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Thread: 11 years later, my first Sinn or Damasko

  1. #1
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    11 years later, my first Sinn or Damasko

    Warning, quite long

    Iíve been here since getting my Submariner in 2010, and in all that time have never owned one of the German tool watches by Sinn or Damasko. This is a reflection on how I may have remedied that.

    As a newbie to the forum, and having no idea of their existence, I quickly came to hear about Sinn and Damasko. I researched them, admired them, but then decided that they were a bit too much of an inbetween watch, by that I mean expensive by any rational standards, yet not quite the Rolex or Omega you might want, so maybe an opportunity cost. For the last 5 years, when I've had watch acquisition money, it's either been the Rolex, Omega, Breitling end, or inexpensive Seiko divers. Then in 2020 Covid happened, I went a bit mad, and what should have been a simple Tuna purchase ballooned into quite a lot of Seiko and Seiko engined stuff. The upshot was that I could liberate some Seiko and use the funds for a Sinn or Damsko from SC.

    Iíve emotionally committed to this, so which models? Not the large arabic pilots watches such as the 556A, 856, excellent though they are. I have a BR03-92 with a similar dial and hands, and although the Sinn diehards might turn in their graves at the thought of my B&R being in any way equivalent, the Sinnís are just too similar in the dial.

    DA36/7, always liked these, although I already have 2892/5 engined watches, so a 2836, doesnít really grab me. Something with a 7750? Iíve wanted a self-winding chronograph for some time, but there is nothing from the luxury brands that has a balance of design, looks and movement I can live with, and Iíve evaluated all of them!

    Main suspects are the 356 and 103 from Sinn or the DC56/7. The Damasko has a clean modern aesthetic I appreciate.

    Divers? I love these, they are my favourite watch type, and itís hard to escape the unique look of the U1 or UX. Iíve always said that the U1, along with the first generation Seiko Monster were some of few truly original contemporary dive watches. Damaskoís D Sub is high quality, but more conventionally styled. Maybe the DC56 is too tall / slab sided, maybe the U1/X are too big and heavy, but these seem the finalists.

    I asked a Sinn tegiment or not question on WT, and Matt (Mj2k) reached out and offered me his U1. I told him I was at a contemplative stage, probably not looking to buy, and I might want a DC56. Lo and behold he offered to send it to me, no commitment, just to see how it fitted, and to help inform my decision. What a great chap, demonstrating the very best of the forum.


    Having just agreed to Matt sending it, a very recent DC56 came on SC which I was fractionally too slow to get, but then Scott (rousey) offered me first dibs before listing on SC. So a U1, fully tegimented, and a DC56 arrived at Helidoc towers within 24h.





    So the deal is I can keep one only, and I also need to liberate some from the fleet to keep it cost neutral.

    Iím not going to review these, but just give some take home points.

    The U1
    I expected this to be too big, too obvious, too heavy on a bracelet, and to have ugly hands. I have a 6.75inch wrist, I like 40mm Rolex, and my biggest watch is an Aerospace Evo. No chance I would wear it on the bracelet, almost certainly it would go on a Zulu or Isofrane.

    In the flesh
    Case and bracelet were unmarked thanks tegiment. It is a large watch, and is reassuringly weighted, but not too big or heavy. In the metal I quite liked the hands, their red contrasting with the black dial. The dial is open rather than crowded, it rather draws you in, and I love the red text. I suspect itís openness makes the U50 a little crowded by comparison. It feels totally right on the bracelet. In the metal itís lovely, and it overturned all my assumptions about it. Photos change perspective, in reality it looks very different on the wrist, there really is no substitute for trying it.

    The DC56
    Iíve always liked it, but lots of comments about it being tall for its diameter, so slab sided.

