Sunday, June 24, 2012

So I've joined a cult - wrapping up the Glycine Airman MLV

Okay, it has now been 15 days, and it's time to sum up the Airman MLV.  I should start by saying that in all honesty, I was not sure what to expect from the Glycine Airman.  Sure, I had seen them, held them, and certainly talked about them - but I have never actually worn one.

I have read and enjoyed Andre Strikker's excellent History - GLYCINE AIRMAN a 24-hour timeline of flight and this gave me a great grounding.

And what this book really drives home is how the Glycine Airman has created such a devoted following around the world.

If you haven't had a chance, get your hands on a copy of it, it is a fantastic book!
But enough of the past, let's get back to the present!

The Airman MLV is based on Glycine's Airman Base 22.  So that we have a baseline of information, here are the stats courtesy of Glycine:

Airman Base 22 

Caliber: ETA 2893-2 automatic
Functions: hours, minutes and seconds, 24hours hand, date display in window
Size: 11 1/2"
Jewels: 21
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Hz: 4/28'800 vibrations per hour
Finish: oscillating weight on ball bearing is rhodium coated, decorated "Côtes de Genève", and bears the engraving of an airplane.

Case, Dial & Hands
Material: stainless steel
Diameter: 42mm without crown
Height: 11.20mm with see-through back
Finish: satin/polished
Waterproof: 20 atm
Back: screwed see-through mineral glass
Glass: sapphire AR
Dial: LUME (my edit)
Hands: BLACK (my edit)
Crown: screw-down

Special features
topring is positioned by a spacer system at 4h hatched crown (design early 50s)
GMT Version (4 hands, three time zones)

Leather strap
Material: calf
Colours: black
Width: 22mm Lug width

The size and balance of the MLV is JUST RIGHT!  At 42 mm in diameter, you can never be sure, but there is a nice curve of the lug that allows the watch to sit nicely on the wrist.
And while I am on the topic of comfort - big PROPS to the design team - the locking crown for adjusting the outer 24 hour bezel is big enough to be tactile, but not large for the sake of ornamentation.    It is a wonderfully simple mechanism that works flawlessly, even when wearing the watch.  

The strap with buckle are a triumph of simplicity over ostentation.  This strap strikes exactly the right balance.  Not too big at 22 mm.  The white stitching strikes just the right note - this is after all a sporty watch of sorts.  The leather is thick - but not oppressively so.  It is all in balance. 

The finish work on the case ensures a very comfortable wearing experience.  Smooth and slightly rounded, the MLV is comfortable all day long.

The finish and attention to detail is again in evidence with the detail work on the rotor.  All too often we see a display back with, well, a very plain "picture".  But Glycine figured, if your going to have a display back, why not display something?  The Glycine Airman legend is accompanied by the image of an airplane propeller.

The timekeeping has been first rate.  Over 15 days the greatest deviation I experienced was + 6 seconds, first rate for a watch at this price-point.

But let's be honest - what really makes this watch exciting for most of you is the lume.  So last, but by no means least -

I think that this speaks for itself.  Bright, and despite my shaky camera hand, very legible.  And the GMT features remain clear and easy to read.  I would also really make the case for the practicality of the lume.  Unlike so many lume efforts - this one WORKS!  And without the need to "charge" it by holding it under direct light.  I will be completely honest that I did not expect nearly such a good effect, but the proof is here!

So Glycine, you have a new member of the Airman Cult!  I will be saving my pennies to add an Airman of my own, but this one, sadly, must get on a plane to go home tomorrow.

For those of you on the fence about the Airman - FLY to your retail location to get one - you will not regret it!

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