The new Sinn R500 Chronograph LE for its competition is like a bull in a china shop
Editor’s note: This is a Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) review of the new Sinn R500 watch. For our detailed reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here.
What is it: The new Sinn R500 Chronograph LE ref. 500.010
Why: Because I reckon the trend that crept in at the end of 1960s about developing different looking “bullhead chronographs” is bound to make a comeback. Not many brands these days are offering “bullhead chronographs” and this limited edition release is welcome indeed
When released: November 2020
Where: Available globally, but a limited edition release of 300-pieces only. In Australia, it is available through Define Watches
Who is it for: For someone who already has a watch collection and wants something a bit different
How does it do: It’s different; truly looks like a stop watch but for the wrist, given its lugless case shape. ‘And packs a lot of features, punching well above its weight’; that’s what should be on its calling card.
Missing: Busy dial. Plus, the sloping dial and case architecture which tilts downwards from top to bottom is a unique look alright, but can be pretty polarising too. The new Sinn R500 Chronograph is also quite thick at its biggest point at 16mm for those who like to have the chance to slide things under the cuff (though it’s not really an office wear timepiece). Also, when younger brands like Christopher Ward can offer a 5-year warranty, a 2-year warranty seems like something Sinn can improve upon.
The reference 500.010 features the outsourced Valjoux 7750 which is an automatic-winding chronograph movement. This anti-magnetic as per DIN 8309 movement features 25 jewels and beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28,000 vph). Note that I haven’t mentioned the power-reserve – the brand officially hasn’t told us in their press release, but based on the movement used, it could be anywhere between 42 to 48-hours.
The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter and 16mm thick at 12’o clock and 13mm thick at 6’o clock grade 5 high-strength satinized titanium case with a band lug width of 24mm and a screw-fastened case-back. The 200m water-resistant (and pressure resistant) case meets the technical requirements for waterproofness, as set out in standard DIN 8310. Despite being bulky, the watch owing to its titanium body is pretty lightweight, coming in at 74.5 gramme weight sans strap. The pushers and crown at 11, 12 and 1’o clock nicely bring out the ‘bullhead’ design to life.
Given the lugs are missing, the timepiece would unfortunately appear even more bulky than it is but I am going to chalk that up as a positive; what’s the point of having a bullhead chronograph if it doesn’t look like a bull on the wrist? When it comes to the new Sinn R500 Chronograph, presence is everything.
The matte black dial shows the functions of central hours and minutes, subsidiary seconds at 6’o clock, a chronograph minutes counter at 9’o clock, a chronograph hours counter at 3’o clock, a date display again at 6, an interior peripheral tachymeter scale up to 500 km/h, and a power reserve indicator at 12’o clock
I realise it is a ‘bullhead’ watch design but I reckon the timepiece gets a bit too bullheaded and takes on too much for the dial; the dial is cluttered a fair bit, with the minutes and hours text in German along with three different types of hands and a forced date window all ending up too overpowering.
Overall, the sporty look is complemented by the use of a black cowhide strap with red seam integrated into the case. This recessed strap has an embossing that pays homage to the hole pattern design so commonly found in motorsports.
A limited edition watch — with 200m water-resistance, grade 5 titanium ‘bullhead’ design case, a chronograph complication and inside it beating one of the most workhorse chronograph movements ever, the Valjoux 7750 — this timepiece for the price of $6’750 AUD is like a bull in a china shop for its competition. And what competition? Not many Swiss and German brands — I am leaving out Seiko on purpose here — are producing these anymore, and when they do, they usually come at a premium. For instance, look at one of the more popular ones, the Omega Seamaster Bullhead ref. 126.96.36.199.01.001. This limited edition timepiece currently part of their catalogue retails for $13’200 AUD. True it’s iconic, features the master co-axial calibre 3113, but not only does it not look like a stop-watch, it’s also twice the price.
Overall, its three-dimensional architecture is what I appreciate, whether be it the sloping case or the various subtle elements on the dial that get missed due to the busyness but once you look at the dial in detail, they shine.
The sub-dial at 6’o clock for instance has there levels: the white counter with its peripheral running seconds track is slightly sunken from the black main dial level; the numerals for the seconds, however, are further sunken; and the date wheel window has a further depth to it. Similarly, the minutes and hours counters at 9 and 3 respectively are sunken as well.
Further adding to this play of levels is the sloping bezel (that can be fully admired from the sides), the sloping internal tachymetre scale, and the fairly raised applied indices (that are in-filled with lume).
Personally, if I was to have the new Sinn R500 Chronograph on my wrist, it would be because of the different looks — especially the sloping side profile is a killer and I would buy it just for that — given the timepiece is angled towards me when I am wearing it, and there is also the added ease of adjusting the crown and pushers on my wrist.
Also, even though the dial itself maybe a bit overcrowded but the reverse panda dial is wonderfully automative in design and combined with the stop-watch aesthetics, makes one forget about the business of the dial. The subtle use of red and green is very welcome, especially the seconds hand tip.
I think the new Sinn R500 Chronograph is a fairly different looking piece both based on the current watch industry catalogue and from Sinn, and should make an excellent addition to any collection to add a bit more variety and flair to it.
To find out more about the new Sinn R500 Chronograph LE and other Sinn watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are © Sinn / Copyright Sinn Spezialuhren.