When it comes to dual timezone watches there are few that have done it better than Sinn with their 356 UTC Flieger. It is one of those watches that has everything going right for it on a number of levels. It captured my attention a few years ago due to containing my two favorite complications in one watch: a chronograph and a second timezone. But, it is how the 356 UTC handles the second time zone that makes the watch stand out in my eyes.
Model: 356 UTC (Reference No. 356.025)
Movement: Automatic modified ETA (Valjoux) 7750
Complications: Date, screw down crown, chronograph, dual time zone
Material: Stainless Steel
Lug to Lug: 45.5mm
The first many will notice is the somewhat (by today’s standards) diminutive size, at 38.5mm across it seems smallish by today’s ever increasing diameters. Still it wears well and its size lends well to a number of situations: casual with jeans and a t-shirt or tucked away under the cuff with a suit and tie. The style of the watch is clearly in the pilot/military vein with an easy to read dial and clear layout. The watch has a 12 hour chronograph powered by a modified ETA (nee Valjoux) 7750 movement which uses the standard dial layout. The modification comes in via the second timezone; the day feature normally seen on a 7750 has been changed on the 356 UTC to work as a second hour hand thereby providing an additional time. However, rather than the hand rotating around the dial every 24 hours (as would be provided by the day function, since it changes once in 24 hours) the movement has been re-geared to run every 12 hours. This provides the second time, via a yellow hour hand, in the more common 12 hour time rather than 24 hour (or as some call it, military) time.
The benefit of this configuration is the ability to hide the second timezone hour hand underneath the regular hour hand, thereby changing the watch from a dual time to a single and back again as needed. The obvious example is when you are at home: the hour hand could be hidden and just your own time in the current timezone shown. Once you are off and about on your travels, the second hour hand can be adjusted out to show the current time, while the “regular” hour hand shows your home time. A very cool feature that is not often seen on dual time watches and should be a big draw for any frequent travelers.
Other stand out aspects of the watch include the high, domed crystal, available in either acrylic or sapphire. The case and accompanying bracelet have a bead blasted, matte finish and drilled lugs for easier strap/bracelet swaps. The crown screws down and the anti-magnetic case provides 100M of water resistance, so one could easily wear the 356 UTC in the shower or even swimming. The stock Sinn strap is reminiscent of the Hirsch Liberty line that many watch enthusiasts will be familiar with; it is comfortable and compliments the watch very well.
If you are looking for a travel watch the Sinn 356 UTC should be one at the top of your list. It is an attractive and very functional package and is still affordable, especially on the secondary market.