The Sinn Bundeswehr is back, with an all-black design and full TEGIMENT® treated case

Following the launch of our Sinn 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star” in 2019, we have now created the Sinn 155 S Bright Star TEGIMENT® (155 S Revolution II), the first ever all-black execution in the history of the model as well as the first version with a TEGIMENT Technology case and sapphire crystal.

Our latest collaboration with the Frankfurt-based watch brand Sinn is the continuation of our partnership dating back to 2019. Similarly based on the original Bundeswehr Chronograph and its reissues, this release updates the classic design with an ultra-hardy TEGIMENT®️ steel construction, a powerful fully blacked-out PVD coating and sapphire crystal. The result — a modern reimagination of the legendary pilot’s chronograph, updated with contemporary accouterments. Read on to discover more about this striking new timepiece and discover the rich heritage and eternal appeal of Bundeswehr timepieces.

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)

At a certain juncture in the life of any watch enthusiast, especially amidst these times when demand vastly outstrips supply and there’s a race to the top in terms of prices, one may begin to question if the game is worth the candle. Suddenly, the whole pursuit appears not just costly, but also potentially driven by undue credulity, as the correlation between price and quality becomes increasingly blurred. But amidst this fatigue, there are watches that continue to uphold the essence of our passion, that continue to demonstrate how sophistication in design, engineering and execution, and even a hearty serving of history can be had without breaking the bank.

One brand that comes to mind is Sinn, whose utter disdain for any pretensions gives it an appeal that is hard to match. With watches such as the U1 and EZM series, it is hard not to admire the maturity and single-mindedness of the company in eschewing trends for brutal reliability and purpose, to say nothing of the wealth of technologies it has introduced such as TEGIMENT Technology hardening on its cases, Ar-Dehumidifying Technology that uses a combination of inert gas, copper sulfate capsules, and an Extreme Diffusion-Reducing (EDR) seal to prevent moisture ingress and condensation, and even a lubricant-free lever escapement, featuring synthetic diamond pallets known as DIAPAL.

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)

When mechanical engineer Lothar Schmidt assumed control of the Frankfurt-based watch brand in 1994, he leveraged his technical expertise to introduce a string of innovative technologies to enhance the functionality of Sinn watches. The founder, the late Helmut Sinn, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 101, was a pilot who served in the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. He established his eponymous brand in 1961 at the age of 45, drawing upon his aviation experience from the outset to develop pilots’ chronographs and navigation cockpit clocks. Sinn later achieved a significant milestone by producing one of the earliest automatic chronographs used in space. The brand’s success enabled it to acquire assets from an ailing Breitling in 1979, and the rights to sell Navitimer watches under a different name (Sinn 903), and even helped get a fledging Bell & Ross off the ground in 1992.

The Heuer Bundeswehr 1550 SG. This example features the 3H symbol and a tiny “T” just above the numeral "6".

One of its most famous watches was the 155 Bundeswehr Chronograph. The watch was originally made by Heuer as the 1550 SG for the West German Federal Defence Force, i.e. Bundeswehr, from 1967 onwards. But in the ’80s, Helmut Sinn, who had his own ties to the military, purchased decommissioned watches from the inventories of the West German armed forces and sold these after refurbishing them. At the same time, he added the Sinn branding on the dial under the label “Bundeswehr Chronograph for Pilots.”

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)

Today, as we introduce our latest collaboration with Sinn on the 155 S Bright Star TEGIMENT® (155 S Revolution II), we look back at the history of the model and take a deep dive into the watch, which is the first all-black execution as well as the first version with a fully TEGIMENT treated case.

The Origins

While the Heuer Bundeswehr 1550 SG dates to 1967, the design of the watch spans a little further back to the Chronograph Cronometro da Polsa Type 2 (CP-2) that Leonidas, along with Zenith and Universal Genève, had produced for the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) in 1964. These chronographs were distributed to Rome-based watch retailer, A. Cairelli, which supplied them to the Italian military.

The CP-2 succeeded the CP-1, also produced by Leonidas, and the two differed in dimensions, with the CP-2 measuring 43mm compared to CP-1’s 39mm. The CP-2 was issued to pilots who flew the F-104 aircraft in Italian squadrons. The F-104 aircraft were an integral part of the interceptor fleet in Italy, as well as in other NATO countries. As such, the 1550 SG had similar specifications to the CP-2. Heuer had acquired Leonidas in 1964, hence the Bundeswehr 1550 SG were branded as Heuer.

