Sinn Introduces the U50 Dive Watch

The submarine steel diver, now mid-sized.

Sinn‘s signature dive watch is the near-indestructible U1 that’s a large 44 mm in diameter. Now Sinn has unveiled the mid-sized version of the same, the U50, which offers all of the goodness of its bigger brother but in a 41 mm case.

Initial thoughts

I am a fan of the original U1 because it is seriously minded in its functionality, encompassing design, material, and testing. And it is affordable, making it great value for money.

The new U50 has almost all of the same features and similar pricing, so it is hard not to like it.

But one caveat: though the U1 is a largish 44 mm, it never really felt that large, perhaps because of the short lugs and wide bezel (thus a small dial). So while the U50 may fit better on some wrists, it might look smaller than its 41 mm diameter suggests.

U50 at 41 mm (left), and U1 at 44 mm

Super steel

Like the U1, the new U50 has a case made of submarine steel, the same alloy used for the German navy’s submarines. Highly resistant to seawater corrosion and also especially nonmagnetic, the steel alloy comes from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, a builder of naval vessels, and is the same material used for the hull of the stealthy U212 class of submarines.

It’s rated to 500 m – hence the U50 moniker – and powered by the no-nonsense Sellita SW300-1, a clone of the ETA 2892. That’s less than the 1000 m of the U1, but 500 m is still plenty – and about the same depth rating as most navy submarines.

And if the submarine steel alloy alone wasn’t robust enough, the bezel of the U50 is also treated with Tegiment, Sinn’s proprietary hardening process that leaves it almost scratch-proof (the U1 boasts the same treated bezel too).

Variants

Like the U1, the U50 is available in three guises: straightforward all-steel, a steel case with a black-coated bezel known as the U50 SDR, and also the all-black coated U50 S.

From left: U50, U50 SDR, and U50 S

The U50 S is substantially more expensive, but for good reason. Unlike the U50 and U50 SDR that have Tegiment-treated bezels, the entirety of the U50 S is Tegiment hardened. That means the bezel, case, and back of the U50 S have an extra-hard surface that is then bonded with a highly-resistant black coating, resulting an exceptionally robust watch.


Key facts and price

Sinn U50
Ref. 1050.010 (U50)
Ref. 1050.020 (U50 S)
Ref. 1050.040 (U50 SDR)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 11.15 mm
Material: Submarine steel
Water resistance: 500 m

Movement: Sellita SW300-1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet

Limited edition: No
Availability: At Sinn retailers
Price: U50 – €2,160; U50 SDR – €2,230; U50 S – €2,600 (prices for watch on rubber strap, include German VAT)

For more, visit Sinn.de.


Correction April 30, 2020: The SW300 is a clone of the ETA 2892, and not the ETA 2824 as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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Bulgari Introduces the Bulgari Bulgari Cities Special Edition

Nine cities and nine sets of art.

While Bulgari is probably best known for the ultra-thin Octo Finissimo and serpent-inspired, jewelled timepieces, one of its earliest wristwatch icons – and one with a broader appeal – is the Bulgari Bulgari, which happens to have been designed by Gerald Genta. And the new Bulgari Bulgari Cities Special Edition 2020 – each accompanied by a set of prints – actually harks back to the origins of the design, which was conceived as an entry-level watch.

Introduced in 1977, the Bulgari Bulgari was Genta’s adaptation of the Bulgari Roma, a digital quartz watch that Bulgari gifted its top 100 clients in 1975. Engraved with “BVLGARI” and “ROMA” on its bezel, the watch borrowed from ancient Roman coins with the reigning Emperor’s name inscribed on the circumference. Genta transformed the dinky gift into the Bulgari Bulgari, which has since become one of the jeweller’s trademark watches.

The Bulgari Bulgari of 1977 (left), and the dinky digital watch of 1975. Photo – Bulgari

Initial thoughts

The new Cities Edition takes inspiration from a limited run of watches with black-plastic cases in the early 1990s. Though small, those were good-looking watches, because they combined the classic Bulgari Bulgari style with a stark black-and-gold livery. But the cases were plastic and the watches felt cheap – though to be fair they were cheaply, and fairly, priced.

Now Bulgari has translated the same look into a larger, upgraded watch with a steel case and in-house movement. It costs less than most other mechanical Bulgari watches, and probably the most cost-efficient method of obtaining Bulgari’s trademark watch design. Add to that the custom-commissioned artwork that is included with each watch, and it’s an attractive proposition.

From plastic to steel

And in 1993, Bulgari unveiled the original Bulgari Bulgari Cities, a limited edition in a matte, black plastic case with gold accents on the dial, which also bore the name of one of the roughly two-dozen cities where Bulgari had boutiques. Priced at a fraction of the next most-affordable Bulgari watch, the plastic watch was a hit.

Over the next two decades Bulgari introduced additional versions of the plastic watch, which was renamed Carbon Gold. But now Bulgari has finally done away with the plastic case, while retaining the black-and-gold look.

The Bulgari Bulgari Cities Special Edition a steel case coated in matte black diamond-like carbon (DLC) – accented with an 18k rose gold crown – that measures 41 mm wide and just 8.7 mm high.

Instead of the brand on the lower half of the bezel, it features the name of one of nine cities where Bulgari has a major boutique – Rome, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, London, Ibiza, Milan, Mexico City and New York.

Like many of the Octo Finissimo models, the Cities watch has a uniform sandblasted finish across the entire case that’s match with a plain black dial – with no branding – with pink gold hands and markers. The look is stark and minimalist.

Each watch is delivered with an additional textured rubber strap

At the same time, the latest Bulgari Bulgari Cities is also powered by an in-house movement. While earlier generations were usually equipped with ETA automatic or quartz movements, the new model contains the BVL 191, a compact automatic with a 42-hour power reserve.

And more unusually, each watch will be accompanied by a set of 12 prints dedicated to the respective city of the watch. Each set of prints is the work of one of nine artists commissioned to create the illustrations.

Six of the cities along with some of the prints


Key facts and price

Bulgari Bulgari Cities Special Edition 2020
Ref. 103225 (Dubai)
Ref. 103220 (Milan)
Ref. 103372 (Ibiza)
Ref. 103226 (New York)
Ref. 103224 (Tokyo)
Ref. 103219 (Rome)
Ref. 103228 (Mexico City)
Ref. 103229 (Paris)
Ref. 103230 (London)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 8.7 mm
Material: DLC-coated steel
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: BVL 191
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Brown calf leather, and additional black rubber strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: At boutiques and retailers around the world (though availability of each city model varies globally) starting mid 2020
Price: €4,250

For more, visit Bulgari.com.


Update April 30, 2020: “Initial thoughts” section added as it was left out in an earlier version. Apologies.

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