The Swiss watchmaker Glycine has finally updated its Combat range of military-styled watches with a new version. Soon to be offered in a black PVD-treated case with rose gold PVD elements, the new timekeeper is rather pretentiously named Glycine Combat Golden Eye (Ref. 3863.399 C6-TBA9). Well, I truly hope that next year they will offer the same model with the bezel and crown crafted from bronze. Although not as flashy (if you can apply the adjective to such a noble alloy with its aura of adventure and glory,) on certain markets it’s going to be smashing.
Although owned by Invicta Watch Group (a watchmaking conglomerate that is built around brand known for their cheap, yet blingy timekeepers,) Glycine Watches is positioned a lot higher on the price ladder than its mother company. Their timekeepers are not only more expensive, of course: they also offer a lot more interesting design that is combined with good build quality and a nice choice of movements usually made by ETA SA. Based, on their earlier Combat automatic wristwatch, the new Golden Eye sort of misses a bit to which the Swiss-based brand usually dances with its faux gold treatment, but I am fairly sure that the watch will be quite successful.
Presented earlier this month during the Baselworld 2012 show, the new watch is basically a refreshed Glycine Combat Sub model that’s been here for a while.
The Golden Eye is offered in the same body that measures 42 millimeters in diameter and sports the same flowing, Rolex Oyster-style crown guards. The rotating bezel with the diving scale seems to be the same, but the dial was reworked in order to look, um, more original than the base model.
The hands are now simpler and more pleasant to look at and the luminous hour markers are accompanied with military-style Arabic numerals from 13 to 24. I must admit that the whole layout looks really attractive.
The movement remains the same tried and true ETA caliber 2824-2 self-winding ebauche. If you are new to the world of fine watchmaking, the name of the mechanism that animates this piece may sound unimpressive, and that’s probably absolutely fine: the movement doesn’t sport fancy features and is rather old giving you less than two full days of power reserve and its balance wheel beats at a standard 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour. What you do need to know though is that ETA 2824-2 is one of the most dependable, accurate and -last but not least- widespread engines on the market giving you a good chance that the watch won’t stop at the least convenient moment if you don’t forget to service it at recommended intervals and treat it with respect.
What bothers me here is the finish of the case and other parts.
I always tried to stay away from PVD watches for two main reasons.
The first of all, the treatment of this ref. 3863.399 C6-TBA9 is not particularly practical if you intend to use it as its ruggedized exterior suggests: as an adventure watch. While more durable than traditional plating technologies, it is still prone to scratches. This may not be a serious problem for dress watches that are usually worn a dozen times per year and tend to be handled with necessary care, but beaters like this one will soon receive their fair share of battle scars.
The second thing, and it relates to models with gold PVD plating, is that it is just plain lame to buy a watch that looks ten times more expensive than it is. I mean, if you can’t afford a real thing, be honest with yourself and others: get yourself a model in steel or titanium and wear it with proud!
So, I am kind of divided when it comes to this new Glycine Combat Golden Eye.
I really like the combination of colors (the one with the brown bezel looks especially attractive when accented with rose gold surfaces,) but I hate the plating. The choice of the mechanism is great, but the retail price of $1300 is outrageous: for this sort of cash you can buy two Certina Action Divers powered by the same movement. However, if you are not that biased, then you should probably go ahead with this model: it looks great, it offers superb legibility, it is suitable for mild scuba diving and it is powered by a reliable Swiss made automatic movement. And when the watch finally appears at online retailers for half the “recommended” price, you will officially be out of excuses to buy one.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Glycine Combat Golden Eye (Ref. 3863.399 C6-TBA9) specification
Price: $1300 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2824-2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Ruthenium coated oscillating weight, engraved and branded, polished screw-heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel, black PVD
Bezel material: Stainless steel, rose gold PVD
Crown material: Matches bezel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 10.60 mm
Lug width: 22 mm
Dial: Black or Blue
Numerals: Arabic, military format
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black textile NATO strap with rose gold PVD steel buckle or blue rubber band
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid, engraved