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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One constant within the Sinn catalog since the beginning in the early 1960’s has been the 103. The 103 superceeded the 101/102.


Sinn 101 handwind.jpg

103 from the 1960's (Handwind)


1970's 103 handwind.jpg

103 from the 1970's (Handwind)




Widely seen as a watch that took it’s initial design influence from the Breguet Type XX (20), the type XX itself was heavily influenced by the German Hanhart Chronographs of the 1940’s.



Type XX first.jpeg

Breguet type XX First model, as used by the French Military.



Type XX First:Back.jpeg

Breguet Type XX First model caseback - note service stamps.




The 101/103 was always produced in small numbers for buyers who required (and paid for) a robust, accurate and high quality Chronograph, each built by Helmut Sinn.


Sinn’s business model can be seen as a forerunner to today’s Boutique brands, as Herr Sinn used advertising in Aviation/Technological and Horological magazines and word of mouth to generate and continue his business. Sinn saw a need for specialist time pieces and being an aviator himself saw a lack of affordable, accessible watches to fulfill the needs of Aviators and so decided to start his own company with the intention of filling the void.

80's catalog.jpg

1980's Catalog.



Ostensibly a ‘Pilots Chronograph’ the 103 was also bought by many who required a chronograph that offered excellent value, clear legibility, a robust easy to service movement and that was actually available to purchase. Many of these specialist Military type Chronographs of the time were produced to fullfill standing Military contracts and as a result were not readily available to the public.


Within the Sinn Catalog the 103 is a watch that offers a multitude of potential options, including Steel or Titanium, Acrylic or Sapphire, Polished or Brushed, Strap or Bracelet etc.

Also it seems that every couple of years a limited edition ‘special’ will become available either directly from Sinn or as a special limited edition as seen in the Manufactum and Herbert Mayer pieces of the last few years.



Manufactum.jpg

Manufactum special 103 (2014)




Herbert Mayer 2.jpg

Herbert Mayer special 103 (50 piece Ltd Edition).





My particular example is nothing spectacular, it is the base model Acrylic 103 that probably has the strongest connection to the first pilot's chrono's that Helmut Sinn built in the 1960’s.


Sinn 103 mine on wrist.jpg

My 103 Arylic.



Sinn 103 mine2.jpg

My 103 Acrylic on leather.



I’ve had this for about 8 months and picked it up on the forums at what I thought was a ‘steal’ of a price. Actually I thought it was too good a deal to pass up (an absolute impulse buy) so I jumped on it not really knowing if I wanted it or not.


Over the intervening months' the watch has become probably the most worn watch that I have (I didn’t see that coming) and thinking over the reasons for this I came to several conclusions that are ’true for me’.


The watch has the strong no nonsense, no excessive ‘bling’ aesthetics that has always attracted me. It is accurate, consistent, has good lume, is ‘Retro’ without being a pretender, allows accurate timing in 12 hour increments, fits in any circumstance, can be dressed with leather, nylon, rubber or bracelet, fits under a shirt cuff, work's with jeans, shorts, suits (anything) has 200M water resistance and can often be resold with out any significant loss on the secondary market.


In short it is as close to the perfect Chrono as you are likely to find, for those of you who own this watch you know what I mean, for those of you who are thinking of buying this watch Jump in, and for those Sinn aficionados that don’t own one, Get one.

103 acrylic.jpg

Sinn 103 mine Acrylic.jpg

103 and EZM1.jpg



In conclusion, I say....."Long live the 103".

(Some photo's are mine & some I have 'lifted' from the internet).


 

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Thank you. Excellent expository write up and entertaining. My "simple, accurate, retro, go anywhere, do anything" 103 St Acrylic should be in today. Look out for pics!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Wow, great presentation and narrative....

I have been on the 103 fence since I "found Sinn", as concerned it might wear to small on my sausage like 7.5" wrist!

you may have converted me!
 
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Thanks for this fun post. I've attached a picture of my 103 Ti Ar below.

Great write up and summary of this historic Sinn model. One thing that I would like more information on is the use of the model number 101 to describe the early 3-register chronographs. In early Sinn catalogs and price lists that I've seen, the 101 and 102 two-register chronographs are listed together, like "101/102." I've seen posts on several German forums that would indicate the difference was white registers or black registers (not sure which is which, though). I believe the cases used for the 101/102 are smaller than the 103 (I've noted two different cases, there may be more), and the 101/102 seems to have used either a Landeron 248, Valjoux 7730, or Valjoux 7733, all two-register chronographs. I've also seen at least one with a Valjoux 233, a two-register chronograph with date at 6.

