Staying Curious: The SISTEM51 Adventure

It all started with a full-page ad I saw in the back of the San Francisco Chronicle business section.  The colors were eye-catching and the copy was intriguing.


The ad directed me to a “POP UP STORE” at Swatch Grant and Geary in San Francisco.

SISTEM51 in SF Chronicle

SISTEM51 in SF Chronicle

Humm, I thought.  A pop-up in the Union Square area?  Might be worth checking out.

Curiously, this beautiful SISTEM51 watch ad did not have a related URL.  It was on me to do my own detective work.

Gizmodo wrote about it and so did TechCrunch.

Sounded really neat to me.  I just needed a sense of size and weight.  As one of the few who still use a watch and has been sporting a fine Timex Ironman “sleek” piece, the move from cool to “must have” was going to hinge on pragmatic factors.

Landing Page

Landing Page

Swatch, the maker of the SISTEM51, had a special web page set up, but I didn’t want to get too invested until I knew how it looked and felt on my wrist.  With Clipper card in hand, I BARTed to San Francisco and made my way to the POP UP STORE — which was at the normal Swatch location, but made-over to be 100% dedicated to the SISTEM51.  Guess they figured anyone wanting a “run of the mill” Swatch would head on over to Macy’s or buy online at Amazon.

What I Experienced:

The SISTEM51 is a very lightweight watch with a very classy look.  Not too large either.

The Blue SISTEM51

The Blue SISTEM51

As for the “STORY ON THE BACK,” I was told it is all about the 51 parts in five modules that make this watch’s self-winding mechanical movements possible. Swatch calls it “unprecedented technological innovation” and points out that there are 17 pending patents.

51 Parts in 5 Modules

51 Parts in 5 Modules

So tempting, it was.  In fact, what prevented me from pulling the trigger right then and there, was the price.  At $150, that was an expensive Swatch no matter how cool it looked and how awesome the story on the back was.

For $150, I needed a watch that truly matched what I’d wear.  The blue one was the coolest.  The all black was … all black. The white looked cheap and the red definitely didn’t match my colors.

I really wanted a green version — like British Racing Green

So I backed away from the counter while thanking the nice sales clerk who clearly hearted his SISTEM BLUE (SUTS401). Before jetting, I grabbed a fine brochure that did a really nice job telling the SISTEM51 story.

The fine brochure

The fine brochure.


Wrapping It Up.

With all this talk about smart watches, sometimes you just want something on your wrist that looks cool and does what it is supposed to do — “tell time.” The SISTEM51 meets that spec.  Plus, it has a nifty story.  See for yourself in this video.

As for me, I’ll hang onto my money and hold out for what I really, really want.


My SISTEM51 Adventure.

My SISTEM51 Adventure

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