Glycine Airman Review: Modern Classic Watches

Review of the Glycine Airman Watches

Based on our research, the Glycine Airman is a fascinating modern classic watch with a rich history. The brand offers excellent watches with a perfect wearing experience, especially for anyone who loves the vintage design.

 

Compared with other European watch brands, Glycine is not one that will often come up in conversations. Today, even only hardcore watch enthusiasts may remember this brand. But Glycine has been building quality timepieces since Eugene Meylan founded it in 1914. Debuted in 1953, Glycine’s Airman is one of the earliest GMT watches. It may perhaps be the most recognizable watch in the brand’s collection.

From the beginning, the mindset was to make the Glycine Airman specifically for professional airline pilots to have both GMT and local time while they fly. After the many improvement and re-issuing of the Airman, Glycine has populated the market with lots of successful pilot watches. We can’t be surprised how Airman functions as a choice for sport, fashion, and military use.

Pros – Glycine Airman

  • Excellent wearability
  • Special features
  • Easy to read dial
  • Great value for money
  • Reliable functions

Cons – Glycine Airman

  • Small Date window
  • Poor water resistivity
  • No extra watch feature

Benefits/Drawbacks – Glycine Airman

With the continuous reissuing and population in the market today, the Airman collection encompasses models that express both early and later designs. But we will keep our focus on the design iteration that the Airman series is best known by.

Excellent Wearability

 

Characterized by a thick case, large-diameter, long steel lug, and large dials, the Airman sub-series are certainly appealing to the masculine. Each sub-series come in a variety of styles and sizes for different writs. Focusing on this, they have some funky colorways that make lasting impressions.

If you take a good view of them, the dial colors are either white or black. The original Airman has a stainless steel case sizing of 36mmm. Moreover, the ones made after have their stainless case size ranges from 42mm to 46mm. The acrylic crystal glass keeps the timepiece durable to support the standing protection of the case. Its build quality secures the glass from shattering even when dropped.

The dial may seem bulky, but in comparison to other contemporary aviators, it’s relatively small. These days, a size like this as well as the authentic vintage look and feel is hard to come by. The Airman comes with long lugs and wide 20mm strap, which is perfect for keeping the watch on both small and medium-sized wrists. In case this sounds too minuscule, there are other similar Airman Watch sizes to suit larger wrist sizes.

Options of the GMT-hand variations and purist version which opts for a 24-hour dial are available. Glycine describes the purist watches as vintage pieces that stay true to its essence. Also, there are options with and without a GMT, of both 12-hour and 24-hour versions.

Easy to read dial

 

Like we have mentioned, the Airman sub-series come with either white or black colored dials. For ease of use, the original Airman has large numerals of a 24-hours clock on oversized dials. Some sub-models have large numerals for minute and seconds index laid across the rail track design instead.

The vintage Airman is best known for two outer rings marked with Arabic numerals, with inner minute rings, a tipped and tailed arrow 24 hour hand. The syringe style hand tells the time in local minutes, while a small lollipop indicates the second time zone tipped hand. For every five minutes, it has differentiated circles and rectangles, separated by Arabic numerals. The watch has a simple white date window on the 3 o’clock position, but for easy reading even while in flight the date is displayed in red color.

Special features

 

The revolution of Aviation watches can attest to the importance of the Glycine Airman. It’s managed to thread a path where only a selected few dares to venture. Between the vintage Airman and the modern re-editions, most of the designs and features are the same.

Beyond these contemporary details of the looks and features, it comes with a 24-hour dial, and 24-hour GMT function, with two distinct crowns. One is on the 3 o’clock and the other on the 4 o’clock position to adjust both local and GMT times.

All Glycine Airman Watches have a date window on the 3 o’clock position. The new models have the Cyclops window to display the scripted date in red, as different from the vintage in black. It also features two outer rings engraved on a rotating bezel, thick lumed hands, and 24-hour markings to ease readability in certain situations.