The Heuer 1551 SGSZ “Sternzeit Reguliert” with a movement geared for sidereal time

Like its predecessor, the Heuer Bundeswehr is a well-proportioned 43mm flyback chronograph with a matte, antireflective steel case, thick, black-coated bidirectional 60-minute bezel with Arabic quarters and a large, inverted triangle at 12 o’clock. The dial is matte black with outsized luminescent Arabic numerals, sword-shaped hands, along with a “Concorde” shaped tip for the chronograph sweep seconds hand. It was powered by the hand-wound flyback Valjoux 222 with a hacking function and later, the 230. Notably, although it was designed as a pilot’s watch, it was made to conform to the specifications of other service branches as well, namely the artillery forces. These forces required the watch to run four minutes faster a day as sidereal time was used to determine true north. Thus, to avoid misuse, “Sternzeit Reguliert,” German for star time regulated, was printed on the dial. It is believed that 50 Heuer Bundeswehr Chronographs were delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force as well.

Sinn 155 Bw from the '80s

All watches were fitted with a Bund-style double layer strap, which was designed to protect the pilot’s skin from the case metal in the extreme temperatures of a cockpit. They were produced from 1967 until the reunification of Germany in 1990, when the Bundeswehr forces were subsequently reformed.

In the 1980s, as mentioned, Sinn purchased the decommissioned watches and sold them to civilians after refurbishing them. Later, Sinn began to mark the dials with the brand’s distinctive lettering and sold them as the 155 Bw. This period also marked the transition from the earlier, more radioactive luminescent coating to tritium, hence the dials were marked with “3H,” an abbreviation for Hydrogen-3, the chemical compound for tritium. Some versions of the dial included a small “T” above the six o’clock index to denote the use of tritium.

Today, a good example of a military-issue Heuer Bundeswehr 1550 SG will set you back anywhere from USD 5,000 to USD 8,000 while the “Sternzeit Reguliert” 1551 SZ is north of USD 10,000.

The Sinn 155 Bundeswehr Re-Editions

Although Sinn has produced the 156 and 158 chronographs that pay homage to the 155 Bundeswehr, the 155 itself has only been recreated on three occasions, beginning with a
200-piece limited edition for the Japanese market in 2005. The Japanese edition was produced using new old stock cases intended for military use. The design was faithful to the original down to the Bund-style leather strap, while incorporating several updates including a hand-wound Valjoux 7760 movement, Super-LumiNova instead of tritium and the adoption of syringe-shaped hands from Sinn’s 103 Flieger or pilot’s watches in lieu of sword-shaped ones.

Sinn 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star”

In 2019, Sinn created the 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star” in collaboration with Revolution in a limited edition of 150 pieces. The watch got its name from the glossy black-on-black Revolution star logo at six o’clock. It had the same case diameter, bezel and domed plexiglass crystal as the original military watches and the Japanese re-edition. But this time, the hands and dial were treated with custard-colored Super-LumiNova to evoke the look of aged tritium seen on the vintage watches. Additionally, the bezel was subtly imbued with a “ghost” effect, simulating the weathered appearance acquired over time under the sun. Like the original, the outer case was secured to an inner case housing the movement, with four screws located on the interior of each lug. The watch was powered by the automatic Sellita SW510.

THE SINN 155 S BRIGHT STAR TEGIMENT® (155 S REVOLUTION II)

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)

The new Sinn 155 S Bright Star TEGIMENT® (155 S Revolution II) is immediately distinguished from the original Bundeswehr Chronograph and its reissues as it is the first fully blacked-out version. Beyond its striking appearance, it is also the first in the history of the model to have a sapphire crystal and case treated with TEGIMENT Technology.

The crown, pushers and case have been treated with TEGIMENT Technology, significantly increasing hardness

TEGIMENT Technology is a proprietary surface hardening treatment specifically developed by Sinn for its stainless steel watch cases and bracelets. While Sinn has not publicly disclosed the exact methodology behind the process, it involves a form of surface hardening that significantly increases the hardness and, consequently, scratch resistance of stainless steel. TEGIMENT treated steel is five times harder than standard stainless steel and comparable to the high-tech ceramic used by Rado. But while ceramic is brittle and prone to fracture under excessive stress, TEGIMENT treated steel strikes a balance between hardness and toughness, providing enhanced durability and scratch resistance without sacrificing the material’s overall integrity.

