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Sinn Spezialuhren: Functional Watches for Professionals
The German manufacturer Sinn is known for making functional, robust watches. Their diving watches made of submarine steel are especially resistant to salt water and pressure, and are popular among special forces units, such as the GSG 9.
5 Reasons to Buy a Sinn Watch
- Extremely durable watches for use in harsh environments
- Especially resistant to seawater: diving watches made of submarine steel
- The EZM 2B: water resistant to 5,000 m (500 bar, 16,404 ft)
- Officially certified pilot's and diving watches
- For astronauts: the Sinn 140 chronograph made it to space in 1985
Equipped to Serve
Sinn Spezialuhren's wristwatches are functional, innovative, and extremely robust. This German manufacturer from Frankfurt am Main is best known for their mission timers used by rescue services, fire departments, and special forces. For example, the maritime division of the GSG 9, the elite tactical unit of the German Federal Police, relies on the UX GSG 9 diving watch. This timepiece is made of seawater-resistant German submarine steel and is water resistant up to 12,000 m (1,200 bar, 39,370 ft).
In addition to diving watches with high water resistance and durable mission timers, Sinn also produces numerous pilot's watches. There are three-hand versions, as well as timepieces with a GMT or chronograph function. Top models feature both functions and can display two time zones while also measuring periods of time of up to 12 hours. Sinn even has some pilot's watches certified according to the DIN 8330 standard. This makes them particularly special, as most watch manufacturers create pilot's watches without ever having them officially certified as such. Certified watches can not only replace an aircraft's timekeeping instruments, but also stand up to the sometimes extreme conditions experienced during flight. The DIN 8330 is based on the 'Technische Standard Fliegeruhren' (TESTAF or Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches), which was developed by the Aachen University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with Sinn Spezialuhren.
How much do Sinn watches cost?
|Model||Price (approx.)||Type||Water resistance||Features/Material|
|757 S UTC||3,400 USD||Pilot's watch||200 m (656 ft)||Chronograph, GMT, coated stainless steel|
|903||3,200 USD||Pilot's watch||100 m (328 ft)||Chronograph, slide rule, stainless steel|
|103 Ti UTC IFR||3,100 USD||DIN 8330-certified pilot's watch||200 m (656 ft)||Chronograph, GMT, titanium|
|917||2,800 USD||Rally chronograph||100 m (656 ft)||Chronograph, countdown timer, stainless steel|
|212 KSK||2,800 USD||Mission timer||1,000 m (3,281 ft)||GMT, compass, submarine steel|
|T2||2,600 USD||Diving watch||2000 m (6,562 ft)||Date, titanium|
|UX||2,100 USD||Diving watch||12,000 m (39,370 ft)||Date, submarine steel|
|103||1,700 USD||Pilot's watch||200 m (656 ft)||Chronograph, stainless steel|
|104||1,200 USD||Pilot's watch||200 m (656 ft)||Day-date display, stainless steel|
|556||1,000 USD||Pilot's watch||200 m (656 ft)||Date, stainless steel|
Prices for Instrument Chronographs
You'll find Sinn watches with a stopwatch function in the Instrument Chronographs collection. This name emphasizes their role as functional timepieces. Most models are pilot's watches, though there are also racing and rally chronographs available. One such example is the 917 with a bezel that counts backward and works like a timer. Another interesting feature is the position of its crown and push-pieces on the left side of the case. Sinn outfits these timepieces with the proven and reliable ETA Valjoux 7750. This automatic movement powers many chronographs. You can purchase one of these timepieces for around 2,800 USD in mint condition or 2,300 USD pre-owned. The 917 GR with a power reserve indicator costs between 2,300 and 3,200 USD.
The most iconic Sinn pilot's chronograph is the 103 with acrylic glass. If acrylic glass scratches too easily for you, there is also a version with sapphire glass available. A black dial, bidirectional bezel with a 60-minute scale, and luminous markers, numerals, and hands define the design of this series. The 103 St is water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). Thanks to its ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber, this watch displays the day and date at 3 o'clock and can measure periods of time up to 12 hours. In mint condition, this Sinn classic sells for around 1,700 USD. You can purchase a pre-owned piece for about 1,500 USD. Compared to other chronographs on the market, the 103 St offers near unrivaled value for money.
