A few weeks ago, we ran a piece titled, Two Years in with the MK II Paradive. In it, our contributor and friend Jon Gaffney wrote about owning the titular model, chronicling how he first became interested in watches and his journey to, and experience with, the Paradive itself. It was an interesting read, and certainly a relatable one. It got us thinking about our own collections. What was it that drew us to the watches we now own? How have our feelings changed after a few years of ownership? Any regrets?
To answer these questions, we’re kicking off a new series titled My Watch. Each entry will focus on a watch out of our personal collections and the story around it. Truth be told, it’s going to be a bit of an indulgent exercise, but also a fun one. We all have stories to share, and watches are all the more better when they come with a story. I’ll start things off with one of my first major watch purchases–my Sinn 756.
But before I get to the watch, I’ll begin with how I became a watch enthusiast because the two are so intertwined. Growing up I never really considered wearing a watch. I was an avid skateboarder all through middle and high school, so anything on my wrist would have surely gotten trashed. Plus, I never really understood the utility of wearing a watch when I had a cell phone in my pocket. I do remember gifting my grandfather a Seiko 5 for one of his birthdays and him having to get it serviced when it suddenly stopped working. But beyond that I can’t say I had any sort of sentimental connection to watches or that I grew up around them.
I was probably 18 or 19 when watches first crossed my radar in a serious way. It was on Styleforum—one of the many forums I frequented at the time—where I stumbled across a thread about watches. Most of the content was foreign to me—lots of brands I had never heard of and peculiar jargon. Nothing really caught my eye, that is until someone posted the image below.
That right there is the now-defunct Sinn 656 Schwarz. I don’t know what it was about this watch and this photo in particular, but—and I know just how cliché this sounds—it spoke to me. Maybe it was the totally utilitarian aesthetic of the thing—the stark white of the 12, 3, 6, 9 and sword hands contrasting against a sea of black. Or maybe it was the awesome case patina with the worn coating revealing the grey underneath. Whatever the reason, that photo was my spark.
I did my homework on Sinn, and the more I learned about the company the more I liked what they were doing. Here was this brand making mechanical watches—things that are inherently fragile—and beefing them up with all sorts of cool tech to turn them intro true tool watches. If I’m a sucker for anything it’s overbuilt goods, and Sinn watches are certainly that.
Unfortunately, the 656 was way out of my price range at the time, so I was left admiring it from afar. But at that point I was already hooked. I wanted a mechanical watch, but I didn’t know what else to buy. My budget didn’t leave a lot of room to play with, so I wanted to make sure I was choosing from the best that I could afford.
Then began a process I am sure many budding and seasoned enthusiasts can relate to. I joined Watchuseek and sponged up all the reviews, images, and snark the community had to offer. I probably could have spent my time doing more productive things, but I was far too engrossed to stop. Plus, the forum opened up a whole new world of collecting to me. I won’t bore you with all my earliest purchases and missteps, just some highlights. I owned a Steinhart Ocean 1 DLC, an Orient Mako, and a great Orient 60th anniversary dress watch with a manual movement. I eventually sold them all (still kicking myself for flipping that Orient hand-cranker), though the Steinhart probably held out the longest. Those early days were a frenzy of buying and selling, and frankly I had accumulated too many watches that I liked, but didn’t love. They were all placeholders for the one I really wanted—the 656.
I started saving and fought off all impulse buys. I also had to figure out a way to reconcile the price in my mind; spending almost $1,000 on a watch was totally foreign to me. I told myself this would be my one watch (hah!) that I’d wear until I passed it over to my proverbial future child, a.k.a. the lie we all tell ourselves to justify this insanity. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, the watch gods declared the 656 unfit and it was banished from existence (actually, I believe Sinn pulled the model because they were unhappy with the durability of the coating).
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I won’t be overly dramatic so as to say I was heartbroken, but I was definitely disappointed. Despite being an avid seller on the forums, buying second-hand wasn’t even something I considered; I was probably too wary of receiving a dud if I were on the other end of the transaction. The 656 seemed completely out of reach. But at that point, I had also saved a nice chunk of change and I was set on buying a watch to commemorate my graduation. I also knew I wanted a Sinn, so I started digging a little deeper into the brand’s catalogue. That’s when I discovered the 756.
