If there’s one watch I consider to be the cornerstone of my collection, it is, without question, the Sinn T2B. Though we typically write about new releases and loaners that we’re lucky enough to wear for a few weeks or months, today I’m reviewing a watch that’s been in my personal collection on and off (more on that in a minute) for several years. It’s the only watch I have that’s guaranteed to remain with me in perpetuity and is utterly safe from any purge of the watch box. Although I’m far from a “one-watch guy”— it would be pretty hard to write about watches if that were the case — it’s the one watch I consider unequivocally me.
I’ve always been a particular fan of German watches; from the function-first aesthetics to the tech to the value, German watches simply resonate with me. After making my way through several German tool watches (e.g., Stowa, Damasko, Limes), I came across the Sinn T2B, tucked quietly away deep in Sinn’s catalog. It’s cliché to say that it was love at first sight, but I was immediately smitten — 41mm, titanium, loaded with Sinn’s proprietary technology, but a blue dial and rounded lines that softened the severe mien that defines much of Sinn’s Einsatzzeitmesser (EZM, or mission timer) line. I had to have one. I sold off a couple watches, found a lightly used example at a fantastic price, and it was on my wrist. That was four years ago. I wore it more than any other watch — by far — and took it on adventures both local and global.
But then, the horological affliction that affects so many of us struck: I wanted a new watch. In particular, I wanted a blue Tudor Pelagos, but the only way that would happen was to sell the Sinn T2B. Stupidly, I did so. A year later, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Sinn and now word was out that the T2B was discontinued. So, the Pelagos went up for sale and I went on the hunt for another T2B. It took a fair bit longer this time, but I managed to track down a like-new example, albeit at a significantly higher price. Lesson learned. They say you should never get back with your ex, which is sound advice when it comes to dating, but I’d have to disagree when it comes to watches.
So, why am I so enamored of the Sinn T2B? Let’s start with the case. The Sinn T2B comes in a 41mm grade 5 titanium cushion case; the light weight of titanium coupled with the super short ~46mm lugs means the watch wears small and exceptionally comfortably. No hyperbole, it’s the most comfortable watch I own. By far. It makes the Pelagos feel heavy and unwieldy by comparison. At first glance, the watch is unassuming, but Sinn is packing a whole lot of heat in the T2B. When the watch comes from the factory, the case is filled with an inert gas. The Ar marking on the dial indicates the use of Sinn’s Ar-dehumidifying technology, though nitrogen is now used in lieu of argon. Inert gases less reactive than air, in theory maintaining the oils in the watch for longer, reducing degradation of the movement and increasing the service intervals. Next, Sinn adds a copper sulfate capsule, visible as a pale blue dot on the side of the case at 8 o’clock. Copper sulfate absorbs any water molecules that inevitably make their way into the watch. Mind you, I’m not talking about water leaks, but minuscule amounts of air that inevitably sneak past the gaskets. As copper sulfate absorbs water, it gets darker. Once it reaches a dark blue after a number of years, the copper sulfate has done its job — that doesn’t mean that your watch is now vulnerable but rather that it operates like a typical watch, albeit one that also features Sinn’s Extreme Diffusion-Reducing seals. Pretty sure the Sinn T2B will survive my trips to the pool.
And that’s just the start… Now, let’s check out the bezel. The Sinn T2B features a tegimented titanium captive safety bezel. It’s probably worth breaking down that word soup. First, the tegimented titanium. Tegimenting is a surface-hardening process used by Sinn that increases the hardness of the metal to upwards of 1,200 Hv. In practice, this means that the bezel is really, really hard to scratch. A nice change of pace if you’re used to aluminum bezels. Next, “captive” refers to the fact that that the bezel is secured by four small screws that keep it in place, but the “safety” is where it gets interesting.
In order to turn the bezel, you have to apply downward pressure, then turn. After you’ve set the bezel, it pops back up in place and can’t move unless you push and turn. It’s akin to childproof tops on medicine bottles (but easier to operate) and made with typical German precision. When you do set the bezel, its 60 clicks are solid with zero wiggle. In practice, it means that the bezel can’t be inadvertently knocked out of position. One last note on the bezel is its unusual scalloping. It’s a unique approach and is fairly grippy and certainly not something you see very often. Again, these soft lines are a design element that echoes throughout the piece.
Finally, there’s the 2000m of water resistance. Yes, 2000m in a 41mm, ultralight watch with a very modest 13.3mm case height. Completely absurd and excessive and about 1,995m more water resistance than I’ll ever need, but if you want assurance about the capability of the tool on your wrist, that should do the trick. And it’s this feature that makes me smile when people chalk up the bulk of dive watches to high water resistance (I’m looking at you, Tudor Pelagos, with your 500m water resistance). It’s not about size, but construction, design, and tolerance — something Sinn nails like few others.