The earliest 103's appear to have always used the Valjoux 72 or 726 (speaking here in the vintage context, since obviously the 7750 is the ubiquitous movement in the 103 today). The 103 cases are bigger than the 101/102, and the 103 has always been a three-register chronograph. Hence, I believe that the watch you have identified above as a 101 is in fact an early 103. For some reason, the tendency to misidentify early 103's as the 101 seems to have propagated in recent times (i.e., an Internet phenomenon). Perhaps someone with more knowledge on the subject can contribute to this thread and clarify this.

Thanks again for starting such a great thread. Here's my 103:




Kind regards,

Myron
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am a 7.5"wrist, the watch wears well.

Wow, great presentation and narrative....

I have been on the 103 fence since I "found Sinn", as concerned it might wear to small on my sausage like 7.5" wrist!

you may have converted me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Myron, thank you for the extra clarification of the difference between the 101 and 103, there is an absolute lack of definitive knowdege on early Sinn watches and apparently few records were kept, so it is through forums such as this that we are able to share/pool our info, great to see your well loved 103, this watch will always be a classic.

Thanks for this fun post. I've attached a picture of my 103 Ti Ar below.

Great write up and summary of this historic Sinn model. One thing that I would like more information on is the use of the model number 101 to describe the early 3-register chronographs. In early Sinn catalogs and price lists that I've seen, the 101 and 102 two-register chronographs are listed together, like "101/102." I've seen posts on several German forums that would indicate the difference was white registers or black registers (not sure which is which, though). I believe the cases used for the 101/102 are smaller than the 103 (I've noted two different cases, there may be more), and the 101/102 seems to have used either a Landeron 248, Valjoux 7730, or Valjoux 7733, all two-register chronographs. I've also seen at least one with a Valjoux 233, a two-register chronograph with date at 6.

The earliest 103's appear to have always used the Valjoux 72 or 726 (speaking here in the vintage context, since obviously the 7750 is the ubiquitous movement in the 103 today). The 103 cases are bigger than the 101/102, and the 103 has always been a three-register chronograph. Hence, I believe that the watch you have identified above as a 101 is in fact an early 103. For some reason, the tendency to misidentify early 103's as the 101 seems to have propagated in recent times (i.e., an Internet phenomenon). Perhaps someone with more knowledge on the subject can contribute to this thread and clarify this.

Thanks again for starting such a great thread. Here's my 103:




Kind regards,

Myron
 
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Awesome write up and pics! Thanks for sharing!
 

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A very nice looking piece with some vintage charm!

Love the style, bought the modern model St Sa. Unfortunately, I had nothing but trouble with the watch. Lume marker on bezel applied sloppy (had to live with that as all the 103's they had in stock had the lume applied sloppy on the bezel) and the movement just wouldn't run accurately. Had it in for warranty work three times before I gave up. Had movement troubles too with my U1000. My Boss's 903 also wouldn't reset to 12, even after 2 tries of fixing it.

The overall quality feels great with Sinn, but they seem to have trouble with the movement part. How can they return me a watch three times without really fixing it? Just swap out the damn cheap 7750 and we're good. Totally don't get it! I own lots of watches with that movement but only Sinn gave me mad trouble.

Not here to bash the brand, it is just honest disappointment that I remembered when I saw your great post. Enjoy your beautiful watch, hope it works for you.
 

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Myron, thank you for the extra clarification of the difference between the 101 and 103, there is an absolute lack of definitive knowdege on early Sinn watches and apparently few records were kept, so it is through forums such as this that we are able to share/pool our info, great to see your well loved 103, this watch will always be a classic.
Absolutely agree! Here is a picture that I think makes it the clearest (thanks and credit to stylus1_de on uhrforum.de).



I have also seen similar collections that reverse the assignment of 101 and 102 based on the sub-dial colors. Also, note that the 103B on the far right is the watch that Guinand based its recent HS-100 LE on. Hence the HS-100 is also a close cousin to the 103 and shares a lot of design DNA. Here's mine:



Hope this helps,

Myron
 

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Thanks for sharing your knowledge and research. Makes me appreciate my 103s more.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you David Woo!! If anyone has any catalog pages from the 1960's or 1970's, put them up here....research into the early days is pretty sparse.
 

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Great post, makes me appreciate my 103 St that much more! I'd read that the design of the 103 was essentially unchanged before I got mine, but I haven't seen it illustrated in pictures like this yet.
 

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Absolutely agree! Here is a picture that I think makes it the clearest (thanks and credit to stylus1_de on uhrforum.de).



I have also seen similar collections that reverse the assignment of 101 and 102 based on the sub-dial colors. Also, note that the 103B on the far right is the watch that Guinand based its recent HS-100 LE on. Hence the HS-100 is also a close cousin to the 103 and shares a lot of design DNA. Here's mine:



Hope this helps,

Myron
That picture makes me wonder what Sinn could do with a U1 styled chronograph.
 
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