Finding the Perfect Glycine Airman

Glycine is a brand known by watch enthusiasts for making highly capable pilot watches. Among all of Glycine’s aircraft-inspired collections, no watch series has made such an impact on the brand as the Glycine Airman. Over the years, the Airman has stood at the forefront of Glycine as their most popular timepiece. Unique in design and robust in performance, this high-flying Glycine timepiece does not disappoint. 

In this article, we will be looking at a few select representatives from the Airman collection to see which model is made specifically for your preferences. We will also be taking a look at the story and tumultuous history of the Glycine Airman.

Knowing the Flight Crew of the Glycine Airman

The Glycine Airman collection provides a wide array of pilot watches. Their catalog consists of contemporary timepieces, vintage models, and an exclusive Airwoman series for ladies. Due to the variety available, finding the right Airman may prove to be a challenge. Instead of going through every model, we will take a closer look at a few select members that showcase the innovation and genius of the Airman crew.

Prices for the Glycine Airman range between $1,200 USD and $2,400 USD, depending on the model, the features offered, and the materials used. For a pilot watch, the Airman can be considered relatively affordable. 

1. Glycine Airman Contemporary

The Airman Contemporary is one of the most diverse and colorful selections in the Airman series. From wonderful single and double tones to the Double Twelve and Bronze variants, the Airman Contemporary offers a whole lot of watches that are well worth your investment.

Airman 42 (GL0070)

Glycine Airman 42 (GL0070)

The Airman 42 GL0070 boasts a striking dark and edgy composition. Worth approximately $1,400 USD, the GL0070 sports a 42mm stainless steel case treated with PVD coating. The case is paired with a carbon-style calf leather strap, and has a water resistance capacity of 100 meters. Inserted on top of the case is a PVD-coated bidirectional rotating bezel that bears a 12-hour time scale. At the center of the watch is an understated, pitch-black dial. The syringe hands, numeral hour markers, and indices are all coated with Super-LumiNova, giving them a bright glow in the dark. Powering the watch is an automatic GL224 movement with a 38-hour power reserve, which is protected by a see-through mineral glass. 

Airman 44 (GL0156)

For a more sizable Glycine Airman, check out the catalog of Airman 44 watches. The GL0156 comes in a 44mm case made of polished and satin-finished stainless steel. It has two crowns to the right of the case and a 24-hour bidirectional bezel on top. Sheltered by a layer of sapphire glass coated with anti-reflective material, the dial of the GL0156 boasts a gradient blue hue. It also features luminescent hands, Arabic numeral hour markers, and geometric indices. Towards the right of the dial is a square-shaped date window. This watch runs on Glycine’s favorite GL293 automatic caliber. With a water resistance rating of 100 meters, the GL0156 costs approximately $2,250 USD.

Airman 44 Bronze (GL0166)

Moving on to the Contemporary series’ special edition watches, we have the Airman 44 Bronze GL0166. What makes this model different from the others in its category is its beguiling bronze case. Both stylish and robust, bronze adds a different touch to the 44mm Airman. The coffee-brown color of the dial is also a delight to look at. With rose gold hands and applied indices, the dial perfectly complements the exterior of the Airman. Other than its color scheme, the GL0166 is quite similar to the other Airman 44 models. It uses a GL293 automatic movement, a see-through caseback, and a protective sapphire crystal. The Airman 44 Bronze costs around $2,380 USD and is paired with a coffee-brown calf leather strap.

Airman 42 “Double Twelve” (GL0061)

The Airman 42 Double Twelve GL0061 perfectly blends a 12-hour stainless steel bidirectional bezel with a silver-white dial featuring luminescent syringe hands, numerals, indices, and a date window. The Double Twelve uses a GL224 automatic movement with a 48-hour power reserve. Protected by a see-through mineral rear case, it utilizes 42mm of polished and satin-finished stainless steel as its case. Furthermore, the watch has a water resistance rating of 100 meters. Glycine matches the model with a classy brown calf leather strap. The Double Twelve has an approximate market value of $1,220 USD, making this one of the more affordable Airman models.

2. Glycine Airman Vintage

The Airman Vintage selection is essentially a modern take on classic Airman models from the 1950s. It features iconic old-school Glycine designs with present-day innovations. The models in this sub-collection are aimed at watch and travel enthusiasts who are fond of the vintage Airman look.

