Editor’s note: The new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S was announced earlier this year. A mother-of-pearl diver is not something I had imagined I would be promoting for men. But here I am. We recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with it, and have come out feeling impressed.
Lighting Up The Magic
In a world of uncertainty, and to some degree, of despair — yes, I am talking to you Covid-19 — we need every bit of positivity and colourful cheeriness in our lives. And as much as nature is messing us up right now — yes, I am again talking to you Covid-19 — nature also provides with escapes like the mesmerising spectacle of the aurora borealis. While we all can’t travel and witness it live any time soon — yes, I am again talking to you Covid-19; take a hint and take a hike — Sinn presents the next best thing; the effects of aurora borealis on the dial of its new U50 S Mother-of-pearl S.
The ‘technically’ black mother-of-pearl dial springs to invigorating life the moment light falls on it, displaying colours very reminiscent of aurora borealis.
The power of this natural phenomenon is spellbinding. There is a Roald Dahl quote on the norther lights that reads: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.
As the light falls on the dial, it changes colour, going from a sort of water-body inspired aesthetics, like ripples in a lake, to the majesty of the northern lights. There is a whole poetic world laden with imagination at your wrist. And what’s even more fascinating is that under dark lighting conditions, this mother-of-pearl beauty recedes from the spotlight, and the time-telling devices shine.
Like the quote above, the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S is that bit of magic, that is to be seen on your wrists to be believed. It is a gear that’s both beautiful and functional.
Watches are essentially jewellery for men. True, there’s a whole world of design-engineering and horological skill-set behind it, but at the end of the day, watches are intended to tell time. And look good while doing so. A practical form of jewellery if you may.
The relatively new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S does just that; and with aplomb. It’s the true marriage of style with substance, of horology with jewellery.
And that ever so slightly changing dial is pure magic.
Until 2019, the U-series watches were available in two large sizes, 44 (U1, U2, and UX) and 47mm (U212). Fairly popular, there was a growing demand for a slimmer wrist friendly version. In 2020, Sinn answered, and released the U50, U50.S, and the U50.SDR.
Following up on last year’s releases is the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S diver ref. 1050.0201. True fans of the brand would be happy to note that this new variant is offered in a more compact case size of 41mm.
Besides this LE release, you can also get the regular production U50 S ref. 1050.020 that features the same specifications but a different looking striking matte-black dial with red and white accents.
Since there is no official Sinn boutique here in Sydney, we figured this is also a good time to provide our readers with a more nuanced review looking into the unboxing experience.
The watch comes as what we would expect a Sinn product to arrive as: no fuss, nothing flashy, but useful and getting the job done. The new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S arrives securely nested inside a generic looking black box with no unnecessary embellishments.
The box comes with a couple of extra accessories such as a thread locking serum bottle for the bracelet and a tool bar along with the warranty card and booklet. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a cleaning cloth in there as well.
The first impression in person is that it is a dark, black dialled watch, sitting securely inside the box. Very stealth looking, under-the-radar piece, but changes colour from black to burgundy to turquoise pretty quickly as you put it on your wrist and light hits it.
Once you have this on my wrist, the experience simply elevates.
Let me start with a pet peeve of mine: quite often brands use white as the default base, making the date windows not compliment the rest of the dial; after-thoughts and eye-sores. The first thing I admired about the Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S was that the date wheel is black matching the casing colour.
Uniquely enough, the second feature I noticed was that the winding stem feels pretty solid. I have had watches for review before where one feels you need to be very careful with the precious darlings or the stems might snap. I guess one of the reasons why I admire Sinn so much is that everything about it feels solidly built. These are true tool watches, for those who believe on using their watches instead of babying them 24/7.
The next thing I noticed was that the date window is not framed, and I would have preferred if it were; just a personal preference I suppose. The outer track is very minimal as well, and the watch should work for those who like minimalistic designs.
The solid closed case-back again harps to its utilitarian mature. The bracelet is comfortable and the clasp has 3 micro-adjustment setting.
The 12’o clock pip arrow marker doesn’t finish into a triangle completely, something I hadn’t noticed earlier when looking at the press images.
A detail I like is that on the minutes and hour hands, the surface texture changes from smooth to matt (with the matt part containing luminous in-fill). The texts Sinn at 12 and U50 at 6 also match the polished bits of the hands and the mostly polished seconds hand. The hour markers are all matt containing luminous in-fill and match the matt part of the hands. The hands also compliment the ‘lego’-esque indices. I know these details are well known about the brand, but going hands-on with this watch helps understand the beauty and relevance of the various features.
All the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S are individually marked which is good as personally if I buying a limited edition release, I want a specific number and not simply ‘One of xxx’ markings.
One design element that did jar a bit was that the crown is technically not at 4’o clock. It’s a bit off-centred, and when looking at the watch for a longer duration of time, it feels a bit off-balanced.
Duality and U50 S vs Black Bay
We had the timepiece for a short while, the most important thing I realised after wearing it is that it would make for an ideal contestant for a a ‘one-watch collection’. It’s strong enough to be used as a beater, and at the same time, on a leather strap, would transform into a very decent dress watch as well.
This duality is rare, and especially at this price point, is hard to achieve.
Talking about the price-point, comparisons with last year’s Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’ are inevitable. Like for most, it has become a must-have (and even for my own collection).
Since a lot has been written and discussed about the BB58, and for the benefit of those who don’t have a Sinn AD in their local town, I have listed the dimensions of some of the Tudor models and the Sinn U50 S below. So those who either own or have handled the Tudor offering can see for themselves if the Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S is the watch for their wrists and tastes.
