Akil Wingate | Mar 28, 2017 | 0
Swatch Irony “Body & Soul” YAS100G Hands-On Review
Every Watch Geek Goes Through a “Skeleton” Phase. If You’re There Now, the Swatch “Body & Soul” YAS100G is a Pretty Affordable Pick.
But is it any good? That’s the question we’re looking to answer today!
The other skeleton watch I’ve had serious wrist-time with is the Tissot Squelette (read the review if you’re wanting to see me gush for 1,500+ words). However, I’ve had plenty of wrist time with open hearts from a variety of brands- the Jazzmaster Open Heart, Bulova 97A121 and 96A101, and Stuhrling Acheron all come to mind. They offer a taste, but they aren’t true skeletons- that makes this Swatch the second I’ve had on my wrist (and behind my lens).
The MSRP on the Body and Soul is just north of $175, but astute Amazon shoppers will see it for around $150. For $150, you can get a lot of mechanical or automatic skeletons. So, is the Swatch better, and if so, why?
Let’s dig in.
Swatch “Body & Soul” YAS100G Technical Specifications
Automatic, ETA 2841
Estimated 48 hours
30m / 99 ft
Swatch is a Major Player in the Industry
The Swatch Group is one of the largest conglomerates in the watchmaking world and owns brands that range from low-end to outright luxurious. Among them include Bruguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Hamilton, Mido, Certina, and a few more.
They also produce watches under the Swatch brand. Commonly found in shopping malls and usually made from plastic or rubber, you wouldn’t be wrong to associate a Swatch watch with something that is more stylistically focused versus something that is horoligically significant (or event relevant). Yet, here we are with an ETA-powered automatic that rings in under $150 on the street (or net, I guess).
It’s hard to find an automatic, made by a major brand, using a Swiss movement at the price that you can buy the Body & Soul for. Swatch is able to do it because they happen to also own ETA.
Taking the Aesthetic Lead is the ETA 2841. Mmm…
When looking at a skeleton watch, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details. Many brands – notably, Chinese brands – love to detail and decorate the movement. Stuhrling Original is famous for this. In my opinion, this can be easily overdone and instead of enhancing the aesthetic value of a timepiece, the overly-decorated movement devalues it.
Swatch makes no such mistake here, instead leaving the movement more or less undecorated front and back. Several gears and jewels are visible on the dial, and their color (gold for the gears, ruby for the… rubies) provide the color that the rest of the watch lacks.
As you can guess, I’m a big fan of that. In addition to making for some excellent photography, leaving the movement to speak for itself upscales the piece (even if the bezel and bracelet try to accomplish the opposite).
The rest of the watch – the bezel, case, and bracelet (with deployant clasp) is heavily branded. Were it not an ETA movement inside, such branding would relegate the YAS100G to “fashion watch” status. It brings down the piece holistically (in my humble opinion). However, it’s easy to overlook the Swatch everywhere motif because the branding is engraved in the stainless steel, and the majority of the time your eye will be on the dial… not the bezel.
The ETA 2841 Automatic Movement
The movement is an interesting thing. The source movement is an ETA-2824, but the 2841 has been modified to suit the needs of the YAS100G. Most notably, the date-wheel and hacking functions have been removed in order to reduce cost and show off the mainspring. The BPH has also been reduced from 28,800 to 21,600 (at 21,600 bph, the Body & Soul still ticks away faster than many automatics in this price range that tend to average 18,000 bph).
There’s rampant speculation online that several of the parts have been switched from metal to plastic (the escape wheel and pallet are the two most commonly discussed), but I don’t think that is the case. Under heavy zoom both appear to be metal to me (then again, I’m not a watchmaker).
The seconds hand visibly “ticks” as opposed to sweeps, but it’s a smoother motion than the 7S26 (found inside the Seiko 5 series of watches) and lower-end Miyota automatics. Considering its entry-level price, it’s perfectly appropriate that it ticks along as it does.
Using my favorite app, Toolwatch.io, I’ve found that this particular YAS100G is running +17 seconds. That’s not wonderful, but I suppose it’s to be expected for a watch of this price.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure the back can be easily opened- the exhibition caseback looks pressed into place. If that is the case, getting it regulated to improve accuracy may prove to be too expensive to be worth it, or simply not possible at all.
- To adjust the time, pull the crown to the farthest position (position 2). Turn the crown clockwise to adjust the time.
- To manually wind the watch, leave the crown active (position 1) and turn the crown clockwise to wind the mainspring.
The Body & Soul Might be the Only Swatch Automatic I Review
When Swatch released the Sistem51 series of watches I was initially excited to get my hands on one to review and photograph. However, once I learned that the Sistem51 cannot be serviced, my enthusiasm for the piece waned considerably. In my opinion, creating a watch that cannot be repaired – only replaced – is wasteful. In today’s world, with an ever-increasing focus on sustainability, it seems wilfully ignorant to create a product that must be replaced when anything goes wrong.
Thankfully, the Body & Soul does not suffer the same lack of consideration in its design. Swatch Canada has confirmed that the YAS100G can indeed be serviced. Not by your local watchmaker, mind you, but by a Swatch service center. For me, this means shipping my watch across the country should something go wrong.
It’s important to note that Swatch provides a 2 year warranty should it require repair due to manufacturers defect.
Aside from the too-ambitious branding, and the stainless-steel bracelet that’s just okay, I have little in the way of complaints. The YAS100G is an otherwise fine watch with a Swiss movement and a wonderful view. It’s a watch that pleases both the 17 year old and 31 year old in me, and these days that’s pretty hard to do.