A gaze through the double-domed sapphire reveals the most important aspect of this watch: the dial and hands. After all, this is a tool watch and its prime responsibility is to allow you to tell the time quickly and easily. And that it does. Sinn continues with the softened aesthetics, rounding both the hour markers and hands so that the hour markers have a stark white pill shape set off against the matte blue dial. Now, the hands are where things will get divisive. The hour hand is small (some would say stubby), but this is entirely intentional, as it allows the large arrow-shaped minute hand to become the focal point. In practice, this means that reading the minutes is instantaneous.
Finally, the watch features a white-on-black date window. I actually prefer the choice of a black date window over one color-matched to the dial since it complements the black Ar text at 9 o’clock and the black at the base of the hands. Sinn uses two colors of Super-LumiNova — green for the bezel pip, minutes, and seconds, and blue everywhere else. And there’s a lot of it. The watch is a torch at night, though the distinctness of the colors is lost after a short time. The two-tone lume is a fun feature but really only noticeable right after a full charge of the lume.
Depending on when the Sinn T2B was produced, it’ll feature either a Soprod A10-2 movement or an ETA 2892-2, which eventually replaced the Soprod. I’ve found both movements reliable and I’d be happy with either. My T2B has the Soprod, a Swiss automatic movement with 25 jewels that beats at 2.8.kbph, features a 42-hour power reserve, is anti-magnetic to DIN 8309 and anti-shock to DIN 8308. Both of the T2Bs I’ve owned ran within a few seconds/day with little positional variance, so no complaints on my end about the movement.
Some watches are described as strap monsters — watches that look great on almost anything, be it bracelet, leather, rubber, NATO or anything else you can imagine. The Omega Speedmaster and Rolex Explorer come instantly to mind. The Sinn T2B? Not so much. After buying more straps that I care to admit, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Sinn T2B works on exactly three straps: a Sinn titanium H-link bracelet, a Sinn silicone strap, and an admiralty grey Phenomenato strap. That’s it, at least in my eyes.
Let’s focus on the two stock options: Sinn’s H-link bracelet and silicone strap. The bracelet is extremely light and comfortable. It simply melts on the wrist and is a pleasure to wear; the H-link style is almost synonymous with Sinn at this point and it’s the combination I’ve worn more than any other. Unfortunately, at the >$3,000 retail price, the bracelet is undoubtedly a let-down. That’s mainly due to the clasp, which is simple, stamped titanium. In addition, the diver’s extension is weak and tends to pop open every time you take the watch on/off. The deficiency of the bracelet clasp is especially poignant once you’ve worn the Sinn silicone strap with the large titanium clasp, which is a solid piece of milled titanium with excellent tolerances and a secure push-button closure. In other words, Sinn knows how to make a stellar clasp, they just choose not to include it on their bracelets for some bizarre reason.
I acquired a blue Sinn silicone strap a few weeks ago and, simply put, it’s fantastic. I’ve already noted the excellent large, titanium clasp, but a compact butterfly clasp is also an option. The curved and fitted “end links” give the watch a finished look and feel and the strap is extraordinarily comfortable… if you happen to have the right wrist size. The clasp has no micro-adjust holes, so you’re stuck with cutting strap and hoping for a close fit. Luckily, I ended up with a spot-on fit on my 6.75” wrist, but if you cut the strap a bit short, you’re stuck buying a new one — luckily, replacement straps are also sold without the über-expensive clasp. I’ve haven’t taken the silicone strap off since it arrived, and I have a feeling it will stay on the T2B for the summer.
If we consider alternatives, there are plenty of tool divers to choose from, but there’s simply nothing quite like the T2B. First up is the newly-released Sinn U50. Coming in at a similar 41mm case diameter, the U50 features a submarine steel case and bezel and a more attractive starting price of $2,180. The U50 features Sinn’s more classic and severe design language but lacks the much of the proprietary tech for which Sinn is known (plus, no blue colorway — yet, anyway). The other option, albeit in a larger 44.4mm size, is the $2,300 Tutima M2 Seven Seas: Titanium, blue dial, H-link bracelet, and a familiar overall aesthetic. Plus, I can attest that the bracelet and clasps on Tutima watches are fantastic. Last, but not least, there’s the T2B’s big brother, the $3,440 T1B. For the larger-wristed, the T1B gives you everything you get in the T2B, but in a larger 44mm case size.
The Sinn T2B is not a watch for everyone. You either love it or you just don’t get the appeal. Obviously, I love it, and, frankly, part of the charm to me is the fact that this is a watch that not everyone will like and it’s a watch I’m unlikely to see anywhere else, especially now that it’s been discontinued. The Sinn T2B was a daring departure for Sinn when it was first released, and it’s simply unlike anything else in the brand’s lineup — or anything else at all for that matter. The Sinn T2B retailed for $3,240 on strap or bracelet and a few straggler pieces can still be found new, though, depending on where you live, you’re likely going to have to look to eBay and the secondary market. These are not easy to come by, but it’s worth checking eBay for the broader Sinn T2 and keeping an eye on it. More information on the Sinn T2B can be found at sinn.de.