Cardinal Sinn! Exploring the Sinn 104 in detail - Part 2
 

Cardinal Sinn! Exploring the Sinn 104 in detail - Part 2

6 min read
Don Russell

Brands

Sinn

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How To's Reviews

Don Russell

Brands

Sinn

Categories

How To's Reviews

In the earlier Part 1 of the Sinn 104 review we took a close look at the company ethos, dial, bezel and movement. In Part 2 we look at other elements of the watch beginning with:  

A word or two on the bracelet...

I feel the need to say a few additional words on the bracelet, as some reviewers seem to have given it a bit of a rough time. Firstly, the bracelet material is 316L stainless steel and is not treated in any way. It is of 'H' section design and is brushed with the centre adjoining links being polished. The misunderstanding has occurred because when reviewers make their assessment, it's generally from the confines of their office, and focuses more on the aesthetics. With the Sinn 104 there are, without doubt, one or two things that let it down in this area.

Sinn 104

Sinn 104 - Credit WatchGecko

The complaints seem to emanate from the end links and the clasp; I can see exactly what they're getting at and their observations are undoubtedly correct. The end links are solid, but seem to have a 'pressed' appearance, they're also brushed when the case lugs are polished; however, if the end links were polished they would break the connection to the bracelet, so this is a bit of a no-win situation. In addition to that, the polished lugs are chamfered and the end links have radii.

The case lugs are flat and angular, whereas the end links are, of course, slightly curved; aesthetically, the whole thing is just wrong! The clasp, with its safety fold-over looks dated; the clasp is brushed, but the fold-over is polished! On a watch of this type, the hidden diver extension seems to be a little out of place if I'm honest, and the room that it takes up may have been put to better use by having further micro adjustment holes. If it was meant for water sports requiring a wetsuit, the fact is that this type of watch is much more likely to be worn underneath the cuff of a wetsuit than over it. The bracelet is used on other Sinn models, and it may just be a case of one bracelet for all eventualities!  All in all, it's a bit disjointed, much like this description I fear! Now let's take a look at it from another angle!

Sinn 104

Sinn 104 - Credit WatchGecko

As many of you will know, my reviews do go a little bit further than most, bordering on a test; however, a test is much, much more regimented and tightly controlled in order to find any weak spots in the deign and/or function of the watch. That being the case, only a small part of it is undertaken in the warmth and comfort of the office, the vast amount being done outside while actually wearing the watch. The watch is assessed on how it performs under as many varying conditions as I'm able to access. Back to the bracelet! I've always said that you can tell a lot about a watch on a good cross-country run; not only how it wears but how it performs. I've had watches gain time, lose time, stop altogether and I've had rotors come adrift! In all my years there have been only two bracelets that have held a watch in place while being completely comfortable and not too tight.

The first is the Rolex Oyster, and the second is this Sinn! Leaving aside the aesthetics, the Sinn bracelet delivers 100% on its design criteria. You could wear this bracelet everyday for ten years and it would still function as well as it did on that very first day! In a strange way, it's Sinn's 100% commitment to deliver uncompromising performance that allows you to disregard these annoyingly odd, aesthetic imperfections. While there is no doubt whatsoever that the bracelet performs its task impeccably, aesthetically, one of Sinn's silicone straps would, I feel, be a much better choice. 

My time with the Sinn 104

I have worn the 104 on the bracelet and also on a ZULUDIVER 5-ring Zulu and 3-ring Zulu; I do tend to favour Zulu straps for their security and comfort, but the Sinn bracelet performed more than admirably, holding the watch in place perfectly.

Sinn 104

Sinn 104 - Credit WatchGecko

The difference between a field watch and a pilot's watch is quite small, the field watch generally having a slightly smaller dial. While hiking in open country, timing navigation legs is an absolute doddle with the countdown bezel. To all intents and purposes, the 104 is a modern, waterproof field watch with a countdown bezel, and that ticks 99% of the boxes for 99% of the time. Cross-country running, as I've already mentioned, tells you a lot about a watch, and the 104 performed absolutely faultlessly with no gain or loss of time. A quick glance while moving is all that's required to give an exact time, and comfort wise, I really didn't know it was there on either the bracelet or the 5-ring Zulu. Even in direct sunlight, the white dial remains crystal-clear and reflection free. I've been out on the hills in it, I've been in the snow in it, I've been out to dinner in it, I've been shopping in it, I've showered in it, I've slept in it and I've even made some Angel Delight in it! The things I have to do for this magazine! The Sinn 104 could quite easily become a part of me; it's so easy to wear, but always ready for action when you need it. Some have said that the 104 has a vintage look about it, but I think 'classic look' is a much better description. It doesn't scream out to people, but to those that know, it's instantly recognisable.

Niggles and gripes

I'm struggling with this one! If I'm honest there are only two small things, the first is the AR coating on the top of the front sapphire crystal which I believe is unnecessary, but  if it did get scratched, it could easily be removed in half an hour. The second thing is the anodised aluminium bezel insert. After saying that, my Rolex Sea-Dweller had an anodised aluminium bezel insert, and that remained scratch-free, even after 18 years of diving, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, adventuring and exploring in more than 20 countries! Other than those two small, let's call them observations, the Sinn 104 is extremely difficult to criticise in either its quality, its manufacture or indeed, its function.

Sinn 104

Sinn 104 - Credit WatchGecko

The last word            

Generally, I like to wear a watch for a full week in order to offer a rounded assessment, indeed, it's what the magazine is all about. Not every watch will get a glowing review, if it did there would be no point in reading any reviews at all! It's often said that the Sinn 104 would be the watch of choice if we were only allowed to have one watch (One Watch! Dear, oh dear, oh dear.) for all occasions. I have to say that I expected it to be good, but not quite as good as it turned out to be, especially as the 104 is toward the lower end of the Sinn range. I expect all of my watches to perform, indeed, they have all been chosen for their ability to perform, and the fact that the Sinn 104 has somehow eluded me over the years is something that I may just have to rectify at some point.

Removing the bracelet made me smile; even the area on the inside of the lugs had been polished! While the 104 is not a diving instrument, water ingress is extremely unlikely to raise its ugly head, wherever you take it! The Sinn 104 is, without doubt, an incredibly well thought out instrument, although this isn't immediately obvious. If I had to describe the 104 in a nutshell, 'a tool watch in a suit' would sum it up nicely. Let's not beat about the bush here, the Sinn 104 measures up in so many areas that it could quite easily be the only watch that you'll ever need, and for the price, you'd certainly have your work cut out to find something that's comparable on so many levels.

Sinn 104

Sinn 104 - Credit WatchGecko

As this is a major review of the Sinn 104 we have taken the decision to split it into two parts. Part 1 was published earlier in the week so if you have come straight into Part 2 first follow this link to the beginning of the analysis.  Check out the WatchGecko Sinn collection here.  

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Don Russell

About the Author: Don Russell

The timepiece of an adventurer serves not only as a trusted companion, but also as a portal to their inner self. My interest in watches goes back more than half a century; my reliance and passion more than half of that time. My hope is that I may inspire others to use their timepiece on their own adventures so that they may share a passion that has enriched my own life and given me so much enjoyment.

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