A German title for this week’s Wednesday watch post here on Motoring Exposure. We are discussing Sinn Spezialuhren’s method of exhaustive testing, using a German research center (Fraunhofer Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit) that works on issues raised by automobile and commercial vehicle branches.
Using high-tech simulation techniques, this institute performs extensive tests on the construction of cars and airplane wings. Sinn, famous for its instrument watches, realized that a lot of (semi) professional car drivers expose their mechanical watches to rough rides, experiencing bumps, shocks, and vibrations.
Since it is a mechanical watch, consisting of (at times) hundreds of small parts that all work together within the space of a few square millimeters, it can easily be damaged by the abuse of car drivers. A few examples of what can go wrong with your mechanical watch:
- the balance spring get damaged;
- the legs of the dial bend, resulting in the dial moving around, which in turn affects the axis of the hands;
- hands fall off their axis, damaging each other or the dial;
- movement screws come loose, resulting in movement parts becoming loose as well.
All in all, pretty scary stuff for your precious (and expensive) time piece. We all know what repairs cost these days, with the shortage of watchmakers.
Sinn tested five of their models, the 757 Diapal, 900 Flieger, U1000, Frankfurter Finanzplatzuhr 6000, and the 917. Not all are chronographs meant for professional racing drivers, but who cares (we don’t). These watches were attached to the steering wheel of the car, since that is where your hands are when you drive. They were also mounted on pillows from synthetic material, to stimulate the wrist and act as shock breakers.
Once all set, the simulation started for a long 13 hours, exposing the five test watches to shocks, vibrations (increasing in strength over the duration of the ride), bumps (making the steering wheel shake), sudden swerves to left and right, and emergency stops. According to Sinn, all watches passed the test (Alles im Grünen Bereich) and 4 out of 5 watches showed only little deviation in time keeping during the test, all within +1 and -3 seconds. After the test, all watches worked flawless again.
Although Sinn uses pretty common 3rd party movements, they have an impressive long list of innovations that include oil filled movements, dial and hands, magnetic field protection, tegiment treatment of watch cases (giving them an incredible hardness), and temperature resistant oil (protecting the watch against temperatures between -113 ºF and +176 ºF).
Sinn Spezialuhren are only available through a few agents world wide, or directly via their factory in Frankfurt, Germany. Prices start around 700 EU.
The full test report and a small video of the simulation can be found on the Sinn website.