It has become a recurring thing for magazines Revolution and The Rake to offer limited edition watches to their readers. Some of them, such as the Bell & Ross Bellytanker or the Chopard Salmon Dial, were surprisingly pleasant. Today’s collab watch goes one step further and the result is the epitome of cool. Indeed, Revolution and The Rake have teamed up with German watchmaker Sinn to present a re-edition of the legendary Bundeswehr 1550 SG, issued in a limited run of 150 pieces. Meet the Sinn 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star”.
The Rake’s and Revolution’s latest collaborative project was a very nice, 36mm bronze cased IWC pilot’s watch. Following this military/vintagey/pilot theme, the two magazines owned by our friend Wei Koh are presenting another flight instrument, this time in collaboration with Sinn. It is toolish, it is vintage-inspired and it is cool, simply because it is a re-edition of the famed Bundeswehr 1550 SG watch. And that’s enough to tickle our interest.
1967-1990 – The Original Bundeswehr 1550 SG and the Sinn Model 155 Bw
The Bundeswehr watch was designed for military pilots, created for the West German Federal Defense Force (Bundeswehr). It was initially made by a company called Leonidas, which was later purchased by Heuer. It was driven by a Valjoux manual-wind caliber 222 with Incabloc shock protection, 36-hour power reserve, flyback function and hacking feature. It would thus have been identified as a Heuer-Leonidas movement and would be replaced by the similar caliber 230.
The watch featured two pushers for the chronograph functions, with two subdials. The counter at nine o’clock showed real-time seconds while the dial at three o’clock was a 30-minute counter. Oversized Arabic numerals, straight hands and a “Concorde”-shaped tip for the chronograph sweep-seconds hand all combined to create a supremely legible watch.
However, the signature design element was the bezel. The watch had a distinctive, extremely wide, black bi-directional bezel with semi-matte finish, a large, white triangle at its zero point and Arabic numerals at 15, 30 and 45.
Sinn’s role in this story came during the 1980s and early 1990s when Mr Helmut Sinn purchased phased-out watches from the inventories of the Bundeswehr and sold these after reconditioning with, inter alia, added SINN lettering on the dial under the label “Bundeswehr Chronograph for Pilots” as the Model 155 Bw.
It was during this period that the luminous materials used were changed from the earlier radioactive substance to something safer, hence the dials with “3H” (Hydrogen-3) to denote the conversion. Some versions of the dial also included a small “t” on top of the 6 o’clock index that also referred to the presence of tritium.
All watches were fitted with a “Bund” style double layer strap, which was meant to protect the pilot’s skin in the case of extreme temperatures. They were produced from 1967 to 1990 when Germany was reunified, and the Bundeswehr was restructured.
2005 & 2008 – The Sinn Bundeswehr Re-Editions
While the German brand still has some military-inspired pilot’s watches in its catalogue, mostly with the 103St (in fact, it is a signature model), the true Bundeswehr watch was only re-edited twice by the brand, in highly limited batches.
In 2005, Sinn created a 200-piece re-edition of the Bundeswehr watch for the Japanese market. The manufacture found 200 additional cases intended for military watches and put them together with a hand-wound Valjoux 7760 movement. The watch featured the same black dial with luminous hands and numerals (Super-LumiNova) and an identical Bund strap.
In 2008, Sinn created a second 272-piece limited-edition homage to the Bundeswehr watch, this time using an automatic Valjoux 7750 for German dealer Manufactum. Though the case, bezel and hands were identical to the military watches, this time the dial featured a day and a date window at 3 o’clock.
Sinn x The Rake & Revolution 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star”
So here’s the third re-edition of the Bundeswehr Chronograph, and once again, it will be a highly limited piece. For its “Dark Star” watch (look at the dial and you’ll understand the name), The Rake and Revolution are going for legitimacy. Indeed, the case, bezel, pushers, crown and domed plexiglass crystal are identical to the vintage military watches. This means a bead-blasted 43mm case, a dark-coated bi-directional bezel with a 60-minute scale and no cold-looking sapphire crystal on top.
The Sinn x The Rake & Revolution 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star” also plays on the vintage trend with several subtle yet pleasant old-school, aged touches. The bezel, for instance, has been given a slight “ghost” effect to give it the appearance of having been faded by time and the sun. In the same vein, the matte black dial, which sticks to the bi-compax layout (no unbalanced 7750 layout here) receives specially coloured Super-LumiNova to evoke the look of aged tritium of the vintage watches.
The dial of this version gets the Sinn logo and the “3H” logo placed at 6 o’clock has been replaced by a ghost star, Revolution’s logo – hence the name of this version “Dark Star”. Most other details of the dial – fonts, shape of the numerals, tracks – are identical to the vintage Bundeswehr 1550 SG, with the exception of the hands, taken from the 103St model (syringe style).
Inside the case, the hand-wound Leonidas/Heuer flyback chronograph has been replaced by a more modern, more practical, more robust and more economical Sellita SW510 – a movement based on Valjoux architecture, modified for a bi-compax layout. This automatic chronograph comes without a date. The caseback reverts back to the 4-screw design of the vintage military watches.
The Sinn x The Rake & Revolution 155 Bundeswehr “Dark Star” will be, of course, delivered with the original equipment Bund strap in black leather – a necessity in this context. Also included in the package are three additional NATO fabric straps in sand, olive and grey tones, as well as a changing tool and display box.
This new watch will be limited to 150 pieces, only available through Revolution and The Rake webshops. It will be available at a relatively affordable price of USD 2,500 or EUR 2,240. More details and orders here.