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Rover Haven is a maker of custom shell cordovan watch straps. 

A week on the wrist with the Sinn EZM 13, Part 1.

The Rover Haven Blog

A week on the wrist with the Sinn EZM 13, Part 1.

Myron Erickson

Part 1.  An introduction to the Sinn EZM 13 / 613.

If you've found your way to this blog, the odds are good that you are a watch enthusiast, and the odds that you own more than one watch are even better.  But have you ever contemplated a One Watch lifestyle?  For some folks it's a powerfully attractive concept:  a One Watch life can mean freedom from vintage watch headaches, modding projects, over-investment, domestic unrest.  But if you had to pick just one watch, what would that One Watch be?  For me, the Sinn EZM 13 offers a compelling case.  You may have read conventional reviews of this watch elsewhere, but I don't believe I've ever seen a week-on-the-wrist review of this brilliant time-telling tool.  

The EZM 13's actual reference number is 613 and I use both names synonymously.  If you're not familiar with its characteristics, here's a quick reminder of the EZM 13's basic specs and most impressive features:

  • 41.5 mm case diameter, 20 mm lug width, 15.5 mm height.
  • 60-minute chronograph.
  • Elapsed time unidirectional click bezel secured with Sinn's proprietary fastening tech.
  • A shocking 500 meters of water resistance.
  • Lume to read by on a moonless night.
  • Date indication (in a stealthy and very cool red on black). 
  • 80,000 A/m (1,000 Gauss) magnetic field resistance (does the word "Milgauss" ring a bell?).
  • Sapphire crystal (natch).
  • Sinn's proprietary Ar dehumidification tech (also natch).
  • Interesting, if controversial, dial layout (I happen to love it, also also natch). 
  • Hergestellt in Deutschland, ja?
  • $2790 USD on leather strap. 
A defining and unusual characteristic of the Sinn 613 is the 60-minute chronograph located at 6:00.

A defining and unusual characteristic of the Sinn 613 is the 60-minute chronograph located at 6:00.

Although seemingly well-suited to the One Watch life, let's acknowledge some of this Sinn's characteristics that might not lend themselves to this simple, uncomplicated, and utilitarian One Watch life we are imagining.  First, its dimensions are somewhat awkward.  At 41.5 mm by 15.5 mm, it wears somewhat small & tall on my 7.25" wrist.  If you are sensitive to small & tall watch syndrome, you probably won't like the way the 613 wears.  If you've ever worn a Marathon GSAR, this watch would be an accurate piece for comparison purposes.  I will say that both the Sinn 156 and Heuer 1550 SG wear more comfortably on my wrist, even though on paper they are both "bigger" watches.  

The Marathon GSAR wears very similarly to the Sinn 613.  These two tool watches have a place in any collection. 

The Marathon GSAR wears very similarly to the Sinn 613.  These two tool watches have a place in any collection. 

Below are a few more watches you may be familiar with, for purposes of seeing how the Sinn EZM 13 fits and wears.  If small & tall syndrome doesn't really bother you in principle, then there isn't anything about this Sinn that you won't love... except possibly the left handed controls, which I will address right after we talk about lume.  

Clockwise from upper left, Sinn 156, Nomos Club Datum (38), Heuer 1550 SG, Damasko DA44.

Clockwise from upper left, Sinn 156, Nomos Club Datum (38), Heuer 1550 SG, Damasko DA44.

Let's chat about luminescence briefly.  Good lume is important to me, and is definitely a characteristic I want to see on any One Watch candidate.  I'm near-sighted, and can't read an alarm clock on a nightstand without my glasses, even when it's only 18-24 inches away.  So when I wake up and want to orient myself, the first thing I do is check my watch.  Hence a highly legible nighttime watch is a must for my One Watch life.  The Sinn EZM 13 has this base covered.  If I could change one thing on this watch, I'd swap having lume on the useless continuous seconds hand at 3 o'clock for having lume on the chronograph minutes hand at 6 o'clock.  Seems more useful for our One Watch life, doesn't it?  

