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Review: The Sinn 356 SA Pilot III

Surprisingly restrained and almost demure.
by Chester Lau on June 24, 2017
Positives

Good looking case design, dial and proportions. Impressive effort behind creating the sapphire crystal with an improved shape and strength. Classic look and almost timeless.

Negatives

Nothing really, apart from it being a matter of preference, in terms of size and color. Perhaps some may say that the crown guard is unnecessary and perhaps too much protrusion on the right side of the case.

The 356 SA Pilot III or Flieger, is as its name suggests, a Pilot’s watch. Classic in design and execution, the watch is not only aesthetically traditional – with reference to the 90’s Pilot’s chronographs, but also packed with Sinn’s ‘technology’ laden parts and engineering. The latest Sinn 356 SA Pilot III comes as a new dial variant with a silver guilloché dial, with little changes made to the rest of the watch.

The Case

 

The latest Sinn 356 SA Pilot III.

 

The first thought that comes to mind is IWC. Not to say that Sinn is living in the shadows of the Richemont brand, but the overall design and style of the watch steers little from the classic 3717 or 3706 Pilot’s watch. The major difference however, lies in the size of the watch. The Sinn 356 SA Flieger III has a smaller case diameter as opposed to IWC’s modern Pilot chronographs. Sized at 38.5mm the trim case width only gives way to a disproportionately thick 15 mm case height, largely due to the “gigantic” SW500 that runs the watch. That said, the thicker case can easily be grossed over by the fact that the watch is a tool watch, which traditionally are thicker in height. For instance, the anti-magnetic watches with a soft iron core case, the diver watches with thicker crystals etc.

 

The Sinn is cased in stainless steel and measures 38.5 mm in diameter and 15 mm in height.

 

The satinized steel case finishing is very apt for the tool watch. At its side seats two collared pushers and a signed crown with a tapered crown guard. The watch uses a stepped bezel which leads to the raised dome sapphire crystal glass. Particularly noteworthy about highly curved sapphire crystal glass, is the exceptional work put in to build it. The glass is ground out and carefully polished using a complex process involving an approximately 5 mm solid blank with five different curvature radii. This not only enhances the classic look of the glass, it also makes it stronger and more resilient than flat-ground glass.  It is also treated with double-sided anti-reflective coating for the invisible glass effect. On its back is a see-through sapphire case back which reveals the SW500 chronograph movement.

The Dial and Hands

 

The new Sinn 356 SA Pilot III uses a guilloché dial with with lume applied syringe hands.

 

Apart from the new dial, the watch is very much identical to the previous releases in the collection. This time, the Sinn 356 uses a silver electroplated dial with a Guilloché pattern. The light colored dial creates an impression that the watch wears larger as compared to the previous black dial variants. The legibility is surprisingly less though on the lighter dial variant although minimally. Overall the build quality of the dial is adequate for the price point and purpose of the watch, congruous to its design and well-executed. As usual, the Pilot’s watch is fit with indices coated with luminescent colour and the hands are also filled with lume.

The Movement

 

The open caseback reveals the SW500 movement, a self-winding chronograph movement with 44 hours power reserve.

The Sinn 356 SA Pilot III uses a self-winding chronograph movement, the SW500. The movement ebauche is manufactured by Selitta and finished by Sinn. At a glimpse, it is hard to differentiate the movement from an ETA 7750, considering the layout and design of the plates, bridges and spring. The movement uses 25 bearing jewels and beats at 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour. Shock resistant to Sinn’s DIN8308 standards, the watch runs with a 44 hour power reserve.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

On the wrist, the classic looking watch is subtle and is overall a subdued execution rather than the usual tough masculine black dial associated with military inspired timepieces.

 

We like the watch, but perhaps not in this particular variant. A dark dial Pilot’s watch just seems more military and stealthy than a bracelet white/silver dial timepiece. That said, the Sinn 356 SA III deserves praise for the classic size that it upholds; being possibly one of the best Pilot’s chronographs in the market today. Special mention goes to the less common syringe hands, and raised dome sapphire crystal glass, which is generally known to be costly to produce. That said, pit against itself, Sinn’s dive pieces seem to have a more distinct appeal than its Flieger line of watches. It is inevitable that anyone would compare it to an IWC because of the undeniable similarities in design, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, if one were looking for a distinctively unique Sinn, the Flieger is not the most apparent choice to make.

 

Specifications and price

US$2,570 on leather, $2810 on H-link bracelet, $2,880 on Fine-link bracelet

Mechanical Movement

Case

  • Case made of stainless steel, satinized
  • Sapphire crystal glass in front, anti-reflective on both sides
  • Transparent case back made of sapphire crystal glass, anti-reflective on the interior
  • Case back screw-fastened
  • Crown screwable
  • Meet the technical requirements for waterproofness, as set out in standard DIN 8310
  • Pressure-resistant up to 10 bar
  • Low pressure resistant

Functions

  • Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds
  • Date display
  • Day of the week display
  • Chronograph

Dimensions and Weight

  • Case diameter: 38,5 mm
  • Band lug width: 20 mm
  • Case thickness: 15 mm
  • Weight without strap: 75 gramme

Dial and Hands

  • Guilloché, silver electroplated dial
  • Indices coated with luminescent colour
  • Hour, minute and stopwatch second hand coated with luminescent colour

Warranty

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