The German manufacturer Sinn has a long history when it comes to mission timers. Seventeen years ago, in 1997 the now legendary and sought after EZM 1 (EZM is Sinn’s trademark and acronym for “Einsatz Zeit Messer”) was the first in a successful line.

Mission timers are watches which have been specially developed for a particular purpose. They always offer excellent readability, and the design of the watch is always dictated by it’s function and handling requirements. The watch manufacturer from Frankfurt sent us their Sinn EZM 9 TESTAF model for a thorough review.

Sinn EZM 9

Sinn EZM 9 TESTAF Review

There have been mission timers for different purposes, like diving, flying and border control (like the illustrious GSG 9 models). However the design and construction demands were mostly determined by Sinn them selves, probably supplemented by a third party who had special interest in a certain EZM watch for their specific use, or certain DIN or ISO specifications. Now however two EZM models were constructed and designed additionally by the (relatively new, 2012) technical standard for pilots watches, TESTAF. We had the pleasure to receive one of them, the Sinn EZM 9 for an extensive review.

First something on the TESTAF certification. TESTAF was developed by the Technical University of Aachen in Germany, in close cooperation with several companies in the aviation and watch industry. This certification determines the regulations wrist-pilot watches with analogue time display have to fulfill in the civil air traffic in regard to visual- (VFR) and instrument- (IFR) flight rules.

Sinn EZM 9Sinn EZM 9The most significant requirements, or at least the ones who influence the design and construction of a TESTAF certified pilot watch the most, are in the following fields: not interfering with the operation if the aircraft; not being affected by the physical stress of regular flying or by unexpected malfunctioning of the aircraft; the ability to operate as the primary time measurement instrument to enable the pilot to plan and execute any necessary time-related flight manoeuvres.

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Further requirements are for daylight and night readability, pressure and under-pressure resistance, G-force resistance, accuracy at different temperature ranges, resistance against specified vibrations, resistance against contact with kerosene, isopropyl alcohol, ethylene- and propylene glycol, and the inability to influence the magnetic compass in the aircraft. Even, the strap has be able to withstand a force of 200 Newton without breaking…

The complete requirements for TESTAF certification can be found here.

Sinn EZM 9Sinn EZM 9Sinn EZM 9So far the TESTAF requirements, further with our review of the Sinn EZM 9. The Sinn EZM 9 is a certified pilots watch without a chronograph; so it’s a ‘time-only’ watch with a bi-directional rotating bezel. We’ve been wearing and testing this watch for over two weeks now and were certainly not disappointed; we’re happy to share our observations.

On first sight:
– The Sinn EZM 9 is extremely readable. No need for a second glance, you’ll read the time at the blink of an eye. The minute and hour hand are of the same width, however have sufficient difference in length not to be mistaken from each other. The second hand is much thinner and has a different color (white and orange) and doesn’t distract attention from the hour and minute hands.
– The Sinn EZM 9 looks quite flat. A diameter of 44 mm and a height of 12 mm gives a watch a feeling of being flat. The (anti-reflective on both sides) sapphire crystal is (very) slightly domed, however the case back is absolutely flat, which very much strengthens the feeling of being it a flat watch.

Sinn EZM 9After wearing it for a while:
– The surface of the rotating bezel is glossy. On inquiry it points out that it’s inserted with (un-scratchable) sapphire crystal, +1 🙂
– The crown guard is not an integral part of the casing, however is an added black tegimented steel part. Looks good though…
– Although the watch being quite present, it’s not very heavy; the titanium case material surely is debt to this.

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After wearing it somewhat longer:
– Our test watch is running a bit fast, it gains over a minute a week.
– The orange stitching of the ‘Chronissimo‘ leather strap (matching to the orange of the second hand) gets a bit annoying; I guess in the end we would be happy with just a black strap without the orange stitching as well.
– On a quite regular, 18.5 cm diameter, wrist the Sinn EZM 9 shows a bit large. Of course this is very personal. However at a 44 mm watch with just time only function there’s a lot of open space in the dial which strengthens the imagination of the watch being quite big.

Sinn EZM 9Other observations:
– The crown is quite large in diameter and thickness, and we can imagine it’s even operateable with gloves on.
– The titanium material of the casing is tegimented, and therefore extremely resistant against scratches.
– The Sinn EZM 9 is Argon gas filled and has a dehumidifying capsule, enhancing functional reliability and preventing fogging in case of humidity entering the watch case.

Sinn EZM 9This leads us to the following conclusions: First we want to point out that we loved wearing, trying and using the Sinn EZM 9 watch. It’s an easy friend, there’s nothing which really annoys you about the watch in daily life. As said, the readability is great, and as it doesn’t do much more than telling the time (and the date which is conveniently ‘optisch zurückgenommen’ – try to translate that yourself) it can’t do much wrong as well. This is an excellent watch for daily use – or even sporty and more extreme use. It will sure prove to be a reliable and convenient companion.

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There one note on the price tag of € 2.950,= on this Sinn EZM 9.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s probably not too much money for a watch with all these qualities (and TESTAF certification), however we’re just not used to these prices for a Sinn watch yet. The – relatively – new price tags on Sinn watches are a bit higher compared to a few years ago. Because of the specifications, and compared to the competition (if any) probably totally justified, but still we have to get used to it.

Gerard Nijenbrinks

Gerard Nijenbrinks

Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He runs an on-line watch shop from The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he was six years old (true!) and triggered by a friend, he bought his first 'real' watch in the late eighties; an Omega Speedmaster Professional with glass back. This was the first watch of a nice, even today ever growing, collection.
Gerard Nijenbrinks