Substance and Style: Twenty Years of the SINN Frankfurt Financial District Watch


by John Wallis

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July 04. 2019 - by John Wallis

It was an unexpected move when German watch company SINN launched a watch for its home city’s most famous industry, but the two decades since then have proved the Frankfurt Financial District Watch to be a magnificent timepiece.


The financial industry, one suspects, is often on the mind of luxury watch retailers, providing a vital chunk of customers with the means and desire to buy high-end timepiece . Enter SINN - a small but disproportionately influential firm with a sizeable and very loyal following of fans and collectors. Alone among successful watch companies, SINN is headquartered in the city of Frankfurt am Main, perhaps the biggest centre of European finance.

Fine German Engineering

SINN was founded in 1961 by pilot Helmut SINN to make navigation tools for the aircraft. In the 1990s, the engineer Lothar Schmidt acquired SINN and he continues to helm the independent brand to this day.

SINN is known for its tool watches aimed at professionals, equipped to the gills with extraordinary technologies designed for flying planes, crossing mountains or handling heavy machinery and so on. But the company has expanded into many new niches over the years, proving it is far from a one trick pony. One of the most remarkable innovations occurred in 1999: the Frankfurt Financial District Watch, twenty years old this year.

Practical and Stylish

It might seem counterintuitive for a tool watch company to make a dress watch for bankers and traders. But SINN created the Frankfurt Financial District Watch with all the same attention to quality and utility that it brings to all its products. It is a watch designed to meet the daily needs of its owners. 

The biggest selling point of the original version was the triple time zone complication. Unlike travel watches built to show two time zones (home and local), the Frankfurt Financial District Watch was designed for use by Frankfurters who regularly needed to know the time in the other major global markets - namely, Tokyo and New York. One of the extra zones is displayed by a central hand, while the other is read off the rotatable inner bezel - a three-pronged system that is easy and intuitive with regular use. 

The Frankfurt Financial District Watch is a good looking, stylish timepiece. But because this is still a SINN watch, it goes above and beyond with utilitarian features such as 100m water resistance, pressure resistance and a chronograph. Many of the Frankfurt Financial District Watches would even include SINN's proprietary high-tech systems like Diapal escapements and D3 pushers and crowns. 

Enduring Appeal

When the Frankfurt Financial District Watch was launched in 1999, it was a major risk for SINN, which had never produced anything like it. But the watch won over old and new fans alike, and went on to evolve a range of new models. Each of these is united by displaying the words Frankfurt am Main on the dial - the first SINN watch to do so - and by the image of the Frankfurt skyline engraved into the rotor, visible through the caseback.

For the 2019 twentieth anniversary, SINN added two new models to the collection, unveiled at Baselworld. Ref 6099 B is a clear homage to the original Frankfurt Financial District Watch (ref 6000), with most of the same design and specs, but updated with a glorious sunburst blue dial and limited to 200 pieces.

Ref 6012 is a little different. Instead of multiple time zones, the watch is a delightful triple calendar, with a pointer-type date indication and windows at 12 o'clock for month and day of the week. There is also a 60 minute chronograph and - the headline feature - a moonphase complication at 6 o'clock, made with mother of pearl inlay. The watch is available in steel or rose gold, the latter limited to 50 pieces.

Where do you get one?

Established in the Frankfurt Financial District, but where do you get a hold of these innovative timepieces in one of the financial districts of the world? Whether you’re a professional or a SINN enthusiast, we've got you covered. CHRONEXT is one of the official retailers of SINN in the UK and the only one with a boutique in London. Drop by Monday-Saturday anytime between 12-6pm, or contact one of our watch experts if you have a specific model you’re after. Not in London? Not a problem. Have your watch delivered right to your doorstep!

John Wallis

by John Wallis

Living and working in London, John has been writing about watches since graduating university. He got his start at SalonQP, London's finest watch show, where he was inspired by the breadth and creativity of the modern industry. His fascination with mechanical horology has only grown from there.

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