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Swatch's robot-made wristwear offers classic Swiss time at a tiny price

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 1, 2014
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For many watch lovers, Swiss mechanical movement is the gold standard. However, it's also staggeringly expensive -- it's all too common to spend several hundred (if not several thousand) dollars just to see "Genève" on your wrist. That's what makes the US launch of Swatch's Sistem51 so special. While the watch still behaves like a conventional Swiss automatic with visible mechanisms, it's built using a fully robotic process that gets rid of the elaborate hand-crafting that drives up the price. As a result, you'll only pay $150 for the privilege, or about as much as an ordinary quartz timekeeper.

The Sistem51's transparent, brightly-hued look isn't for everyone; you probably wont wear it to a high-brow social function. However, it does have a few technical advantages over some pricier watches. There's a 90-hour power reserve to keep it ticking when idle, and the sealed body should keep out the dust or moisture that could lead to a costly repair. Just be ready to make a pilgrimage if you want one as soon as possible. The Sistem51 is only available at Swatch's Times Square store in New York as we write this, and the West coast will have to sit tight until the July 8th launch in San Francisco. It may take considerably more time to reach other parts of the country. If you've already been waiting ages to brag about owning a watch with Swiss mechanicals, though, it won't hurt to hold out for a little while longer.

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