Sinn EZM 3 F Full Review

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Sinn EZM 3 F cacti

According to watchbuys.com, the Sinn’s EZM series was “designed for the German Special Forces, including the German equivalents of SWAT, Customs, FBI, helicopter police, GSG 9, Navy Seals, federal police, Autobahn physicians and other elite units.” Autobahn physicians? I’m not sure why treating victims of a 200mph car crash requires a particularly hardy timepiece, but sure. EZM’s are tough. Some tougher than others. In fact the EZM 3 F doesn’t . . .

lead the German brand’s EZM brick shit house hit parade, in terms of price or features. The watch reviewed here is the 41mm “F” for “flieger” (pilot’s) version, a thinner, cleaner-dialled variant of the EZM 3 Diver’s watch, a variant of the original, now legendary EZM 1 timepiece. And just so you know, EZM stands for einsatz zeitmesser or “mission timer.”

Sinn EZM 3 F cacti 2

In terms of what you don’t get, the EZM 3 F’s case and bezel aren’t made from tegimented steel. They’re not nine times harder than standard steel, impervious to scratches and immune to corrosion. If you want a watch to hammer nails before tossing into a glass of Coca-Cola you’ll have to pony-up more money. Same goes if you want a “proper” EZM diver, offering 300m water resistance.

In terms of what you do get, the EZM 3 F’s matte finish case does a bang-up job of hiding scratches. Its 200m water resistance is more than merely adequate for underwater exploration short of a deep dive. Swimming, snorkeling, diving board stunting or sipping a cold beer at a harbor-side restaurant won’t imperil your German tool watch.

capsule

More good news: the EZM 3 F holsters Sinn’s replaceable copper sulphate capsule. The capsule absorbs humidity trapped inside the case (the white dot turns blue when it’s saturated). The technology prevents watch fogging, creating “a dry and stable environment for both the movement and the lubricating oils.” Your service interval increases from an unencapsulated three to five years, to seven to eight years.

But wait! There’s more! The red “Ar” encircled on the EZM 3 F’s dial indicates that the dial is filled with argon gas. Well it used to be. Sinn switched to nitrogen gas – which you don’t need in your tires but does an excellent job blocking moisture-laden oxygen molecules from entering your watch. The effect is the same and “Ar” looks cooler than “N2.”

gun and watch

Like all its EZM sibs, the EZM 3 F’s soft inner steel cage protects the watch against magnetic fields. While I can’t remember the last time my garage door opener or MartinLogan speakers buggered my watch (sorry Sinn), you get the same magnetic field resistance as a Rolex Milgauss. Although the EZM 3 F sure doesn’t look like a Rollie.

Sinn EZM 3 F second hand

The EZM 3 F sports the same dial as the EZM 3 – Sinn’s legendary dive watch – minus the Arabic hour markers. The result isn’t as much of a minimalist marvel as the Sinn 556i, but it’s close.

Both watches are blessed with the double-sided anti-reflective coating that makes the sapphire crystal disappear. The key deficit: the needle-nosed tip of the EZ 3 F’s minute hand extends all the way into the indices, making it a fraction harder to tell the time at a glance, especially at the half minute.

Side view Sinn

Sinn placed the EZM 3 F’s date window between the 3 and 4 indices, rendering it both mostly unobtrusive and largely useless. The 120-click bi-directional bezel isn’t exactly a joy to turn – it snaps more than clicks – but there’s no doubt it will continue to rotate with precision for several generations.

I’m not the best one to debate the relative merits of a countdown vs. a count-up bezel. Since COVID darkened our collective doorway I can hardly keep track of the day of the week, never mind how many minutes remain before my Trader Joe’s chicken curry is done. Besides, there’s Alexa in the kitchen and Siri on my phone.

Sinn EZM 3 F wrist

Left-hand crown placement is another divisive issue. I’m a lefty who wears his watch on his right wrist. I don’t understand why righties think that being able to adjust your watch (on your left wrist with your right hand ) is worth the pain of the crown digging into the back of your hand while playing pinball. So this is a win for them.

As for the original “it’s on the left to minimize gun-handling interference” justification, as a right-handed shooter, I don’t get it. When shooting your wrists are never cocked enough to make a difference. And isn’t one-handed mission timer synchronization – easier for right handed shooters with the traditional crown placement – the better play? In any event, the EZM 3 F’s crown is large and gnarly enough for easy manipulation.

The leather strap is just plain gnarly. After three weeks of daily wear the EZM 3 F’s stitched leather is finally supple enough to slot the pin into the correct hole, so that the watch doesn’t slide around my wrist. Another three weeks and it might even be comfortable. Another three years and it’ll be perfect. That said, the 3.2 ounce EZM 3 F isn’t a burden even when off-center.

Sinn on timegrapher

The EZM 3 F is powered by the top grade ETA 2824-2. Strapped to the Timegrapher, the ubiquitous workhorse clocked in between -1 and -2 seconds per day accuracy. While RGM Pennsylvania and Sinn Germany are the designated service centers, you’re never going to have worry about parts availability or ridiculously expensive service costs.

If you have to worry about money – and who doesn’t? – the EZM 3 F’s $2060 price may be daunting. But you’re getting all of the look of the $3620 EZM 9 Tegimented Titanium TESTAF pilot’s watch with [what some consider] the most important technologies. A watch that’s perfectly in keeping with Sinn’s overall gestalt: a hugely legible timepiece built for the long haul.

Model: Sinn EZM 3 F
Price: $2060 (available from watchbuys.com)

SPECIFICATIONS:

Case metal: Stainless steel
Case finish: Matte
Case diameter: 41mm
Case thickness: 11.7mm
Case lug width: 20mm
Lug to lug: 47.5mm
Case back: Solid
Weight: 3.2 ounces
Front crystal: Sapphire
Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date
Technology: Inert gas filled, copper sulphate: Capsule
Water resistance: 200 meters
Antimagnetic: 80,000 A/m (10000 gauss)
Manufacturer’s limited warranty: 3 years

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * * * *
Minimalism über alles, complete with Sinn’s amazing disappearing glass.

Legibility * * * *
Exemplary – except for the needle-nosed second hand tip.

Comfort * * *
Light but the strap is as stiff as a double-shot of whiskey.

Overall * * * *
A top notch tool-watch for legibility freaks. Less or more Sinn tech for less or more money might be the better option.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Einsatzzeitmesser apparently means ‘mission timer,’ though online translation required breaking Germanic word compounding. Einsatz zeitmesser becomes ‘use timepiece,’ and einsatz zeit messer translates to “use time knife.’
    The little screw-in oil-filter-like dehumidifier is advantageous, if not alluring. I wonder what the replacements cost. It looks like something that could be replaced at home, though I’m sure that is not advised.

  2. My favorite part of my EZM 3 is the lugs…..the beveling, the angles, far and away my fav lugs on any watch ever. My EZM is my go to tool watch. I have the same strap on my 358 sa, and never got used to it, it never got comfortable, but that’s probably more due to the terrible deployant clasp than the leather. Watchbuys refuses to sell a tang buckle individually, so it’ll have to wait for my next trip to the fatherland….

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