Today, we’re going to be looking at a watch from a brand we’ve not had on our pages before: SYE. They are a French brand that started up a few years ago, and have landed on a unique way of attaching a strap to their watches. While they’ve got a total of five models now, we’re starting out with one of their first – the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H.

One other item we should get out of the way – SYE is an acronym for Start Your Engines. Watches of course have a grand heritage with motorsports, though the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H itself didn’t feel particularly “racy”. Still, it’s a theme. Where it really shows up is in the naming of their strap attachment system: fastback. So, let’s talk about that, as this is the most unique thing about the watches.

Rather than a solid case back, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H has a plate (that reminds me of the Green Lantern logo) that you screw in place, with a special tri-lobe fastener (and yes, the tool is also included). What this plate does is sandwich the metal reinforcement at the end of the straps between it and the case, locking things in place. The potential buyer is going to have two concerns with this.

First, of course, is how stable and strong that connection is. In my time with the watch, it was perfectly fine. The top portion of the strap had a small bit of wobble in it (rotating the plate didn’t change it), but it was fine. And the lower, longer portion of the strap was rock steady. While odd, I’d say this connection method is no less sturdy than our trusty spring bars, and may indeed be a bit stronger (no, I did not generate any tension tests).

Secondly, you might be worried about the aftermarket for straps. I mean, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to swapping straps in, aren’t we? So, I asked SYE about this, and this is what they had to say:

1- Tough strap : the strap construction is made to last : stainless steel insert + a hidden 3D printed piece to ensure the shape and avoid wrinkles. I’m wearing the 1st functional prototype (I’ll make a post on IG soon about that) since 2 years and a half every day to make sure it lasts and it didn’t move except its patina

2- Deal with JEAN ROUSSEAU Paris : if something should happen to the company, we have a deal with our strap manufacturer JEAN ROUSSEAU Paris to continue the strap and sell them on their website.

3- We’ve recently introduced a steel bracelet to reassure the potential customers not convinced in leather and this one also made to last for a long time.

Honestly we did not want to launch something short term and consider straps as consumables. No we were focused on aesthetic integration of leather/steel and bringing a new comfort on the wrist thanks to our strap and no lugs system.

Arnaud Pezeron, SYE CEO

In other words, they’ve taken pains to address those concerns on the strap of the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H (and it’s brethren in the catalog). This of course contributes a lugless design to the watch, and helps keep the watch closer on your wrist.

Now, what about the watch that the strap of the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H is connected to? Here, we’ve got a clean three-hander look (with appropriately sized and legible hands). In fact, there’s a lot of steel to this vision, as you’ve got polished steel hands spinning over a brushed steel dial set into a 5-part steel case. You want steel? Forget those high-end brands that won’t even let you in the door of the AD – SYE has you covered.

For as monochromatic as that could end up being, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H is perfectly legible. First, you’ve got a contrast in finishes. Polished hands and indices stand out from the dial as they catch the light, and even the 24-hour subdial catches the light differently, allowing it to stand out. Sure, the subdial is a little small to read the exact hour, but you get used to where things are in the day.

Finally, of course, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H has a date display. I always find this to be a useful complication, as it was here. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a larger or bolder implementation here. Boldness has been reserved for the strap system, it seems, so perhaps we’ll see some innovation in the dial design to up the functionality of their designs.

Powered by the Miyota 8217 automatic movement, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H should run reliably and reasonably accurate. Of course, should it be off of your wrist past it’s 42-hour power reserve, that 24-hour indication will let you know where in the “day” you are, and you can choose to set the date separately, or just wind the time around and let the date take care of itself. As reviewed here, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24H will run you $757 with one strap; additional straps are $143 while the bracelet is $133. There is also a chronograph version of the watch (using the Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz movement), and a newer version of the reviewed watch, known as the Pebble, also being offered. If you’re looking for a more tactile feel in putting your watch strap on, well, SYE is the race to be in.

Tech Specs from SYE

  • CASE
    • Material: stainless steel 316L
    • Construction: 5-part case construction
    • Crystal: scratch-resistant & AR coated sapphire
    • Caseback: Fastback™  system 
    • Water resistance: 50 meters (5 ATM)
    • Diameter: 40,5mm
    • Width (incl crown): 43,5mm
    • Thickness : 13,4mm
    • Weight: 100g (3,53 oz) approx.
  • DIAL
    • Colors: Silver or Smoky grey brushed steel dial
    • Functions: hour, minute, second, date, 24h sub-dial
    • Hands: diamond shape with Superluminova™  coating
    • Fastback™  Premium strap among 10 variations
    • Lining: full grain Italian calf in SYE blue
    • Stitches: constrasting stitches
    • Buckle: brushed stainless steel deployment buckle
    • Length: 120/80mm (long/short strap)
    • Type: automatic mechanical movement
    • Caliber: Miyota 8217
    • Jewels: 21 jewels
    • Frequency: 21 600 alternances / hour (3 Hz)
    • Power reserve: 42 hours
    • Content of the box: SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24 watch + Premium Fastback™ strap + deployement buckle + Fastback™ tool
    • Warranty: 2 years
    • Special: exclusive launch edition numbered and limited to 500 pieces.

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Last Update: January 11, 2022