The first Sinn R500 bullhead chronograph in 1970, and for 2020, it returns in new guise. The new R500 is now in high strength titanium and was announced in November, and now available at Authorized Dealers.
Retail price is SGD 7,250 with GST / USD 4,380 Limited Edition of 300 pieces.
Sinn R500 Chronograph
We covered the release information with commentary in our article on Sinn November novelties. Please refer to the article for base information.
This latest model is a tribute to a historical model Sinn made with the same bullhead chronograph layout with an case which is thicker at 12 o’clock than it is at 6 o’clock, making the dial tilt towards the wearer.
Here is our hands-on review of the latest release.
The case, dial and hands
The overall impression is that this is a rather bulky case, with a very wide, sloped bezel and a cylindrical case middle. The entire case is made in what Sinn calls high strength titanium. The case is satin matte finished, a finish which is useful in rally racing as sun light reflected on the case does not cause blinding flashes.
The case measures 42mm in diameter, and is thicker, measuring 16mm at 12 o’clock than it is at 6 o’clock which is only 13mm. This gives a case which tilts the dial towards the wearer. The case is rated to a water resistant depth of 200m, meeting DIN 8310.
The chronograph is a bullhead layout, created by rotating the movement 90° to the dial. This layout is common for motor sports, especially for rally racing where the pushers are in a good position for start/stop/reset. Also, many rally drivers wear a chronograph on each wrist, and the bull head design is perfectly symmetrical for right and left hand and eases the operations. Split Seconds chronographs are sometimes also used, but the complex dial and multi hand layout may sometimes be confusing under the high pressure racing environments.
The dial is typical for a Valjoux 7750 base, with the telltale layout for the chronograph sub-dials. A huge sloped rehaut is at the outer periphery and marked with tachymeter printed to 500 km/hr. The hour markings are appliqué bars infilled with SuperLuminova, with minute markings in white transfer print. A power reserve indicator in the style of a fuel gauge shown in red and green. Hands are standard stick shaped and infilled with SuperLuminova.
The dial contrast is excellent, and the large prints and markers makes legibility very good.
The strap attachment is also quite unique – the strap is a two piece leather strap which is punched for the rally visual effect, and attaches to the case bottom.
The case back is closed, and marked with the limited edition number and the obligatory brief specifications and the Sinn logo. The movement within is the ubiquitious Valjoyx 7750, with the usual standard specifications – automatic winding beating at 28,800 bph, with 25 bearing jewels, and a hacking seconds hand. Sinn added anti-magnetic capability meeting DIN 8309.
As this is a tool watch, we do not expect the movement finishing to be anything more than to meet engineering requirements. In operation, the start, stop, and reset works well, and not different from any other 7750 in the market. The pressure needed is not even for each of the function, and is rather more than a typical column wheel operated chronograph. The characteristic loud swirling of the rotor is present and accounted for.
The use case for bullhead chronographs is brilliant, but looking at current catalogs of major watchmakers, we found precious few.
The most prominent we found was the Omega Bullhead which retails for SGD $12,400, released for the Rio Olympics in 2016. This was a 316 piece limited edition, and presumably sold out. The Omega features a rather more advanced automatic Co-Axial calibre 3113. The Omega is also a re-creation of a historical model – also made in the 1970s for motorsport using the Omega caliber 930.
Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono Limited Edition SGD 4,560 which is pitched at almost exactly the same price level. Its a limited edition of 1999 pieces released in 2015, and still on the current Hamilton catalog. The black PVD steel case in 46mm. It has the added feature that it can be worn as a wristwatch, or when removed from a case bottom, be worn as a pocket watch.
The Sinn R500 is a rather odd looking watch. We say that in a nice way. It is function over form. And the watch works brilliantly as a chronograph, and we presume in a motor rally. Of course, we did not try it out in a race, but can imagine how a slight twist of the wrist will present the entire face to a driver. And the bullhead configuration of the chronograph quite useful, and proves the use case for the design. The titanium case also follows the function line, and the satin finish completes the picture. The R500 should be reliable, and be an excellent tool watch.
Overall, we’d say a rather interesting pitch, though perhaps a nit is that the pricing is not inexpensive at SGD 7k plus. Especially so for a Sinn, which is rather more known for tough, robust tool watches at the entry level price point.