Airman “DC-4” (GL0071)

Retailing at approximately $2,130 USD, the Glycine Airman Vintage DC-4 GL0071 comes in a 42mm stainless steel case paired with a black pilot strap. On top of its case is a white bidirectional 24-hour bezel that allows users to keep track of a second time zone. The dial of the DC-4 GL0071 features a smooth black surface with luminescent dauphine hands and indices. It has a date aperture at 3 o’clock, and a white tachymetric scale on the outer rim. The black dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal which has been treated with three layers of anti-reflective coating.

Below the dial is a Swiss GL293 automatic movement. It features a Glycine Airman-decorated rotor and has a power reserve that can last up to 42 hours. For wearers who want to see the caliber GL293 in action, Glycine has equipped the watch with a see-through mineral caseback. With two screwed-in crowns on the right of the case, the DC-4 GL0071 is water-resistant up to depths of 200 meters.

Airman 36 NO1 Limited Edition (GL0160)

The Airman 36 NO1 Limited Edition utilizes a stainless steel case that measures 36mm in diameter. Sheltered by a layer of domed plexiglass, its dial is silver-white and contains four luminescent hands to tell the hours, minutes, seconds, and the GMT. The GL0160 uses a GL293 self-winding caliber, complete with a 42-hour power reserve and the signature Airman rotor. One weakness of this timepiece is that, even though it has a stainless steel case back, it only has a water resistance rating of 10 meters. As such, this watch can only withstand some light splashes and maybe a trip to the shower. This limited edition Airman is paired with a classic black leather strap and retails at approximately $2,250 USD.

Airman Vintage “The Chief” (GL0245)

This one is a gripping piece. The 40mm stainless steel case of the Airman Vintage “The Chief” GL0245 has a coating that resembles the texture of gunmetal. The bidirectional 24-hour bezel on top also possesses the same finish. This finish produces an almost rust-like look and gives the watch a unique and rugged aesthetic. Under the domed plexiglass is a silver-white dial bearing the hours, minutes, seconds, and GMT functions that you see in many Airman references. Its hands and hour indices are also coated in Super-LumiNova to provide greater visibility in the dark. Powered by the brand’s GL293 self-winding movement, The Chief can last up to 42 hours. Like the GL0160, The Chief can only withstand up to 10 meters of water pressure. Accompanied by a vintage-style brown leather strap, The Chief GL0245 is worth approximately $2,130 USD.

3. Glycine Airwoman

Giving the collection a dainty flair, the Airwoman is just as capable as it is pleasing to the eye. Bearing exclusive colors and an original design, the Airwoman is a unique line of ladies’ watches and is the perfect co-pilot to the Airman.

Airwoman 36 (GL0181)

Starting with the GL0181, the beautiful Airwoman comes in a 36mm stainless steel case that has a water resistance rating of 100 meters. Its bidirectional bezel uses a 12-hour scale rather than the usual 24-hour variant we usually see on standard Airman watches. Below its sapphire crystal is an exquisite mother-of-pearl dial featuring a syringe handset, modest Arabic numbers, and a date window. The timepiece uses a GL224 automatic movement, which comes with Glycine’s customized rotor and a 38-hour power reserve. For those who want to see the caliber GL224 in action, Glycine provided the watch with an exhibition-style mineral crystal rear case. Worth approximately $1,280 USD, this elegant timepiece comes with a blue calf leather strap.

Airwoman 36 (GL0172)

With its PVD-coated stainless steel case and yellow gold sunray dial, the GL0172 comes off as a very luxurious Airwoman. Other than its lavish hues, the GL0172 performs quite similarly to the other Airwoman models in Glycine’s catalog. It has the same functions, the same GL224 caliber, the same mineral case back, and the same 100m water resistance. Glycine pairs the GL0172 with a matching yellow gold PVD-coated bracelet. All in all, this extravagant pilot watch costs approximately $1,580 USD. This model also comes in different colors, like bronze and silver.

