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System51 - why bother, Swatch?

  1. blubarb Aug 4, 2015

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    System51 - what do you think?

    For me it's thanks, Swatch, but no thanks.

    image.jpg
    Plastic escapement in System51 by ETA
     
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  2. Fer Seamaster Aug 4, 2015

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    I think System51 is a cheap automatic watch which main interest is it has been assembled with minimum to not at all human intervention, including a mechanical regulation with laser and optical devices, with only 51 parts and a small screw.

    I must recognize this, itself, is an important technical achievement.

    Apart from that, It has not much interest for me. Those cheap plastic parts confirm my impressions.
     
  3. JimInOz іди нахуй Aug 4, 2015

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    I just saw Nick's email. He's definitely got a bee up his arse with the Swiss watch industry.

    Can't say I blame him really, I think that System 51 is rubbish. I imagine the only market audience would be the XYZ generation where something lasts for a moment and then gets binned.

    But wouldn't they be using Apple Watches and smart phones for horological reference?

    :confused:
     
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  4. Andy K Dreaming about winning an OFfie one day. Aug 4, 2015

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    I admire the technical achievement of the Sistem51 and the low price. I'm not likely to get one but the Swiss watch industry has already roped me in. The concept is to lure the next generation, so it makes me think they have a solid long term strategy meant to keep mechanical watches relevant.

    The beach volleyball themed "smart" watch they announced the other day, on the other hand, was a monumental brick. I had a good laugh about it then I wondered just how well they really have thought out their long term strategy.
     
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  5. Wongo Aug 4, 2015

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    Wouldn't it wear out in no time?
     
  6. blubarb Aug 4, 2015

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    Yep. I think he is peeved alright. ::rant: In fact, hasn't he stopped servicing Swiss watches?
     
  7. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Aug 4, 2015

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    Its a cheap watch to get people into mechanical watches, much like a Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan is a cheap entry into fountain pens, that's the purpose of it really, to be that first stepping stone.
     
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  8. Aussie Jim Aug 4, 2015

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    For those of you not in the loop on Nick, it is Nick Hacko from Sydney. He is the same guy somewhat incensed by the Swiss parts restrictions. Here is the email in full. It is long but quite worth a read. He is a man of passion, a very admirable trait indeed

    *** Suppose for a moment that you are a devoted fifth generation Catholic.

    The email just hits your inbox:
    "Hi Mario, Holy Father here. I have a good news - and I hope you are as excited as I am! As of next Sunday we are opening our doors to all -believers and non-believers alike! We are renovating and modernising: the 3 new casinos next to St Peter's will cater for our Asian brothers and Crazy Horse Vatican for rest of us. I have also gotten a croupiers license and alcohol handling certificate so when I am not praying, I am partying, and I will personally be at your service. Cheers and beers. Your Pope."

    Assuming Mario's heart attack was mild rather than fatal, and that at least part of his brain still remains functioning, Mario is left with only two options: to denounce his religion and the tell the Pope to go to hell, or to book a first class flight to Rome and have the time of his life.

    For you my dear subscriber: if I haven't offended your religious beliefs: you are either Martian or Mormon. Or possibly a Swiss.

    Yesterday I got an email from someone who brought to my attention a new watch which is "revolutionizing" the Swiss mechanical watch industry. It is an automatic piece, with a 90 hour power reserve, containing jut 51 components all of which are held together by just one screw! It is also water resistant and good looking. It needs no adjustment because the balance wheel is laser adjusted once in the factory and this lasts forever. It will never need an overhaul! 100% Swiss designed and 100% Swiss assembled. Owned by the company which also owns Omega and Breguet, introduced at Basel fair! And it only cost $150!

    The watch pronounced and announced as "The piece that will change the Swiss watch industry for ever". The Swatch System51.

    When that email hit my inbox yesterday, I felt like Mario: shocked, paralysed and deeply offended.

    Immediately I started composing a piece titled "Five reasons why you should not buy Swatch and one reason why you should".

    The plan was simple: I will try as hard as I can to discourage you from buying this Swatch. At the same time, if the System51 is really as revolutionary as it is claiming to be, then you would only need one reason to buy it.

    It took me less than 5 minutes to compose the first part:

    Five reasons why Swatch 51 should not be in your collection:

    1. It is as cool as a warm-up pizza:

    The mechanical non-repairable Swatch is not a new invention.
    It has been around for over 30 years.
    It wasn't cool in 1980s, it is even less exciting today.
    If you want to be cool, then buy a smart watch.

