Disclaimer: I purchased this watch pre-owned and was not externally incentivized in any way to make this review. This review is not sponsored by Glycine, or any other entity. All opinions here are my own. Since this watch was purchased pre-owned, and worn/used, please make note that the experience might differ slightly from that of a brand new watch.
Glycine & 24 Hour GMT
I have wanted to check out one of these watches ever since I first heard about their story, and the fact that this design inspired so many iconic watches, the most popular being the Rolex Explorer-II. And I’m glad to finally get one of these Glycine GMTs in hand – and even more glad that I was able to get this Glycine Airman No. 1 GMT GL0164 Limited Edition, since it very closely resembles the Airman from between 1953-1960. This is a larger diameter re-creation, that caters to more modern preferences at 40 mm, however there were 36 mm versions too.
I won’t go into the history of these watches since this has been covered multiple times and in excellent detail by folks like the Urban Gentry Channel. This GL0164 was a limited release of 1000 units, and had a retail price of 2035 CHF, but currently pops up on the pre-owned market for between $750-$1000.
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 39.75 mm in diameter, 49.25 mm from lug-to-lug and 12 mm tall. The case is made of stainless steel and has a traditional and vintage design. They even managed to maintain a sleek overall case profile, since nearly 3 mm of that 12 mm is the domed plexiglass.
The polished mid-case transitions into a pair of long lugs that flare out and dramatically curve down towards the wrist. The top surfaces are brushed, the lug width is 21 mm and the lugs are not drilled through.
There is a 24 hour GMT bezel that has a brushed top surface and is filled with black paint for the markers, with a coin edge bezel that is easy to grip and operate.
The bezel is fixed in place by a 5.25 mm bezel lock crown located at the 4 o’clock position, and is bi-directional when unlocked. This single piece steel GMT bezel is an iconic design now mostly associated with the Rolex Explorer-II, but Glycine was the first to bring this to market.
The domed plexiglass is another nod to the heritage design, and in a watch like this, I really don’t mind it.
There is a 4.75 mm push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position that is easy to grip and operate and there isn’t any crown or stem wobble.
Flipping it over, you have a flat screw-down case-back with a few specs engraved onto it. This watch is only rated for 10 m of water resistance, so I wouldn’t be too daring with this one.
The dial is beautiful, and does a fantastic job of echoing the vintage design theme of this watch. The dial is an aged white or cream color, with all printed and painted elements.
The outer-most layer is the 24 hour Arabic numeral track, that is a bit busy, but is easy to read and follow with the GMT hand. The printing quality is great and everything is very tidy.
You then have an inner ring of minute markers and 12 hour markers. The hour markers have rectangles at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, and circles for the rest. They are all filled with lume, which has a passive light green color.
There is a date window at the 3 o’clock position with a white date wheel and red text. I tend to prefer color matched date wheels at the 6 o’clock position, but this one totally works at recreating the charm of the original design.
You just have “Glycine Airman” printed below the 12 o’clock without the logo, which is probably what I love most about this entire dial, and automatic above the 6 o’clock position.
The handset is all brushed stainless steel, with the hour, minute and seconds hands being lumed. There is a rectangular GMT hand that is easily identifiable.
I like all the proportions, and the hands are functional. They don’t attract too much attention, and they’re well finished.
So overall, I think this dial is fantastic, and is an excellent recreation of a vintage style. Great work here!
Given the somewhat lightly printed dial markers, I didn’t expect great lume from this watch, but it is surprisingly good. All the hour markers are lumed, but these fade out a bit quickly.
The hour, minute and seconds hands are well lumed though. They glow bright and hold their charge reasonably well. The GMT hand is not lumed, and neither is the back-pointed section of the hour hand, but I think that’s fine.
I compared it with the Tutima M2 Seven Seas, a more serious diving tool watch, and it holds up well.
On my timegrapher, I measured roughly -5 spd on average in the dial-up position, and -10 spd on average in the crown-up position. Decent numbers for a pre-owned watch, so no complaints there. The GL293, aka ETA 2893 should be easy to regulate. I’m most impressed with the manual winding experience on this movement as it feels buttery smooth and better than any other movement you’d get in this price range.
On The Wrist
The 39.75 mm diameter, 49.25 mm lug-to-lug width wear great on my 6.5″ wrist. I was a bit worried about the straight-ish lugs, but the watch sits low on the wrist thanks to its 12 mm height, and the overall wrist presence is excellent.
The watch ships with a leather strap that is adequate and comfortable, with a signed buckle. Overall, I’m a fan of how this watch looks and wears.
To wrap this up – I’m really impressed with this watch, and it’s another one of those watches that I wish I had experienced much sooner. I didn’t expect too much in the way of build quality and finishing, since it is tied to parent brand Invicta, but I think that was just my ignorance. There’s plenty of value here by means of design heritage, functionality, build quality, finishing and design.
If you’re looking for an automatic GMT watch in the sub $1000 price range, and you’re not too worried about water resistance, this is possibly one of my top choices apart from the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander GMT.
Thanks for reading!