Sinn U1 Phantom Review

by Chamath Gamage
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The German watch manufacturer Sinn is a well-known brand for creating aviation watches. Sinn was founded in 1961 by a flight instructor and pilot, Helmut Sinn. The brand has quite an aviation history, including securing the rights and design plans from Breitling during the Quartz era, to their iconic Navitimer timepiece. With these plans, Sinn produced an inexpensive and a reliable equivalent to the Navitimer – the Sinn 903. 

What many people may not know is that Sinn has also got quite a reputable collection of diving watches, made from some of the highest tech materials. Sinn was also one of the first companies in the watchmaking industry to produce diving watches in compliance with European diving equipment standards, while also being the first to test and certify the watches for resistance to pressure and fogging. 

We have our hands on Sinn’s U1 Phantom. The Phantom edition is part of Sinn’s diving watch U1 collection. These are robust timepieces made to endure some of the most extreme conditions. The U1 collection is known as the “diving watch made of German submarine steel” and can be taken diving to a depth of 1000m. The U1 does come in several limited edition and special versions, with the U1 Phantom being one of them. 

The U1 Phantom is exclusive to Define Watches only, making it even more special . It features much of the same characteristics as the standard U1 model, with the variances coming in the form of materials and appearance changes. 

Much like the overall U1 collection, the Phantom has a very unique and distinctive look about it. The dial is kept very minimal with only the hour indexes, hour, minute and seconds hands along with small date window at the 3 o’clock position shown. The most notable feature about these watches is how the indexes and hands are portrayed. The bold rectangular markers all have a small pointer on the end (almost similar to a battery icon!) and are used to great effect to tell the time easily. 

On the U1 Phantom, the hour indexes along with the hour and minute hands have been given a white coating (Super-Luminova).  The second’s hand and portions of the hour and minute hand have been coated in black. The black and white come together nicely with a contrasting effect against the dial. 

The U1 Phantom features a blue electroplated dial which against the white markers and hands is very visually appealing. The bezel on the U1 Phantom has white markers for the 5-minute increments, which matches the indexes and hands on the dial. The bezel also includes minute increments in red, which certainly adds to make the watch more colourful.

The U1 Phantom comes packed with high-tech materials, such as what’s used to make the 44mm casing and the bezel for the timepiece. To start with, Sinn has once again used high-strength German Submarine steel for the Phantom. The whole U1 range comes equipped with submarine steel. Sinn has opted to use this particular steel alloy for their dive watches as it possesses the highest level of anti-magnetic properties as well as being corrosion resistant, hence their use on Submarines. Sinn has gone one step further and covered both the bezel and casing with a black hard coating which is done over their special TEGIMENT hardning process. 

What is a TEGIMENT process you ask? TEGIMENT is Sinn’s proprietary hardening technology which provides highly effective protection against scratches. The TEGIMENT method, however, is not just the process of applying a coating onto the steel material. Instead, the material undergoes a hardening process using Sinn’s special procedures which ultimately creates a protective layer over the base of the material. It’s noted that after Sinn’s TEGIMENT process, the strength of the case comes up to about 1200 Vickers. This is a few times harder than the standard 316L steel. All these processes and materials that Sinn have utilised come together to create a watch that is perfectly suited to diving and everyday wear. 

The U1 Phantom also has independent accreditation to certify the watch’s toughness and resistance. DNV GL (Norwegian Safety Accreditation Agency) has verified and certified that the U1 Phantom has a pressure resistance and diving depth to 1000 metres (100 bar). The temperature resistance and functionality are also in accordance with European diving device standards. 

The movement used in the U1 Phantom is the high-grade Swiss movement Sellita calibre SW200-1. The Sellita calibre SW200-1 is a self-winding mechanism which is known to be a reliable, robust and precise movement in the watchmaking industry. The movement allows for the crown to be placed at the 4 o’clock position, instead of the standard 3 o’clock placement. This offset crown may add to the comfortability of wearing the U1 Phantom. The Sellita SW200-1 movement has a frequency of 28, 800 bph, while also offering 38hrs of power reserve. The anti-magnetic and shock resistance of the movement is as per DIN 8309 and DIN 8308, respectively. 

Wearability:

The overall appearance of this piece sure is an attention grabber. The stunning blue electroplated dial acts as a nice break away from the black and white colours shown throughout the watch, making the timepiece also visible from some distance. The clean and uncluttered dial also helps to see Sinn’s unique hour indexes and hands easily. 

Even though the watch sits at 44mm, it sure doesn’t feel big. On a 6.5 inch wrist, the watch sits fairly comfortably. The tapering lugs help the watch to sit nicely, without it protruding out from the wrist. The U1 Phantom comes in black bracelet which is made to match the casing and bezel. It’s quite comfortable to wear without it feeling clunky. At 14.3mm thickness, the watch may look and feel big, however not enough to deter you from everyday wear. It is, after all, a divers watch which is known to be quite thick. If we had to be nit pick, one thing that could be improved would be the size of the date window. It could be slightly bigger to showcase the date. This is not a deal breaker though as this gives more space for that beautiful blue dial. 

Thanks to the very sturdy construction of this timepiece, the wearability of the U1 Phantom is unrestricted. The non-complex dial, when matched with a leather strap or similar variant, allows it to be worn as a dress piece. With the U1 Phantom’s toughness and scratch-resistance, it can be worn to sporting activities and events without having to worry about the timepiece being damaged in any way. And of course, if you are into diving or is a professional diver, then this watch is an ideal value-for-money candidate for those underwater explorations! 

Australian Retail Pricing : $4,680.00

Availability : Available now to special order

Define watches

Shop 5 / 2 Quamby Place, NOOSA, QLD, 4567

Phone : (07) 5447 4643

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