Will Swatch Sistem51 Revolutionize the Watch Industry or Be Rejected by It?

Swatch Sistem51

by John Sealander  

Is the watch world ready for a super accurate, maintenance free, “Swiss made” mechanical timepiece that is mass-produced with only 51 parts?

SwatchThirty years ago Swatch revolutionized the watch industry with the introduction of the world’s first line of stylish, inexpensive quartz watches. Now, many say they’ve turned the world upside down again with the introduction of the world’s first high quality, all-mechanical movement assembled entirely by machine.

The innovative Swatch Sistem51 is unlike any mechanical watch ever made. There are only 51 components, compared to over 600 in most modern mechanical watches. The assembly of this watch has been 100% automated, using high-tech robots to weld together the individual components to create a single assembly centered on one screw. This unique timepiece has no regulator and is adjusted for life at the factory using a laser. The all-mechanical movement features a 90-hour power reserve and is hermetically sealed so that no moisture, dust or foreign objects can enter the watch or interfere with its operation.

Swatch Sistem51 Red Swatch Sistem51 White
Swatch Sistem51 Red Swatch Sistem51 White
Click to Enlarge Image Click to Enlarge Image

The watch is 100% Swiss made, is self-lubricating, and is accurate to 5 seconds a day. Typically a Swiss made mechanical watch with these specifications will cost thousands of dollars, but the Sistem51 is expected to retail for less than $100. This mass-produced mechanical marvel is made using a special alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. It is non-magnetic, so the movement will never need adjusting. Since all the components are attached using a single screw, there is very little wear and tear.

Is There a Demand?

The big question now is whether there is a market for such a watch. Although extremely reliable and accurate, it has none of the snob appeal of its pricy handmade Swiss cousins. The Sistem51 is more expensive than equivalent Swatch quartz watches, yet offers far fewer features than the latest generation of “smart watches” that are starting to hit the market.

What the Swatch Sistem51 does offer is a super accurate, extremely reliable, all mechanical Swiss made movement in an inexpensive plastic case. Like any Swatch design, the Sistem51 can be easily customized with an unlimited number of color variations and face designs. Although the innovative watch has received wide praise for it’s technological innovations, it remains to be seen whether it will be commercially viable.

Does the market really want an inexpensive all-mechanical watch, or will people continue to prefer the exclusivity of handmade mechanical timepieces costing thousands more? Since the technology itself is revolutionary, it would not be surprising to see Swatch incorporate the new movement in some of its own high-end brands. Will there eventually be an Omega, Breguet, or Blancpain watch with a Sistem51 movement? Only time will tell.

Potential Game-Changer

The Japanese and Chinese already offer a wide variety of affordable mechanical timepieces. Currently however, when a watch says Swiss made on the dial, it is usually quite expensive. The breakthrough Sistem51 design might change all that.

If the Sistem51 design turns out to be as reliable as has been initially claimed, it could even cut into the sale of quartz watches. Why would people want to keep changing batteries when they could get a high quality self-winding mechanical watch for the same price?

Although the Swatch Sistem51 was introduced over a year ago at Baselworld 2013, it has only recently become available in retail markets. As people begin to discover this revolutionary new design, it could have a major impact on the entire watch industry. Nobody denies that this watch is a breakthrough. The only uncertainty at this point is whether it will be a commercial success.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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Welcome to the Gevril Outlet

by John Sealander  

If you keep your watches in a glass case, this message will not interest you. But if you actually wear the watches you buy, you’re going to want to visit the Gevril Outlet immediately.

What’s the first thing that happens when you buy a new watch? It’s almost inevitable that you scratch it. Most of these tiny scratches are inconsequential and they don’t detract in the least from wearing the timepieces we love. Truthfully, just about the only way you can avoid these small blemishes is to put the watch in a drawer and never wear it.

What if you could buy a brand new watch at a very steep discount just because it already had a tiny cosmetic imperfection? You can at the Gevril Outlet Store! The Gevril Outlet sells brand new, unused luxury watches that are guaranteed to be in 100% perfect working order, shipped in the original box with full documentation and the manufacturers full warranty*. The only differences between these fine timepieces and other watches that Gevril sells are a few almost invisible imperfections.

Some of the Watches on Sale at the Gevril Outlet

The watches pictured here and more than one hundred others are available online at the Gevril Outlet at the time of this writing.