The top model is a titanium DIN 8330-certified pilot's watch with a GMT function. Sinn uses sapphire glass for both the watch front and case back of the 103 Ti UTC IFR. Prices for never-worn pieces sit around 3,100 USD. Since this model is so new, pre-owned examples are currently hard to come by.
A new Sinn 757 S UTC chronograph with black PVD coating demands about 340 USD more. You can purchase a pre-owned version of this so-called "Duochronograph" for just under 2,500 USD. This chronograph's design is all about functionality, making it ideal for pilots. What's more, it's water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft), remains unaffected by magnetic fields of up to 1,000 Gauss, and can function in extreme temperatures ranging from -49°F to +176°F (-45°C to +80°C). If you prefer watches without a rotatable bezel, you may enjoy the Sinn 756. Other than the bezel, this Duochronograph is nearly identical to the 757. The standard edition costs between 1,800 USD pre-owned and 2,300 USD new.
The Sinn 903 St with a Slide Rule
The Navigation Chronograph 903 St is yet another Sinn Spezialuhren Instrument Chronograph. Right away, you'll notice striking similarities between it and the legendary Breitling Navitimer. Like the Navitimer, this Sinn watch features a slide rule for making mathematical calculations. For example, you can determine your average speed, rates of ascent and descent, and fuel consumption using the rotating interior bezel. Unlike the Breitling, the 903 St has a crown on the left at 10 o'clock for adjusting the slide rule. The Navitimer achieves this using a rotatable bezel.
There's still the matter of why these two watches look so similar. At the height of the quartz crisis in the late 1970s, Helmut Sinn purchased the licenses and components to build the Navigation Chronograph 903 St from Breitling. That means the 903 St isn't a copy, but rather a licensed reproduction with improvements made by Sinn. Be sure to set aside around 2,600 USD for a pre-owned watch and 3,200 USD for a new 903 St. You can purchase a pre-owned Breitling Old Navitimer for about 3,700 USD. The Breitling model generally has better value retention, making it a great option for collectors.
Prices for Sinn Instrument Watches
The Frankfurt-based manufacturer Sinn Spezialuhren is also famous for their Instrument Watches that don't have a chronograph function. The 104 is highly representative of these timepieces and bears a strong resemblance to the design of the 103 chronograph. This three-hand watch features a day-date display and bidirectional bezel. It is available with various dials, ranging from black to dark blue to white. The Sellita caliber SW 220-1 helps this timepiece accurately keep the time and is almost identical in build to the ETA 2836. Mint-condition watches sell for around 1,200 USD, while pre-owned pieces demand about 1,000 USD.
The automatic 556 has a no-frills design and is among the most highly-coveted Sinn watches. This model is available with large Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock or solely with sizable, luminous indices. You can choose from a black, dark blue, mocha, or mother-of-pearl dial. The mother-of-pearl edition changes hands for around 1,100 USD new. The other versions of the 556 cost about 110 USD less. If you're a fan of the 556, but have regular exposure to strong magnetic fields, you should look at the 836. This timepiece has a similar design to the 556 with a black dial, but also has a few small differences. A bright red second hand and stitching on the leather strap contrast beautifully with the otherwise strictly black-and-white color palette. There's also a date display at 6 o'clock. Most importantly, the 836 is unaffected by magnetic fields of up to 80,000 A/m. Prices for this model range from 1,600 to 2,000 USD.
The special edition "K212 Kommando Spezialkräfte" (special forces command, or KSK) is the quintessential Instrument Watch. Sinn teamed up with the Gemeinschaft Deutsche Kommandosoldaten e.V. (the Association of German Commandos, or GDK) to develop a limited edition watch for the German army's elite soldiers. Its small production run was strictly limited to 70 pieces, which were only given to members of this special unit. However, Sinn also released a version with a limited run of 300 pieces for the public. The 47-mm 212 KSK houses an automatic movement and is made of submarine steel. It is water resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft) and equipped with a bidirectional bezel with a military compass. The final result is a watch that's as useful to soldiers as it is to adventurers and outdoor sportsmen. If that wasn't enough, the ETA caliber 2893-2 provides this timepiece with a GMT function for displaying a second time zone. A mint condition 212 KSK demands around 2,800 USD.
How much do Sinn diving watches cost?
