Since its debut in 1983 the classic Swatch watch has been a much loved icon – available in countless colours and variations.

HANDS-ON: The Swatch Sistem51 Irony – perfect for the Christmas stocking


Back in 2014, Swatch made waves with the original Sistem51, an innovative and affordable robot-assembled automatic watch. Much like the original Swatch, the Sistem51 was hailed as revolutionary, and touted as radically democratising the Swiss mechanical. While the sub-$200 timepiece was never going to threaten Omega’s market share (for example), it nonetheless featured some impressive technical features – like the single central screw holding the whole affair together, the anti-magnetic construction and 90 hours of power reserve. The initial Sistem51 came in the distinctive jellybean style case of the classic Swatch. Plastic, and fantastic. Earlier this year the Sistem51 got an upgrade to the Irony collection – made from far more durable (and a tad more grown-up) stainless steel. The polished case looks great, and reminds me of Marc Newson’s Biomorphism. The caseback is still clear, showing off the printed movements and peripheral rotor. The best thing though, is the dial. Swatch has released a bunch of new designs, from the fancy (and appropriately named) Tux, through to the very ‘flieger’ stylings of the Arrow. However we opted to check out the vibrant blue dial of the Boreal (which continues the vague astronomical themes of the original release), and the neat… Read More

WATCHSPOTTING: Comic legend John Cleese on his silly little watch and ‘unbelievable’ watch prices


Last night one of the elder statesman of comedy, John Cleese, appeared on Channel Ten’s prime-time news panel show The Project. Ostensibly Cleese was there to discuss a new stage version of Farty Owls – sorry, Fawlty Towers – but things got a little off track when one of the presenters asked him about his brightly coloured Swatch. Turns out this timepiece, which Cleese picked up for about £12 at a London airport is his perfect holiday accessory: “What I like about it is that it’s plastic. If you go off to the sun and sweat a lot, as you do when you get old, it rots the leather. So a silly little watch like this is much nicer.”  Cleese continued: “People are crazy about watches these days, aren’t they? The prices are unbelievable.” From this we infer that John isn’t a regular reader of Time+Tide. Check out the video for yourself – the watch chat starts three minutes in. Perhaps Cleese could take some wrist pointers from his peer across the pond, Bill Murray, spotted on screen by eagle-eyed Nick from Deployant  wearing a very fine Audemars Piguet perpetual calendar with a great back story.

FEATURE: How the humble Swatch saved Switzerland (and the Swiss watch industry)


It was April 2013 at Baselworld Watch Fair and Nick Hayek was sitting with a panel at the launch of the Swatch Sistem51. He took the opportunity to school the packed room on why Swatch still matters, and the place the humble wristwatch has in the modern history of high-end watchmaking. Notebooks out, no talking, these are the 7 Facts that matter about this eminently affordable mechanical marvel that was called “A sensation! A revolution!” by and a “Bolt of lightning” by All of the following are direct quotes from Nick Hayek, who was on fire. 1. THE SWATCH SAVED SWITZERLAND Switzerland was in misery 30-35 years ago. There was no Swiss watch industry, there were just small companies trying to survive. The strategy with the Swatch was to regain lower market share, to give the possibility for high end brands to develop and be successful. Thanks to swatch all these brands exist. 2. IN 1992 NO-ONE WANTED MECHANICAL WATCHES In 1993 Swatch launched their first mechanical watch – Time To Move. ETA were desperate. Nobody wanted to place orders for mechanical watches. So the Swatch Group took up the struggle and put money in to maintain it. Dad fought against bankers,… Read More

Win a new Swatch Sistem51 RED

Swatch Sistem 51 RED

On Tuesday we showed you the new Swatch Sistem51 blending in perfectly with the streetscape of Melbourne’s Hosier Lane. And today to celebrate the Australian launch of the clever mechanical Swatch, we’re teaming up with Swatch to give you the chance to be one of the first people in Australia to own the Sistem51 for yourself. A Sistem RED to be specific.   How to Enter 1. Fill out the form below to become a subscriber to Time+Tide.  If you are already a subscriber, thank-you and we hope you’re enjoying the updates on new posts at Time+Tide. 2. Head over to Instagram and post a photo of you and your Swatch and on that post tell us about your first Swatch in 25 words or less. That’s not a lot of words. No room for epic tales on this one: sharp and to the point. When did you get it? What do you remember about it? We need to know that you’ve posted, so please make sure that you tag @timetidewatches and @swatch on your entry. Don’t worry, the tags don’t count to the 25 words. The competition runs from 10am AEST on Friday 5 September and will finish at 5pm AEST… Read More

Australian launch of the brand new, all mechanical Swatch Sistem51 BLUE


Sliding the Swatch Sistem51 out of its box and strapping the black and blue watch onto my wrist was a pretty intensely nostalgic experience for me. You see, the first watches I bought with my own money and collected were Swatch watches. And putting the familiar jellybean case on for the first time in over a decade took me back to a time before I knew my Rolex from my Richard Mille, and before I could even imagine that watches would become a big part of my life. Such a big part of my life, in fact, that Swatch would send me the watch a full week ahead of its release on the 5th of September. Our two stories collide via Time+Tide. (Pardon me being a little starstruck throughout.)   But enough about me and my Swatch backstory. Why am I writing about this $185 Swatch on a website dedicated to discussion about some of the best high-end luxury timepieces that money can buy? Well, not to overstate the occasion, but the Sistem51 has achieved a number of firsts for mechanical watches; it has been called everything from “a bolt of lightning” to “a sensation” and “a revolution”. To understand why, you need… Read More