A wonderful tribute watch to Helmut Sinn, one of the most influential personalities in German watchmaking.
Disclaimer: I purchased this watch and was not externally incentivized in any way to make this review. This review is in no way endorsed or sponsored by anybody. All opinions here are my own.
If you’re here wondering what or who Guinand is, I wrote a short introduction to the brand in this blog-post. So I will dive straight into this watch, the Guinand HS100. This watch was released in a limited batch of 100 pieces to commemorate the 100th birthday of one of the most prominent figures in German watch history, Helmut Sinn. The HS100 is functionally identical to their Series 40, with a custom dial and hand set. The overall dial and hand design was made in honor of Helmut Sinn’s love for aviation and automotives. I was fortunate enough to purchase this watch from the original owner, Bhanu Chopra, who is not a stranger to the beautiful world of German watches and Fliegers in specific. Bhanu has a wonderful blog here about the time he spent with Mr Sinn himself and his 100th birthday. Bhanu was kind enough to sell me this watch and I’ve fallen in love with it immediately. I’m typically not one for red on my watches, but I can’t help but make an exception for this watch.
The overall case design is not new to this particular model. The case is identical to their Series 40 watches, and the watch differentiates itself primarily with it’s dial. The case is made of polished stainless steel and has a metal bidirectional bezel. I’ve typically been attracted to their bead blasted cases like on the Starfighter Pilot (which is a badass name for a badass looking watch), but I was surprised at how good the polished case looks on this watch. The lugs do attract fingerprints but this isn’t really a safe queen – it’s meant to be worn.
The case has a screw-down exhibition style case-back, and together with the screwed down crown, this watch is rated to 200m of water resistance. On the case at 6 o’clock is the serial number of the watch. This watch is #99 of 100 pieces. And on the other side, you see the model name engraved on the case – HS100.
This watch has a friction based bidirectional pilot bezel. It is very easy to operate and does a great job of staying in place once you set it. The metal bezel has an interesting finish with the elapsed time etched on there beautifully. The bezel is very easy to read and the interesting edge design makes it easy to grip and operate.
I’ve typically avoided traditional Sinn and Breitling Chronograph watches because of how busy their dials usually are. I often felt that there’s too much going on and found them difficult to read. I was surprised to find that this watch is actually quite the opposite. The white sub-dials against the matte black dial, together with the bold use of red accents successfully achieve their goal of designing a watch that ensured excellent readability. Helmut Sinn’s love for automotives is honored with the chequered flag style alternation of red black and white accents around the main dial and the sub-dial at 12 o’clock.
The timing seconds hand is a bold red color and appears to be hand painted. In my extensive search for flaws, I did notice a slightly uneven application of paint on this red hand. To be completely honest and fair to the brand, I have seen similar (and worse) paint jobs on watches that are twice as expensive so I can definitely give them a pass for this.
There is a lumed pip at the 12 o’clock on the bezel, and the hour and minute hands are lumed well. The small square white hour markers are also lumed, but because of it’s size are not super bright.
My main reason for buying this watch was the connection to Helmut Sinn, both through the Guinand brand and the watch’s symbol as a celebration of his 100th birthday. As a byproduct of this purchase, I am also now the owner of one of the most legendary chronograph movements, the Valjoux 7750. This movement isn’t popular for it’s fancy decorations or elaborate complications, but for it’s workhorse nature and the fact that it has lasted nearly 50 years without much change. You can read more about this excellent movement here – Gear Patrol, Quill & Pad, Worn & Wound and Revolution Watch. For this reason (and others), I don’t believe I will be parting with this watch anytime soon as it is the first Chronograph in my collection and ticks off more than just one box for me – German, Flieger, Chronograph, Valjoux 7750, Reverse Panda and an all round Interesting Story.
As with all my reviews, these values are to be treated as an approximation and not absolute measurements. I logged the accuracy using WatchTracker, an app for iOS.
The watch achieved an impressive +2.4 spd over a 5 day period, with negligible variance overall. The Valjoux 7750 is quite an impressive beast I must say. From the graph you can tell that the first day or so observed relatively more variation than the rest. I’ve noticed this with watches that just arrived from a long journey. I’ll have to look into this!
On The Wrist
I don’t have particularly large wrists (6.25”), so I was a bit worried about the height of this watch. The lug-to-lug width of 48mm and diameter of about 40.5mm are both perfect for my wrist. It is very compact on the wrist and even the 15.8mm height wears much smaller than it would measure. I dislike tall watches and this definitely does not wear like one. The short, compact lugs also give it the appearance of being a smaller watch – this is a bit counter-intuitive but I’ve personally found this to be true. I recently reviewed the Lorier Gemini, which had a lug-to-lug width of 47mm, but had unusually long lugs and made the watch feel much larger on the wrist than it actually was.
The previous owner sold it to me with a beautiful red accent double stitched leather strap and a rubber strap that I haven’t tried on the watch yet. I had ordered an extra rally style leather strap with my Guinand Flight Engineer so I threw that on this watch and it fit the aesthetic quite well! I’m quite pleased with the quality of leather straps that Guinand provides with their watches (they’re not too expensive either, costing roughly €35-€44). Overall, the watch is quite comfortable and wears much better than I was expecting for a watch of these dimensions. So if you have narrow wrists and are considering the Series 40, don’t worry, the 15.8mm height isn’t a problem at all.
The fact that this watch was made 4 years ago (2016) and is limited to the 100 pieces that exist in the world today, there’s not much value in me telling you to buy or not buy. But I will say this, if you ever come across one of these pieces and can get it close to it’s original price of €1,499 – don’t hesitate. Buy it. I wasn’t a big fan of Chronographs and didn’t expect to enjoy this watch as much as I do. It is an extremely well built instrument and if you are attracted to tool watches, you will not be disappointed.