    2. It is way too expensive:

    $150 for a plastic machine-made timepiece built to last for 3-4 years is way over the top. For just $75 you can buy a better watch - for a example Seiko: a proper mechanical automatic watch which will last you 20 years.

    3. There is nothing 'Swiss' about the Swatch:

    Since the watch is completely assembled without human involvement, the physical location of the assembly line is completely irrelevant. If the Swatch was assembled in China, Taiwan or Zimbabwe it would still look, perform and last exactly the same. It would just cost less.

    4. It lacks sophistication:

    Which in itself is a polite way of saying that Swatch is vulgar. The watch simply lacks elegance, complexity, refinement, finesse, artistic flair, human touch, ingenuity, excitement, distinction, class, exquisiteness, lushness and yes, poshness: the essential qualities of a watch.

    5. Your kid will hate you:

    Your 12 years old already hates you, so don't make the things worse. He doesn't want the Swatch - he wants the latest Samsung, or iPad, or both. But not a Swatch.

    Then I got stuck.

    As hard as I tried, I just couldn't find that ONE reason why you should buy the system51. I searched and searched. Until I bumped into a review from a fellow UK watchmaker who dissected the watch.

    The pictures of disassembled System51 were shocking beyond belief. The mechanism could only be described as Horological vomit.

    Yes there was just one screw - because the plates were welded together. Yes, the watch needed no adjustment because both the timing regulator and bit error regulator were not there. The power reserve of 90 hours was achieved with help of a long and powerful main spring which would wear out a train of Rolex in no time. Hardly a problem because the watch was built to last... until it lasts, which is 3 years, give or take.

    To hell with engineering, to hell with workmanship. But that isn't the worst: under the main bridge, was the escape wheel and pallets made out of PLASTIC.

    I am sure that most of you won't understand why am I making such a fuss over a plastic escape wheel. So let me spell it out: no self-respecting Chinese engineer who makes $5 fake Rolexes would dare to make a movement with a plastic escape wheel and plastic pallets. There is simply a line, a convention, call it a unspoken rule of horology - that no matter what, regardless of how cheap it is, no watch can have a plastic escapement.

    You don't put a brothel in the basement of a church. You don't make plastic escape wheel.

    And out of all the watchmakers in the world, it was a Swiss one who thought - well, why not? We already make the most expensive watches in the world, so let's show the Chinese that we can beat them at their game: crap mass production.

    Now, if the System51 was assembled in Lichtenstein, or Austria, or Italy or Germany - or any other country in the world, I could not care less about it. But there is something fundamentally NON-SWISS, something dishonest, something completely wrong, something utterly deceiving and misleading when a WATCH is marked SWISS yet it is cheaper than $5 Chinese fake.

    The bit that really got me is this: 30 years ago, Swatch had a mechanical non-repairable automatic watch. It featured robust and reliable ETA 2492 movement. It was cheap, but it wasn't crap. It had all-metal parts, a proper balance wheel with regulators, a proper auto rotor. And it was even repairable - if you broke the plastic case to get into it. It was a PROPER movement, based on traditional Horological standards attained over centuries of development.

    The new System51 is not a step in any direction other than into the abyss of obscurity and cheapness. ETA C10111 is labelled "Swiss 19 Jewels" yet there is absolutely nothing SWISS about it.

    Which brings us to my one and only reason why you should actually BUY the Swatch: because it is the crapiest Swiss movement ever produced and no one will ever top that.

    Today, I visited the Swatch shop at Westfield. I thought that it would be completely unfair to write about a watch I haven't actually tried on my wrist. Unlike the watch, the young assistant was brilliant: confident, helpful, clever and sophisticated. I had of course disclosed my intentions and reason for visiting. We had a long chat about the System51. Despite obviously polarizing stances, we parted like friends.

    His final words: I would like to be a watchmaker. Unfortunately, that promotion is highly unlikely because Swatch does not need engineers, watchmakers or assembly line technicians: they have all been replaced by robots.

    The only thing the Swiss need are gullible unsophisticated buyers, and somehow, the world is full of us.
     
  9. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Aug 4, 2015

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  10. Wongo Aug 4, 2015

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    Swiss had been the holder for making best watch in the world.
    Swatch is making a good effort tarnish this name. ::facepalm1::
     
  11. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 4, 2015

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    Disposable watches go back far beyond the 1980's. The US pumped out millions of "dollar watches" starting in 1896 when Ingersoll came out with the Yankee model. These were all crimped together (the 1890's equivalent to what Swatch is doing now) and were never designed to be serviced. When they died, they were tossed and another one was bought.