The water resistivity of the Airman watches is quite low – only 10m. Anyway, the timepieces already describe themselves as one to stay above the ground. If you want a dive watch from this brand, go for the Glycine combat sub. You might find all these features as basic since you can attribute them to other high-end watches. But for a modern classic piece like this one, it’s unique.

Value for money

 

Today, the Rolex GMT-Master II is arguably the most recognizable GMT watch, but it’s frequently inaccessible to the mass market because of the price tag. On the contrary, the Glycine Airman Vintage is way more accessible when you consider both price and features.

This doesn’t mean the Airman is better by any extent, but from the standpoint of price and quality, Glycine airman has pretty good value – no matter the sub-model you like. In fact, It has distinguishing features from the Rolex and much easier to add to a growing collection.

The price tag on each one genuinely proves the fantastic value of the watch. It’s probably what kept the series in the market for so long, regardless of the decades of market and technological competitions.

Reliable Movements

 

In its first few years, the brand developed with market demands as the series transitioned further from automatic into quartz driven movements. Although most contemporary Airman Watches still utilizes the base Sellita SW330-1 Swiss movement, otherwise known as the Glycine’s GL293.

It’s an automatic movement based on a reliable ETA 2893-2, operating at 28,800 vibrations per hour and capable of 42-hour power reserve. This power is good enough to keep the watch accurate for over a week, whether it’s on the wrist or off.

Outstanding functions

 

As a pure necessity for pilots, Glycine worked on the Airman to appeal both professionals and amateur aviators. This Glycine hosts some iconic feature; you wouldn’t find on most watches from that time. Like the 24-hour dial, 24-hour rotating and lockable bezels, and the double crowns. The Vintage Airman was known for a hacking mechanism, but it’s no longer available for the newer movements.

Glycine produces remarkable pieces to stand the test of time where all interiors are hidden and protected with a stainless steel or mineral glass back and a domed plexiglass crystal on the front, which is more charming than the sapphire crystal.

The new Glycine Airman Watches are hackable – as in, the ability to stop the second’s hand by pulling out the crown. The vintage ones had an old fashion solution that’s similar to the locking bezel where the pull pops up a small pin through a hole in the dial and stops the second’s hand at 12:00.

Reputable Brand

 

The Glycine Airman Watch series encompasses one of the most unappreciated and overlooked aspects of the pilot watch history. With the tasteful reissues and well-designed versions that Glycine continue to releasing, it’s obvious that they are eager to keep their story alive for their fans and watch collectors out there.

Glycine Airman Watches are pure classic pieces — each one with some sense of sentimental attribute – hence the popularity. For instance, the Glycine named the DC-4 after a propeller-driven plane from 1942.  The aircraft was reliable for military use in World War II and still useful today to private airlines and operators. As pertaining to this ability, despite not having any distinct features of the DC-4 plane in its design, you can expect the same reliability from this watch as well as the other Glycine Airman watches.

Should you get the Glycine Airman watches?

Unlike most modern watches you find on the market today, every aspect of the Airman stands for quality. The case is of polished steel, with sleek and slender lugs which is typical for a 1950s vintage style. If you are not in league with the original’s 36mm case, you can try out the ones with 42mm – seems like a more appropriate and modern size.

The build quality of the recent Glycine stays faithful to the original with beautiful plexiglass crystal that won’t shatter when smashed into or dropped. What’s more, the small lume pips at every five-minute mark illuminates the dials at night with luminescence rather than the Superluminovas on new model watches.

Even though the Airman subseries have designs that looks so similar to each other, there are specific changes within them. Of the differences, you can find few new sub-series without the brand’s logo on the dial, as well as the PM/AM indicators on the 3 and 9 o’clock positions of some. Whereas the original shows no extra.

The cases are of stainless steel with the back screwed on. Again, some sub-models have a see-through mineral glass on the back. All these qualities are why you shouldn’t pass on the Airman.

