903 Navitimer Bezel question

Thread: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

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  1. #1
    Member Jim Smyth's Avatar
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    903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Been looking at the 903 Navitimers from Sinn and also there Breitling counterparts. Since I recently bought a Sinn 757 I have been very Happy with its quality and am leaning towards staying with the Sinn brand for a Navitimer. Unfortunately for me I like the looks of the 903-H4 the best and we all know its no longer produced.

    I have looked at all the youtube videos I could find and it seems the crown on the left side of the watch moves the slide rule on the inside of the watch. Does the outer bezel of this watch turn at all? You would think so since it has cutouts for traction grooves etc. But I havent seen 1 video where anyone has moved the outer Bezel. I am sure there are some of you here that own a Sinn 903 and maybe even a 903-H4 (Care to sell it?) Any info is appreciated.

    TIA, Jim

  2. #2
    Moderator Dennis Smith's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    There were some older versions (90's) of the Sinn with 1873 and 1877 movements that were very much like the vintage Breitlings and had rotating bezels for the E6-B slide rule. The modern versions of the 903 are fixed exterior bezels. They do not turn even though they retain the knurls. You're right...the extra crown is to turn the interior bezel. This is one major reason why the water rating is so much better on the modern 903's than any Navitimer or Cosmonaute.
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  3. #3
    Member Kurt Koerfgen's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smyth View Post
    Been looking at the 903 Navitimers from Sinn and also there Breitling counterparts. Since I recently bought a Sinn 757 I have been very Happy with its quality and am leaning towards staying with the Sinn brand for a Navitimer. Unfortunately for me I like the looks of the 903-H4 the best and we all know its no longer produced.

    I have looked at all the youtube videos I could find and it seems the crown on the left side of the watch moves the slide rule on the inside of the watch. Does the outer bezel of this watch turn at all? You would think so since it has cutouts for traction grooves etc. But I havent seen 1 video where anyone has moved the outer Bezel. I am sure there are some of you here that own a Sinn 903 and maybe even a 903-H4 (Care to sell it?) Any info is appreciated.

    TIA, Jim
    Jim,

    the outer bezel is fixed, and I am glad it is, because....

    ...the orginal Breitling Navitimer design had the entire bezel and crystal rotate on top of the case and while that may have been fine for aviators as original users of the Navitimer, this design does poorly for swimmers, or even in the shower for that matter.

    After Helmut Sinn had bought parts and partly assembled Navitimer watches from the original Breitling company when it was dissolved, Sinn kept manufacturing these watches in the original design for a while, but soon looked for ways to improve water resistance.

    The result was the additional crown that you referred to that improves water resistance, albeit makes it a little bit more cumbersome to move the inner bezel.
    For - now rarely ever used - aviation calculations that may not be so bad, as it also reduces the risk of unintentionally moving the bezel which might invalidate the previous calculation. The groves are just a design feature and have no practical purpose.

    Breitling and Navitimer name were sold to Ernst Schneider of Sicura watch company fame and this eventually evolved into the Breitling company that most people know today. The "new" Breitling company stuck with the original design and water resistance remained the Achilles' heel of this model.


    Hope his helps...


    Kurt

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    Last edited by Kurt Koerfgen; December 2nd, 2013 at 06:43. Reason: Corrected spelling of Sicura watch company

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  5. #4
    Member Jim Smyth's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    I understand the reasoning as to why the top bezel doesn't turn now on a Sinn but its a little disappointing to me. Rolex certainly doesnt have any issues with turning bezels and water integrity and neither does my 757. This may be a game changer for me with regards to my thought process on a Navitimer.

  6. #5
    Member Kurt Koerfgen's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smyth View Post
    I understand the reasoning as to why the top bezel doesn't turn now on a Sinn but its a little disappointing to me. Rolex certainly doesnt have any issues with turning bezels and water integrity and neither does my 757. This may be a game changer for me with regards to my thought process on a Navitimer.


    I am afraid you are not comparing apples with apples here.

    Both on the 757 and the Rolex watches that I know the external bezel rotates around a fixed crystal and this bezel does not need to be closely aligned with the dial. In fact in those designs the bezel has no direct contact with the dial as it is external to the case.

    For slide rule type watches, the internal movable part of the bezel and static dial must be much closer together to form a reasonably precise slide rule.

    Hence the choices are either to rotate the crystal together with the slide rule part, or have the moving part of the slide rule driven by an external crown through gearing under a fixed crystal.

    Be that as it may, if the Sinn solution should not suit your preferences, Breitling and some other manufacturers still offer pilot's watches that use the older, less water resistant design.