The 756 was basically the 656’s bigger, suped-up brother. In some ways, it was even better than 656 because it featured a chronograph, and at that time I was on a major chronograph kick. And naturally that complication lent itself to a more complex dial, one that still retained the somewhat blunt and straightforward aesthetic of the 656 but made it a hint more interesting. Sinn sold several variations, including one with a PVD case, but it was the original that really did it for me.
But I was faced with a familiar problem—the 756 was even more expensive than the 656, something like $2,200 on a bracelet. I couldn’t afford it, and it was far more than I had ever considered spending on a watch, or really anything for that matter. I can certainly be indulgent, but the price came with a serious mental roadblock.
Not looking to get another placeholder, I decided to continue saving. I wasn’t necessarily saving with the goal of actually buying the 756 when I could finally afford to, at least not yet. It was more of a “what if.” But eventually I had saved enough, and what followed was a month or so of me going back and forth on the matter. I’m not sure what finally pushed me over the edge, but I bet it was a late-night purchase. I placed the order through WatchBuys and it was in my hands two days later.
I can’t recall ever being as excited as I was then to get a Fed-Ex delivery. I’m pretty sure I tore through the packaging like a madman to get to the watch. And as soon as I did, all (well, most) pangs of guilt and doubt went away. From the finishing to the heft, the 756 just oozed quality. It was so much nicer than any other watch I had previously owned. I quickly sized the bracelet with the handy tools included in the box and on to my wrist it went.
I’ve owned the 756 for five years now, and in that time I’ve gone through my fair share of watches. Most have gone, some have stayed, but the 756 has been a constant. Is it a perfect watch? In retrospect, no, it isn’t. But what watch is?
A little about the 756. It’s a 40mm, Valjoux 7750-powered chronograph. The case is bead blasted and tegimented (hardened), which is a hallmark Sinn feature. Tucked into the case near the lug at seven is a built-in copper-sulphate capsule that sucks moisture out of the watch, another trademark for the brand. The movement is protected against magnetism (up to 80,000 A/m) via a Faraday cage.
Advertisement Copper-sulphate capsule. The tegimented case has held up to years of wear. The tegimented case has held up to years of wear. The tegimented case has held up to years of wear.
As one might expect, the case has held up great. Tegimenting really makes a difference. After a few years of consistent daily and at times reckless wear, there are only a handful of marks on the watch. The copper-sulphate capsule is still a light blue (it turns a darker shade of blue when moisture is present within the watch), so the seals have been working properly. The AR, which Sinn has since improved, is a weak point on my watch. It’s relatively soft, so unfortunately the coating has a good number of marks. I’ve considered removing it, but it hasn’t irked me enough to do so. Since I’m at the five-year mark with the watch, I should ideally get it serviced. But being that it’s a fairly ubiquitous 7750, I’ll likely wait until it malfunctions or fails to keep time. So far, so good.
The only point of contention is the size. At 14.2mm thick, it isn’t much bigger than most 7750 chronographs, but it’s slab sided so it looks quite thick. I’ve heard some even describe it as looking like a tuna can. It’s not really an issue on the bracelet, but it does look off when paired with a thinner leather strap.
All in all, I’ve had a great experience with the 756. I wish all my purchases were this satisfying, but you can’t win them all. I’m still totally smitten with the aesthetic. The nearly symmetrical dial (there’s no running seconds sub-dial at nine), the super legible layout, and the subdued tone of the whole thing make it a great watch to wear. I’ve never been into bling, and the 756 is the anti-bling. I have far too many watches now (probably time for another cull), so unfortunately the 756 doesn’t get as much wrist time as it once did. But every time I put it on, I am reminded what drew me to the watch in the first place. I don’t plan on ever selling this one. Plus, my better half really likes this watch, so I doubt she’d even let me do it if I tried.