    Ice hardened steel, now thatís interesting. What I learnt was that it was very hard, but not antimagnetic and even potentially magnetisable, which is why Damasko watches with it have an Faraday cage to protect the movement. One reason why the DS with antimagnetic Submarine Steel is thinner than the DA series. Not as corrosion resistant as normal 316, let alone Submarine Steel, which is why Damaskoís divers use different steel. I digressÖ

    In the flesh

    This just felt perfect from the off, ideal size, great legibility, and contrary to what I expected, I wouldnít call it slab sided. Far more wearable than my Speedmaster Moon, which is my only chronograph, and rarely worn as it seems too big to me.

    I think itís so brilliant it could replace my current diversification sportís watches (Aerospace & BR03-92), and meet my need for a automatic chrono, being unable to find the right balance of looks and movement from the luxury brands. My Submariner and this could be all the watches anyone could rationally need.


    So what to choose? Sinn or Damasko? Put the DC56 on SC and send Matts U1 back?

    WellÖ.

    They are very different watches, but very hard to separate, and in their different ways both absolutely excellent. Of the two, itís the Damasko, just for being an automatic chronograph, but I think there is also a home at Helidoc towers for the Sinn.

    So that didnít work out as planned!





    Final comment is that I fear the Damasko is going to be the ruin of me. Itís killed the desire to add a Monaco, or any automatic chronograph from the main luxury tier. My Aerospace NM suddenly seems superfluous to the point Iím thinking of liberating it, and even my B&R doesnít feel 100% safe, and I love that!

    I was wrong to have avoided mid-tier watches for the last decade

    The life of the WIS. Of course the I in it stands for Idiot!

    Dave


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  2. #2
    Master Rinaldo1711's Avatar
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    Nice acquisitions - Iíve now owned 5 Damaskoa and although I flip them I always seem to come back for another. Thereís something about that case, and although Iíve heard the slab sided comment before I donít find them to be so.

  3. #3
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    11 years later, my first Sinn or Damasko

    Sounds like you are smitten with the Damasko, so if I were you I would keep it. However I am biased and it would be the U1 all day long for me.
    There is nothing out there like it. I also don’t like Damasko dials, it’s the typeface used, but that is just me.
    On the Sinn Rubber with large clasp the U1 is so comfortable, more so than any other diver I own (bar a CWC on a nato).
    It’s the perfect summer watch.
    Last edited by Sinnlover; 28th March 2021 at 18:54.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Sounds like you are smitten with the Damasko, so if I were you I would keep it.
    ^ this. Iíd keep the Damasko.

    But Iím biased too, and I donít like Sinn dials as much. Damaskoís design speaks to me more (clean and modern aesthetic).

  5. #5
    Master
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    Lovely write up and so generous of Matt (Mj2k) to lend you his U1.

    For some reason i am in a similar boat and keep getting drawn to the U1 as i have reduced my collection and although they have crept up in price they can be a great second hand buy.

    If we weren't in lockdown i would have tried one on by now.

  6. #6
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Sorry if I was unclear:
    Both staying!!

    Dave


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  7. #7
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helidoc View Post
    Sorry if I was unclear:
    Both staying!!

    Dave
    The correct answer

  8. #8
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Great write-up, and one that really resonates with me

    There is something about watches in this toughened tool-watch category that is immensely compelling. Having owned a few Sinn and Damasko, it's these two designs that I think epitomise each brand and are the most complete all-rounders that each brand makes. A lot of thought, research and money has gone into their designs and implementations - and I'd rather have that than the relentless advertising that is where the better-known and more expensive mass-market brands invest their budgets!

    FWLIW, if I had to pick just one, it would be the Damasko that stayed - just hope it's not a call I ever have to actually make!

    Enjoy!

  9. #9
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Not owned a Sinn, so can only attest to the quality of build and performance of the Damasko.

    But from an aesthetic viewpoint- Damasko are so way in front of Sinn..............

