It is no secret that I have a weak spot for Sinn watches. Although not all of their models are to my liking, the fact that they never fail to deliver interesting and highly functional timepieces never bores me. Today, I have their EZM16 model in front of me, also known as the Sinn U212. EZM stands for Einsatzzeitmesser and means that it is part of their collection of watches that has been specifically designed for a particular purpose. Key features are excellent readability and that the form of the watch is always dictated by the function and handling requirements of the watch. The EZM1 of long time ago (we wrote about it here, 11 years ago!) was the first of this special range of mission timers and paved the way for these ultimate tool watches.
Sinn U212 Review
When a package arrives from Frankfurt am Main I always get excited. I’ve been a long time fan of the brand and owned a Sinn 142 with Lemania 5100 that I regret selling till this day. Our contributor Gerard was an official Sinn agent for The Netherlands for a long time and he made me aware of the brand and their watches over 15 years ago. Can this Sinn U212 excite me as much as the Sinn 140 they sent us previously? Let’s have a look.
A 47mm case diameter: is bigger better?
You read it correctly, the Sinn U212 is a whopping 47mm on the wrist. My Seiko Professional 600M from 1975 (ref.6159-7010) is 50mm, so I thought I could handle this easily these days. Although my daily watches are between 39mm and 43mm, the 47mm Sinn U212 barely fits my wrist. The 50mm Seiko diver has no lugs, as the strap is integrated in the shroud of the case. This Sinn U212 has sleek lugs, but it does extend the 47mm a bit much, so definitely try before you buy. The lugs are not sticking out my wrists, so it does fit but boy this is a huge watch. Of course, the case back of the Sinn U212 is also screw-down to ensure the watch is able to withstand pressure up to 100BAR.
The case is made of German submarine steel, hence the U (U-boat) in the model name. Due to the bead blasting it looks very titanium-ish, an almost grey color. It is a clever thing that Sinn decided to put the crown at 4 o’clock, otherwise it would have been quite nasty by poking you in the top of your hand all day. The crown is screw-down, in order to ensure the 1000M ~100 BAR of water resistance.
Of course, Sinn wouldn’t be Sinn if they didn’t do this according to the DIN 8306 standards and have it tested based on European diving equipment standards (EN250/EN14143) and certified by DNV GL. DNV GL provides technical testing and certification as well as software and independent advisory services to the energy, oil and gas, and maritime industries. They test against the aforementioned standards and make sure the watch can perform as a professional piece of diving equipment, as lives might rely on it.
The bezel has been Tegiment treated (which we described here) and makes the bezel scratch-resistant. The case itself doesn’t seem to be treated, which is a pity but understandable given the price of the watch (more later). The crown has Sinn’s D3-system, which means that the crown shaft is directly mounted in a fine-finished hole in the case, sealing it perfectly. No need for a tube insert and tube seal, that has a risk of bending and letting moisture and dust entering the case. I love it how Sinn comes up with these specifications and solutions. Solutions for real problems that might occur, no inventions for problems that will never occur (tourbillon and gravity).
When wearing this watch, I really had to get used to the 47mm, I won’t lie about this. The Sinn U212 that landed on my desk came with the silicone strap, and that sure did help to make it more comfortable on the wrist and get me used to the dimensions of this watch. I am not sure how I would have felt about the stainless steel bracelet for this watch, it would make it quite a chunky piece of steel I think. But again, try before you buy.
Besides being pressure resistant, another requirement for a divers watch is being readable. Almost in any circumstances, the wearer should be able to read the time and read the position of minute hand and the bezel. I am by no means a diver, or much of a swimmer, so I will rely on the DNV GL and their certification of the watch for that. As an-end user, I found the watch extremely readable. The high contrast of the black dial and large white hands couldn’t make reading time any easier. Every crucial bit of information is white on black, and things like the model name, the Einsatzzeitmesser wording etc. is printed in red.
Although the bezel is part of the case, and briefly mentioned in a few paragraphs above, it is also part of reading time. So it needs to be readable and usable. I can be relatively short and quick about the latter. It is one of the most smoothly clicking bezels I have experienced. No play at all and 120 firm clicks in total. Perhaps due to the size, it is very easy to grasp it and turn it. It is almost a ‘relief’ compared to some other dive watches I’ve handled. A big triangle shape on the bezel is filled with luminous material. The uni-directional bezel, in combination with the large white minute hand, is used to show the remaining diving time (oxygen).
Sinn uses various third parties to source movements for their watches. In the case of the Sinn U212, it is the Sellita SW300-1. An automatic movement that ticks at 28,800 vph, has a hacking feature and a power reserve of 42 hours. The Sellita SW300-1 is basically a clone of the praised ETA2892-A2 movement, that has been in production since 1982 and proven to be a solid performer.
The Sinn U212 comes either with a leather strap, metal bracelet or this silicon strap. It is definitely the strap I would opt for when ordering this divers watch. It is amazingly soft, fits perfectly to the case (24mm lugs) and is easy to adjust in length. You can either cut in steps of 5mm (on one side) or 10mm (on both sides). The easiest way is to remove the silicon strap from the clasp and then cut away per indicated ‘rib’ in the silicon strap and then attach it again to the clasp and try if this is the desired size or that you need to cut away some more. The Sinn U212 comes with a little tool to remove and add the silicon strap the case and clasp. The stainless steel clasp has a divers extension that adds about 15mm. There is no micro-adjustment in the clasp, but I guess the silicon is flexible enough.
The clasp feels solid and has a pusher on each side to release it. When closing the clasp you hear a firm click. The clasp has the same finish as the case and matches perfectly.
Price and Verdict
There are a couple of things that I didn’t mention, like the Ar-Dehumidifying Technology (no fogging up) and Temperature Resistance Technology (ensuring the watch is reliable between temperatures from -45°C up to +80°C). The Sinn U212 is just packed with Sinn’s technologies, like many other Sinn watches we’ve reviewed over the years. The watch comes in the typical black box from Sinn and with a useful instruction manual in English and German. Sinn doesn’t make a big fuzz out of the box and accessories. All the stuff that is necessary is there, it is all about the watch.
That’s a good thing, as it is a real tool watch. A no-nonsense timepiece with typical German engineering: form follows function. The price of the Sinn U212 depends a bit on the strap you choose, but the execution I review today comes at €2445 Euro. The model with the metal bracelet has the same price tag and the Sinn U212 on a leather strap has a price of €2290 Euro. Prices might vary, based on where you live. These prices are based on direct sales from Sinn Germany. If you have to go through a dealership (and basically a distributor), these prices can be different.
I would have loved to see the entire watch receiving the tegiment treatment, but I’ve been told by Sinn that this is a very costly operation. However, I do like the idea of a tool watch that is resistant to scratches.
Even though it is not my personal favorite Sinn watch, mainly for the reason I am more of a Sinn 140 chronograph guy than a Sinn divers watch guy, I am quite enthusiastic about the watch you get for €2445 Euro. Especially compared to watches from other brands that offer the same level of finish and functionality, it is very attractively priced. If you are an amateur or professional diver and want to have reliable timing equipment, you might want to have a look at this Sinn U212. If you are a deskdiver, like many of us, you might want to try it first because of the size.
For more information, go www.sinn.de.