Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?
Like Tree3Likes

Thread: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26
  1. #1
    Member Pascal S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    1,531

    Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    It is common knowledge that German astronaut Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 during his stay in space for the German Spacelab "D1" mission as part of the STS-61A Space Shuttle launch in 1985. For a very long time, his Sinn had been credited as the first automatic chronograph in space until new evidence recently gave that title to Seiko.

    While Sinn also based some of its marketing on that achievement, I always had some doubts. Not that a Sinn did go to space, but rather about which particular model made the trip. So now I will share my thoughts on this topic, and I welcome any feedback of new elements you might have to either confirm or invalidate my theory.

    First, let's have a look at the well known picture of Reinhard Furrer in the Space Shuttle:



    On his left wrist is clearly visible a large watch with a black PVD coating, an option made available by Sinn on several of its watches, including the 142. And it sure does look like the latter. But my problem with that version of history is that we never saw any other pictures of this watch, let alone any kind of close-up shot. Given the importance of this timepiece in Sinn's marketing, it is not unreasonable that they would have tried to have further material to put forward, and that well before Reinhard Furrer's tragic death in 1995.

    Also, an other details caught my attention. The 142's caseback has an engraving commemorating the D1 mission, but it refers to the watch as "model 140/142". For those of you who don't know, the Sinn 140 used the exact same case, but was powered by a Lemania 1341 movement that also featured a GMT complication. Definitely a close cousin to the 142, but not the same watch though. This prompted me to dig a bit deeper, until I found a better resolution version of the picture above, from which I cropped the following close-up:



    Not supremely detailed, I admit, but enough so that we can draw a few conclusions. The first one is that the watch visible on this shot is NOT a Sinn 142. The element that allows me to be so sure is located at 12 on this watch's dial: the luminous marker. Because of the Lemania 5100's 6-9-12 subdial layout, the Sinn 142 does not have such a luminous marker, as shown on the following picture taken from Sinn's own promotional material:



    On the picture above, it is clear that the presence of the 24 hour register, typical of almost all Lemania 5100 chronographs, does not leave room on the dial for the kind of large luminous marker visible on Reinhard Furrer's watch. That is why I can confidently say that, based on the photographic evidence, this chronograph was not a Sinn 142.

    So the next logical step is to consider the other possibilities for what this watch might have been. As I mentioned before, a likely contender is the Sinn 140 with its Lemania 1341 automatic movement. But there too, there is a problem. Let's have a look:


    Photo by Chuck Maddox

    First of all, there is an obvious issue with this theory: all the Sinn 140 I have seen had contrasting subdials, just like Chuck's example above. And such an characteristic should be plainly visible on the Space Shuttle picture. Then there is the small date window, as the Lemania 1341 only provided date display. On Reinhard Furrer's watch, the window seems larger, probably to accomodate day and date.

    So it is my belief that there is only one candidate left, a watch that was briefly produced by Sinn before the introduction of the 142 and which, I believe, was known as model 141:



    This chronograph used a less common variant of the Lemania 5100 family, the calibre 5012. Apart from the absence of a 24 hour subdial at 12, leaving room for a large luminous marker, the 5012 beats at a slower beat (21,600 bph) than its more famous cousin. But it also does have day and date display, and its apparence is therefore fully consistent with what is visible on the picture of Reinhard Furrer's watch.

    In the end, my theory is that by the time the D1 mission took place, the model 141 had already been replaced by the 142 in Sinn's range. So when the picture of Reinhard Furrer wearing a Sinn in space surfaced, Sinn had to seize the opportunity, but on the other hand had to advertise the family of chronograph and not simply a specific model which had been discontinued. They sure were happy about the ambiguity, but their stance was certainly not worse than Omega's regarding the current Moonwatch model. This would therefore explain the puzzling "model 140/142" engraving on the back of the 142s produced after 1985.


  2. #2
    Member Micha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    2,445

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    Lothar Schmidt told us yesterday that Furrer bought the watch privately. He wanted to show that an automatic watch can be kept running without gravity. He told Sinn afterwards and gave them the pictures they're now using for PR.
    AFAIK Furrer wore a 142S.
    Cheers,
    Micha

  3. #3
    Member Pascal S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    1,531

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    Quote Originally Posted by Micha View Post
    Lothar Schmidt told us yesterday that Furrer bought the watch privately. He wanted to show that an automatic watch can be kept running without gravity. He told Sinn afterwards and gave them the pictures they're now using for PR.
    Thanks for the clarification. It was indeed my belief that Furrer had brought his own watch. The issue is that I believe it was not a 142 for the reasons stated above.


  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Moderator Emeritus Crusader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    12th Century
    Posts
    11,278

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    I seem to remember from an earlier time (late 80s/early 90s) that Furrer did not wear the present-day 142, but a version with black subdials, but no 24h-subdial at 12. Perhaps the 24h-function was only added later to the 5100, and Furrer had an earlíer version?
    Cheers,

    Martin ("Crusader")

  6. #5
    Member Pascal S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    1,531

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
    I seem to remember from an earlier time (late 80s/early 90s) that Furrer did not wear the present-day 142, but a version with black subdials, but no 24h-subdial at 12.
    The only such watch I have ever seen is the "model 141" from which I posted a picture in my original post. And all the examples I have seen pictures of were powered by a Lemania 5012. It is possible that Sinn made a few chronographs with a similar dial layout but with a Lemania 5100, but I have never seen any element over the last few years tending to prove that theory.

