It is well known amongst my friendship group, and amongst us here at TYH, that I have a deep affection for Swatch Watches. Despite them being technically simplistic, plastic and quartz, for me they completely sum up what this hobby is fundamentally all about. Having fun. Not only do they not take themselves too seriously (if at all) they allow the wearer to express themselves in a way that no other watch has the ability to do.
The other thing that attracts me to Swatch, in the same way as G-shock, is a deep nostalgia. For a lot of us, our first watch will most likely have been one of three brands, the two aforementioned, and perhaps a Timex (as mine was). This evocative feeling allows you to get completely caught up with the memories associated with wearing these little plastic watches.
One of the recent developments in the Swatch universe is its continued partnership with Hodinkee. This has manifested in an expanding collection of Limited Edition Sistem 51’s. For those of you who do not know, the Sistem 51 is Swatches 51 part, completely machine assembled automatic movement, encased in a quintessential plastic watch case. They are superbly built and work a treat.
Hodinkee's 3 previous Sistem 51's... Photo Credit: Hodinkee
And last week, completely unexpectedly, Hodinkee and Swatch have released a ‘bonus’ Summer collaboration, the Swatch x Hodinkee Sistem 51 Summer Collection. So let us take a look…
The Sistem 51 ‘Summer Collection’
The Hodinkee x Sistem 51 family is now a 4 piece collection. All coming in the ‘off the shelf’ configuration, the changes to a traditional Sistem 51 by Hodinkee are all purely aesthetical. Whilst some are re-imaginings of vintage Swatches from years gone by, this one is a new, summer piece which will get a lot of peoples juices flowing as mine are. The watch itself is reasonably minimal in terms of styling. The case, dial, and strap are all pure white. The subtle nods of colour come from the markers and hands. The hour and minute hands come in jet black, as do most of the markers. I say this because the 12,3 and 9 markers come in a royal blue (with the 6 pm marker replaced by a date window as with all system 51’s). The second hand then comes in a light blue colour to complete a very minimal but playful design.
The Flik Flak
One thing that Hodinkee has never done before with their Swatch collaboration Limited Edition is explore the world of the Flik-Flak. This is where the real nostalgia comes in. The Flik Flak was designed with the intention of being THE first watch. Simple, legible, with an easy bracelet to put on, it was the perfect companion for learning to tell the time.
Flik Flak was created by Swatch as a subsidiary in 1987. The ethos was to provide a tool for teaching young children how to tell the time. Since then, Flik Flak has partnered with teachers to formulate original and engaging designs that make telling the time fun! This example is quintessential Flik Flak, with big Arabic numerals and chunky hands, making time telling a doddle. This piece is in a matching colour scheme to the Sistem 51, and if it was a touch bigger than its 32mm size, I would have snapped one up and worn it happily! (I may still do…)
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
These two watches can be purchased separately, or together. Considering the Flik Flak comes in at £31.65, adding it to a purchase of the Sistem 51 to get that up to a £165 total spend seems like a good round number to me.
I am a complete Swatch fanboy, being the brand that I actually own the most watches from, and this example is no exception. I think it is gorgeous and would be a worthy companion on my wrist for the warmer months…
Could it be my second Swatch x Hodinkee collaboration piece? We shall have to wait and see…
Editor & Co-Founder