Sinn’s Submarine-Steel Dive Watch Gets a Patina Dial

A twist on the beloved U1.

Known for its utilitarian “tool” watches, Sinn’s latest is a variation on its bestselling dive watch. The U1 DS is a limited-edition rendition of the brand’s dive watch that’s best known for having a case made from the same steel alloy as German navy submarines.

Limited to 500 pieces, the U1 DS features a dial that has been lapped to achieve a seemingly worn-out finish, whilst retaining the famed robustness that characterises the U1. The combination is a juxtaposition of an aged dial and a case that will likely never show any wear.

Initial thoughts

The U1 DS is a clear winner in my books. The dial’s battle-scarred look suits the submarine-inspired genesis of the U1, which has long had a military feel, despite not being a military-issue watch (though Sinn did made a special edition for a special-forces unit of the German military).

Despite the new finish, the U1 retains its trademark legibility. The randomly-scratched texture does not detract from readability or the distinctive U1 dial design. Its signature block-shaped hands and hour markers remain prominent.

Though it’s an uncommon look, Sinn has been using this randomly-textured finish frequently of late. The finish was first used in 2019 on the 356 Fliegerchronograph for Singapore retailer The Hour Glass, and then last year on the EZM3.F.V. that was only sold in Japan. The patina finish remains rare, but not quite as rare as it seems to be.

The Japan-only EZM3.F.V.

Despite being a limited edition, the U1 DS costs only 10% over the standard U1, a reasonable increase considering the limited run and intriguingly textured dial. The most expensive variant, which has a steel bracelet, costs €2,500, making it a strong value proposition as is often the case with Sinn.

Hardened U-boat steel

Dial aside, the rest of the U1 DS is identical to the stock U1. That means an exceptionally solid case that’s 44 mm – which seems large on paper – but wears smaller than expected due to the short lugs.

Like the standard model, the case and crown of the U1 DS are made of a steel alloy used to fabricate the hulls of German navy submarines, also known as Unterseeboot or U-boat. Compared to ordinary steel, the alloy has increased anti-magnetic and corrosion-resistant properties, while also being stronger and more dense.

The U1 DS is further enhanced by Sinn’s proprietary surface hardening. Both the case and bezel have been treated with Tegiment, a process that hardens the topmost layer of the metal, significantly improving its scratch resistance – making for an incredibly hard-wearing watch.

And like the rest of the U1 models, the U1 DS is a bona fide dive watch, having been certified by DNV, a German-Norwegian industrial testing and certification body, to be truly water-resistant to 1000 m according upon European diving equipment standards (EN250 and EN14143).

Inside is an automatic Sellita SW-200. Essentially a clone of the workhorse ETA 2824-2, the SW200-1 is equally dependable and easy to service, but like the ETA 2824, it has a shorter than average power reserve of 38 hours.

Key facts and price

Sinn U1 DS
Ref. 1010.0351

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 14.7 mm
Material: Submarine steel
Water resistance: 1,000 m

Movement: Sellita SW200-1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Leather strap, rubber strap or steel bracelet

Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: At Sinn retailers
€2,200; or 4040 Singapore dollars (leather strap)
€2,470; or 4540 Singapore dollars (rubber strap)
€2,500; or 4760 Singapore dollars (metal bracelet)

Prices include local taxes

For more, visit


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Tudor Premieres Short Film About Orcas, Whales, and a Remote Norwegian Island

With freediver Morgan Bourc’his.

Continuing with a tradition established by its founder Hans Wilsdorf – who famously equipped Mercedes Gleitze with a Rolex Oyster when she became the first Englishwoman to swim the Channel – Tudor has cultivated partnerships with many sportsmen and women, brand ambassadors who prove the durability of its watches.

The brand’s latest endeavour took it to Spildra, a remote island off Norway, where it supported the production of a documentary that delves into the lives of orcas and whales. The brainchild of underwater film director Jean-Charles Granjon, The Quest for Nature stars Morgan Bourc’his, a world-champion freediver who’s long been a Tudor ambassador.

Mr Bourc’his sporting a Pelagos

Despite being in the sea his entire professional life, Mr Bourc’his professes a regrettable lack of experience with large marine mammals. He both yearns to meet them and bemoans their declining reducing populations.

The film marks Mr Bourc’his’ first extensive experience with these marine creatures, something he describes as a “human and technical adventure in collaboration with nature and subject to nature’s desires.”

An orca – better known as a killer whale but belonging to the dolphin family

Searching for giant mammals

The team started shooting in January 2019, but the environment turned out to be less than ideal, resulting in little useable footage. Learning that inauspicious start, they made a comeback 10 months later, armed with more personnel and equipment, while also being blessed with friendlier weather. The second attempt was a resounding success.

One of the key members of the team was Audun Rikardsen, a whaler-turned-marine biologist who helped Mr Bourc’his develop a connection with oceanic mammals, serving as a guide when Mr Bourc’his swam among the gentle giants. And local marine guide Roy Isaken helped navigated around Spildra, making him an indispensable team member without whom the “would never have been made” according to Mr Bourc’his.

The highlight of the documentary was the Mr Bourc’his’ encounters with whales. Because it was feeding season, the marine creatures energetically interacted with one another, providing a rare peek into the their curious nature and immense strength. Merely observing them was no easy feat, as Mr Bourc’his recounts, given the grave concerns of team members, especially when diving in pitch black waters during the night.

Taking a step back

Swimming with the whales are a thought-provoking experience for Mr Bourc’his, beyond the experience with nature. His observation of commercial fishing – legal and regulated but still industrial in scale – led Mr Bourc’his to ponder mankind’s relationship with nature, particularly how human needs destroy the equilibrium in the delicate ecosystems.

And the production of the film led to to a connection with the local community on Spildra – a population of just 15. Mr Bourc’his reflects on his life in the city – his home is in Marseille – that contrasts starkly with life on the island.

A place where the pace echoes the rhythms of nature, Spildra is difficult to access, getting there is very much feasible, as long as careful planning is done in advance. In contrast, cities have long forgone a connection with nature in exchange for densely interconnected transportation networks. Capturing the tradeoff between relentless activity driven by convenience and the serenity of raw nature, the film is in some ways a call to action for accelerating the development of greener cities.

The Quest for Nature has been broadcast on Ushuaïa TV, a French television channel specialising in nature documentaries. It will most likely make its debut internationally soon. In the meantime, visit for more.

Addition March 8, 2021: Included the name of the television channel that carries the documentary.

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