Conclusion

If you have interests in historical relics, Glycine alongside a small list of alternatives is a reasonable choice. The sub-series have managed to release a diverse collection of Airman Watches in various sizes, styles, colors, and prices. Each one competing for the modern market. You just have to love these. Check out more reviews on the Glycine watches.

Best Pilot Watches Under $500

Best Pilot Watch Under $500

Pilot watches are in style, and you can often get away with wearing an excellent watch even if you aren’t dressed to match. But if you’re in the market for a good pilot watch, you might also be looking for one under $500 so you can afford it without emptying your wallet.

If that’s the case, we recommend the Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph Watch as the best pilot watch under 500. It’s a quality timepiece that can bring you a lot of value for many years to come. We’ll also show you some alternative picks for watches that are still excellent and beneath $500.

Top Pick: Bulova Men’s Lunar Pilot Chronograph Watch

 

Overall, our favorite pick is the Bulova Men’s Lunar Pilot Chronograph Watch.

This watch is constructed with sapphire glass and Precisionist-class chronograph movement. This makes the watch’s timekeeping abilities three times more accurate than watches with standard quartz chronograph mechanisms. It includes a signature floating secondhand and resists gravitational error. It’s so precise that it’s accurate within 1/1000 of a second.

The watch exudes class and elegance. It’s made with the stainless-steel case and bracelet and the dial is set against the blue and silver dials with multiple layers of black carbon fiber. This keeps the watch face luminous and easy to read while being sophisticated enough for virtually any occasion.

Why We Like It

The watch’s simplicity and style both combine to make this one of the best watches we’ve ever seen. In addition to its excellent aesthetic, it’s extremely functional both in its timekeeping abilities and precision. A tachymeter has been implemented along the outer border of the watch face.

In addition to these excellent qualities, the watch is also water resistant down to 300 meters. Its sapphire glass face is strong enough to resist some punishment without attaining any blemishes; this is a great thing in our eyes since it’s a little pricey even though it’s still beneath $500.

Speaking of water resistance, if you’re looking for outdoor watches, check out our handy guide here.

What Could be Better

There are a couple of downsides. Watch is a little large, as it 45mm in diameter, so those with thinner wrists will likely look a little silly in comparison. In addition, the bracelet doesn’t taper very well so can be uncomfortable if you have sensitive skin beneath your wrist.

Other Picks

We’ve got some runners-up that for best pilot watches that are almost as good as the Bulova.

Citizen Watches Men’s AT0200-05E Eco-Drive Chronograph Canvas Watch

 

The Citizen Watches Men’s AT0200-05E Eco-Drive Chronograph Canvas Watch is a much more affordable option that has a military-inspired aesthetic. The watch border is stainless steel with a red contrasting secondhand, but the bracelet is made from rugged green canvas. Both of these styles combine to create a watch aesthetic that is both classy and practical at the same time.

It’s also an accurate timepiece; it uses Japanese quartz movement technology to remain precise throughout the year. Even better, it can recharge the natural sunlight or indoor light, so this extends the amount of time you have to enjoy the watch before you need to replace its battery.

Why We Like It

We really enjoy the overall durability and practicality of this watch, making it a shoe-in for a choice of one of the best pilot watches. Its ability to recharge its battery via sunlight or indoor light is an excellent design choice that can save you money in the long run in addition to its convenience. The hands are particularly luminous and easy to see even in low light conditions.

When it comes to durability, there are a few watches that compare. Its water resistance up to 330 feet or 100 meters, making it suitable for swimming if not diving. The window is made from mineral crystal so it can withstand some punishment before it takes any visible damage.

What Could be Better

The biggest downside is that the red hand, which you might think is for timekeeping, is actually only used for the watch’s stopwatch capability. This is a little misleading. In addition, the date window near the 4 o’clock position is very small and can be hard to see if you use glasses or try to see the date from far away.

If you’re interested in more Citizen-brand watches, check out our guide.

