The Sinn Flieger 103 line is a staple of the brand’s collection, and features a number of models with broad variation in design, complication and finishing. The 103 St we’re reviewing is arguably the most simple and classically designed of them all, with base Valjoux 7750 movement, polished case and acrylic crystal. Other 103 models expand on the line’s core design to include titanium cases, GMT functionality, sapphire crystal and, of course, Sinn’s signature technologies such as DIAPAL (lubricant free escapement) and Ar-Dehumidifying which prevents moisture from building within the watch case as it ages. Even the 103 Classic, modeled after the original 103 A of the 1960’s now features proprietary technology. These more sophisticated enhancements have become a calling card for Sinn since the brand was sold in 1994 from Helmut Sinn, its founder, to Lothar Schmidt. For a complete list of in-house technologies, please see Sinn’s website.
The 103 reviewed here has strong roots to the vintage pilot chronographs of the 1960’s, and to the early days of Sinn manufacture. Its is immediately clear that the 103 draws strong inspiration from the Breguet Type XX, with which it shares many design elements from the case, bezel and dial. Around the same time that the Type XX was being manufactured, as was the iconic Heuer Bundeswehr chronograph, which Sinn collaborated with Heuer on at the time. This piece, while lacking the elegance of the Type XX, shares a similar design language.
The 103 St has further been in Sinn’s lineup of watches since at least the 1980’s, if not longer. Frankly, record of Sinn’s activity and collection is sparse from its founding in 1961 until 1994 when ownership changed hands. This may a result of the companies philosophy of strictly producing high-quality timepieces at affordable prices, spending little time or money on advertising and other “superfluous” marketing. This also meant only selling watches directly to customers. Unlike today, when you can hop on watchbuys.com or, in certain areas of the world, head to your local jeweler to pick up a Sinn, under Helmut Sinn’s leadership, you had to deal directly with the company to purchase a timepiece.
Now that we have a bit of the 103’s history down, lets take a closer look at the watch itself.