    Regarding the term "Navitimer", this term refers to Breitling watches applies only, as Ernst Schneider acquired the rights to this trademark together with the Breitling name when the original Breitling company in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland closed down in 1978.





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    Last edited by Kurt Koerfgen; December 2nd, 2013 at 06:48.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

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  7. #6
    Member Jim Smyth's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Thanks for the explanation Kurt. Its what I was kinda thinking after I posted last. You would think it would have been possible but the close tolerance between the 2 slide rule discs are what drove Sinn to there current design for better water integrity. I have located a 903-H4 so we will see if the price is right and if we can get a deal struck. I still like the idea of the outer bezel turning rather than the inside dial. But better water integrity is also a good consideration because I would like the option of swimming with the watch. I do like the looks of the Sinn metal bracelet better than the Breitling bracelet and definitely like the 903-H4 dial configuration the best out of them all.

  8. #7
    Member Jim Smyth's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    In my continuing search I just found this web page.

    Google Translate

    I had to use Google translate to be able to read it. It seems they have knocked off the 903-H4? Since the 65,036 Yen convert to $632. What concerns me is I think they used a real Sinn 903-H4 pictures in there add. If they didnt its scary how close they are to the real thing. I would imagine in person they are no where even close. Also seems they have every model Sinn makes. Kinda sad when you think about it. I dont want to buy a knock off and wouldnt feel good about patronizing them or wearing something thats fake. But what does concern me is the possibility that I think I am buying something thats real (and paying real prices) only to find out it isnt real when received. Does any one know how to tell a fake from the real thing in pictures? I know buying from a reputable dealer/person but since this has been out of production for a while now your just taking a best guess at this point.

    Also I have seen 2 examples of a 903-H4. One has just a quarter moon and stars and the other has a moon face. Are both of these real Sinn 903-H4 models?

    Thanks again, Jim

  9. #8
    Member Kurt Koerfgen's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smyth View Post
    In my continuing search I just found this web page.

    Google Translate

    I had to use Google translate to be able to read it. It seems they have knocked off the 903-H4? Since the 65,036 Yen convert to $632. What concerns me is I think they used a real Sinn 903-H4 pictures in there add. If they didnt its scary how close they are to the real thing. I would imagine in person they are no where even close. Also seems they have every model Sinn makes. Kinda sad when you think about it. I dont want to buy a knock off and wouldnt feel good about patronizing them or wearing something thats fake. But what does concern me is the possibility that I think I am buying something thats real (and paying real prices) only to find out it isnt real when received. Does any one know how to tell a fake from the real thing in pictures? I know buying from a reputable dealer/person but since this has been out of production for a while now your just taking a best guess at this point.

    Also I have seen 2 examples of a 903-H4. One has just a quarter moon and stars and the other has a moon face. Are both of these real Sinn 903-H4 models?

    Thanks again, Jim

    The pictures look genuine, the price does not.


    The 903 H4 was produced in a limited number and was delivered in a case that included both a leather strap and a metal bracelet.
    So there was no choice here, you got both at the time of purchase.
    The price (without German tax) was about $3,140.

    This model (I am one of the happy owners ) had what watchmakers call a "complication" that shifts the position of the moon on the dial from day to day according to the phase of the moon.
    Hence whether you see the moon, or how much you see of the moon, depends on the date.


    See here: Sinn Uhren: Modell 903 H4



    Hope this helps....
    Last edited by Kurt Koerfgen; December 4th, 2013 at 11:17. Reason: wrong spellchecker intervention :-)

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

    Bertrand Russell

  10. #9
    Member Kurt Koerfgen's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    Jim,
    and anyone else who might be looking for a 903 H4.

    I spoke to a Sinn watch dealer in Germany who had told me several months ago that he had one 903 H4 left.
    That one is sold, but he told me that there were two 903 H4 left in all of Germany that he could obtain.

    If anyone is interested, PM me and I get you the contact details.

    Don't expect significant discounts (Sinn in Frankfurt gives only a 3% rebate when paying cash) when buying watches in Germany, and you would need to talk to the dealer directly regarding any sales tax rebate that he may be able to give when the watch is shipped outside of the European Union.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

    Bertrand Russell

  11. #10
    Member Jim Smyth's Avatar
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    Re: 903 Navitimer Bezel question

    More great info Kurt Thanks. Regarding the moon at the 12 o'clock position. I have seen pictures with a quarter moon and stars, a smiling moon and some blank space. Is all that on the same wheel when the moon is waxing and waning during the month?

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