A Gallery of Sinn

Whether you are new to watches or are a seasoned watch collector, into affordable watches or exclusively the high-end, collect only new or vintage …you’ve likely come across and appreciated the wares of Sinn Spezialuhren. To those of us focused on accessibly priced watches, Sinn represents a brand of watches to aspire to own, new or used. To those who can afford anything, Sinn provides watches with German craftsmanship, innovative technologies and a military inspired aesthetic that similarly priced Swiss watches can’t compete with. With watches ranging from aviation chronographs, to oil-filled divers, to dress regulators, Sinn offers watches for nearly everyone. Given the breadth of the brand, its history and the sheer coolness of their watches, we decided to put together something different than a lone article or two… Welcome to the: Week of Sinn. Starting with a gallery of some classic models that a collector friend of ours lent us (thanks again!), then a few reviews and articles on specific models, followed by an exclusive and surprising interview with the now 96 Helmut Sinn, founder of the brand, and ending with a look at Helmut’s most recent project and a reader submitted trip to Sinn and Guinand headquarters.

*please note that this was w&w’s idea and is not sponsored by Sinn, any affiliated brand or distributor


Before diving into the watches, let’s go through a quick history of the brand (sources: history + timeline); Helmut Sinn, a former military pilot and flight instructor founded Sinn in 1961. It was his goal to create precision aviation watches and instruments based on his experience as a pilot and his disappointment with what was currently available. He also wanted to deal watches directly to consumers, cutting out all middle men and thus having the fairest prices possible. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of detail available on Sinn in the early days save a few key models and significant achievements. In the 60’s and 70’s Sinn was responsible for the manufacturing of cases for military and consumer purposes, most notably the Heuer/Sinn Bundeswehr.  In 1985 the Sinn 140 S chronograph was (one of) the first automatic chronographs to be used in space. In 1994 Helmut Sinn sold the brand to Lothar Schmidt, previously of IWC and A. Lange and Sohne, who has subsequently put an emphasis on creating new technologies that distinguish Sinn from any other brand.

In the near 20 years since taking over the brand, Sinn and Schmidt have developed a slew of innovations from high magnetic field protection, to de-humidifying capsules, to super hardened tegiment steel, making them a leader in manufacturing specialized watches that can withstand just about anything. It is worth noting, however, that Helmut’s vision of keeping prices low has been somewhat sacrificed in the pursuit of technological advancement. As watch collectors, we find the original intention of Sinn to be valiant, but the current direction very exciting, even if the prices make them less obtainable.

Sinn 657, 157, 856 UTC S, 256 + EZM 3

Sinn 657

The 657 is a classic 3 hand pilot’s watch with a ratcheting 60-click bezel. It features a matte steel 40mm case with crown guards, screw down crown, anti-magnetic protection and is powered by an ETA 2824-2. This is a watch that is all about legibility and function, being easily readable at a glance in day or night. The dial is about the blackest I’ve ever seen, with a slightly gloss surface. At 4.5 is a date window, which has been oriented so the date reads horizontally. This is a subtle detail I find very appealing. The 40mm case is a perfect mix of bold and compact, sitting comfortably on the wrist, yet not feeling small in any way. The bezel adds a lot of visual impact to this watch, making it a more aggressive option than the 656, which has the same dial, but no bezel. Unfortunately, the 657 was discontinued and replaced by the 43mm 857, which has the additional benefit of a Tegiment steel case.

Sinn 157

This is easily one of the coolest watches I’ve ever come across. The discontinued, rare and valuable Sinn 157 chronograph is a prime example of an era of the chronograph that has long past. Featuring a 40 x 45 x 15mm barrel shaped matte titanium case, sapphire crystal and the legendary Lemania 5100 movement, it’s simply what you want, but can’t find in an automatic chronograph anymore (at least one that is affordable). The 5100 is a 7-hand movement that is quite unique. It has hour and minute hands around the central axis, active seconds at 9 and a 24-hr hand at 12. The chronograph function has both the second and minute registers around the central axis as well and a 12-hour counter at 6. The 5100 also has a day date complication. The biggest and coolest feature that will stand out is the central minute register for the chronograph, which was lauded for at-a-glace readability. For a very thorough and interesting article on the 5100, I recommend reading Watch Legends: The Calibre Lemania 5100 on chronomaddox (update: or our own article: Chronography 4: Lemania 5100)

The 157 itself is simply a gorgeous watch that stays true to Sinn’s bold, aggressive but very precise style. There is a lot to look at on the dial, but everything is clean, legible and easily read. On the wrist, the 157 speaks for itself. The case is relatively small, but has a substantial mass do to the barrel design and 15mm height, and a ton of presence. This is the kind of watch you can’t keep your eyes off when you wear it.

It’s worth noting that Sinn is very aware of the hole this discontinued movement left in the market and has developed the SZ01 calibre. The SZ01 is a heavily modified Valjoux 7750 that has the same feature set, namely the central minute register, as the 5100. It is currently available on the 140 and EZM 10 models. Shown on a Brown Maratac NATO

update: it appears that Tutima actually still uses the Lemania 5100 in their Military chronographs, which bare a resemblance to the Sinn 157. I would assume these are NOS movements. 

Sinn 856 UTC S

The 856 UTC S is Sinn’s classic pilot watch taken to a new modern level, featuring a 40mm matte black tegiment case, magnetic field protection, AR-dehumidifying technology and an ETA 2893-2 GMT/UTC automatic movement. The dial has the classic Sinn pilot layout, but with the addition of a 24-hr index around the center. The 856 is currently in production. Look for James Helms’ review of the similar 856 UTC (not-black) later this week. Shown on a Gold NYC NATO

Sinn 256

The 256 is a now discontinued Valjoux 7750 powered chronograph with looks that originate from the Heuer/Sinn Bundeswehr. It’s a military design that is clean and functional, with a non-ratcheting bi-directional bezel, matte steel 38mm case, domed acrylic crystal and hot orange hands for the chronograph functions. At 38mm, it’s definitely small by today’s standards, but the lack of extraneous case speaks to the purpose of the original Bundeswehrs as military tools. That being said, on the wrist this watch has tons of presence due to its aggressive and bold looks. There does not appear to be a watch in Sinn’s current line that has a familial relationship with the 256, other than the limited edition, and now sold out, 155. Shown on a Green Maratac NATO

Sinn EZM 3

As above, so below… The Sinn EZM 3 is a tool diver built to the highest requirements, passing various DIN and EN standards. The EZM 3 packs a 500m water resistance, AR-dehumidifying tech, magnetic field protection, a 60-click dive bezel, sapphire crystal, potent lume and an ETA 2824-2. And it does so in a lithe 40 x 48 x 13mm matte steel case, showing you how unnecessary much of the bulk is on huge dive watches. Aesthetically, the watch is clean and almost severe with simple markings, a matte black dial and accents in red. One very cool little feature is that the date is dark red on black, making it very subtle, but still legible. The EZM, Einsatz Zeit Messer, series or Mission Timers are watches that are developed for specific tasks and groups. The EZM 3 was specifically designed for the requirements of German Police Special Forces (GSG-9) for under water operations. The EZM 3 is currently in production. Shown on a Graphite NYC NATO

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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