Blast From the Past—Introducing the Guinand 361 Pilot Chronograph

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Guinand is a storied watch house, yet its greatest stake on historical significance is its long-standing relationship with the late Helmut Sinn. Mr. Sinn bought the company in 1995 after finding retirement unbearable, but this fruitful relationship first started in the early 1960s when Sinn contracted Guinand to manufacture a version of their Model 361 as the Sinn 102b. As such, the Guinand Model 361 reissue commemorates the genesis of Sinn’s ultra-tough and well-priced tool watches that so many of us watch-heads enjoy today.Both the original and the modern 361 boast 200 meters of water resistance, 11,000 meters of altitude capability, no date, a dual-direction rotating bezel, a two-register chronograph laid out on a glossy black panda dial, and a mirror-polished case that’s essential to the 1960s aesthetic. The case measures 40.6 millimeters across, 15.2 thick, and just 48.4 from lug-to-lug; this sizing is nearly identical to many of Sinn’s most memorable pilot watches.

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That high water resistance rating is achieved with a domed sapphire crystal (with anti-reflective coating on the inside), a screwed down crown with dual o-rings, a pair of protected pump pushers, and a solid screwed in case back.

The movement is the 27-jewel, self-winding ETA/Valjoux 7753, a familiar chronograph that is regulated to five positions by Guinand’s watchmakers at the firm’s workshop in Germany. Functions are familiar, with counting seconds registered on the center hand, a 30-minute totalizer at three o’clock, and running seconds at nine o’clock.

Product copy tells us that the Model 361 is “Uncompromisingly reduced and highly functional.” I’ve never read a more apt description of a tool watch, the scant five words embodying the stripped-down efficiency of the thing itself. With tools like this, the details spell out whatever uniqueness is to be found—which helps explain why tool watch aficionados often obsess over minutiae. The Guinand logo announces that the Model 361 is a different animal, while numerical fonts such as the open “6” and nicely hooked “7” refer back to a unique font from Guinand’s 1950s catalog. The sub-dials are slightly recessed and finished in galvanized silver, which is accurate to the original Model 361 (and Sinn 102b). Other than that, I’m a little hard pressed to find anything on the dial that’s remarkably unique, but in true tool watch spirit, that’s more than enough to make the 361 stand out in this category.

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Around back, however, we have something I really love and see far too rarely these days: a decorated movement behind a solid screw-down case back. Though invisible on a daily basis, this may be the most vintage-accurate detail on the Model 361. The rotor sports Geneva stripes and the Guinand logo engraved and filled with gold. How refreshing to see a photograph of a handsome movement with the solid case back off to the side.

An interesting modern upgrade is the Alcantara lining of the 361’s muted black leather strap. Alcantara is a plastic textile that’s finding its way into many of today’s products, including Porsche dashboards and, coincidentally, the surface of the laptop I’m currently typing on. Alcantara is nearly stain-proof and highly water resistant, so it may be the material to make a leather strap wearable during the sweltering heat of summer.

The Model 361 is selling for 1.865,00 € (around $2,100), and it is currently available for pre-order with a promised ship date of just two weeks from the time of writing. Guinand

At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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