The new Glycine F104 Pilot (Ref. 3933) automatic wrist watch delivers that great mix of a clean, easy to read dial and compact (really compact) body: something that you rarely see when it comes to pilot’s watches designed during the last decade or two. While most manufacturers still try to strike your imagination with monsters that look ridiculous on almost any wrist of a man of a normal stature, this one will probably look great even if you decide to wear it with formal suit.
Well, to my taste the winding/setting crown is still a bit too large, but it is at least ergonomic enough to be operated by gloved hand (it may also come in handy if you happen to have thick fingers).
According to official specs, the watch is powered by what they prefer to call a “Glycine caliber GL224” automatic movement, which is probably just a redecorated version of the good old ETA 2824-2.
As usual, it is built on 25 jewels, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers the standard power reserve of 38 hours.
For a contemporary watch that often keep working for more than two days after being fully wound and hidden in a drawer or a safe, the guaranteed power reserve doesn’t impress, but if you plan to use the F104 Pilot as your daily beater, this should not be a problem.
What CAN be a problem is the way the worn-look leather strap is attached to the steel body.
As you can see on the photo, the watch uses a set of rather unusual “movable” lugs, which basically means that it will be extremely difficult to find either a replacement strap or a bracelet without ruining the timekeeper’s balanced and very clean look.
Like the new Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT 1903 Limited Edition (Ref. 96.2431.693/ 21.C740) that was released almost four months ago in January 2014, the F104 Pilot uses a “vintage” typeface to print its 12 luminous Arabic numerals.
However, there is a very nice twist to it: the slightly oversized “6” was modified to look as a stylized “G” of the Latin alphabet referring to the brand’s name. Some people will probably find the modification negligible, but that’s those small things that make big difference when it comes to such overpriced things as premium cars, watches and this sort of things.
I am also quite impressed by the way the guys from Glycine put to good use 2824-2’s inherent deficiency: the mechanism’s small size allowed them to make the busy dial with its two chapter rings, a calendar window at 3 hours and seconds scale look especially light and clean with a lot of air to breeze. In fact, I must admit that the Glycine F104 Pilot Automatic (at least the ref. 3933 with its silver-light dial and mirror-polished stainless steel body) sports the most easy-to-read dial among recently introduced timekeepers of this kind.
As far as I understand, Glycine doesn’t plan to limit the timekeeper’s production, which is great: among all these overweight monsters, this watch is like a breath of fresh air.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Glycine F104 Pilot Automatic (Ref. 3933) watch specification
Movement: Automatic, Glycine caliber GL224 (probably ETA 2824-2), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel (pictured) / Black steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black / Sand-brown / Silver-white (pictured)
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Blued, luminous
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Worn-look leather strap with two steel rivets on each side and a steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent