Boutique Opening: Casio G-Factory Premium Boutique at MBS
Previous
RANDOM
Review: Nomos Lambda
Next

9 Reasons to Enjoy Sinn

by Jonathan Ho on October 26, 2016

As a brand, Sinn doesn’t market itself aggressively or speciously. I mention this because in these contemporary times, there is a zeitgeist of equating a high prices and overbearing marketing as synonyms for luxury or superlative-crafts few recall the golden age age for Louis Vuitton in the 1900s when the humble malletier had yet to become an allegorical face for contemporary luxury – instead, they were simply known for their well made, water-resistant travel bags and luggages – a necessity during when travel by steamship was the norm; this in turn fuelled and desire for their well-made goods which eventually promoted their evolution into a global brand behemoth.

Thus, when one looks at Sinn and its founding in 1961, you can spot a similar ethos and philosophy when it comes to making practical products which develop a cachet of desire all by itself. Helmut Sinn, a flight instructor and former World War II pilot birthed Helmut Sinn Spezialuhren in Frankfurt am Main for the sole purpose of crystalising his flight experience into the manufacture of watches and navigation instruments purposefully designed for pilots in mind.

Reasons to Enjoy Sinn: 1. They’re tremendously well made.

Truth is, Sinn isn’t the most famous brand. They might have been late-comers to the horological space race (won by Omega in case you haven’t heard) but they have nevertheless been to space, on the wrist of German physicist and astronaut Professor Dr. Reinhard Furrer when he wore his Sinn 140 S during his D-1 spacelab mission in 1985 and it wasn’t a one-trick stunt either, the Sin 142 S also followed astronaut Klaus-Dietrich Flade in the Mir-92 mission and once more in 1993 on board the NASA Shuttle Columbia where its cousin the D-2 chronograph joined the 142 on 160 earth orbits.

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn

Left, the Sinn 140; Right, the Sinn 142 chronograph – these models have been updated but are emblematic of the brand’s most illustrious timepieces having shared a history of space flight. The original 140 S was driven by a modified Lemania 5100 movement during the D-1 Spacelab mission in 1985. More importantly, the models today are equipped with Ar-Dehumidifying Technology.

Still, it’s best years were ahead of them when engineer Lothar Schmidt acquired the company on 1 September 1994, ushering in a new-era of not just well-made watches but materially and technologically advanced timepieces; Helmut Sinn Spezialuhren becomes Sinn Spezialuhren GmbH and their first order of business – the Sinn 244 made with titanium and endowed with magnetic field protection exceeding the DIN standard for amagnetic watches.

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn-2

The Sinn 244 Ti I, though discontinued, is considered by WIS to be the other Milgauss. The 36mm Titanium watch with COSC certified ETA 2892-A2 is water-resistant to 20BAR and resistent to magnetism of up to 80000 A/m.

2. Sinn’s technology is pretty cool too…

While Anti-Magnetism is quite well-known and almost a standard feature for METAS-certified Omega collections, watches like the Sinn 140 and Sinn 142 chronograph are equipped with Ar-Dehumidifying Technology. This technology solves a fundamental problem with mechanical watches: premature aging of oils due to seepage of moisture. Sinn’s Ar-Dehumidifying Technology protects the movement with a near anhydrous atmosphere with the innovation of a three pronged system: a drying capsule (a capsule filled with copper sulfate which absorbs moisture from the air inside the case and binds it permanently – the capsule turns blue as it fills), Extreme Diffusion-Reducing seals (EDR reduce the infiltration of moisture in the case to as little as 25% versus conventional nitrile rubber case seals) and protective gas filling. According to Sinn, even a water-resistant watch is not immune to gaseous water present in the atmosphere, as such water particles can penetrate the seal systems of a watch case.

One unique feature catches the eye right away – the screw-fastened crown of the Sinn EZM 1 lies on the left side of the solid pure titanium case facing away from the wrist. The protected push-pieces are ideally positioned so they can be started and stopped using your right thumb.

One unique feature catches the eye right away – the screw-fastened crown of the Sinn EZM 1 lies on the left side of the solid pure titanium case facing away from the wrist. The protected push-pieces are ideally positioned so they can be started and stopped using your right thumb.

Ironically, while fictional special operatives named Bond were enjoyed the use of dedicated dive watches on their missions, Sinn was busy equipping mission timers for the elite GSG 9 (Border Protection Group 9 of the Federal Police). The EZM1 and EZM2 watches were a special breed in the long history of martial/military watches.

