THE STORY OF A CLASSIC
The Sinn 103
The longevity of the Sinn 103 makes this model a classic. The model series 103 survives generations and is not only part of an inseparable piece of contemporary history from Sinn Spezialuhren due to its uncompromising functionality and the design of an on-board instrument. In the almost unmanageable world of chronographs from the time of Helmut Sinn, the model series 103 succeeds in confirming its place in the company's product portfolio to this day thanks to the multitude of model variants.
In this series I address some of the rare, the Sinn 103 Compax.
How it all started, the Sinn 103 Compax
The history of the Sinn 103 began in the late 1960s with the Sinn 103 Compax.
The Sinn 103 Compax was developed at a time when the watch industry was swaying. The quartz watch crisis threatened the watch industry from 1970 and was a long-term economic crisis in which many companies went bankrupt. Due to the almost complete displacement of mechanical watches by quartz technology, the number of people employed in the traditional watch industry fell massively.
Smaller manufacturers such as Helmut Sinn remained loyal and continued to have mechanical watches assembled. During this time, Helmut Sinn used many suppliers and bought part of the remaining stock of housings, plants and parts from Breitling, Gallet and Excelsior Park.
Watch case from Jaeger, Breguet and Mathey-Tissot were also used for the 103 models. These models did not appear at the same time, but were only offered by Helmut Sinn after the official sale of the individual manufacturers.
Between 1966 and 1968 Helmut Sinn published his first 103 Compax.
The first series of the Sinn 103 Compax corresponded to the design of the LeCoultre reference E2643, also known as "The Shark" or "Shark Deep Sea". A Valjoux caliber 72 with ratchet chronograph works in it.
LeCoultre Ref. E2643
Jaeger-LeCoultre Ref. E2643
Sinn 103 - Valjoux 72
Girard Perregaux Ref. 2800
Sinn 103 A - Valjoux 726
Later models have the "T Swiss T" imprint and were assembled from the beginning of 1970 to 1974, the Sinn 103 with gold-plated Valjoux 726 can occasionally be found as a transitional model.
These transition models with Valjoux 726 are the clocks that were assembled after 1974 and up to approx 1978.
The successor to the Sinn 103 with Valjoux 72 is the Sinn 103 A "Big Eyes" with large white totalizers and Valjoux 726.
Breguet Type XX Civilian
Sinn 103 B - Valjoux 726
His contacts with Breguet and Mathey-Tissot, whose owner Helmut Sinn knew very well from the airfield, were decisive for this model series.
Inspired by on-board watches in the aircraft cockpit and designed for pilots, the Sinn 103 B with Valjoux caliber 726 was created in the 1970s.
The draft and the design of this model corresponded to the civil pilot watch Breguet type XX.
Breguet CEV Serie 1971
Sinn / Breguet CEV Serie
The original, the Breguet CEV series, can hardly be found and, if at all, they are only offered in auction houses. This Breguet CEV achieves top prices.
These models with the Sinn logo are rarer and there were very few of them.
The model is similar to the CEV Type 20 model, without numerals, only with bar indices in the 15-minute register and with propeller hands.
Sinn 103 C - Valjoux 726
Few pieces of the Sinn 103 C Chronograph were assembled, the design corresponded to the Mathey-Tissot Tachometer.
The watch case is identical for all models shown and the serial numbers are also in the respective range.
This indicates that the case is from the same manufacturer or that original watches from the individual brands were used.
Sinn 4ATM - Valjoux 72
This is one of my favorite pieces, the rare Sinn 103 4 ATM, this model was offered by Helmut Sinn as a Panda Dial and a Reverse Panda in very small numbers.
The draft and the design of this model is by Jaeger and was produced between 1968 and 1971 for the French market in an edition of approx. 100 pieces assembled.
At the end of 1972, after Jaeger official sale of the Jaeger 4 ATM, Helmut Sinn bought the remaining stock and then marketed it as the
Sinn 103 4 ATM.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE NEW SINN 103 CHRONOGRAPH
I call the models from 1988 the 3rd generation these are the pioneers of today's Sinn 103 Chronograph. They appeared with automatic Valjoux 7750 and manual Valjoux 7760.
The first hand-wound models had a Girard-Perregaux Submariner case.
Only small numbers were assembled, only with the new housings, whose shape has remained almost unchanged to this day, did large numbers come.
That was the actual hour of birth of the large production figures at Sinn Spezialuhren.
Until then, parts and remaining stocks from other manufacturers were used.
Sinn 103 B Automatic
Sinn 103 B Hd
Sinn 103 A Hd SA
SINN 103 B SA HD MOND
Between 1993 and 1995, the Sinn 103 with moon phase was sold by Helmut Sinn to Lothar Schmidt in a quantity of only 600 pieces. Only a few had sapphire glass and sapphire glass on the bottom, since the sales price was significantly higher than that of the acrylic glass variant.
The Sinn moon phase was available as a manual wind with Valjoux 7768 and automatically with Valjoux 7758. The first have the old Sinn logo with the elongated "S", the early machines had the automatic lettering with "C" and later from 1995 with the new Sinn logo and automatically with "K".
These are some of the last models that were still manufactured under the direction of Helmut Sinn.