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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.