I was recently looking through my modest watch collection, and like other watch enthusiasts, I began to play “Fantasy watch collection game” – what if I could trade few of my watches for this one grail watch. While playing this game, I first tagged several watches as my “core” collection which I could never trade. The tagged watches were not necessarily expensive or qualified for haute horology, but they were close to my heart because I fell in love with them. Most of these watches also happened to be with me for over 10 years
Each watch has a story to tell, lot of memories to recall – both fond and poignant, and ultimately how I see them aging with me. The first story from my collection is of Sinn U1 watch. Whether I read about this watch from early 2000’s or from more recent reviews, this watch remains a very popular with dive watch enthusiasts.
I discovered Sinn watches in early 2000’s and the two models I was drawn to were the 144 St Sa chronograph (which I bought first and then like a true Watch Idiot Savant ended up selling, and then rebuying), and the U1 dive watch. What drew me to U1 was that it stood out from other divers with its industrial dial and block hands, built like a tank from the German submarine steel, and fantastic 1000-meter depth rating to get it wet while snorkeling.
For the summer of 2007, Chopra family decided to vacation in Malaysia and Singapore. As is true with all family vacations, some watch related activity is always planned. This time I decided to meet up with couple of watch enthusiasts in Kuala Lumpur for lunch. After our lunch meeting, we decided to walk over to the local mall where guys could go watch window-shopping and my wife shops for real. I already had U1 on my mind, so why not try it out. What surprised me then (and even now) is how comfortable it is to wear the watch, given that it is a heavy block of steel. My son, then 10-years old, thought the watch was cool. It was a done deal, rubber bracelet was cut to match my wrist, and I was now a Sinner, again. What a perfect start to vacation!
The U1 did not leave my wrist the entire vacation whether it was swimming in Langkawi, or racing Go-Karts downhill with family in Santosa island, or floating down in a traditional Chinese boat in Singapore. However, I did forget my wallet with cash at the beach!
Since then, U1 became my go to vacation watch. It has travelled to many countries, beaches, and swimming pools, yet the most striking thing about it is that it looks like I purchased it just recently. It looks brand new even after 10 years! I will admit that I wore this watch mostly on vacations and occasional hot days at the pool, but the AR coating is intact, the case has survived scratches, and strap looks the same.
I made couple of changes to my U1 in past ten years. When I lived in Prague in the late 2000’s, I drove to Bonn often for work. I would pass through Frankfurt, so in 2010 I decided to stop by Sinn HQ and buy the PVD coated bezel which essentially converted my Sinn to U1 SDR (now discontinued). In 2013, I requested my friend Uwe, who lives in Frankfurt, to purchase a red silicone strap from Sinn for me. Uwe was kind to send it as a gift, but he ended up purchasing a U2 (of course blamed me for it). Now the watch was more fun and had more of a vacation watch appearance than just a tool diving watch. My son feels differently, that original bezel and strap look perfect on U1 which gave it a more monochromatic look. So, I have kept them safely in a box for him. He is more than welcome to change the bezel and strap to original when he inherits the watch.
Thinking about future, I see Sinn U1 will remain as my vacation watch, even though I may add couple of more desk divers to my collection in next few years. You know this watch has earned a spot in your core collection, when you see it in vacation pictures over the years.
Visit Sinn website to read more about U1’s features and strap options available.
Photo Credit: Scott Sitkiewitz for photos by the swimming pool.