Read also:   Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres

For those of you who played Counterstrike or read the Tom Clancy Rainbow Six novels, you would know that the German GSG 9 elite police forces were not your usual SWAT team. Generally, they train alongside elite SEAL and Delta units during international counter-terrorism exchanges. The Sinn EZM 1 isn’t your typical destro or “leftie” watch either, it was purpose-built to have operational push pieces on the left for two reasons – 1. ease of use by the right thumb so you didn’t have to take your whole palm off your weapon grips while operating it. 2. If you intended to prone and take a secured firing position on the ground, you would place your left palm on the floor (while still holding your Mp5 or FNP-90 in your right, pushed against your shoulder) and then lie down. A watch with right facing controls would bite into the back of your left palm if you weren’t careful.

Early example of the Sinn EZM1 with tritium indices indicated by the 3H on dial. The indices have gained a mottled golden hue over the years and is characteristic of tritium paint. The case is Argon filled and a small Copper Sulphate capsule is embedded in the top right lug. The capsule is normally white, but will turn blue when moisture enters the case.

Early example of the Sinn EZM1 with tritium indices indicated by the 3H on dial. The indices have gained a mottled golden hue over the years and is characteristic of tritium paint.

The case is Argon filled and a small Copper Sulphate capsule is embedded in the top right lug. The capsule is normally white, but will turn blue when moisture enters the case.

The EZM 1 was about as elite of a tool watch as it could get: an automatic Lemania 5100 movement with central stop watch seconds and shock resistance as per DIN 8308 (DIN or Deutsches Institut für Normung e. V. is similar to the ISO governing standard) and Anti-magnetism as per DIN 8309, rated to 30BAR water-resistance and bearing the AR protection and temperature resistance of temperatures from –20°C up to +70°C. In short, it’s a great watch for Arctic Batman or Desert Batman.

Wait, at –20°C won’t the oil congeal?

No. Because Sinn doesn’t design things for mere marketing appeal, their watches are actually built to perform at those specs and that includes the lubricants they use. In 1998, a SINN special oil 66-228 was invented to enhance temperature resistance so that watches could remain functional between temperatures of –45 °C up to +80 °C.

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn-4

The Sinn 303 KRISTALL chronograph was tested at the Yukon Quest, a gruelling 1,600km arctic dog sledding competition.

The sum total of Sinn’s technological inventiveness was exemplified in the Sinn 303 Kristall Chronograph and then it was put to the test at the Yukon Quest -a harsh 1,600 km arctic race between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska at the height of winter. Replicating the coldest, most treacherous 10-16 day journeys of historical Gold Rush and mail delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. A singular human ‘musher’, his Sinn 303 and 14 canines make the trip across not just dangerous hidden terrain but also unpredictable weather (for which there is no relief even in the event of a freak weather event).

Read also:   Baselworld 2016: Chester's Top 5 Watches

Look Ma, No Oil: Development of DIAPAL Technology

Few are aware of this but Sinn was the first to go lubricant free (at least for the escapement) before it was all the rage with the use of silicon escapements. DIAPAL or DIAmond PALette technology allow oil-free escapements courtesy of polished diamonds in place of rubies and since diamonds (the hardest material on earth) hardly wear down at all, they ensure consistent amplitude for the balance through friction-free operation. This special combination of material and technology ensure lubricant-free long-term precision and it first debuted in the Sinn 6000 Jubilee Frankfurt Financial District watch.

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn-5

DIAPAL debuted in the Sinn 6000 but can now be found in a variety of Sinn watches including the 103 chronograph. Modifying escapements on base Valjoux calibres is no easy task.

3. Literal “solid” Gold (before it became a thing)

Today we have Ceragold, Magic Gold and a host of other hardened, scratch resistant gold composites but back in the day, Sinn was already paying the same attention to detail to case materials beginning with an innovation virtually unheard of in 1995 – hardened gold. Indeed, the first gold watch made by Sinn was a 22-carat special alloy with a high proportion of gold and yet matching the material hardness of steel. The company would only match this pinnacle of robustness almost a decade later with the Tegiment process.

Tegimentum (latin for protective layer) forms the philosophy behind Sinn’s Tegiment technology. First introduced in the Sinn 756 Duochronograph at Baselworld 2003, the innovation was initially used only on stainless steel cases but soon came to encompass all materials specially hardened by the brand.

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn-6

Left: Sinn 958 limited edition chronograph acquits itself admirably during the Fulda Challenge and at the 24 hour Nürburgring’s “Green Hell” race. Right: TEGIMENT was first used on a stainless steel Sinn 756 chronograph pictured.

