“I’m looking to buy my first expensive watch (up until now, a Khaki Field had been the pinnacle) and what I expect will be my one-watch collection,” a TTAW reader writes. “I’ve narrowed it down to the Sinn 104 St Sa in matte, or the Tudor Pelagos in black.” Sinn vs. Tudor! It’s on!
I understand both to be exceptional in terms of tool watches, and I expect that I wouldn’t go wrong in buying either. What I’m most interested in is . . .
which offers the best tactile experience. I’m a big fan of precision engineering and high quality “feels.” My edc is a Small Sebenza [knife] and a Maxmadco bolt pen in titanium, and I value both for the aforementioned reasons.
Slow-opening and closing the Sebbie and hearing that click each way, and the smooth rolling of the bolt in the Maxmadco and the logo milling in the finial…good stuff. Basically, I’m looking for those qualities in a watch: bezel action, crown action, build quality, bracelet quality, all of it.
So our reader isn’t bothered about his first “nice” watch’s national origin or brand rep. Its dial, hand or date window design. Luminosity. Water or shock resistance. The movement’s origin (SW220 vs. in-house), accuracy, quality or reliability.
Either that or our aspiring luxury watch owner has already gone through all that, rated the two timepieces roughly equal and settled on his final criteria for his Sinn vs. Tudor cage match: tactility. How the watch “handles.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an extremely important, immediately apparent difference between these two timepieces that cannot be ignored in our Sinn vs. Tudor tacility showdown. Price.
Assuming you’re paying full retail for a box fresh example, the German contender clocks in at $1,720. The Swiss Miss runs $4,575. Given the Tudor’s $2855 price “premium,” you’d expect the Rolex sib’s tactility to win the day.
And you’d be right. While both watch’s bezels click with precision and certainty, while both watches are a joy to set, while there aren’t any perceptible flaws in their workmanship or assembly, the haptic difference between the bargain basement Sinn and the barely sub-Rolexian Tudor is far from immaterial. In fact, it’s all about the material.
The Pelagos’ case is fashioned from a blend of titanium and satin finish steel, attached to an all-titanium bracelet. The Sinn’s corrosion resistant 316L stainless steel case affixes to a stainless steel H-link bracelet. Titanium is a corrosion resistant metal with high heat transfer efficiency. Stainless steel – an alloy with carbon – is also corrosion resistant, but it transfers heat less efficiently. Body heat makes it feel warm to the touch. Which it is, along with significantly heavier. And some people prefer that.
What our reader won’t prefer: the Sinn’s finishing. Specifically, the bracelet.
Don’t get me wrong. Sinn’s bracelet is excellent for the price – beautifully polished and assembled. (Sinn 556i on an H-link bracelet above). But even setting aside Tudor’s patented, on-the-fly adjustment advantage, the Pelagos bracelet’s fit and finish wins the battle walking away.
The Sinn’s bracelet’s edges aren’t particularly sharp. You might even say they aren’t sharp. But they’re not rounded to riverstone smoothness like the Tudor’s. The German’s H-link bracelet sports a diver’s extension that’s nothing less than an ergonomic disaster; closing it requires one-handed origami. To finish it off, the Sinn’s stamped, lower-quality steel clasp is just plain nasty. Thin and flimsy.
The Tudor’s bracelet doesn’t match up to Rolex’s orgasmic Oystersteel, but it offers a lot more than foreplay (if you know what I mean). So unless our tactile-oriented reader orders the Sinn 104 St Sa on a leather strap and compares it to the Pelagos on its “free” rubber strap, there’s no comparison.
Or is there? In this case and throughout the line, Sinn watches provide 90 percent of what watches that cost more than twice the price offer. If you want brick shit house durability, Sinns are better. But if you’re fanatical about feel, if you want absolute tactile perfection, you have to pay the piper. Oh, and there’s no such thing as a one-watch collection. So, eventually, I recommend buying both.