanical watch movement I have seen. Pin pallet watches look better on the timegrapher.
If you want to buy the remains, they are on sale on eBay 😉