Also, there has been a fair amount of chatter on forums as to how the Sinn U50 S is still ‘large’ at 41mm, so this should dispel some of that notion as well.
The Tudor BB58 Navy Blue measures a smaller 39mm and features the same 20mm lug interhorn spacing as the Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S. But despite these readings, it features a lug-to-lug of 47.2mm and a case thickness of 12.5mm.
The same 39mm diameter Tudor BB58 18k ‘Yoda’ in gold features a 14mm with NATO and a larger 48.2mm lug-to-lug. And thanks to the open case-back, the new Tudor BB58 925 measures in at a greater 13.2mm thickness.
The Tudor Back Bay 41 models on the other hand feature the same 41mm diameter reading as the Sinn U50 S, but an increased 49.6mm lug-to-lug and a way thicker 15.6mm case, while retaining the same 20mm lug interhorn spacing.
In comparison, the Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S not only appears smaller than its dimensions thanks to its all-black aesthetics, it should also work on people with slimmer wrists as even though technically its announced officially as 41mm in diameter, all our readings in every direction read as 40.6mm.
But not just this; thanks to the small and curved lugs that aide the only 47.8 lug-to-lug spacing — very similar to BB58 and way smaller than the BB 41 — and only 11.15mm thickness — thinner than all Black Bay models — the watch sits very nicely on my ~16cm wrists, and will definitely fit under the cuffs.
The actual dial is only 31.2mm, and that further lends it a smaller visual aesthetic while providing with a rather thick and user-friendly bezel. The bezel action is sweet music to the ears as well, and feels solid again. The grooves are welcome and make it easy to grip and rotate the bezel.
Another standout feature of the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S’ rotating bezel is that it makes use of the brand’s TEGIMENT Technology that not only hardens the bezel surface for heavy-duty wear but also makes it scratch-resistant. A true dive watch from the word go, it also comes with a DNV GL certification solidifying the brand’s claim of the watch being water-resistant to depths of 500m (50 ATM), way more than the Tudor Black Bay offerings.
I am of course not saying that the Sinn diver is better than the Tudor range — I personally, and mind you satisfactorily, own the BB58 Navy Blue while I still haven’t parted my cash for a Sinn though that status quo seems to be in danger after reviewing this watch — but when it comes to forming an informed decision by our readers, the new Sinn offering is not a ‘large’ watch by any measure.
The other measurements of interest are the lug interhorn and the weight; the former is 20mm which is good as not only Sinn offers a number of strap options but one can easily get aftermarket replacements too, and the latter reads as 161g including the matt metal bracelet, so there is a substantial heft to the piece as well.
The ref. 1050.0201 is a limited-edition release of 500-pieces that features calibre SW300-1 which is an automatic-winding movement.
This anti-magnetic as per DIN 8309 movement features 25 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28,000 vph) and is encased inside a 41mm diameter and 11.15mm thick German Submarine Steel case with Black Hard Coating on a TEGIMENT Technology basis with a screwable crown at 4’o clock.
At this price point of 4’675 AUD which is very similar to that of the Tudor BB58 Navy Blue, the one thing I do miss is either the inclusion of an in-house movement or a COSC-certified Sellita/ETA movement. Increased power-reserve won’t hurt either.
That’s All Folks!
I remember my gut reaction to these watches on their announcement earlier in the year was of pause-and-applause. I paused because but one doesn’t usually associate ‘men’s’ dive watches with mother-of-pearls (even though both exist in the maritime universe). Perhaps Sinn wanted men to come out of their comfort zones, or perhaps Sinn wanted to capture the ladies market with this release.
And I applauded because I thought it was pretty freakin’ cool for a diver to have a unique mother-of-pearl dial. It’s something I least expected from Sinn and for me brands shine the most when they either break unspoken rules or release novelties that are, well, novel.
I will wrap this up by modifying a Rudyard Kipling quote on the aurora borealis:
“The dial for a moment is an intense velvety black, changing to bands of oceans blue, where the luminous blackened hands burn to reveal the mysteries of time. From time to time, with a flick of wrist, a greenish wave akin of the Northern Lights would roll across the dial, flick like a flag, and disappear. Then you can see the surface of the dial framed by a blacked out body laced with strange colours – blue, green, turquoise, and purple; but in the ordinary indoor-light, everything turned to one subdued dull gray-blue-black, allowing only the time to be read in all clarity”.
In short, trust Sinn to come up with a beautiful dialled watch that when it comes to putting it to test, makes sure it doesn’t take away the attention from the one thing that makes tool watches special, legibility. Retailing for $4’675 AUD, the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S may be different from what you would expect from Sinn, it still doesn’t lose its purpose as an instrument of time.
I reckon the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S is for those who seek individuality over herd mentality, and for those who love the Sinn design language and want something peculiar in their watch box. I like it for its differences, and also aesthetically for the legibility aided by the clean dial that’s loud and bold yet understated at the same time.
So even if the introduction of a ‘feminine’ mother-of-pearl dial inside a dive watch throws a paradox in the equilibrium of the sane being of your mind, fret not; just trust your instinct, and be prepared to be wowed by the stealth beauty of this serious diver, that in the right moment and under certain lighting conditions, burns with the passionate glow of an aurora borealis-esque beauty.
To find out more about the new Sinn U50 S Mother-of-pearl S and other Sinn watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are Copyright © WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Sinn watches here. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.