INTRODUCING: The Sinn 103 Sa G is a totally new look for Sinn, and we can get around itThor Svaboe
This week, in an unusual move from the obsessive tool laboratory of Sinn Spezialuhren (yes, Special Watches — only tools and instruments may apply), comes a glittery fresh take on the social media and forum hive-mind favourite, the 41mm Sinn 103 pilot’s chronograph. In the Sinn 103 Sa G version they have taken what is a very compact and Leica-quality like monochromatic pilot’s watch and added colour. And what that intense sparkly green has done is transform this serious tool into a delicious piece of wrist candy. Metallic green sparkles in the sun and adds a delightful twist to a superb piece of ergonomic German engineering. If that wasn’t enough, it is also the debut of a Concepto movement in place of the ETA-based Valjoux 7750. More on that later.
The venerable 103 has been a staple of the Sinn portfolio for many years. It is testament to both German engineering and the bulletproof nature of the Valjoux 7750 that you’ll find pre-loved, banged up ones still holding their value and soldiering on with close to COSC-accurate hearts. The detailing is classic ’50s pilot’s watch, without a single applied index in sight, and a purist vision of aviation wristwear. While you can get a wealth of variation within the 103 range, including bead-blasted titanium versions, the basic premise of the tool watch remains, despite the fancy new threads.
The dial here is a new shade of light catching emerald green, and deliciously idiosyncratic. Not matte olive or a rich sunray finish. No, this is a similar bright candy metallic emerald shade to the 104 released in 2019 — confounding and delightful in equal measure. The white print and excellent Super-LumiNova makes for superb legibility against what in low light is a British racing green, while the entire dial pops in the sun like a jewel.
The registers are well proportioned and, as befits a pilot’s chronograph, differing in markings to be able to separate readings at a glance, with the über-classicism of white lacquered syringe hands. Functionality is the name of the game — even in this glittery guise — and quickly enamours you to the very German ethos of Sinn. Top marks for a perfectly matching green day/date wheel, a useful complication with an instant click at midnight for your next German language lesson. With the choice of German and English, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the free lessons. Mit = Mittwoch = Mid Week = Wednesday. Keep those synapses sparking.
The case has the same classic all-polished shape as the 104, which is a 41mm that feels like a compact 39-40 through the short, square bevelled lugs and comfortable shape. The 103 does, however, have a fairly plump underbelly to fit the chronograph complication, perfectly round, ensuring an ergonomic shape even with a 16mm thickness. The Sinn 103 Sa G is both shock-proof and with a 200m depth rating, so don’t let the pretty colours fool you — this is serious business. One of the sharpest details of Sinn is their bezel tech.
You may expect this vintage pilot’s chronograph to have a non-clicking timing bezel, but one twist and you’ll grin. The anodised green bezel is bestowed with the most satisfying bezel click this side of a $10K Bang & Olufsen stereo. Like the U50 diver we covered here, it is captive. No banging against a door will make this pop off like a cheap diver’s bezel, as it is fixed in place by four flush-fitting small screws. Should you enjoy the feeling of twiddling a BMW volume knob for the little clicks that remain perfect 10 years later, you’ll know what you’re in for.
The crystal is a high domed sapphire, ensuring that vintage play of reflections and charming distortion, while being tough enough for this glamorous tool. How do they do this? The crystal is ground down from a solid 5mm blank with special tooling, with five different curvature radii, then carefully polished. Behind the caseback, however, it turns out the Sinn 103 Sa G has more to offer than a pretty face in a tough body.
This is the debut of a Swiss movement from the Concepto atelier for Sinn, in a year of tightening reins from the Swatch Group on the supply of ETA. Well, it is frankly refreshing to see the C99001 calibre in place of the ubiquitous 7750, and if I’m to judge based on the regulated SW300 in my own Sinn 104, this will be close to COSC-spec and great value.
The new calibre has 25 jewels and the usual 28,800 vph, and sits within a screw-fastened sapphire caseback. It’s anti-magnetic to DIN 8309 and, as befits a German pilot’s tool, low-pressure resistant. The Sinn 103 Sa G comes limited to 500 pieces and, like other references from Sinn Spezialuhren, has an online configurator with a selection of straps and steel bracelets, from Bund to hand-stitched alligator. With the strong focus on online purchasing this year, this simple move aces the online experience, as wristwatches are not Model T Fords, with any colour you like as long as it is black. If we add this to the other news in the press conference from Frankfurt this months, it’s a strong signal of what’s to come. We’re excited.
Sinn 103 Sa G price and availability:
The Sinn 103 Sa G is €2690, limited to 500 pieces, and available from Sinn right here.