Review: Sinn 104 I St Sa Matte Special Edition

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You asked, and WatchBuys listened. After hearing customer feedback on their yearly road shows (one of the few opportunities to try on a Sinn in the US), Watchbuys and Sinn have teamed up to make the watch that enthusiasts have been craving: a matte bead blasted version of one of their most popular watches – the 104. Produced in limited quantities, this special edition brings something to the Sinn lineup that feels like it has been there all along. When I think of Sinn, rock-solid tool watches with tons of cool technology come to mind. The 104’s default high-polished case doesn’t quite fit the aesthetic, but the new matte version definitely does. The base watch specs go unchanged— it’s still a 41mm pilot’s watch with a two-way ratcheting countdown bezel, impressive water resistance, and an austere, legible appearance. Let’s take a closer look at the new Sinn 104 I St Sa Matte limited edition from Watchbuys. 

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$1380

Review: Sinn 104 I St Sa Matte Special Edition

Case
316L Stainless Steel, matte finish
Movement
Sellita SW-220-1
Dial
Matte black with white accents
Lume
Indices, hands, and 12:00 pip on bezel
Lens
Dual AR-coated sapphire crystal on front, interior AR sapphire on back
Strap
Available on brown suede leather or matte H-link bracelet
Water Resistance
20 bar (200m)
Dimensions
41mm x 47mm
Thickness
11.5mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$1380

Case

Sitting at 41mm wide, 47mm lug-to-lug, and 11.5mm thick, the 104’s stainless steel case is right at home on nearly any wrist. Mine measures in at 6.75  and the 104 is well-proportioned and comfortable to wear. The change made to this special edition is the hand-finished bead blasted case that gives the watch a really interesting matte look. Sinn didn’t go too heavy on the bead blasting, as the steel still has a bit of shine to it. It’s not quite as muted as one of their tegimented cases. It’s about as blingy as you can get with a matte finish, and the 104 pulls off the look with ease.

While the center of the case surrounding the bezel is circular, practically every other feature is angled, and the lugs come to a point with a sharp chamfered edge. It reminds me of a tanto-style blade on a knife, and on the watch it looks just as sharp. Rated to 200m of water resistance, the case is durable and watertight for all water activities including swimming and diving.

Around the outside of the sapphire crystal, there’s a 60-minute countdown bezel. Instead of counting up like a dive watch would, the scale on this one is reversed. On a standard dive watch, you’d move the pip at 12:00 to the current position of the minutes hand and it would count time elapsed. The 104 has a different functionality altogether. Say you want to time a 30-minute task. You’d ratchet the bezel in either direction so that 30 lines up with the minutes hand, and your time is up when it reaches the 12:00 pip. It’s a different way of doing things, one which I happen to like. The bezel itself is smooth and easy to operate with a satisfying click for each minute increment. Around the outside of the bezel there’s a six fine/one large ridged pattern for grip. There are a few small set screws keeping the bezel affixed to the case too. The pattern both looks and functions well, and I was impressed with the finishing in those tight little places — each as thoroughly bead blasted as the rest of the case.

Dial and Hands

Legibility is key when it comes to the dial on the 104. A matte black dial with white accents adorns the front of the watch. There are large rectangular hash marks for each of the hours, while small, finer hashmarks break down the minutes, and even shorter ones in between. Sinn’s text logo sits at 12:00, while the word “Automatik” is printed in script just above 6:00. Broken up by the 6:00 index is the text “Made in Germany” that’s well-balanced on either side of the block of lume. The 104 features a day-date display at 3:00. You’ll find a German/English white-on-black day wheel flanking the date display in the same color. In the interest of making things easy to read, the day/date is outlined in a slim, crisp white bounding box. While some may want an unobtrusive date display (the black on white date at 4:00 on my Sinn 856 comes to mind), the display on the 104 favors legibility.

A set of pointed syringe hands tell the time, each of them treated with luminous paint. The hands start broad at the center of the dial and abruptly taper to a fine point. A diamond-tip adorns the end of the seconds hand with a coordinating counterbalance at the opposite end. The look of the dial is clean, legible, and interesting enough without being boring. For a pilot’s tool watch, the dial on the 104 strikes a great balance of form and function.

Movement

Visible through the sapphire case back, there’s a Sellita SW220-1 top grade automatic movement beating away inside. This movement beats at 28,800bph for a smooth seconds sweep. Fully wound, the movement is good for around 38 hours. You can hack the seconds for precise time setting and hand-wind it to get it running. The top-grade movement features some nice finishing like blued screws, striping, and perlage. There’s a large gold-tone rotor that’s engraved with the Sinn logo in black.  The top-grade movement is a nice contrast to the otherwise stark pilot watch aesthetic that the watch gives off, and the transparent case back is a good reminder of the complex little time-teller you strap to your wrist everyday.

Straps and Wearability

Given the black/white/matte steel look of the 104, you can pretty much throw this on any type of strap you want and it’ll look great. It’s a blank canvas. Personally, I would like it on an olive nylon mil-strap or a tan leather two-piece. Straight from Sinn, you can get the watch with either a chocolate brown suede strap with twin-stitch details, or you can get it on Sinn’s H-link bracelet. The suede strap is great — it’s thick, but not too thick, and it has a noticeable texture. It was immediately soft and comfortable on the wrist.

 

For a few hundred dollars extra, the matte steel bracelet is probably the better option overall (it’s generally a good idea to buy a watch with the bracelet to save a few hundred dollars down the road). It looks great with the matte finish on the case, and both end links fit flush against that case. The signed clasp snaps in place with an affirmative click and stays closed thanks to the additional flip lock keeping it shut.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a dependable, no-nonsense tool watch that looks great on a number of different straps, then the Sinn 104 I St Sa might be for you. It’s an excellent go-anywhere, do-anything watch from a trusted brand in the world of tool watches. The countdown bezel is a refreshing departure from the more commonly seen 60-minute dive style bezel. I found it to be very useful for daily timing needs, even if it’s just timing the laundry and not some sort of secret mission. At 41mm x 47mm, the 104 is reasonably sized and will suit a large variety of wrists comfortably. It’s no surprise that the 104 is one of Sinn’s top-selling watches. While the standard polished 104 is no slouch, Sinn really hit it out of the park with the matte version. Sinn via WatchBuys

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.
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