Review of Sinn 856 B-Uhr Limited Edition
At the most recent Basel (2016) we were very surprised to see a unique vintage inspired replica watch outfitted with a rather bold bund style strap in the case.Every year at Baselworld, we make sure to swing by the Sinn booth on the first day we get there. It’s usually a bit before our actual meeting with Sinn, but we take the opportunity to view the glass displays on the outside of their booth, and get a quick preview of what they are releasing.
Limited to 856 pieces (yes, the same number as the series), the replica watch drew from classic Beobachtungs-uhren, or flieger type b, navigator replica watches. This unto itself is not all that surprising or rare, but how Sinn went about it created a unique and very visually appealing replica watch was. One that was a bit of a departure for the brand, and a welcome change of pace. Featuring the same tech-laden case as the other 856’s and an SW300-1 movement, the 856 B-Uhr comes with a price tag of $1,780 on leather or $2,090 on a bracelet, this stylish German-made replica watch is very worth a closer look.
At the actual meeting, which we recapped here, we saw split-second chronographs, a few new dials for their 556s, even a solid gold cased manual wound replica watch with a new German-made movement… all great, but the one that took the show, for me at least, was that first one that caught my eye in the window, the 856 B-Uhr limited edition.
The 856 B-Uhr utilizes the same case as others in the 856 series, which measures a pleasant 40 x 48 x 11mm. This makes it a bit larger than the 556, but still a relatively modest size for a modern pilot/aviator. The design is clean and simple, with classic pilot lines. From above, you have a thick bezel, slab sides, contouring lugs and a sizable crown flanked by guards. It’s quite literally a slightly enlarged version of the 556 physically speaking. However, unlike the 556, the 856 packs a few of Sinn’s technologies, making it very tough and modern.
The first tech of note is the tegimented steel. This is Sinn’s hardening technology that gives the case a value of 1200 vickers, making it very scratch resistant. It also gives the steel a bit of a darker color, which is emphasized through a bead blasted finish. I particularly like how their steel looks, as it has a tone that is between normal 316 and titanium, coming across a touch warm as well. This works really well on the B-Uhr edition, picking up the color from the parchment lume.
The next tech you’ll notice is the copper sulphate capsule located on the bottom left lug. This is a tech we’ve seen on several of the Sinn’s we’ve reviewed, and it’s unique to the brand. The capsule sucks moisture out of the atmosphere within the case. Additionally, the case itself is filled with inert gas, keeping normal air out. These two techs combine to greatly restrict the amount of moisture that is present within the case, which in turn leads to a longer lasting movement.
Within the case, you also have anti-magnetic shielding, protecting the movement up to 80,000 A/m. Combine these techs with the modest size and throw in 200m WR resistance, and you have a pretty ideal build for a day-to-day tool replica watch. Easy to wear, tough as nails, and able to withstand many different environments.
Flipping the replica watch over, you have a solid case back. They make note that the case back is actually nickel-free, which is better for those with allergies to metal. The case back is fairly plain, with only a few details etched in and the replica watches’ serial. Considering this is a limited edition, I do think they could have added something here. The center of the back is undecorated, begging for some B-Uhr related art.
The dial is where the 856 B-Uhr departs from the line, taking on traits of the replica watches its named for. For those who are unfamiliar, the B-Uhr style, sometimes referred to as flieger type-b, features a large minute index towards the exterior of the dial with a smaller hour track on the inside. They are slightly less common than the more recognizable type-a, which is featured on this Stowa as well as many others, but most brands that make one make the other as well.
For the 856, Sinn played with the concept, creating a design that while speaking to B-Uhrs is unique. The primary index is a minute index with numerals at 15, 30 and 45, a vintage style triangle at 0/60, larger rectangles at intervals of five and small markers for the individual minutes. One immediate difference between the Sinn B-Uhr and a classic version is that Sinn went with numerals at the quarter hours, which dramatically simplifies the overall design.
The other, which is very obvious at a glance, is the use of two colors of lume. For the numerals and 5-minute marks, they went with a warm, parchment color lume. For the individual minutes, they used white. People use these types of warm lume to suggest aging, as the color is similar to old rhadium or tritium. By using both colors, they negate this, making it much more interesting.