Truth be told, the name Tegiment is somewhat a misnomer as it implies a superficial coating, the fact is that the material itself is specially hardened such that the first few microns itself are hardened thus providing a significantly greater level of scratch and dent resistance.

4. Two words: Submarine Steel

Rolex 904L steel sounds like a cool material but have you tried explaining the technical distinction to a non Watch Idiot Savant? Well, here’s a quick primer:

Most watches use normal annealed austenitic 316L stainless steels and they have 150 – 190 HV on a Vickers Hardness scale. When they are “ice-hardened” like what Sinn used to do before the development of Tegiment technology, it goes up to 700 HV which makes it fairly expensive.

The latest Sinn U1 camo with submarine steel. The brand practically dares you to try it around zippers and desks. You no longer have to worrying about dings.

The latest Sinn U1 camo with submarine steel. The brand practically dares you to try it around zippers and desks. You no longer have to worrying about dings.

The 904L steel used by Rolex for its watches, simply comes with a high content of Ni, Cr and Mo ((nickel chromium molybdenum) and it costs almost three times more than 316L. For all intents and purposes 904L enjoys slightly more hardness and better corrosion resistant properties, mainly in extreme and warm sea water environments.

904L vs. SUG Submarine Steel

Enter Sächsische Uhrentechnologie GmbH Glashütte or SUG. Founded in 1999, all SUG does is manufacture technologically sophisticated watch cases for Sinn Spezialuhren. Their patented blend of “Submarine Steel” or non-magnetic U-boat HY-100 high yield low-alloy Ni-Cr-Mo submarine steel (containing C, Mn, P, S, Cu, Si, Ni, Cr, Mo, V and Ti and made to MIL-S-16216K specifications – however, the exact composition is classified) has 300 – 400 HV unhardened. By the time it is “Tegimented”, it hits around 1500 – 2000 HV. A simple experiment: use your watch around zippered jacket pockets for a week and then examine your Tegimented Submarine steel U1 and compare it with a regular stainless steel watch. You will find virtually no micro-scratches on your Sinn U1.

Read also:   Review: TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 (live pics, specs, price and commentary)

reasons-to-enjoy-sinn-75. They make really normal things fun and interesting

Talk to your basic collector about the Unitas 6498 calibre and you’d basically find a disinterested shrug. Mention Sinn 6100 Regulateur series developed from it and you only begin to scratch the surface of what Sinn is really about. The Sinn 6100 Regulateur series is driven by a modified Unitas SZ04 movement with regulateur display and second stop function. While the aesthetics are attractive and distinctive, it’s what lies beneath which really highlight’s Sinn’s ability to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary: from DIAPAL to the modification and use of Glucydur screw balance and the Triovis precision adjustment system when they could have earned a more comfortable profit margin by leaving you with a stock calibre as some brands have?

There’s also the fact that Sinn routinely does insane things to put their watches through the paces. The 756 and 900 models were put to a particularly demanding tests to determine their robustness at the DEKRA Technology Center at the Lausitz Eurospeedway in Klettwitz, Germany; typically, the centre performs material tests for the international automotive industry. If that wasn’t enough, Sinn sent everything from dive to dress watches (757 DIAPAL, 900 PILOT, U1000, 6000 Frankfurt Finance District Watch and the 917 GR) to the Fraunhofer Institute for Operational Stability and System Reliability in Darmstadt, to test for, get this – extreme impact and vibration during testing on a simulated rough road track. Yes, even the dress watches survived.

6. They have testing standards. For PILOT’S watches.

There are COSC standards. METAS standards. And for Cartier Calibre Diver watches, ISO standards for diving. I didn’t know there were test standards for pilot’s watches. Apparently Sinn did and in 2012, Aachen University of Applied Sciences and Sinn Spezialuhren presented the first technical standard for pilot watches (Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren – TESTAF) ensuring that a pilot watch meets all time measurement requirements during flight operations in accordance with visual and instrument flight regulations.

If one is cynical, you could claim that it’s an inhouse test and think nothing of it. But in 2013, the German Institute for Standardisation developed the first rating standard for pilot watches in line with German Industry Standard DIN 8306 for diving watches. It’s a big deal considering how big the Germans are on precision engineering.

Left: The EZM 10 TESTAF was the first watch worldwide that has been tested and certified to the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (TESTAF) by the Aachen University of Applied Sciences. This guarantees that the EZM 10 TESTAF meets all time measurement requirements during flights operated under visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) and that it is suitable for professional use as a pilot's watch. Right: The Sinn 857 UTC which helped to break Felix Baumgartner's record breaking jump.