Five times harder than standard steel for the rough and tumble of daily life and much, much more

TEGIMENT treated steel then undergoes an additional step of coating with Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). Enhancing the surface hardness is essential to bolster the fatigue strength of the PVD coating. Traditionally, the significant and abrupt contrast in hardness between the PVD paint coating and the underlying steel poses a challenge, often resulting in cracking when subjected to stress. This occurs because the hard outer layer is seamlessly applied onto a much softer core. Upon sudden stress, the base material yields, failing to adequately support the outer layer and resulting in peeling or flaking. In contrast, TEGIMENT treatment brings the surface hardness of steel closer to the hard PVD coating, enabling it to support the coating far better.

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)

The Bright Star has a modern screw-down caseback that has undergone TEGIMENT Technology hardening, along with the crown, pushers and bezel. Notably, while the original and all other re-editions were fitted with an acrylic crystal, the Bright Star has been upgraded with a sapphire crystal for superior scratch resistance. Additionally, in contrast to the 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star,” which featured an anodized aluminum bezel with a “ghost” effect, the Bright Star has a TEGIMENT treated steel captive pilot’s bezel with a black PVD coating, perfectly matching the case and dial.

The generously sized 43mm case gives off an understated yet distinct wrist presence

The case maintains a diameter of 43mm, consistent with the original, and extends 51mm from lug to lug. As always, the effectiveness of a watch’s diameter isn’t solely determined by numbers. The generous real estate has been put to good use; every element on the watch has a distinct and gratifying presence. In fact, the key factor that made the Bundeswehr Chronograph so appealing to start with was the balanced harmony among the various components: the proportions of the bezel, dial and hands, the size of the counters and the Arabic numerals.

Applied Super-LumiNova provides maximum legibility under all conditions

Another attractive aspect of the Bright Star is the complete absence of vintage affectation. While custard-colored Super-LumiNova C3 was selected to evoke the look of aged tritium on the Dark Star, the Super-LumiNova applied on the hands and the outsized Arabic numerals of the Bright Star is pure white for maximum contrast. The watch is named for the black Revolution star logo at six o’clock that has been treated with luminescent material, which emits a green glow in the dark.

Applied Super-LumiNova provides maximum legibility under all conditions

Powering the watch is the aforementioned automatic Sellita SW510. It is based on the extremely robust and reliable Valjoux 7750, a proven performer that is widely acclaimed for its stable and high torque as well as balance power. Originally introduced in 1974 during the Quartz Crisis, the Valjoux 7750 was a technical achievement rather than artistic, which aligns with the expectations of a no-nonsense tool watch.

The generously sized 43mm case gives off an understated yet distinct wrist presence

Like the 7750, the Sellita SW510 utilizes a triple layered cam system for coordinating the start, stop and reset, along with an oscillating pinion for coupling the main gear train to the chronograph mechanism. The running seconds hand is directly driven by the fourth wheel, which is constantly in contact with the oscillating pinion that is attached to a lever. When the chronograph is activated, it pivots, and the upper pinion engages the chronograph seconds wheel in the center above. While the Valjoux 7750 was designed with 6-9-12 counters, the minute recorder wheel was relocated from 12 to the three o’clock position in the Sellita SW510. It has a power reserve of more than 56 hours and a frequency of 4Hz.

As with the original, the 155 S Bright Star TEGIMENT® (155 S Revolution II) is fitted with a Bund-style leather strap. It also comes with a strap removal tool, spare spring bars as well as an additional black NATO strap. It is limited to 300 pieces and is available right now at a hard-to-argue price of USD 3,600 excluding tax.

Tech Specs

Sinn 155 S Bright Star Tegiment® (155 S Revolution II)
Movement: Self-winding Sellita caliber SW510; >56-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and chronograph
Case: 43mm diameter; 14.75mm height; black TEGIMENT treated 904L steel; water resistant to 100m
Dial: Black with luminescent Revolution star logo; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals
Strap: Black Bund-style leather with pin buckle; additional black NATO fabric
Price: USD 3,600 excluding taxes
Availability: Limited edition of 300 pieces

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