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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I’ve purchased two Swatch Sistem51 watches in blue, one in Shanghai a couple months ago and the other at the New York City Swatch popup store three weeks ago. I like the light weight, catchy graphics, and comfortable strap. At the same I’ve noticed some possible performance problems and one very odd technical feature:

1. Rotor wobble. Some reviewers have mentioned the rotor is noisy but that is not an issue for me. I have noticed that while the model I purchased in Shanghai has a very audible whirring sound, the same model purchased in New York has a variable pitch. And sure enough when I look at its rotor through the back I can see a slight wobble like an out-of-true bicycle wheel.

2. Minute hand lag. When I set the watch to the correct time and push the crown back in, the second hand makes a full revolution before the minute hand begins to move. So if I set the watch to 8:00, by the time the minute hand starts moving, the time is already 8:01. To compensate for this I set the time one minute in advance of the actual time. It is odd that no online reviewers have commented on this issue and both watches, the one purchased in Shanghai and one in New York, have the same hand-setting issue. Have any of you who have this watch noticed this?

3. Timekeeping. While both watches keep decent time for an “affordable watch” neither comes close to the +/- 7 seconds/day rate Swatch advertises. At least one reviewer said the watch performs up to this standard once it has built up a large power reserve. I will try wearing it for several days in a row and while I am more active to see if the performance is better then. The rotor moves in both directions but only winds the watch only when moving clockwise. I would imagine unidirectional rotors are less efficient especially for those who are not very active. Does anyone know how I would be able to tell that the watch had reached its 90 hour power reserve, other than by winding it up for a minute or so just to make sure it is fully wound?

Of course Swatch offers a 24 month guarantee on these watches so I may return the one with the rotor wobble for a replacement.
 

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Does anyone know how I would be able to tell that the watch had reached its 90 hour power reserve, other than by winding it up for a minute or so just to make sure it is fully wound?
I think you can hand-wind it? (Just need to wind it in the opposite direction of almost any other watch. ;) )
 

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Wow. That sounds terrible for a mechanical watch at that price point. Mind you HMT or other sub $100 affortables aren't perfect. ... I am especially surprised about the minute hand lag, can't really picture in my mind how in the world that works. I seen some breakdown of the movement and the gear train looks to be a conventional layout. Very puzzled
 

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Minute hand lag. When I set the watch to the correct time and push the crown back in, the second hand makes a full revolution before the minute hand begins to move. So if I set the watch to 8:00, by the time the minute hand starts moving, the time is already 8:01. To compensate for this I set the time one minute in advance of the actual time. It is odd that no online reviewers have commented on this issue and both watches, the one purchased in Shanghai and one in New York, have the same hand-setting issue. Have any of you who have this watch noticed this?
I agree that it is odd that no reviewer has mentioned this as I suspect that it would be common to all examples. Some movements inherently have a fair bit of slack in the setting mechanism. The ETA 7750 seems to have about 20-30 seconds of lag before the minute hand picks up. A simple way of overcoming this issue is to make sure that when you are setting the time, you make the final adjustment in the forward direction and then maintain a slight forward tension as you return the crown to the base position. That usually works for me.
 

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If you're having issues with the watch, you should certainly return it for a replacement. It shouldn't matter if you bought it Shanghai or NYC, you should be able to return it at any Swatch store and exchange it at the NYC or San Fran stores.

I have none of the problems you describe on either the black or white version. My wife wears the white one almost daily and hasn't had to adjust the time since I set it a few weeks ago. I haven't checked the time on the watch, but I try to do it today. I don't wear the black one for long enough periods of time for it to be judged on it's accuracy.

Neither of the watches have rotor wobble and neither definitely have an issue with the minute hand.

As far as unidirectional vs bidirectional rotor winding, if the movement is efficient enough, it won't matter whether it winds in one direction or both directions. The Sistem 51 is certainly efficient. It is not unusual for an automatic watch to only wind in one direction.

The intention for these, since they are not able to be regulated in any way, is for them to be returned if there is an issue. I think you should do just that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your responses. I spoke with a Swatch representative (and I've emailed the service center waiting for a response) who reset his watch on the phone and assured me the minute hand was advancing with no lag. Now what are the odds of that, two watches purchased on two continents -- so probably not from the same manufacturing batch -- with the same issue? It's like winning the lottery the wrong way...
 

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mine maked the whirring sound when i bring it up quickly to my ear. it is the same sound it makes when you wind it. so i assume it is just the rotor spinning around a few times. actually i can rock my wrist back and forth and keep the rotor spinning and spinning. that may become a way to waste time, just sitting and making it spin. :-s maybe i should not have figured that out.

the second hand on my watch seems to be staying even with the one on my atomic clock, but my watch does not have indices, so it is hard to say it is set exactly right to the minute most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the second hand on my watch seems to be staying even with the one on my atomic clock, but my watch does not have indices, so it is hard to say it is set exactly right to the minute most of the time.
I just had a look a white Sistem51 and it does have minute indices. If you tilt the watch and look along the sides of the dial you'll see the indices.
 

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I just had a look a white Sistem51 and it does have minute indices. If you tilt the watch and look along the sides of the dial you'll see the indices.
:) i saw that yesterday, but it is just molded white on white plastic, so not easy to see. not ones that are easy to read like all of the other sistem51 watches.
 

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Hi, when i ajust time there is some free space, when you move crown to one and other side, there is a gap, so when you adust time and push crown back and its somewhere inside this gap it takes some time the wheels inside the machine to tight up and move the minute and hour hands. its weird but i can feel it from adjusting.
the second thing you can feel full wind and hear it. When its fully winded and you are still winding, you hear and feel the skips of the iron power reserve thing that is widing (sorry i dont know the technical terms). you hear the skips, i can imagine it but not describe.
 

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While I don't own a Sistem 51, I will give my opinion about the first two points.

1. I have two Seiko automatic watches (7s26 and 4R36). Both their rotors wobble; a "problem" that is not unheard of, and that on the 7s26 seemingly hits the caseback too. I have owned it for 1 year and 8 months and yet to face a functionality problem with it; it went through a lot of abuse. Hopefully the rotor wobble on the ETA? movement in the Sistem51 is not a problem either.

2. This is definitely not the first time I read about this, and most probably nothing is wrong with the watch. As a first instinct, I guess I read that a few years ago in a review of an automatic Swatch. If my memory was intact, I'd say this "issue" is by design. :)

Congratulations on your purchase. Enjoy it and get over those minor quirks.
 

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Just to add my observations, received my Sistem51 Irony Arrow today, and it has exactly the same minute hand delay when setting...I assume this must be within spec/design?

Also it’s got a pretty loud rotor, whirrs proudly as you move your wrist.
 
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