  10. #10
    Iíve never owned a Damasko but had a fully tegimented U1 on a teg bracelet for a few years as a daily wearer. Ultimately I found it lacking in several areas - awful bezel action, poor lume, the movement wasnít great and really heavy on the bracelet. I have nearly 9 inch wrists so the size was fine, in the end I found it a bit Ďclinicalí and havenít had another German watch since. I did like it on the Ďdimodellí style leather Sinn strap but found it all a bit Ďflatí. Mind you it was in an effort to have just one watch, so it was a big ask on reflection!


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  11. #11
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    The Sinn U series has never spoken to me but I do like their flieger chronos like the 356 and 103.

    I think it would be fair to say that Damasko broadly have a fairly consistent design aesthetic and to me the DC56 is the best example of that. I only sold mine because I realised my collection was made up almost exclusively of Black dial watches and I fancied a bit of colour. I may buy another in the future as my mood changes!

  12. #12
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    I agree that the 356 and 103 are excellent, although I do prefer the more modern style of the DC56. Pleased that my one concern of thickness for diameter wasnít an issue in real life.

    The U1 I always thought was, to put it kindly, unique looking. I had a lot of assumptions about it from a theoretical perspective, and they all ended up being wrong. Itís absolutely not a versatile daily wearer in the way something like a BB58 is, but it seems to fit well in a dive watch collection. Itís wearability is way better than I expected, particularly as my wrists are not big. Itís early days of course, but I like it a great deal. Iíll probably get the silicon strap and clasp, but I fear for the financial violation that may entail!


    Dave


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  13. #13
    Master bedlam's Avatar
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    Damasko fan here. Mine is a near perfect tool watch

    Last edited by bedlam; 29th March 2021 at 11:49.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedlam View Post
    Damasko fan here. Mine is a near perfect tool watch.
    Very nice. Can you confirm which strap is on that one?


    As for Sinn/Damasko, Iíve tried a few but my current favourite is the UX.



    Amazing legibility...


  15. #15
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by helidoc View Post
    ... Final comment is that I fear the Damasko is going to be the ruin of me. Itís killed the desire to add a Monaco, or any automatic chronograph from the main luxury tier. My Aerospace NM suddenly seems superfluous to the point Iím thinking of liberating it, and even my B&R doesnít feel 100% safe, and I love that!
    If you're after a 'no worries' watch that's easy to read, quality movement, interesting tech, that's reasonably rare but not too expensive then Damasko have that nailed. I like Sinn, and particularly regret passing on an 856 on here at a great price, but I prefer the Damasko styling and the hardened cases and bezels are nice to have. Hence I have 3 at present and they get way more wear than all my other watches put together.

  16. #16
    Master AIDM's Avatar
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    Hmmm, posted this on Reddit yesterday, was going to post here as well but after reading your thoughts (and realising it was I that snaffled the DC56 from SC just ahead of you) it seemed more appropriate to reply here!

    ps - right decision of course to keep both, my sweet spot is also 40mm, I had and loved my U1 off the wrist, but it had to go in the end as just too big :(



    As a looonnnggg time Sinn fanboy, I was on the lookout for a 356 (the UTC would be a long term grail but v hard to find now at a reasonable cost after recent price hikes and the discontinuation of that model).

    (In fact there are many Sinn models I’d like, not least my EZM2 back that I foolishly sold years ago. Having owned both I actually (and unusually by all accounts) prefer the EZM2 to the EZM1.)

    But my goal here was a flieger chrono to compliment my IWC Mk XVII as although I still like a good diver (who doesn’t!) my current taste veers more to the field / pilot style without dive style bezel.

    I was considering the IWC pilots chrono models of course, but available funds weren’t going to stretch to that without selling something and there’s nothing in the box that is on the flip list that would compensate enough... not a fan of the Alpinas and some of the more traditionally Stowa type were too big for my taste. So the Sinn 356 was a very attractive and satisfactory alternative.

    I was aware of Damasko of course, but for some reason more the three handers or the larger dive style with rotating bezels. I also used to be a ‘bracelet guy’ and until recently the lack of a bracelet option always steered me in other directions.