    Now, it is possible that I am mistaken in calling this watch "model 141", even though I have seen it referred as such by several sources, but that would mean that the 142 started its life with a different movement. And if that is the case, why not keep the original name "model 140" which itself yet an earlier automatic movement but used the exact same case?

    This also leaves the question open as to why Sinn chose to commemorate "model 140/142" on the casebacks of post-1985 Sinn 142s. It would have been simpler to refer to "model 142" if it was the official designation of Reinhard Furrer's watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
    Perhaps the 24h-function was only added later to the 5100, and Furrer had an earlíer version?
    Well, given the fact that the Lemania 5100 movement started its life in 1974 as the Omega calibre 1045 (powering the ref. 176.0012 Speedmaster) and had the 24 hour subdial then, I see no reason to believe that an "earlier" version existed. And when the calibre was made available to other brands in 1978, it still had that 24 hour indication. And while a few watches powered by the Lemania 5100 did without this subdial, it was not a technical limitation from the movement itself but rather a choice from each brand.

    An interesting indication would be to take a look at what movement powered the first version of the Sinn 156 made without the 24 hour subdial. If it was in fact a slower beat calibre 5012, then the theory that Sinn would give the same name to watches with two different movements would be more credible.


  7. #6
    Administrator CMSgt Bo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    The Blue Ridge Mountains of NC
    Posts
    36,643

    How about the Rolex 1675 GMT Jack Swigert wore on Apollo 13?

    From Chuck Maddox's web site:

    Information from James Dowling and Jeffrey Hess Rolex Book
    In the book "The Best of Times: Rolex, an unauthorized History" James Dowling and Jeffrey Hess note that "It was a GMT-Master on the wrist of Jack Swigert that helped the crew of Apollo 13 to make it back to earth safely after their on-board Oxygen tank ruptured".

    Read it here:

    http://home.xnet.com/~cmaddox/moonmovement.html

  8. #7
    Member Pascal S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    1,531

    Re: How about the Rolex 1675 GMT Jack Swigert wore on Apollo 13?

    Quote Originally Posted by SMSgt Bo View Post
    How about the Rolex 1675 GMT Jack Swigert wore on Apollo 13?
    What does Swigert's personal timepiece have to do with Sinn and/or Reinhard Furrer?

    Honestly, I fail to see your point. But if you really want to have Chuck's opinion on the actual topic of this thread, have a look here...
    Last edited by Pascal S; February 25th, 2007 at 01:03.


  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,129

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    However there're also rumors, that a Seiko 6139-600x was the first auto-chrono in space:
    http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index...6gt%3B%26gt%3B
    I cannot judge the reliability of this source, but nor can I do this for the Furrer-Story.

    Probably Däniken would come up with another theory.

    However, I don't care to much about this marketing stories, I only have two specs for any watch: 1st: I like the watch. 2nd: the watch is reliable.
    2nd spec is negotiable as sometimes design rules over function.

    Cheers,

    Axel

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,129

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    Well, it seems to be both a story about watches and astronauts.

    Keep cool, no watch is better or worse due to being worn somewhere the first time!

    Cheers,

    Axel

  11. #10
    Member Pascal S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Old Europe
    Posts
    1,531

    Re: Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?

    Quote Originally Posted by Axel66 View Post
    Well, it seems to be both a story about watches and astronauts.

    Keep cool, no watch is better or worse due to being worn somewhere the first time!
    If you read again my original post, you will see that I actually mention the fact the a Seiko was the first automatic chronograph in space. And given the convincing evidence given, I have absolutely no reason to doubt it. To me, it is an established fact that Reinhard Furrer's Sinn was the second automatic chronograph in space.

    If I may, I would like to clarify the aim of this topic. I love the Sinn 142, and I also love the watches that led to this model. My goal is only to find out if a Lemania 5012 movement actually made it to space. We know that the 5100 did several times on watches from Fortis, Tutima and possibly Sinn. But given the discrepancies I found on the picture of Reinhard Furrer's watch, it is my personal theory that it was in not a Sinn 142 but rather is model 141 predecessor. And this watch happened to be powered by another calibre.

    I'm not in the business of handing out prizes or anything, nor do I wish to list all watches that made a trip to space one way or another. I am just trying to find out which Sinn made the trip first.
    Last edited by Pascal S; February 25th, 2007 at 01:50.


Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Similar Threads

    1. Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 142 in space, or did he?
      By Pascal S in forum NASA and Space topics
      Replies: 33
      Last Post: September 12th, 2017, 03:13
    2. SOS - Sinn Owners of Singapore
      By Phantom in forum Sinn
      Replies: 431
      Last Post: August 1st, 2013, 04:46
    3. Help Needed: BELL & ROSS by Sinn
      By Le MO in forum Sinn
      Replies: 9
      Last Post: October 10th, 2010, 03:15
    4. Replies: 21
      Last Post: November 27th, 2006, 02:37
    5. Replies: 43
      Last Post: June 5th, 2006, 11:57

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •