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Modestly priced watches: Glycine Airman Airfighter

by Robin Lim on September 14, 2014

How would you reinvent yourself to recreate something traditional? Ask Glycine. This company has managed to transform a conventional chronograph pusher into something that is extraordinary and fun!

 

The Glycine Airman Airfighter.

The Glycine Airman Airfighter.

When we first received the watch, it did not give us a rather good impression. We thought that the watch was rather big, and that it was a tad messy (no thanks to the many sub-dials and hands that are present on the watch itself). Not the best of starts, but we are certain that the watch has got the capability to win us over during its stay with us for the next few days.

 

The Watch

The sliding chronograph actuator. Admittedly, this is rather cool and unconventional.

The sliding chronograph actuator. Admittedly, this is rather cool and unconventional.

For starters, the Glycine Airman Airfighter is not just another timepiece from the Bienne-based watchmaker. It is watch that is specially made to commemorate Glycine Watch SA’s century old existence. Unlike the other Airman watches (or many other chronographs), this one is a little special. We were intrigued with the sliding chronograph actuator when we first saw the watch; it was rather unconventional. In order to start/ stop/ reset the chronograph, the user would be required to push the actuator either up, or down. It was pretty easy and fun to operate the chronograph when the watch is strapped on the wrist, and it adds a really nice touch to the watch. Both mechanically and aesthetically. Well, things are looking good!

 

A "lume-shot" of the Glycine Airman Airfighter. It is rather nice, but it looks even better in person.

A “lume-shot” of the Glycine Airman Airfighter. It is rather nice, but it looks even better in person.

Despite the messy dial (in our opinion), the watch actually looks good in the dark. Well, we are talking about the lume of this timepiece. It illuminates brightly and beautifully in the dark, with two different colours (turquoise and green) for the main dial and the subdials (except the for the subdial at 9 o’clock, which features the same turquoise lume as the main dial). One letdown of the watch would be the lack of lume on the GMT hand (either that, or it is not bright enough) , which is a little disappointing considering the fact that it is one of the vital features of this timepiece. This meant that the GMT hand is rendered redundant in the dark.

 

The locking crown is a signature of the Airman line of watches; it prevents the bezel from accidental adjustments.

The locking crown is a signature of the Airman line of watches; it prevents the bezel from accidental adjustments.

Another interesting thing to note would be the bezel. It is actually made in stainless steel, and coated with black PVD. Together with the GMT hands and the normal hour hands, the watch is capable of indicating timing from three different time zones. The bezel also features a locking crown, located at the side of the case around the 4 o’clock position. It is a signature of the Airman DNA, even though we thought that it is a little redundant. While we think that the it is unnecessary, we felt that the watch might seemed to be missing something without the locking crown. Ah, the conundrum!

 

The Movement

The GL754 movement. Not the best in terms of decorations, but it was a good effort nevertheless.

The GL754 movement. Not the best in terms of decorations, but it was a good effort nevertheless.

The Glycine Airman Airfighter features the GL754 movement, derived from the Valjoux 7754. This watch features a chronograph, a date indicator, and a  24-hour GMT hand. The movement is specially decorated; it features elements such as the skeletonised winding rotor and the rhodium coated bridges. We thought that even though it was not the best decoration out there, it deserves some recognition for their efforts. Glycine could have simply just placed a solid caseback with some commemorative engravings on it, but they went a step further to add more value to the watch. Kudos on that aspect.

 

One of the best features of the watch would be the GMT hands, and its simplicity in operating the function.

One of the best features of the watch would be the GMT hand, and its simplicity in operating the function.

One noteworthy thing about the movement would be the ease of setting he 24-hour GMT hand. The user is able to set the 24-hour GMT hand independently, without having to adjust the minute hand. This makes it easier for those who have to travel from one timezone to another within a short period of time.

 

Final Thoughts

A wristshot of the Glycine Airman Airfighter. We thought the watch is a little large, probably due to the rather long and straight lugs.

A wristshot of the Glycine Airman Airfighter. We thought the watch is a little large, probably due to the rather long and straight lugs.

Even though we had misgivings about the watch initially (with regards to the 46mm sized case and the convoluted dial), the Glycine Airman Airfighter seemed to have grown on me. It feels solid and masculine, with a good wrist presence. Even though I would like it to be smaller, but by doing so the watch would have lost its style and presence. Price-wise, it is slightly on the higher side. However, with the amount of complications the watch is able to offer, the price can be justified somehow when it is being compared with the other counterparts.

In terms of styling, there are two more other variations. The watch comes in either the red dial variant (which is the one that we have featured on this article), the blue dial variant, or the black carbon dial variant. All the different variants are supplied with a matching strap.

In short, the Airfighter is an interesting timepiece, but it is one that one either love or hate it. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I must say that this watch is definitely for the alpha males out there.

 

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