This is especially true once the hour index comes into play. At the center of the dial you’ll find the hour index, which has small white numerals for each hour, connected by curving white lines that create the appearance of a circle. Because the minutes are parchment color and the hours are white, you have this really easy way of visually distinguishing between the two, which also corresponds to their respective hands. The minute hand is a long roman sword with edge to edge parchment lume. The hour is a short skeletonized roman sword in white. I think this use of color is brilliant, adding character to the design overall, while increasing ease of use. It also stops the replica watch from feeling like a faux-aged time piece, which wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.
Another cool aspect to the design is a bit more conceptual as it reveals the design inspiration behind the 856 UTC. The UTC features the same outer index, replacing the minute numerals and triangle with large hour numerals for an aviator look. The inner hour track then becomes and inner 24-hr track for the UTC (GMT) hand. While the UTC is thoroughly modern in look and feel, it’s cool to see how the B-Uhr concept is at its roots.
Within the hour index circle, just below twelve, you’ll find the Sinn logo. It’s small and unobtrusive. Lastly, you’ll find a date window at 4, sitting between the hour numeral and the minute marker. The date is presented in white on black. This is the same location and style as on the other 856s, and is fairly discreet.
The lume design for the replica watch reflects the use of the parchment lume, so the minute numerals and markers all glow, while anything that is white does not. With the hands, however, the hour and second hands also do glow. Obviously, the hour needs to glow, but I think the second hand could have been skipped. Overall, it’s a very simple design that is easy to read. It’s not such a wild departure from SInn’s typical design that one would be surprised if they just made it a normal part of their line. Sort of an alternate to the bolder aviator style.
Straps and Wearability
The 856 B-Uhr is available with a leather bund strap (shown) or with a tegimented bracelet for an additional price. The bund strap obviously speaks to the pilot/military replica watch history of the B-Uhr design, and while not a very practical addition, is a fun thing to have as part of limited or special edition replica watch. The strap is 20mm and made from thick, matte tan leather with painted edges and heavy contrast stitching. It has a rustic look and feel to it, contrasting the more techy straps that Sinn’s usually come with.
The bund pad is quite large, with squared off sides. When worn, it makes quite a statement. I personally think it’s cool looking, though not something I’d want to wear all the time. Conveniently, the pad is easy to remove, and the strap can be worn without it. It’s worth noting though that the strap is sized to be worn with the pad, which essentially adds thickness to your wrist, so the strap is quite long and the smallest hole is still a large size.
With Bund Without Bund
Strap aside, the replica watch wears very well. The 856’s are a great size, having presence, but still being on the small side. As a regular wearer of a 556, I’ve gotten very use to the 38.5mm case of that replica watch. The 856’s are a bit bigger, but still feel nimble and comfortable, fitting my 7” wrist appropriately. Considering the added tech and WR, it’s pretty incredible just how understated the case is.
Aesthetically, the B-Uhr is also a winner. It’s a bit less aggressive than the normal aviator design, but perhaps a bit more stylish as well. The mix of colors with the crisp white markers, warm lume and dark tegimented steel case give the replica watch an outdoorsy, near tropical quality. Thought obviously a pilot replica watch at heart, there is something gauge like about it as well, perhaps speaking to dirt bikes or rally cars. Either way, it’s a great look for a sport replica watch.
The Sinn 856 B-Uhr is a well executed homage to classic flieger type-b’s that doesn’t feel like a run of the mill pilots replica watch. It takes cues from the past, but also from Sinn’s present line, making a unique and very attractive replica watch. Add in the 856 case with the tech mentioned previously, and you have a great looking and seriously tough time piece. At $1,780, while a bit more than the standard three-hand 856’s, and certainly not “cheap”, it’s a great value for what you are getting. There are few brands with replica watches that can compete with the specs Sinn laid out here.
Design and execution-wise, I really wouldn’t change a thing. They nailed the dial design on this one. It’s balanced, easy to read, and the best usage of parchment color lume I’ve seen. The color coding is a subtle act of genius that makes the replica watch all the more pleasurable to look at and use. Frankly, the only thing I would change is the case back to make it more special… clearly a non-essential detail, but I expected to find something there.
Otherwise, I would adjust the strap by adding a few more holes to it (which one could do with a punch anyway). The bund strap is a fun item that adds to the conceptual story, though it’s not really practical and unlikely to be one’s go to for the replica watch. In the end, while I think it’s a cool looking strap, I might actually veer towards the bracelet version, as the tegimented bracelet would just look amazing and any vintage style leather strap would compliment the replica watch well.
The replica watch reviewed in this article was provided by replica watchbuys.com.
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