AF­FORD­ABLE BA­SICS

Can good qual­ity and af­ford­able prices go to­gether? We test two watches that each have a me­tal case and an in-house move­ment but a price un­der $400. The Swatch Sis­tem51 Irony Tux and the Seiko SRP772K1 face our scru­tiny.

WatchTime - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Melissa Gössling

| Can good qual­ity and af­ford­able prices go to­gether? We test two watches that each have a me­tal case and an in-house move­ment but a price un­der $400. e Swatch Sis­tem51 Irony Tux and the Seiko SRP772K1 face our scru­tiny.

— The Swatch Sis­tem51 Irony raised eye­brows when it de­buted to­ward the end of 2016. Com­ments posted in fo­rums wel­comed long-awaited, in­no­va­tive, au­to­matic Cal­iber ETA C10.111 in a stain­less-steel case. Fully au­to­mated fab­ri­ca­tion and au­to­matic fine ad­just­ment, along with a mere 51 com­po­nents, make this cal­iber un­usual. Swatch is well known for brightly col­ored quartz watches with plas­tic cases. e new au­to­matic move­ment was en­cased in plas­tic in 2016. Watch fans weren’t en­thu­si­as­tic about this, but the price was tempt­ingly low (around $150). Swatch con­tin­ues af­ford­able pric­ing for the Sis­tem51 Irony line. Our test watch, the Tux, is one of the most ex­pen­sive mod­els in the line at $235.

e se­lec­tion of such time­keep­ers is fairly small. If you’re look­ing for a steel watch with an in-house move­ment for less than $400, you’ll end up at Seiko. is Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer of­fers watches in all price classes and has am­ple ex­per­tise in mak­ing me­chan­i­cal and quartz watches, as well as ra­dio-con­trolled time­pieces and watches with so­lar or ki­netic power sources. Our test model, the SRP772K1, sells for $375, at the high end of our de­fined price cat­e­gory. Pop­u­lar fash­ion brands of­fer quartz watches in the $200 to $400 price range: ese time­keep­ers score points with cus­tomers pri­mar­ily be­cause of a brand’s im­age and their de­signs, which al­ways in­cor­po­rate the lat­est trends. Gold-plated watches, for ex­am­ple, are cur­rently in vogue.

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