Diving watches are a Sinn specialty. The watches of the UX series can survive depths of 12,000 m (1,200 bar, 39,370 ft), though the quartz movement guarantees full functionality "only" up to 5,000 m (500 bar, 165,404 ft). That's still more than enough for scuba divers and professional divers alike. This timepiece has a 44-mm case made of submarine steel, the ideal material for diving watches since it's exceptionally corrosion resistant. The crown of the Sinn UX sits on the right side of the case at 4 o'clock. This position means it won't dig into the back of your hand when you bend your wrist. The unidirectional bezel is especially scratch resistant and secured in such a way that prevents it from coming off unintentionally. Thanks to its temperature-stabilized battery-powered movement, this watch continues ticking in temperatures ranging from -4°F to +140°F (-20°C to +60°C). A generous coating of luminous material on the hands and indices allows for perfect readability under all lighting conditions.
Plan to spend around 2,200 USD on a new Sinn UX. Pre-owned, this watch changes hands for about 1,500 USD. The maritime division of the elite tactical unit of the German Federal Police use a special edition of the UX, namely the UX GSG 9. This timepiece costs a bit more than the standard edition, at around 2,300 USD new and 1,700 USD pre-owned. You can recognize this model by the GSG 9 logo on the dial at 6 o'clock and on the crown on the left-hand side of the case at 10 o'clock.
If you're in the market for a mechanical Sinn diving watch, you should take a closer look at the EZM 3. You'll find the automatic ETA caliber 2824-2 ticking away inside its 41-mm case. The crown sits on the left at 9 o'clock so that it won't get in the way on dives. The EZM 3 is water resistant to 500 m (50 bar, 1,640 ft) and can withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 Gauss. Furthermore, this timepiece functions without issue in temperatures ranging from -49°F to +176°F (-45°C to +80°C). Be sure to have between 1,300 and 1,700 USD on hand to purchase this diving watch.
Other mechanical Sinn diving watches include the T1 and T2. These are especially appealing to fans of titanium watches. The T2 is water resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft), meaning it can dive 1,000 m (3,281 ft) deeper than the T1. Both models work reliably between -49°F and +176°F (-45°C and+80°C) and are powered by the ETA 2892-A2. At 45 mm, the T1 is 4 mm larger than the T2. New, the T1 demands around 2,800 USD and the T2 around 2,600 USD. Both sell for about 2,500 USD pre-owned.
How much do Frankfurt Financial District Watches cost?
The timepieces in the Frankfurt Financial District Watches collection have a much more classic and elegant design than Sinn's other watches. They are ideal for wearing at the office or stock exchange. The 6000 chronograph feels understated and elegant thanks to its black sunburst dial. Measuring 38.5 mm in diameter, this timepiece is comfortable to wear. Luminous hands and indices mean you'll never lose track of the time, even in the dark. The Sinn 6000 comes on a calf leather strap or stainless steel link bracelet.
In terms of caliber, Sinn takes the Sellita SW 500 and outfits it with their own GMT function. This automatic watch can even display a third time zone thanks to its rotating bezel with a 12-hour scale. The dial features a date at 4:30, a small seconds dial at 9, a 30-minute counter at 3, and a 12-hour counter at 6 o'clock. A sapphire glass case back offers a stunning view of the movement within. A never-worn Sinn 6000 requires an investment of some 3,700 USD, while pre-owned pieces change hands for about 3,100 USD. The edition in 18-karat rose gold gives off an extra aura of luxury and costs anywhere from 7,900 to 14,000 USD.
The History of Sinn
The German watch manufacturer Sinn Spezialuhren traces its history back to 1961 when pilot, flight instructor, and rally driver Helmut Sinn founded the business in Frankfurt am Main. At first, the company contracted Swiss manufacturers to produce Sinn watches for direct selling. Then as today, Sinn specialized in functional watches such as chronographs, diving watches, and pilot's watches.
Engineer Lothar Schmidt took over the watch manufacturer Sinn in 1994 and shifted the focus toward functional in-house developments. The first example hit the market that same year: the 244 with magnetic field protection. This timepiece also marked the end of the era of private label watches at Sinn. Before joining the Frankfurt-based company, Schmidt had served as an authorized representative for IWC Schaffhausen.
Helmut Sinn wasn't out of the watch scene for long. In 1995, he purchased the Swiss watch manufacturer Guinand and moved its headquarters to Frankfurt am Main. Sinn had a long history with the company, as they had been producing watches for Sinn since the 1960s. Helmut Sinn owned Guinand until 2014. In early 2018, this titan of the German watch industry passed away at the age of 101.