Left: The EZM 10 TESTAF was the first watch worldwide that has been tested and certified to the Technical Standard for Pilot’s Watches (TESTAF) by the Aachen University of Applied Sciences. This guarantees that the EZM 10 TESTAF meets all time measurement requirements during flights operated under visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) and that it is suitable for professional use as a pilot’s watch. Right: The Sinn 857 UTC which helped to break Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking jump.

7. Guess who is joining the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC?

The Sinn 857 UTC of course. You would probably be familiar with the altitude record set by Felix Baumgartner when he jumped from the stratosphere wearing a Zenith? Well, on 24 October 2014, 57-year-old American Robert Alan Eustace parachuted from a stratospheric a 41,419 metres above ground with his Sinn 857 UTC, which has been integrated into the sleeve of his special suit. Man and watch survived the low pressure, freezing –77°C temperatures and a free-fall speed of 1,322.9 km/h, where Eustace proceeded to travel at Mach speeds. Today, the 857 UTC sits alongside the suit in the same hall of the Smithsonian as another historical great, the Speedmaster which accompanied Armstrong to the moon.

8. Baselworld 2016: Proving that when Sinn goes out of its way, they really go out of their way

For their 55th birthday, Sinn launched three anniversary editions to celebrate the occasion, my favourite Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I, the 910 Anniversary edition and the 556 Anniversary edition. In limited quantities of 55, 300 and 1000, the watches represented the both the watchmaking and material prowess of the manufacture.

sinn-splitsecond-dialup

The Sinn 910 Anniversary chronograph

The 910 Anniversary chronograph is a relatively affordable split-seconds chronograph featuring a split-seconds mechanism for recording intermediate times. For the more serious collector, the Sinn 910 Anniversary edition is designed with provenance in mind, featuring a historical ratchet wheel chronograph, harkening back to the industry’s hey-day when vintage chronographs from the 1900s were constructed this way.  Technically demanding, utmost care and precision is required in assembly as the ratchet wheel controls start, stop and reset functions.

Column wheel macro of the Sinn 910 Anniversary chronograph

Column wheel macro of the Sinn 910 Anniversary chronograph

Coup de grace: Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I

SUG, the guys responsible for the nigh-invincible submarine steel is responsible for building and manufacturing the 8-carat rose gold case.While Sinn designed the ‘face’ following the fine tradition of their classic regulateur watches. Meanwhile, Uhren-Werke-Dresden (UWD) creates the in-house hand-wound calibre UWD 33.1 –  used here in an Anniversary edition for first time in series production. A long time in development, the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I also enjoys the prestige and provenance of having all essential components produced in Germany, an impressive summation of the prowess of German engineers and craftsmen.

The Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I with manufacture hand-wound calibre UWD 33.1. Limited to 55 pieces.

The Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I with manufacture hand-wound calibre UWD 33.1. Limited to 55 pieces.

9. They prefer to go direct to customer

In May 2015, Sinn Spezialuhren opened its new boutique at the Römerberg square in Frankfurt’s city. Its new sales and service rooms in the historic building “Zum Goldenen Rad” don’t just reaffirm its close affiliation with Frankfurt am Main but is also a testament in their belief that by going direct to the consumer, they can cut out the middleman and offer fair market value to their fans.

 

“Omega
What's your reaction?
I Love It
89%
Cool
6%
It's OK
3%
What?
1%
I Hate It
1%
2 Comments
Leave a response
  • George Reto
    October 19, 2017 at 1:02 am

    IWC has become a laughingstock of the industry with its socialite watches and ever increasing size. It’s turning into Hublot. Speedmaster? One trick pony where they need Clooney and multiple permutations of the same watch to move volumes. With both these brands you pay your unfair share of the marketing and promotions. I have three watchmaker friends in Germany and Switzerland. When the need arises for a tough watch they strap on a Rolex or a Sinn.

  • Aditya Bheda
    September 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Sinn make great watches Jonathan, but, at their current price points, they’re just not worth the money. Sure I get Sinns tech is neat and if you’re into tool watches its a great thing to have, but seriously, if you like dive watches, buy the MM300 instead. It’s superior in every way but for the bracelet. If you like flieger chronos, look at the Speedy or even a pre-owned IWC and in every case you get a superior watch. The only series one should consider IMHO is the 903

Leave a Reply

powered by gf
Translate »