When we talk about what attracts people to watches, you may typically expect the response to be the movement. But when it comes to the larger marketplace, arguably the most important element, aside from case diameter, is the dial. The dial is what catches your eye first. As much as some people jest they would want to wear a watch flipped over on their wrist to be able to see the movement at all times, intriguing dials are the first element you notice – the headline to pull you in and make you want to know the full story. Sport and tool watches are typically associated with plain dials that mean business, but in order to stand out today sometimes you need to spice things up. To begin celebrating the 60th anniversary of the brand, Sinn has introduced a new limited edition diver that presents a more interesting dial without losing the tough and reliable German engineering aesthetic they are known for. The Sinn U1 DS Limited Edition with “Grinding Dial” captures the image of a battle worn hull, its irregular decorative pattern sure to generate inquiry into the diver.
The 44mm bead-blasted case is 14.7mm thick, 50.5mm lug to lug, and made of Sinn’s signature German submarine grade stainless steel that is highly resistant to seawater. This material is also utilised in the captive divers timing bezel and screw-down crown at 4′. All components of the case have been treated with a TEGEMENT coating that makes the watch especially scratch resistant as well. Sinn’s TEGEMENT coating has been tried and tested by many watch reviewers, some of whom have tried to intentionally scratch the case and bezel without success. The case is highly water resistant, verified by the DNV GL to be capable of withstanding depths up to 1000 meters. For added visibility the crystal has a double anti-reflective coating applied to the sapphire glass protecting the dial.
The star of the show in this limited edition of 500 divers is absolutely the dial. This Sinn U1 DS features a “Grinding Dial” that has a scratched/engraved galvanic coating that results in an irregular pattern unique to each dial. Like a carved ice skating rink, once the Zamboni cleans the ice, the next round of skaters will create a new distinct pattern on the ice. According to Sinn, the hatching, or more specifically cross-hatching, process the dial undergoes is done by hand and no two are engraved exactly the same. This makes each watch, or dial rather, to an extent a piece unique. What Sinn has achieved here, in my mind, is majestic minimalism. The dial is a work of art, but remains highly functional and legible as well – a necessity for any Sinn diver. For the record, the “DS” in the reference is short for “Dekorschliff”, which loosely translates to “decorative cut” or “decorative polish” – explaining the special dial texture in honor of the 60th anniversary of the brand.
The irony here is the dial is likely the only component that will ever look scratched on the watch, a testament to the robust nature of Sinn and their TEGEMENT coated divers. The dial is not one uniform color, it’s grey appearing both light and dark throughout. Depending on the cluster of engraving, the shade differs – where the engravings are greater in number and proximity it appears brighter and then darker where when they are sparser and more spaced.
The hour and minute hands on the dial have textured matte black bases with longer portions of the squared syringe shape covered in white SuperLuminova®. The central seconds hand, however, takes on the opposite look – predominantly in black with white accents framing the squared tip that also house SuperLuminova®. The printed elements of the dial are also in white, with hashes for the minute track and hour indices shaped like the tips of the hours and minutes hands. At 3′ is a white on black date disc peering through a cut aperture. What is a neat touch from Sinn in this aspect is the fact the date window is adjacent to an hour index instead of replacing it, ensuring their is no break in illuminated indication in darkness.
The Sinn U1 DS “Grinding Dial” Limited Edition is paired by default with either a case matching bead-blasted bracelet or black rubber strap, but Sinn has made a variety of leather and rubber straps available as well. The rubber strap is tough yet comfortable, but the TEGEMENT coated German submarine steel bracelet has the most appeal in my mind. Like the case it is incredibly scratch and corrosion resistant, and maintains the more minimalist look to the watch.
The internals of the watch are robust and reliable just like the externals, with a tried and true Sellita SW 200-1 movement ticking away safely inside. The time and date automatic movement features 38 hours of power reserve, hacking seconds and, according to Sinn, is anti-magnetic per DIN 8309.
The Sinn U1 DS “Grinding Dial” Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Sinn U1 DS Grinding Dial Limited Edition of 500 pieces is available now for reservation and purchase. Deliveries will begin this month and extend to April/May. Price: $2,780 USD on rubber, $2,850 USD on bracelet
Editor’s Note: After I wrote this review of the Sinn U1 DS, I fell in love with the watch enough to debate if I could pull off 44mm and 50.5mm lug to lug. My largest watch to date has a lug to lug length of 49.5mm, so while only an extra millimetre the watch game is a game of microns. In the end it was the utter robust gorgeousness, plus my love for german engineering, that led me to hit up WatchBuys (Sinn’s North American Authorised Dealer) to reserve one. Can’t wait to size and wear this big and bada** diver. #dangersofbeingawatchjournalist