    So when this DC56 popped up as available it kinda took me by surprise. A very good looking tool Flieger Chrono, perfect size, day date complication (a bonus) and my preferred vertical bicompax sub dial arrangement with the subtle but necessary for me running seconds at 9.



    Not only that but at a price that, now I have had a chance to get a feel for it, offers incredible value for money, more so than the Sinn even.

    An exchange of mails, some funds and a day later this thing of beauty arrives. Perfect heft, (it ain’t light!) perfect aesthetic, perfect feeling of sturdiness, great AR (the flat sapphire crystal disappears in most lights); and feels so well balanced on a nice thick leather riveted aviator in my 7.5” wrist.

    Fair to say I’m smitten and sensing further Damasko in my future!

    Enjoy the '56 Doc!

    Rob
    Last edited by AIDM; 29th March 2021 at 11:16.

  17. #17
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    I changed yesterday from my DA37 to my DC56, with the strap choice as in the picture below. The DA37 is a 2006 watch, bought privately from abraxas here in early 2007, the DC56 is from 2009 and bought new from Eddie when he was their UK AD, both still look virtually new after lots of wear over the years.



  18. #18
    Master bedlam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downer View Post
    Very nice. Can you confirm which strap is on that one?
    Its a Bonetto Cinturini Italian rubber strap

  19. #19
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by helidoc View Post
    I agree that the 356 and 103 are excellent, although I do prefer the more modern style of the DC56. Pleased that my one concern of thickness for diameter wasnít an issue in real life.

    The U1 I always thought was, to put it kindly, unique looking. I had a lot of assumptions about it from a theoretical perspective, and they all ended up being wrong. Itís absolutely not a versatile daily wearer in the way something like a BB58 is, but it seems to fit well in a dive watch collection. Itís wearability is way better than I expected, particularly as my wrists are not big. Itís early days of course, but I like it a great deal. Iíll probably get the silicon strap and clasp, but I fear for the financial violation that may entail!
    Both great watches! After the recent Damasko threads I'm looking with renewed interest and the DC56 is a real contender, so great to hear your thoughts.

    As someone with similar sized wrists to you (and in an effort to save you from financial violation!) I'll say that when I had the U1 I didn't really like the silicone strap, even though everyone raves about it. The case integration gave it a very round shape, almost like a bangle, which meant it sat quite far off my wrists to the side. I found the watch head a wearable size, but the strap made the whole thing too bulky. Plus the silicone picks up loads of fluff. I preferred mine on a NATO, Isofrane or even a mesh (which I managed to fit to the very good clasp for the Sinn silicone strap). In the end I sold it for a bargain price as it was just a bit too heavy for me.

  20. #20
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedlam View Post
    Its a Bonetto Cinturini Italian rubber strap
    Thanks.

  21. #21
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Random thoughts so far in the honeymoon period

    DC 56 perfect in all respects

    U1: Decided to try on Isofrane, then wimped out after a couple of half hearted goes with the Bergeon. Fretting about damaging tegiment, madness! Think itís staying on the excellent bracelet. Not that much heavier than my Seiko Monster, which is why it doesnít feel too heavy.

    Mrs H hasnít noticed the DC56, so itís probably stealthy. Not expecting the same from the U1!

    Was meant to start the sale process for an SKX and my Unimatic to balance the books a little, but couldnít bring myself to do it. Oops.




    Feeling smug choosing engineering over marketing.

    Dave


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  22. #22
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    I changed yesterday from my DA37 to my DC56, with the strap choice as in the picture below. The DA37 is a 2006 watch, bought privately from abraxas here in early 2007, the DC56 is from 2009 and bought new from Eddie when he was their UK AD, both still look virtually new after lots of wear over the years.



    Those really do look well on the Haveston straps, and the straps do seem to wear well - it's an option I'm going to have to try at some point

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