Is the SINN U50 the Best Desk Diver for Your Buck?

Is the SINN U50 the Best Desk Diver for Your Buck?

Let’s start with the answer and then work backwards on the, why. Yes, the SINN U50 — at USD 2,260 for the version on the bracelet even — is arguably one of the better desk divers for your buck.

The Wear

Launched in April of 2020 — at what would’ve otherwise been Baselworld (long live Baselworld) — the U50 is a direct descendant of SINN’s widely beloved, U1. Sized down from the U1’s 44mm case diameter, the U50 is a 41mm diver that’s perfect for the present season in time when more nominal sized watches seem to be the preference.

Although what has to be said here is that the U1 was not a watch that wore 44mm on the wrist thanks to its short lugs. In the same manner, the U50 neither looks nor wears like a 41mm timepiece.

The earlier 44mm SINN U1 side--by-side with the new 41mm SINN U50 (© Revolution)
The earlier 44mm SINN U1 side--by-side with the new 41mm SINN U50 (© Revolution)

Talking to a watch guy, who is a stickler for details, you’ll learn that this is because of two factors: one, the aforementioned short lugs; two, the width of bezel, which makes the dial of the watch to appear smaller relative to watch. Of course, the size of the lugs also allows for the attached bracelet to drape a lot earlier on wrist, and therefore, creates a nice snug fit and an overall smaller footprint on the wrist.

But what’s fit and form got to do with a watch that is being proposed as a desk diver? Ever realized that on the days that you’ve had to spend more time furiously button smashing for long hours, are also the same days when the watch on your wrist spends the least time on your wrist while you’re at your desk?

The shorter lugs on the 41mm SINN U50 makes the watch's footprint on the wrist a lot lesser than what is typically expected of a 41mm timepiece (©Revolution)
The shorter lugs on the 41mm SINN U50 makes the watch's footprint on the wrist a lot lesser than what is typically expected of a 41mm timepiece (©Revolution)
A closer look at the shorter lugs of the SINN U50 (©Revolution)
A closer look at the shorter lugs of the SINN U50 (©Revolution)

The idea there being that you wouldn’t want your wristwatch getting in the way of your productive button smashing day. This thought is, of course, negated when the watch on your wrist, sits right and doesn’t get in the way of your productivity. So much so that the thought of taking off your watch before entering hyper-smash, mode doesn’t even cross your mind.

From the case we move on to all stainless-steel bracelet, which for all intents and purposes, is a as functional as all of SINN’s watchmaking. Meaning to say that it’s hard to find fault with it. It’s a bracelet, it works to its stated duties. In an owner’s review by Blake Buettner of wornandwound.com, speaking of the bracelet he mentions that the clasp on the bracelet, “is less than confidence inspiring as it requires a firm push to seat itself properly, and you’re not greeted with a reassuring ‘click’ when this happens, but rather with a muted slide which will have you double checking that it’s actually in.”

The bracelet clasp on the SINN U50 is a functional piece of engineering that does exactly what its meant to (©Revolution)
The bracelet clasp on the SINN U50 is a functional piece of engineering that does exactly what its meant to (©Revolution)
Given that the SINN U50 is a dive watch through and through, its bracelet also comes with an easy dive extension feature, for if ever you'd like to wear the watch over your cuff ala, Gianni Agnelli (©Revolution)
Given that the SINN U50 is a dive watch through and through, its bracelet also comes with an easy dive extension feature, for if ever you'd like to wear the watch over your cuff ala, Gianni Agnelli (©Revolution)

True as his observations are, the thing to think about is that, the lack of the audible click, might serve as a positive quality for those of us who end up treating our clasps as fidget toys while seated at our work desks. If, however, you’re one of those who require the tactile feedback from your wristwatch-fidget-toy, the rotating bezel with TEGIMENT technology will provide countless hours of great clicking satisfaction.