Gevril Group has always been extremely meticulous about the watches that leave our warehouse. If these fine timepieces aren’t 100% perfect, we send them to our Gevril Outlet and pass the savings on to you. The tiny scuffs or nicks which occasionally occur during shipping, or while the watch is on display in our showrooms are identical to the blemishes your watch will inevitably receive when you start wearing it. Why go through the stress of wondering when you are going to get the first scratch on your new watch, when you could be enjoying wearing it at a huge discount instead?

New Brand Name Watches Deeply Discounted

Every timepiece available for purchase at the Gevril Outlet is a brand new watch. These luxury watches have never been worn and are fully guaranteed to be in 100% working order. Each watch is shipped in the original packaging with complete documentation and a full manufacturer’s warranty*. Any imperfections are clearly detailed on the Gevril Outlet website, so there will be no surprises.

Savvy shoppers have already discovered that buying a watch at the Gevril Outlet is a win/win proposition. They have a unique opportunity to obtain their favorite timepieces at a significant discount, while eliminating the stress of wondering when they’re going to get that inevitable first scratch. If you want a blemish free watch, you’re going to have to keep it in a glass case. In the real world, watches get scratched and cars get dinged in shopping center parking lots. To start enjoying the next watch you wear, just go to the Gevril Outlet at http://stores.ebay.com/gevril-outlet and start shopping today.

*Unless otherwise indicated.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupWatchmaker and wholesale watch distributor Gevril Group is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury, Swiss and fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

The Swiss Made Dispute

Swiss Made Watch

by John Sealander  

What Wakes a Swiss Watch “Swiss?”
Even the Swiss Aren’t Sure These Days

SwitzerlandThe words Made in Switzerland can almost double the price of a luxury watch. For hundreds of years Switzerland has been regarded as the pinnacle of watchmaking expertise and watch aficionados around the world have been ready and willing to pay significantly more for a timepiece manufactured in Switzerland.

All that may be changing, since current Swiss laws governing what constitutes a Swiss watch are ambiguous at best. Currently, only 50% of the value of a watch’s movement must be made in Switzerland in order to display the very desirable words “Swiss made” on the dial. This means that less critical watch components such as cases, straps and dials can be manufactured anywhere. It has been common practice for decades for many mid-sized Swiss watchmakers to buy these components in Asia, primarily in China. With a strong Swiss franc and much higher labor costs, only a few top luxury brands can afford to manufacture all of their components in Switzerland.

Many Swiss watchmakers say that current weak Swiss laws make it possible for watches produced almost entirely in China to be sold legally under the “Swiss made” label. These manufacturers want to replace current 40-year-old directive, which says at least 50% of the value of the watch movement must be made in Switzerland, with a new law that increases the percentage of Swiss made watch components to 60%. According to Jean-Daniel Pasche, chairman of the Swiss Watch Federation, the current weak law harms Swiss brands as customers learn their timepieces are not entirely Swiss. “Some people already complain their Swiss watches are not as Swiss as they should be,” says Pasche.

Not all Swiss watch manufacturers agree. Ronnie Bernheim, head of the popular Mondaine brand, says a 60% threshold could compel makers of lower-priced Swiss made watches like Mondaine to buy cheaper components abroad. The controversy continues to rage, with watchmakers like Mondaine on one side of the issue and others like 260-year old Vacheron Constantin on the other side.

While some well-known Swiss brands like TAG Heuer now openly admit buying movement parts from Seiko in Japan, the powerful Swiss Watch Federation has become so upset about lax support for higher standards that they recently resigned from the Swiss Business Federation. “By failing to support a 60% minimum rate of Swiss value in a Swiss product, The Swiss Business Federation not only stands in the way of strengthening the protection of the Swiss made label, it also raises the likelihood of it becoming weaker than it is at present,” says a Swiss Watch Federation spokesperson.

Nobody knows where this controversy will end, since there are many different economic interests involved. Mondaine’s Ronnie Bernheim fears that stricter regulations will threaten his business and force him to cut jobs. Julien Marchenoir, brand equity director at Vacheron Constantin says a strong Swiss made label will help keep watchmaking know how in Switzerland. TAG Heuer, on the other hands, doesn’t think using Seiko parts will hurt its Swiss made image at all.

According to the Reuters News Agency, the Swiss parliament is now debating two measures about how to define a Made in Switzerland product. The lower house has argued that 60% of the value must be manufactured in Switzerland for it to bear the “Swiss made” label, while the upper house thinks that 50% is enough. However before this issue is resolved, it’s safe to say that your next watch will probably have at least a few components made in Asia.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

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