Glycine SA will soon start selling its hand-wound Incursore II 44mm (Ref. 3901). Presented in a huge stainless steel body around 44 millimeters in diameter (as the name clearly tells us), the new military-styled timekeeper (at least, the version with a so called ‘California‘ dial that combines Roman and Arabic numerals) seems to be deeply inspired by vintage timekeepers from another Italian watchmaker — Panerai.
According to the company, the new model is animated by a classic ETA Unitas 6498 manual-wind movement.
Measuring 37.2 mm in diameter, the caliber was created in the 1950s and was originally supposed to power only pocket watches, yet, when the trend for “manly” extra-large wristwatches became apparent, a great number of brands turned to the cal. 6498 and its sibling cal. 6497 to animate their -often deliberately monstrous in their dimensions- divers and pilots.
The reason for the caliber’s popularity is rather simple. You see, the engine not only looks great in an oversized timekeeper, but is also extremely accurate -at least, for a slow-beating vintage movement that was designed before the first satellite reached low Earth orbit- and, what’s even more important, bullet-proof reliable: something that we rarely see in a world where clothing, gadgets and even home appliances are often designed to become obsolete right in time for the next Black Friday.
Some people regard the Unitas 6498 as one of the best mass-produced pocket-watch movements ever made.
Thanks for its superior ruggedness -it is especially true for the Elabore-grade versions that are equipped with the legendary Incabloc shock absorption system- the caliber is especially popular among independent brands making so-called “tool” watches: primarily divers, but also all sorts of “tactical” watches as well.
The only problem with the choice of the mechanism is the way the small-seconds indicator travels around the sub-dial: instead of the usual butter-smooth, almost flowing motion that is associated with more modern movements beating at 28,800 vph and faster, the indicator on this one jumps in a sort of “jerky” fashion, but that, from my perspective, is more of a feature rather than a bug. After all, inspired by pre-WWII timekeepers, this Incursore II is supposed to look archaic.
The Incursore II will be offered with two versions of its matte-black dial: one with a classic layout featuring large Arabic numerals, and one with a California-style “Lux” dial that combines Roman and Arabic numerals.
While not particularly comfortable (the way the numerals are combined often requires some brief “getting used to” adapting period,) such a layout certainly helps the timekeeper to stand out on the overcrowded market.
Glycine plans to sell the watch on a leather strap or a more practical stainless steel bracelet with recommended prices set at surprisingly low CHF 890 (€685) or CHF 990 (€762) respectively. From where I stand, the price makes the Incursore II almost a steal: it is difficult to find a gadget that not only looks cool but also features a great movement beating inside its steel body.
See also: Glycine Combat 6 Automatic Military
Glycine Incursore II 44mm (Ref. 3901) specification
Price: CHF 890 (leather strap) / CHF 990 (metal bracelet)
Movement: Hand-wound, caliber ETA Unitas 6498, Incabloc shock-absorption, 37.2 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 18,000 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 44.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic and Roman, luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Leather or steel bracelet
Crystal: Mineral, domed