The Reliability

The TEGIMENT treated bezel of the SINN U50 features deep engravings for large legible markings on the dive scale of the watch (©Revolution)
The TEGIMENT treated bezel of the SINN U50 features deep engravings for large legible markings on the dive scale of the watch (©Revolution)

TEGIMENT technology, by the way, is SINN’s proprietary surface hardening process that is used to affect the treated surface on a molecular level such that it significantly increases the level of protection against scratches than the untreated form. But it’s not just surface treatment used for the U50, SINN starts off by using high-strength, non-magnetic and seawater-resistant German Submarine Steel for the crown and case of the watch, basically the same material that the Navy in Germany uses to build their submarines. Which means to say that your daily commute, wars waged at the keyboard and beers with friends will be no match for the SINN U50, should you have it on your wrist through the day.

The SINN U50 is powered by the Sellita SW300-1, an ébauche that forms the base for multiple watches in the Swiss watch industry. SINN, however, goes the distance to modify the SW300-1 in order for the movement to be anti-magnetic as per DIN 8309 specifications, which is Germany’s equivalent for the various ISO standards. As a daily beater, given the amount of electronics your U50 will be surrounded by, the anti-magnetic properties of the movement will, no doubt, come as a blessing against the accidental magnetization. Let’s not forget that the protective effect is also doubled up by the aforementioned German Submarine Steel that lists non-magnetic as one of its prime physical qualities.

Some impressive lume action on the SINN U50 (©Revolution)
Some impressive lume action on the SINN U50 (©Revolution)
The three variations of the U50: the U50 SDR (TEGIMENT treated bezel only), U50 S (TEGIMENT treated bezel and case) and U50 (TEGIMENT treated bezel only)

Lastly, we talk about preferences. If a subtle, gray bead-blasted stainless-steel case and strap isn’t your thing, you can get the same case on a red or black rubber strap. Or just go ahead and buy the bracelet version and dress it up to your heart’s desire with your preferred NATO strap. The U50 is further extended with the offering of the U50 SDR, which is the same watch with a black rotating bezel with TEGIMENT technology. The black bezel, therefore, offering an alternate choice. Lastly, there’s the U50 S, which offers the case plus bezel with the TEGIMENT treatment that then receives a high-resistant black coating that further adds to a watch that is fundamentally robust at heart. The extra treatments on the U50 S, of course, does affect the price of the watch, but remains firmly under three grand.

The Deal

The SINN U50 is clearly a watch with robustness and reliability in mind for the perils of open water diving. The perils of daily life, therein, should not pose too much of a threat, if any. There is a last reason that is worth pointing out before we close off. That is the increased frequency of stories we keep hearing from the watch community about thefts occurring in major cities.

Granted people aren’t necessarily out and about as much as they would’ve been pre-pandemic, the fear of being mugged while wearing a more costly timepiece. Which is why the U50, again, poses itself as a great daily beater. It’s a subtle looking watch, over-engineered for daily life; presents great wearability and reliability, at an undeniable price point. Better yet, in the unfortunate encounter with a mugger, a German Submarine Steel dive watch should prove to be of great help as a beater — you know — for self-defense.

Technical Specifications

The TEGIMENT treated bezel of the SINN U50 features deep engravings for large legible markings on the dive scale of the watch (©Revolution)

Movement

Self-winding SW300-1; hour, minute and running seconds; date; stop second; anti-magnetic rated as per DIN 8309; 42-hour power reserve

Case

41mm bead-blasted German Submarine Steel with options for with or without TEGIMENT treatment on the bezel alone, or all in on bezel, case and bracelet; diver’s bezel with minute ratcheting and luminous key mark; lug width: 20mm; case thickness: 11.15mm; weight without strap: 74g; water-resistant to 500m; meets technical requirements for waterproofness, as set out in standard DIN 8310, DIN 8306; tested based on European diving equipment standards EN 250 / EN14143 and certified by DNV GL

Strap/Bracelet

Stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap with steel clasp, both come in options for steel elements being TEGIMENT treated

Editor’s Note: The watch featured in the article is one that was loaned to Revolution by our friends at The Hour Glass; thoughts shared in text however were, in no means, directed or effected by this.

More information: thehourglass.com

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Sumit Nag

Sumit started with Revolution — and as a watch journalist — a mere couple of years ago, having spent the bulk of his professional Iife in digital consultancy. Since then he’s progressed to lead Revolution’s digital efforts, taking on the website and our social media channels.