    Through until the 1970's, the Swiss made millions and millions of pin lever movements also. Cheap and disposable watches are nothing new for the Swiss, and to suggest they are is disingenuous at best.

    Honestly much of this letter is just hyperbole... "shocking beyond belief"...."Horoglogical vomit"..."you don't put a brothel in the basement of a church" - it's actually pretty hilarious. Maybe he has been taking writing lessons from his countryman Archie Luxury?

    Wait until he finds out there is a series of ETA movements used in Tissots with plastic escapements (has been since about 2009 - ETA C01.211). I think his head will explode...

    Although he seems to miss the point of this watch completely, I think most here understand this is an entry level piece made to get younger people interested in mechanical watches.

    Cheers, Al
     
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  12. Canuck Aug 4, 2015

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    I have a Tissot T-RACE automatic in my shop right now. I can't say for certain, but the watch looks like it might be only a few months old. I pulled the back, saw the plastic escapement, and put the back, back on. I am returning it with a note to send it back to Tissot. Perhaps if there is a groundswell of owner dissatisfaction, Eta might smarten up? Let's hope plastic parts don't show up in other Swatch products! Looking for a cheap watch? Chinese anyone?
     
  13. VetPsychWars Wants to be in the club! Aug 4, 2015

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    Nope.

    To add to what Archer said, the big mechanical chronographs they sell also have the plastic escapement.

    It's hilarious to read all of the hyperbole.

    Also some additional information: at least some of the Ingersoll dollar watches can be serviced. I have Midget wristwatches, and the plates are held together with screws. I have a 1917 version that's been recently serviced and keeps time a lot better than you expect it should, at least on the wrist.

    Tom
     
  14. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Aug 4, 2015

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    Isn't the movement in that watch the ETA C01.211? Which is the Lemania 5100 (famous for its use of plastic parts even in $8000+ Omega Holy Grail Speedmaster form) re-released with some changes, supposedly the nylon escapement is rather issue free as is the rest of the movement.
     
  15. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 4, 2015

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    Plastic parts are nothing new...ETA 7750 has plastic parts, Omega 101X series has plastic parts, Lemania 5100 is full of plastic parts, Omega 861/1861 has plastic parts...
     
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  16. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Aug 4, 2015

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    Added photos of both ETA C01.211 & Lemania 5100 for comparison, looks pretty much like the same movement just with a nylon escapement added and some other small changes.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. Canuck Aug 4, 2015

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    Yes, but escapements? I am well aware that plastic parts are all over the industry. But surely these plastic escapements are a bit over the top? With any kind of luck, these won't be around for much longer than the lamentable Tissot all plastic watch! If ETA production is evolving to watches that are not repairable, maybe we needn't mourn the soon to be lack of availability of replacement ETA parts!
     
  18. ulackfocus Aug 4, 2015

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    The only constant is change. You can be the horological equivalent to Don Quixote, or you can accept it. Trust me, you can't stop it no matter how many times you rail against it. The only other choice is to give it up and take up another hobby like wine, or maybe bowling. ;)
     
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  19. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Aug 4, 2015

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    Or fishing those fishing reels are just like a watches all cogs and winding thingemabobs , and there is even vintage reels and gear like wooden lures from the 60s.


    But hey it's not as if they are going to start making high end Omegas and Rolex watches out of plastic now. And as Dennis says change is a happening and we can't do nothing really
     
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  20. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 4, 2015

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    How are they over the top exactly? If this was a Brequet costing $30k I could understand the outrage in this thread, but we are talking about a $150 Swatch here folks. ::screwloose::

    This watch is not high end, and was never marketed as high end (or even mid level like Omega or Rolex is). If you don't want a watch with a plastic escapement, then it's pretty simple...don't buy one. I don't think Swatch will mind. I see this as a modern equivalent to a pin lever movement really.

    I would never buy or recommend a quartz watch with an ETA G10 series inside because they are welded together and are completely unserviceable, so even if something simple goes wrong, you have to buy a whole new movement. A new movement is nearly $400, so more than double the price of a System51 Swatch (for the whole watch), yet they sell them in the millions and have for years. Non repairable watches are nothing new, and as I have noted they have been around for more than a century.

    This hardly indicates the death of Swatch, ETA, or quality Swiss mechanical watches in general that some would like you to believe.

    This is not the big deal it's being made out to be in my view...

    Cheers, Al
     
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