Ok, time to acknowledge the elephant in the room.  The Sinn EZM 13 has left handed controls.  There, I said it.  When I first bought the watch I admit I was a bit anxious about what it would be like living with, you know, a lefty.  Would it be awkward at the dinner table?  Would I feel some strange compulsion to wear it on my right wrist?  What about using its single most defining feature, the chronograph?  Would this be akin to wearing corrective braces like the ones they put on Polio patients in the 1930's?  

The wristwatch equivalent of Polio braces? 

The wristwatch equivalent of Polio braces? 

The answer to all these questions, it turns out, is a definitive No.  It is simply no big deal.  When I set the watch after not wearing it for some time, I simply turn it upside down in my hand and wind and set it as I would any "normal" watch.  And using the chronograph while wearing the watch is even less of an inconvenience.  It took me about 2 milliseconds to adapt to starting and stopping the chronograph at 8 o'clock and resetting it at 10 o'clock.  Pretty much the only activity I regularly engage in where I notice a crown at 3 o'clock digging into my wrist is mountain biking, otherwise I can honestly say that I've never noticed any discomfort from any conventionally placed crown.  So it's not like Sinn is the company that finally figured out the solution to a comfort riddle that has plagued mankind for the last 100 years.  To me, it's simply no different, and I couldn't care less where the crown on my watch is.  You probably won't notice or care either, and if you ride a mountain bike that's just another justification for buying an EZM 13.  

Holy Backwards Chronograph Controls, Batman!  The Sinn EZM 13 is a lefty, and it totally doesn't matter. 

Holy Backwards Chronograph Controls, Batman!  The Sinn EZM 13 is a lefty, and it totally doesn't matter. 

To test the EZM 13's suitability as a One Watch candidate, I took it on a ski trip to the famed Wasatch Mountains in Park City, Utah.  What follows in Part 2 is my trip log, and a convincing One Watch testimonial.  To test average timekeeping, I synched the watch with my computer's clock at the outset of our trip and then checked it at the end of our trip seven whole days later.  I bought the watch brand new about two years ago, and it has never been adjusted, serviced, or opened up for any reason.  I never adjusted the watch during the trial, and I wore it 24/7 during all the traveling, skiing, swimming, eating, and sleeping we did.  For purposes of our timekeeping test, I hacked the watch to my MacBook at 8:20 PM on Friday night.  You'll have to read Part 2 of this post to see how timekeeping fared.  

Before we can be finished with Part 1 we have to talk about the straps I put the watch on for this trial.  Because I like to be able to easily tell the time and measure our longest down-mountain runs while skiing, it's important that the watch be on a strap that allows it to be worn over the sleeve.  So I built a one-piece strap with an extra long tail and a whole bunch of holes.  I built the keeper in a way that would accommodate the extra length when the watch was worn on the wrist and not over the sleeve of my ski jacket.  The advantage of a one-piece strap is security should a spring bar fail.  The disadvantage is adding height to an already tall watch.  

I also built a nice two-piece Arts & Crafts strap for the watch for wearing while traveling and dining and other nice things.  Finally, even though shell cordovan is up to the challenge, it just seems wrong to wear it in the pool or hot tub, so I brought along a nylon one-piece strap for our water-based adventures.  This was going to be a lot of strap changing.  

The Sinn 613 on an Arts & Crafts strap made from Horween shell cordovan.  Without a doubt, this is the most comfortable way to wear this watch. 

The Sinn 613 on an Arts & Crafts strap made from Horween shell cordovan.  Without a doubt, this is the most comfortable way to wear this watch. 

This concludes Part 1 of the Sinn EZM 13 Week on the Wrist review.  In Part 2 we'll determine the results of our average timekeeping trial and answer the burning question of the day -- Is the Sinn EZM 13 a One Watch watch?  You'll have to tune in next week to see how it all turns out.  

Thanks for reading!