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.