History of the Glycine Airman

During the 1950s, international air travel was slowly becoming a more common occurrence. For Glycine, there was no better time to create a new pilot watch. Glycine released the first line of Airman wristwatches in 1953. Aside from the usual features seen in traditional timepieces, Glycine’s Airman also had the ability to tell world time. With the rise of jet-setters and travel enthusiasts worldwide, the Airman became a commercial success. It was not long before pilots also started wearing Airman watches for their flights. Ever since its debut, the Airman collection has never left Glycine and is currently one of the brand’s most tremendous accomplishments.

Over a decade, the Airman has enjoyed a steady reputation among enthusiasts. However, Glycine started to notice that their customers were finding the Airman’s design too mundane. In order to retain the interest of their audience, they had to come up with something different. In 1967, Glycine unveiled a new member to the Airman family, the Airman SuperSonic Transport (SST). The Airman SST was a pilot chronograph that featured a brand new design. It had a black and grey 24-hour dial and an orange 24-hour internal bezel cased inside 42mm of stainless steel. Underneath its dial was an A.Schild 2063 self-winding caliber. Equipped with the brand’s latest technologies, the Airman SST was able to reinvigorate the collection. 

In the 1970s, Glycine was one of the many Swiss watchmakers affected by the revolutionary quartz crisis. Although they suffered severely, the company was able to survive. That said, Glycine had to think of something to recuperate from their losses. As a response to the market’s new demand for quartz watches, Glycine developed two Airman wristwatches that utilized quartz movements. The new models worked in Glycine’s favor as they garnered success in both the Japanese and American markets.

1998 was another eventful year for the Swiss watchmaking brand. By using the ETA 2893-2 Caliber, Glycine was able to unveil the Airman 2000. The Airman 2000 was unlike any other. It was a unique timepiece with the ability to tell the time of three different time zones. A year after its release, Glycine started fitting the Airman watches, including the Airman 2000, with jumbo-sized 46mm cases.

Even in the 21st century, Glycine continues to be a pioneer of aviation watches. For instance, in 2002, the Swiss watch brand released the Airman 7. The Airman 7 houses three mechanical movements. Such a design allows it to provide four different time zones simultaneously, making it another in Glycine’s long list of innovative aviation watches.

Alternatives to the Glycine Airman

So, maybe the Glycine Airman or Airwoman are not the timepieces you are looking for. Fear not, however, for we have two alternative collections that are just as good as the Glycine Airman, and that you might find more to your liking.

Sinn Instrument Chronographs

Founded in 1961, Sinn first made a name for itself by manufacturing instrument watches and panel chronometers for aviation. As one of Sinn’s pioneering collections, the Instrument Chronographs is a selection that boasts quality, heritage, and innovation at its core. Sinn also has the Instrument Watches collection, but if you want something that offers more utility and practicality, then the Instrument Chronographs range is the way to go. With its high-grade durability, reliable movements, and varying designs, the Sinn Instrument Chronograph is a must-have for pilots and all kinds of professionals. Some of their most recognized models include the award-winning Bicompax Chronograph 936, the EZM 12, and the Hunting Watch 3006. Like the Glycine Airman collection, the Instrument Chronographs also has a line of watches that cater to the ladies.

IWC Pilot’s Watches

Another brand known for making aviation timepieces, IWC has been creating and developing its Pilot’s watches since the 1930s. Their Pilot range showcases five sub-collections: ClassicTop GunSpitfireLe Petit Prince, and Antoine Saint de Exupery. Each family has a wide assortment of stylish and versatile models. As such, you do not have to worry about running out of options. Aside from their unique and beautiful looks, each IWC Pilot’s watch comes with a high-quality in-house mechanical movement and a legacy spanning more than 80 years. Whether you want something vintage or modern, classy or casual, the IWC Pilot’s selection is sure to have a model for you. Recently, IWC released the latest addition to the Pilot’s watch collection, the Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL. This timepiece features one of the industry’s most advanced anti-shock systems to date.

Final Thoughts

For decades, the Airman has brought the brand to new heights as an innovator of pilot watches. Since its release, the Airman continues to dish out brilliant timepieces that vary from conventional models, complex references, and one-of-a-kind collector’s items. Unique, durable, and reliable, the Airman is everything a pilot needs, and it can match up against other renowned contenders such as Sinn, Hamilton, IWC, and many more.

Need a different Flieger watch? Check out the Sinn 356 Chronograph and see if it’s the timepiece for you.

All Glycine Airman and Airwoman Images By Glycine-Watch

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