Aviator F-Series Men’s Vintage World War II Pilot Design Watch

 

This watch evokes an old-fashioned style and appears as it came right out of the 1940s and 50s. It uses a contrasting white dial background with black lettering and three subdials marked for 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 1/10th of a second respectively. Each subdial has different border coloring for easy recognition.

The hands are made to be luminous and easy to see in the dark. They are protected in a waterproof stainless steel case that can easily withstand rain or water down to 100 meters. It uses Japanese Quartz movement to maintain accurate timekeeping.

Why We Like It

We really enjoy the aesthetic on display here. The brown strap evokes a simpler timer but the dial casing is still made with scratch-resistant mineral crystal glass. It combines vintage design with modern safety and efficiency.

We also really like that the subdials are colored slightly differently. It helps to tell them apart, and it makes the entire dial case look a little less crowded since all the icons aren’t the same colors. There’s a lot of information on display with this watch but it never seems to be too much.

What Could be Better

The band isn’t made of genuine leather, which does hurt it somewhat. It keeps the watch affordable, but you can definitely tell the difference when you’re wearing the timepiece. In addition, the minute and hour hands of the clock would be better off black instead of white with black borders, as they are currently.

Still, these nitpicks are minor when considering the overall charm of the watch as a whole.

Seiko Men’s SNN241 Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band

 

Black isn’t the right color for everybody. If brown is more your style, try the Seiko Men’s SNN241 Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band. It’s affordable and made with a stainless-steel case that protects two subdials and a date window at the 6 o’clock position. The leather band is comfortable and can be secured with a buckle.

It’s also fairly water resistant down to 100 meters and it uses Japanese quartz movement, so you know you’re getting accurate time consistently, even well into the watch’s lifespan. You can also use the inbuilt chronograph to measure up to 60 minutes of activity.

Why We Like It

This is an extremely attractive watch for its aesthetic alone. The white hands are luminous and easy to pick out as they contrast with the brown dial. We also really like that the strap is made from genuine leather, which makes its affordable price all the more outstanding. It’s hard to come by decent timepieces if you’re on a budget, so we’re glad this option exists.

Because of the leather band, this watch is incredibly comfortable to wear even though it’s a little larger and heavier than some folks might be used to.

What Could be Better

The Crystal dial window is protected by Hardlex material, which isn’t as durable as it sounds. Scratching the face of this watch is a little easier when compared to other contemporary watch faces. This isn’t a huge deal given the low asking price, but it’s still something to consider.

Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Stainless Steel Leather Avion Watch

 

The Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Stainless Steel Leather Avion Watch also combines a black dial, white hands, and a brown wristband for an old-fashioned look. The wristband here is made from calfskin leather, meaning it’s soft and comfortable for a long time before it starts to wear out. The silver watch border is made from stainless steel and combines with a mineral dial window.

This watch also uses Japanese quartz movement. It only loses a couple of seconds of time per day at maximum, so you won’t have to reset your watch very frequently. It can also resist water down to about 100 meters of depth.

Why We Like It

We really enjoy the overall feel and size of this watch. It’s comfortable to wear and the white hands set against the black dial keep all of the necessary time information easy to parse no matter what the light level is.

You also get a chronograph that measures up to 60 minutes, a date window, and a 12/24 hour time dial set on the right-hand side of the center circle. It fits a lot of information onto its dial without being too cluttered or confusing, with the exception of the date window which is easily hidden amongst the other aspects.

What Could be Better

Indeed, the date is easy to lose and that’s a clear con in our eyes. In addition, the watch face can feel pretty heavy due to its overall thickness. While this does help to protect the watch from damage, it can feel a little clunky or awkward, especially since it appears to the modern style with pilot watches that are larger rather than smaller.

Conclusion

Overall, these are the choices of best pilot watches under 500 if you’re looking for a good timepiece that can last you for a while without breaking the bank. Nevertheless, there are high-end options in the market for pilots, which may satisfy the most exquisite tastes;  to have a 30,000-foot overview of some of them, you can read our Best Pilot Watch article.