Sinn in Space: The 140/142 Chronographs

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Amongst Sinn enthusiasts, the model 140/142 Chronograph holds a special prestige and is part of an exclusive club of important wristwatches.  That club, of course, is watches worn into space.No matter how deep you dive or how high you climb, there is something inherently superior when in regards to timepieces that have broken the terrestrial bonds and ventured beyond our atmosphere strapped to the wrist of an astronaut. 

In 1985, German astronaut Reinhard Furrer purchased a black PVD 140S and wore it into space as part of the Spacelab D1 mission.  This mission became historically important for a few reasons – the first of which is that it was the last successful mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which was tragically destroyed on its next mission several months later.  The second – and much happier – reason is that this marked the first time that an automatic Chronograph was worn by an astronaut on a space mission.

Except it wasn’t.

Sinn got no small amount of credit (and likely, plenty of sales) for holding that title – although in 2007 it came to light that Commander William Pogue wore a non-approved Seiko 6139 Chronograph during the Skylab 4 mission 11 years earlier.  Regardless of this fact, the Sinn 140/142 remains one of the most desirable of the “space watches,” and its collectability never wavered.

This is also due to the fact that the Sinn’s time in space wasn’t limited to a single mission.  Sinn 140/142s were also worn on Space Station Mir in 1992, and during Spacelab D2 aboard the Colombia in 1993, in all instances operating flawlessly under the harshest conditions known to man.  Without question, Sinn produced a hell of a timepiece, and it is still lauded today.

Mechanically speaking, the Sinn model 142 utilizes a large steel case finished with either a polish or a matte black PVD coating.  The movement is the venerable Lemania 5100, and powers a day/date register with a central minutes chronograph, as well as registers for subsidiary seconds, 12 and 24-Hour counters.  The dial features an internally rotating bezel, which is operated by the crown at 10.

The 142 pictured is particularly interesting as it comes from the personal collection of Helmut Sinn, originally purchased from him in 2012. This piece was recently sold by analog/shift and it is now on its way to its next owner in Great Britain.

editor’s note: it has been brought to our attention that the Sinn worn by Reinhard Furrer on the Spacelab mission might have in fact been a Sinn 141 with a Lemania 5012 movement. Here is an in-depth article attempting to prove it is a 141.

Continuing on the success of the super collectable vintage pieces, Sinn has recently released the model 140A, a spiritual successor to the original, fitted with their new SZ01 automatic movement.  Based on the vaunted Valjoux 7750 movement, the SZ01 features modifications designed to emulate the appearance and functionality of the original Lemaniz 5100, replete with a central 60-minute stopwatch hand.  The design of the new 140 A takes its visual cues from the classic examples, complete with polished/satin steel case, and the same layout for the crown and pushers – it even features a secondary crown at 10 to operate the internally rotating bezel.  Updated components such as a sapphire crystal modernize the piece for serious tool watch usage.  The name of the game with this piece is enhancing functionality while embracing heritage.  Offered in a limited run of 500 pieces, there is no question that this is an instant classic.

by James Lamdin

James Lamdin is a freelance automotive and watch journalist based in New York City.  He is also the Founder of www.analogshift.com , an online boutique for a curated selection of exceptional vintage wristwatches.

This is the house account for worn&wound. We use it on general articles about us, the site and our products.
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  • Love the Sinn series! Keep ’em coming!

  • Thank you for the series. As a regular Sinner, I came to them via Bell and Ross which used to be a cost saving exercise, now not so much. My current 144gmt ti has been greatly improved over the past decade but isn’t listed on the only US source for purchase which is a bit of a shame, as is the lack of service once you get out of warranty. I really hope an upsurge in interest in these pieces pokes the right people to come up with something better than a trip back to Germany for what’s normal service, the upside being that the diapal models have really long gaps between them.

    Great job, thanks again

  • Hello watch entusiasts at worn-and-wound,

    thanks for the very interesting article(s).

    Just one remark, if I may: the SINN that went into space on Furrer’s wrist was a 141, not a 140.

    You can easily figure on most shots that were taken from Furrer and his arm the watch features a day and date window and no 24-hrs.-register.

    That dial layout is found with the Lemania 5012 and that was housed by the 141.

    Besides that these facts were provided by Helmut himself, there is a very interesting and well researched thread on the Watchuseek-forum.

    Thanks and kind regards,

    Mike
    http://www.helmut-sinn.com
    service@helmut-sinn.com

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