This review of the Sinn 856 UTC was originally published on Realwatchreview.com in 2011 as two parts, an initial impressions and then a final review. They have been presented here in one article, but were left in their original format. Enjoy!
Features that pertain to long-term performance and usability are usually the same across most watch brands. Sinn, however, has developed their own set of technologies and features that look at the common problems and weak points of a watch, and aim to improve usability and prolong life. The 856 UTC is packed with a GMT hand as well as options and Sinn exclusive technologies.
Case & Dial
Talking about the case of the 856 UTC is a different discussion than most watches we have reviewed. To start, it uses a TEGIMENT technology that is a hardening process that takes its strength up to 1200 Vickers, while a normal non-hardened stainless steel would be around 220 Vickers. Also on the case is a feature that Sinn calls Ar-Dehumidifying. This is a process that includes a copper sulfate capsule, which removes moisture from inside the case. The outside of the capsule can be seen through a hole in the lug, and will change to a blue color when it needs to be replaced.
The dial, case and case back are all specifically designed to protect the movement from magnetic interference. You can see the symbol on the dial that designates that the 856 carries this protection feature. Inside is an ETA 2893-2, which is to be expected with a piece at this price level and build quality. Instead of a longer hand that shows a 24-hour scale utilizing the 12-hour dial, the 856 uses an interior yellow tipped hand with an interior 24-hour dial.
There are a few options when it comes to the band of the 856: a steel bracelet, rubber band, and a black leather 2 piece. The leather band comes fitted with a regular pin style buckle, though an extra deployment clasp is also shipped with the watch.
At first glance this watch looks fantastic and checks all the boxes for a quality and features expected from a pilot watch. The 856 goes above and beyond to ensure reliability, strength and usability. Pricing for the leather model with a deployment clasp is just over $1800 USD. To read more about Sinn start with their Technology page. In a few weeks we’ll be back with a final review.
Setting out to find a great all around watch is very tough for some people. It has to have all the right features and especially the right look. The Sinn 856 UTC is one of those watches that hits all the needs of a modern pilot watch. The 856 has a classic look with a modern feel and an all around blend of high quality timepiece engineering.
Case & Dial
The dial of the 856 is so straightforward, it’s extremely easy to read each feature. A separation of the 12 and 24-hour dials is a very good design choice that makes it one of the easiest to read watches that we have reviewed. 24-hour dials can get quite confusing when they share the same number real estate, but the 856 uses color, space, and actual separate hour markers.
The case on this watch is a deeper gray than usually seen on most uncoated stainless steel due to the Tegiment treatment. It’s hard edges give it a multilayered approach that makes it look bigger than it actually is. The crown is larger too and protected with top and bottom crown guards. Covered, and completely unnoticed is the movement, its meant to not be the show piece, pretty much not referred to at all. Being that it is a fantastic ETA 2893-2 is really all you need to know for its quality.
This band is thin at only 20mm, but well proportioned to the case. With that being said it is as well crafted and engineered as the watch. The top leather is very stiff and multi textured with sunken stitching. The backing has the exact same feel only differing in color.
Optional on this piece is the deployment clasp. Although a personal preference, we recommend it for the overall finished feel of the watch. It’s squared off shape, matching metal, and setscrew adjustment pin is a final perfect touch to an overwhelmingly detailed watch.
This watch did have a flaw within the first couple weeks of use. Within the course of 30 minutes a case-clamp let loose and stopped the watch entirely. The backup that you get with Sinn is that they use RGM Watches in the United States for warranty repairs. They not only turned this around quickly, but gave it a full timing test to make sure it is running perfectly before returning. Although frustrating that it happened so quickly, it’s very good to know that if anything goes wrong, Sinn stands behind their product.
The 856 UTC is very close to being the perfect pilot watch in our opinion, with so many features to be had for each person’s preference. Its looks, function, and sustaining features, like the copper sulfate insert, put it as one of the most well engineered watches we have ever had our hands on. Engineering, details and features are hidden from the wearer so that the focus is on the purpose of timing. It’s easily earned a spot on our Favorites. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
By James Helms