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The Swatch Sistem51 Blue Edition For HODINKEE $150 never looked so good.

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After all the excitement surrounding last year’s Swatch Sistem51 HODINKEE Vintage 84, we knew we had to partner with Swatch on another collaboration. This year we're back with a new take on the brand's unique and affordable mechanical watch – the Swatch Sistem51 Blue Edition for HODINKEE. 

While the Vintage 84 was grounded in Swatch history, referencing an aviation-influenced design from the 1980s that we found in the archives, the Blue Edition is something all its own. The watch taps into multiple points of inspiration to create a design that is fresh and contemporary while still feeling quintessentially Swatch. Just like last time though, this Sistem51 is powered by one of the more interesting mechanical movements of recent times, completing the package. Whether you're a new collector looking for your first mechanical watch, a seasoned collector who enjoys having something relaxed for the weekend, or just someone nostalgic for the good old days of Swatch madness, we think this one ticks all the right boxes.

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The Design
Whenever we sit down to design a new watch, whether it's a high-end indie hit like the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire, an icon like the Omega Speedmaster, or a Sistem51, we always strive to mix new ideas and references to classic watchmaking. The Sistem51 Blue Edition sits at the intersection of these two design philosophies. On the one hand, it has a purity that recalls the simple three-hand watches that made Swatch such a success in the 1980s. On the other hand though, the watch has a sense of whimsy and fun communicated by the use of saturated colors and unconventional typography throughout. Working together with Swatch's outstanding design team we created a watch that incorporates these classic and bold qualities in equal measure, making for a watch that immediately draws you in, even if you have no idea what you're looking at.

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The watch's name comes from its combination of blue case, blue strap, and grey-blue dial, all of which pay homage to carefree, monochromatic Swatches from the company’s past. But when you look closer at the dial, you'll notice that the alternating hour markers and numbers show the odd numbers instead of the even numbers, and employ hand-drawn numerals inspired by classic dress watches from the 1940s. The addition of a white-on-black date wheel – which lets the date blend in with the round, even hour markers – and broad luminous hands furthers the sense of subtle contrasts while also aiding legibility. As a brand, Swatch has always been comfortable contrasting disparate design elements in its watches as a way to call attention to what makes each special in the first place; the Swatch Sistem51 Blue Edition for HODINKEE carries on this design tradition to great effect.

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The Sistem51 Blue Edition's cool blue tones lend it a minimalist, monochrome appearance that simultaneously has classic Swatch DNA and a new personality of its own. This is the very first Sistem51 that doesn't have the distinctive red dots on the dial that are typically used to indicate the positions of key jewels in the movement below, which streamlines the overall appearance. This watch can be something of a chameleon, looking great with a simple t-shirt and shorts, a chunky turtleneck, or even a tweed sports coat if you want to dress things up. 

The Movement

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Flip the Sistem51 Blue Edition over and you're greeted by the familiar Sistem51 movement. The caliber is a fully integrated part of the Sistem51 watch and it is visible through the transparent caseback. Here it's rendered with a red, white, and blue swirling pattern that shifts as the peripheral rotor spins around the outer edge to wind the watch. Swatch was among the first companies to champion the idea of affordable Swiss watchmaking that wasn’t overly self-important or serious, and since its introduction in 2013, the Sistem51 has brought this ethos into the modern era. 

As anyone who has worn one of these watches will attest, the Sistem51 is a deceptively precise little instrument, despite its movement being one of the simplest mechanical calibers on the planet (there are only 51 components, including the central screw that holds it all together). This becomes all the more impressive when you consider that these watches cost well under $200, presenting tremendous value.

How To Buy

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The Swatch Sistem51 Blue Edition for HODINKEE is available now in the HODINKEE Shop and on the Swatch website. Additionally, a limited supply will be available in-store at the Swatch Times Square flagship boutique in New York City from November 29. This watch is not a numbered edition, but quantities are limited.

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Nothing makes us happier than partnering with watchmakers to make products that make watch lovers happy. This should do the trick. In that spirit, we want to make sure that there is enough of this great watch to go around, so there is a limit of a maximum of three Swatch Sistem51 Blue Edition for HODINKEE watches per customer. Thank you for understanding.

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