German brand SINN has three variations on a classic aviator watch, with the 60s style bicompax dial layout, on the books for Autumn 2023. Our fave is the gradient grey dial 356 Pilot Classic model, which has a subtle blend of old school styling and tool watch utility. Those beefy chrono pushers look built to last, the quarter second markers on the chapter ring are a useful lap timing feature too. The steel case is bead blasted as well, the bracelet could well be the same.
It all adds up nicely with a 38.5mm diameter echoing the classic chronographs from the Valjoux 7733 era. In fact the originla SINN 356 chrono had a Valjoux 7760 movement inside some 25 years ago. These limited editions retail at 2990 euro, plus a 120 euro shipping charge to the UK.
The bold white dial variant has a functional feel too, the numbers stand out that bit better. The rough/distressed leather strap is part othe package alongside the steel bracelet by the way.
Verdict: Expensive for what they offer, there are better chrono choices for less than three grand, the Longines Spirit is £2400 (at Beaverbrooks Sale right now) and likely to hold its resale value better than the SINN. Then there’s the Hamilton Khaki Aviation at £1900, or the Baltic Bicompax at 540 euro, although it has a Seagull auto movement inside.
On a tight budget? An MWC gives you a Swiss made quartz chrono, vintage style, for £295, with that military Pilot look; black dial, three sub dials, black bezel too and 42mm across, which might suit some people with bigger wrists.
Here’s the word from SINN;
“Bead-blasted stainless-steel case, shock-proof acrylic glass and solid back: three features of our 356 PILOT Classic AS E anniversary model build a bridge to a watch that established this series 25 years ago. 1998 saw the launch of the 356 PILOT model with exactly this equipment.
Unlike the timepiece in the beginning, the 356 PILOT Classic AS E is equipped with a special complication. This refers to the bicompax arrangement of the black, electroplated matt-silk counters. As an appreciative expression of 25 steadfast years, we have enhanced the dials at six o’clock with the unmistakable lettering ‘FLIEGER KLASSIK’, which is also a novelty in this series.
For the dial we have chosen an exciting, matt-silk colour gradient from anthracite to black. The hands for hours, minutes and stopwatch seconds are the perfect match: they are rhodium-plated, bead-blasted compatible to the case and lined with luminous ivory-coloured paint. A shade that is consistently reflected in the ten digits. The small seconds and 30-minute stopwatch are also rhodium-plated and create a balanced coherence with their matt-silk anthracite-coloured design.
The watch is powered by a high-precision mechanical movement with an increased power reserve of over 56 hours.”