Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wrapping up the Airman Vintage 1953

There are a lot of iconic watches out there, and I have been particularly lucky during my time writing this little "bloggy-wog" that I've gotten to wear quite a few of them.  The Glycine Airman has always been on my short list for watches that deserve more credit than they get, and following my now 14 day review I can reconfirm that opinion.

The Airman Vintage 1953 is based on the Airman 1953.  That particular watch was slightly different:

It was 36 mm in diameter without the crown, and housed a Felsa 692 movement.  Reputed to have 44 hours of power reserve, it had a 24 hour function with a 24 hour dial.  The lug width was 20 mm which was a bit large for its time.  It was secured with a calf leather strap.

But on to today's Airman Vintage 1953 - the stats are a bit more developed for modern tastes.

Starting with the case - it is a full 6 mm wider in diameter coming in at a very wearable 42 mm.  The size, even with the crowns, is quite comfortable and wears well with just about any shirt cuff.  The finish of the case is smooth and very well executed.  The watches lugs are clean and straight, but without the usual sharp edges.  It has been a pleasure to wear.

The dial is very reminiscent of the original 1953 that inspired it. It is described by Glycine as being domed and silver, which may indeed be the case, but it strikes me as almost an off-white color. The dial is laid out in a 24 hour scale. The indices are black, and the hands are of nickel with what is described as a "special old brown" Superluminova.  It provides a wonderful "patina-esque" look.  While some might appreciate lame on the dial, I am grateful that Glycine opted to keep it real.  

The movement is ETA's 2893-2 which is mechanical and self-winding. It provides hour (in a 24 hour scale), minutes, seconds and the date. What I do truly appreciate is the date in red, displayed though a "cyclops" window.  I would love to see more sport watches come with a domed display, it honestly just makes sense.

The oscillating weight/rotor is inscribed Glycine Airman with an airplane to remind the wearer of its roots in aviation.

The timekeeping was superlative - being on time clearly meant something to the person who adjusted and fine tuned the Airman that I tested.  While I did not hook it up, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I was within about 5 seconds.  I did take three days off not wearing the watch to get a gauge of power reserve "in the wild" and am happy to say that 42 hours (plus if I'm honest, a wee bit more) of power reserve was achieved.

The setting of the time and date was easy, and the adjustment of the 24 hour bezel which helps establish the second time zone was function, and easy to use and understand.  And in all honesty, isn't that what you want in the functionality of a watch - something that you don't need a one-hour primer on how to use it?

The watch uses a "NATO style" strap which is made of "high-tech" fabric.  It is well constructed with reinforced holes.  The buckle is an actual buckle and not the "paper-clip" like clasp used by many others.  It is uniform in width at 22 mm, as is the lug width.

And finally, the packaging - what a treat! As Glycine fans will know, "back in the day" you would send your Glycine in for service in a service box made of birch wood. Now readers of this blog will know that I am not a "universal fan" of packaging, but in this case I am willing to make an exception on 2 counts - it is not huge and ostentatious, and dammit, it's kinda' cool!

We seem to be stuck in a muddle of "Pilot's Watches" - which for most people translates to:
IWC.  This is unfortunate.  If I am honest, there are some really cool Pilot's watches out there that do not get the "airtime" that the should.  Tutima is making a lot of these.  Hanhart tried and failed and once they are purchased by another "sugar daddy" they will no doubt try again.  And Glycine, in many ways, makes the most useful of all.

It's very easy to be enamored of the "idea" of something. But then it is just looks without substance. With the Glycine Airman Vintage 1953 you have something that has a look and feel - but more importantly has practical, useful functionality. And yes, it's really cool!

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