Across the watchmaking industry lies several brands that maintain a cult-like following thanks to their particular aesthetic, heritage, or level of craftsmanship. Perhaps arising from their blend of all three, German watchmaker Sinn has developed a devout following of enthusiasts that appreciate both their modern and vintage watches alike. Perhaps one of their best-known vintage watches is what I have here, the original EZM 1 launched in 1997.
While recently reissued as a modern watch (the EZM 1.1), the EZM 1 ref. 503.010 is famed amongst collectors for its unique heritage. Designed as an economical no-nonsense straight-shooting timepiece, it earned its stripes as a watch worn by the Zentrale Unterstützungsgruppe Zoll (ZUZ), also known as the SWAT team of Germany's federal customs authority. As a result of its military use-case, its distinctive chronograph pushers were placed at 9 o'clock to ensure its wearer could comfortably wield a gun without the pushers digging into their hand.
Featuring a no-frills dial that championed legibility, the EZM 1 uses an abundance of SuperLuminova on its indices and hour and minute hands. With a centrally-located chronograph seconds and minutes hand, the EZM 1's military-style dial is clear of anything that might slow down its wearer from reading the time, even going as far to place the date at 4:30 to maintain a full-sized 3 o'clock hour marker. With its black left-handed bi-directional ratcheting timing bezel matching its dial, the EZM 1 is a stylish watch that benefits from a monochromatic design. Serving as a pop of color, the EZM 1 also features the unit's logo at 6 o'clock, or '3H', or 'Ar,' in red to indicate the luminous used on the dial.
On top of its legible dial and ergonomically laid-out design, the EZM 1 also sports a wonderful sandblasted titanium case. Measuring 40mm x 16mm, the EZM 1 is significantly smaller than its 43mm x 16.4mm reissue and so wears rather favorably in comparison. Furthermore, with its tidy bracelet and consistent surface finish, the EZM 1 is a vintage watch that could easily slot itself into a collector's sphere of daily wearing timepieces. Limited to a production output of just a few hundred watches between the German SWAT team that it was originally for, the subsequent Japanese (ZUZ), and public-release models, the EZM 1 is a watch that deserves its cult status and revered position within Sinn's rich heritage.